Initially I thought about using a reference to the little match’s girl’s story and say I hope these matches make people’s wishes come true. Of course, that’s before I remembered…the poor little match girl ends up dying from the cold after striking her matches…hm…plan B!
I thought about packaging the cookies in handmade matchboxes…because…well, matches belong in matchboxes and that’s just how the universe works. Eventually, I did come to my senses that this probably wasn’t the most practical route. With the quantity I was doing, it’d take me literally days to get done and I can already see myself regretting and whining by about
the second halfway through the first box.
So what’d I do? I ended up staying simple and put the cookies into little baggies in between Christmas cards to wish people a cozy Christmas. And the feedback was great! People loved the idea and how the cookies tasted!
I won’t lie to you, the matchsticks are labour-intensive. They’re easy to do, but labour-intensive nonetheless, so you probably should set aside a good half day or more if you’re making the whole recipe. The best thing about them though is that you get soooooo many from the recipe (I got 319 matchsticks), enough for all my Christmas cards plus a large box of leftovers for people at work! If you even it out, the time and energy spent isn’t bad at all. I hope that convinced you to give them a try! If not, I go back to my ultimate argument, matchstick cookies are meant to be made by you, says the universe. So there.
Required Time: 5-6 hours| Yields: 319 Matchsticks
- In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on low until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and continue beating on low until well combined. With the mixer running, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until the dough looks well incorporated.
- Divide the dough into two portions and wrap them individually with plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a disc shape and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
- Remove one disc from the refrigerator and place on a lightly-floured surface. Roll the dough out to ¼ inch (1 cm) thickness evenly, adding a little more flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Cut the dough into matchsticks around 5cm long and .5 cm width and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving some room in between each matchstick as they spread a little when baking. Re-roll the leftover dough and cut out as many matchsticks as much as possible. Repeat with the second disc of dough. Once you have filled a baking sheet, place the cookies in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to prevent the cookies from spreading too much when they are baked.
- Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on them as they can quickly burn. For cookies with a little crunch, try 8-10 minutes. They’re ready when the bottom and edges brown slightly. For cookies that are softer and chewier, check them at around 6-8 minutes and take them out as soon as there’s any sign of browning at the bottom edges of the cookies. Leave them on the baking sheet to cool for 5 minutes before removing them onto a flat plate or cooling rack to cool completely.
- Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add corn syrup and milk and stir until thoroughly combined. Add food coloring until you reach the colour you like. I think I had to use about 1-2 tsp of red in mine. Add more milk (1 tsp at a time) to loosen up the mixture and stir until you reach a consistency of thick but dip-able icing.
- When the cookies are completely cooled, take each cookie and dip one end into the icing so they look like matchsticks. Place them on parchment or wax paper for icing to set. After 15-20 minutes when the icing is kind of set (you’ll see that some of the icing has spread out, that’s normal), take each cookie and loosen it up from the parchment or wax paper to remove the cookie from the excess icing and place them on a clean sheet of parchment or wax paper and refrigerate to set completely.