When it comes to buying cookies at a bakery, I just don’t do it. It’s not because I don’t like cookies. I love cookies more than any treat on this Earth. But they are so simple and easy to make at home, I can’t be bothered wasting my money for someone else to accomplish what I could in just a few easy steps. I’d rather save my pennies for the more fickle, harder to achieve and time-consuming desserts – French macarons, petit fours, elaborate cakes, lattice crust. Cookies are a piece of cake compared to those.
An emergency birthday forced me into buying some at the bakery this past year – believe me, I cringed and kicked myself for not being prepared. My former Girl Scout leader would cry and scold me. Instead of grabbing something standard, I went for the insanely decorated, over the top funfetti cookies. They were fun, to say the least. But you know me, it pains me to buy something easily made at home. So I set to it and made a batch. And went crazy with the sprinkles because everyone loves copious amounts of sprinkles. The result is a fun, soft, incredibly sweet cookie perfect for any party. Color coordinate with your holidays! Have fun with these, they’re meant to be playful and delicious!
When I was a kid, my mom would make a ton of cookies and would freeze the dough. I’d come along after school when she wasn’t home and would snack on the frozen cookie dough because, well, cookie dough. Cookies in all forms have always been my one true weakness. Maybe some people would hang their heads in shame when they think about scarfing down frozen, raw cookie dough. But let’s be honest here and admit that cookie dough is faaaaaantastic.
I never grew out of my cookie obsession. To this day, they’re my favorite snack, my guilty pleasure, my one and only love. I continue to make cookies and scarf them down without feeling guilty. I mean, I only feel guilty sometimes and that’s usually when I have to be rolled across the floor. Most recently, I made these salted pecan chocolate chip cookies and can’t. stop. eating. them. For real.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how to describe my favorite foods. If I eat a piece of candy or bite into an apple, I try to brainstorm how I’d describe it to someone who’d never tasted food before. Sort of like that Nicholas Cage movie where he is an angel and Meg Ryan gets hit by a bus after eating that pear… Only we’ll leave out that part. Just think of how to explain your favorite food to someone who’s never eaten it.
These cookies? They are crispy, yet soft. Salty and sweet, nutty. Addictive, in such a great way. The pecans are absolutely the best part, they give the cookies a depth and a great textural crunch. I made two dozen and they disappeared in two seconds. They may or may not have all went directly into my stomach, but who can really be sure?
For when you want to get your cookie on but still want to stay somewhat healthy, try these tropical granola cookies – filled with papaya, coconut, crunchy granola and whole grains.
After this holiday season, I really worried that I’d never want to bake again. I made batch after batch of cookies, never feeling like I’d made enough and then making more. Now, those cookies and all of their leftovers are sitting in a huge box on top of my fridge, just waiting to be thrown out. No one will accept them anymore, they are too caloric or too seasonal or frankly, people just aren’t interested in eating cookies. I can understand it. It’s that time of year when we strive to reach maximum health in our lives. Who really wants to be noshing on buttery cookies?
But see, that’s where these babies come in. They are filled with good stuff. White whole wheat flour, whole grain granola, dried papayas. I grabbed the recipe from the back of the Bob’s Red Mill granola package and then, because this is me, I made a few changes. I opted for papayas instead of apricots. And from there, I ran with the tropical thing and tossed in some shredded coconut. These little guys have just the right mix of sweet and crunch. The papayas have a nice chewy texture and the granola is hearty and filling. One cookie is enough. And I say that in all seriousness. From one cookie monster to another, you only need one to feel satiated.
Shortbread cookies are a perfectly versatile cookie that can take on any number of dips, glazes and additions. Chocolate whiskey dipped shortbread cookies are a great, grown-up option for the holidays.
Leaving out cookies for Santa is tradition in many a household. But sometimes, let’s all admit it, the big guy may need a more grown-up treat. It’s a long trip for him, bouncing around from house to house and delivering presents. Those of you who have seen the Santa Clause, you know. Dogs, small fireplaces, big presents in a little sack. And then, the cookies and the milk. Do you think he ever gets tired of all the chocolate chips and spritz cookies? He may just need a different kind of pick-me-up.
This year, try leaving out these chocolate whiskey dipped shortbread cookies for the big guy (or, you know, the parents who are forced to eat the cookies to keep up the ruse). The cookie itself is a perfect, buttery shortbread. Slightly sweet, crispy but flaky. It is probably my favorite cookie, so versatile. Make them plain and dip them in coffee. Toss in a bit of lemon zest and top it with jam. Or do what I did and dunk them in some chocolate whiskey spread. As soon as I started thinking about these cookies, I knew I wanted to do a grown-up version with something a little different. I mixed some chocolate with a bit of whiskey for a nice kick. Santa needs a little kick in the pants at the end of a long night. And these cookies are just the right choice for him.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar until smooth. Add in vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
Add in flour and mix on low until just incorporated. Turn the mixture onto a flour-dusted surface. Knead gently until the dough comes together.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to ¼ inch thick. Use a cookie cutter (shape is your choice) and cut out shapes, laying the cut out cookies on the baking sheets. Repeat until you have no more dough.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove to a cooling rack.
Once completely cool, prepare the glaze. Heat the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted completely.
Stir in whiskey and a splash of heavy cream until smooth. Dip the cookies into the glaze then lay flat on parchment until hardened.
Gingerbread is a classic holiday flavor. Jazz it up a little by adding some white chocolate and throwing together these gingerbread white chocolate thumbprints.
This is the first year that Santa won’t be coming to our house. Not that presents won’t be there, but Santa is more of an “in the heart” presence than someone who drops gifts. And you’d think that since I don’t have to leave out a special plate of cookies for the big guy, I’d be less pressed to make cookies. That, however, is not the case. For some reason, the pressure is on even more than normal. I have to make. all. the. cookies. I’ve woken up at 6:30 both Saturday and Sunday to get in a little extra baking time. Don’t ask me why but I can’t stop.
And while I’ve made some of the classic Christmasrecipes, I’m also branching out and changing things up a bit as well. That means putting new spins on some of the old classics. Gingerbread is so standard for the holiday season. We all flip when the gingerbread latte comes out and love to decorate those adorable gingerbread men. I thought about those but really, I adore the idea of the thumbprint cookie. And the idea of something sweet paired with the spiciness of the ginger. Enter, white chocolate. It gives these cookies just a kick of sweet. I think they will really be the star of my office cookie platter. What about you? What’s your star cookie? I think you’d have a hard time keeping these around long enough to give out to family and friends!
In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar in the bowl of a mixer until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on low until well combined. Turn the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap into a disc and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use a cookie scoop and scoop out the dough, rolling it into a ball and placing it on the parchment. Using your thumb, a spoon or a wine cork, press a circle into the cookie dough.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes until cookies are set and browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack.
Once completely cool, melt the chocolate in a bowl in 30 second increments until fully melted. Use a spoon and spoon white chocolate into the well of each cookie. Use a knife to smooth it out. Allow to harden.