The Best Holiday Cookie Recipes for Cookie Swaps

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It’s cookie season, and it couldn’t have come quickly sufficient. After the contortions of modified and shrunk-down Thanksgivings, it’s thrilling to bake one thing meant for sharing. This 12 months is an particularly good one to double that batch and ship cookies to household and pals.

Eater performed a cookie change experiment during which 12 editors despatched all various kinds of holiday-ish cookies by means of the mail to see what survived finest. The TL;DR is that nobody sort of cookie carried out higher than one other — the bottom line is to maintain the cookies packed tight and nicely padded. Beneath, the Eater editors and writers who participated share why they selected the cookie recipes they did. Even should you’re not usually a baker, many of those recipes are easy sufficient to tug off. As govt editor Matt Buchanan says, What I’ve discovered from this serendipitous expertise is that baking cookies is extremely simple, even with out {an electrical} mixing equipment of any variety, so anybody can do it, and that I by no means will once more.”


Chocolate crinkle cookies: My husband is dairy-free, which tends to restrict the cookies we’re capable of make: Usually, all-vegan recipes would require substances I don’t have available (I’m lookin’ at you, applesauce) and adapted-to-dairy-free recipes normally fail to work out for me (enter a tragic, time-consuming batch of snickerdoodles that got here out laborious as rocks). However these crinkles have develop into a go-to as a result of they’re naturally dairy-free, don’t require a mixer for the dough, and the attractive crinkling on high seems to be spectacular regardless of being simple to create. Admittedly, I knew getting in that the powdered sugar topping would doubtless take a beating within the mail — and it undoubtedly did, shedding lots of the crinkle impact — however that is the one cookie recipe I’ll decide to time and time once more. —Erin DeJesus

Tartine All Day brownies and Edd Kimber’s tahini chocolate chip bars: I selected these due to the relative indestructibility of brownies and blondies; they’re sturdy sufficient to face as much as the slings and arrows of the U.S. postal system, and likewise have a tendency to remain contemporary for fairly a while. I selected Liz Prueitt’s brownie recipe from Tartine All Day as a result of a) they’re all the time a success and b) they’re gluten-free (they use sorghum flour), which implies most individuals will eat them. The tahini blondies are tailored from Edd Kimber’s tahini chocolate chip cookie bar recipe in The Boy Who Bakes; I added an additional egg and extra butter to them, in addition to malt powder and white chocolate chips. Possibly it’s the malt and the additional fats, however the end result may be very tender and enjoyably squidgy. —Rebecca Flint Marx

Peanut butter swirled brownies: One of many funniest issues to me is when individuals A. write subjective opinions as goal truths (e.g., “[X Food] Is Dangerous and if You Like It, You’re Unsuitable”) and B. when individuals get mad about subjective opinions as if one individual’s dislike of a favourite meals somebody how negates the opposite individual’s proper to love it. So coloration me shocked when I discovered myself taking this Mel weblog about how chocolate and peanut butter are a nasty mixture, like, approach too personally (I chalk my overreaction as much as election stress, okay???). Anyway, the Mel sizzling take made me actually double down on the wedding between chocolate and peanut butter, what with it being a SACRED establishment and all. I additionally simply actually love these excellent moist-yet-sturdy Smitten Kitchen brownies (as I like all Deb Perelman’s baked items) and had all of the substances already in my residence. Chocolate and peanut butter — the one meals mixture that’s truly objectively good. —Madeleine Davies

Chewy molasses cookies: I like a barely spicy cookie that’s not too candy, and molasses cookies are the epitome of that stability for me. I like that they tend to crack on the surface and keep delicate on the within, and so they’re nice for dunking in espresso with breakfast. They’re additionally, by the way, very simple to make and laborious to mess up. I used an easy chewy molasses cookie recipe from Bon Appétit circa 2013. The coarse sugar on the surface provides the cookies a pleasant completed look and acts as a little bit of a protecting barrier throughout delivery. —Brenna Houck

Rose pistachio shortbread cookies from Sister Pie: For my crispy cookie, I needed to check out a recipe from Detroit’s Sister Pie. I’ve all the time appreciated the looks of the store’s rose pistachio shortbread cookies, however as I flipped by means of Lisa Ludwinski’s cookbook I got here throughout the buttered rum shortbread; it felt just a little extra festive for the vacations, with the identical fairly rose frosting on high. In contrast to the molasses cookies, these are just a little bit extra concerned, however nonetheless easy for a novice baker. To begin, you prep the dough, which features a splash of rum (I used Two James Distillery’s Physician Chook Jamaica rum). After the dough comes collectively, you wrap it up and let it sit within the fridge after which slice and bake the cookies as you’d a premade dough from the grocery retailer. The frosting, which additionally contains booze, got here collectively nicely and arrange properly. I let the cookies sit in a single day for the frosting to fully treatment earlier than delivery them out. —Brenna Houck

Miso peanut butter cookies: I’m an enormous fan of miso-spiked sweets, particularly when mixed with one thing nutty, as with these miso peanut butter cookies from Krysten Chambrot on the New York Occasions. They’re candy and salty, chewy on the heart and crisp on the edges. That’s to say, they’re excellent. The recipe requires sweeter white miso, however I opted for pink miso as a result of I just like the extra assertive taste. I even tried cutting down the sugar within the first batch to focus on that savory edge, but it surely affected the composition an excessive amount of, turning the cookies into tall, crumbly biscuits (not dangerous, however not decadent vacation cookie materials). After I returned the sugar to the right proportion, they got here out nice. On spherical two, I did underbake them by three minutes (two minutes earlier than eradicating the pan the primary time, and one minute on the second go within the oven) to account for my oven, guarantee they might arrive chewy after a cross-country journey, and optimize structural integrity — yielding one thing like a Mrs. Fields cookie, however fancy. —Nick Mancall-Bitel

Smitten Kitchen blondies: After I was in highschool, my mother began making blondies for each sleepover, each late-night play rehearsal, and each research session. They most likely caught round as a result of there’s nothing fallacious with a thick sq. of chocolate chip cookie, and since as a lot as I like cookies, measuring out dough or (gasp) slicing out shapes is simply too tedious. A number of years in the past my mother switched from the recipe on the again of a Hershey’s chip bag to this one from Smitten Kitchen, which has far fewer substances and actually ups the gooey, fudgy issue. I assumed the density would make them ship nicely, however I could have underbaked them just a little, and I ruined a couple of making an attempt to extract them from the pan. Nonetheless, as soon as they cooled, they minimize cleanly into bite-sized blocks excellent for nibbling. —Jaya Saxena

Walnut alfajores from Taste Flours: I went with a well-known cookie recipe for our inaugural cookie swap, as a result of the considered delivery cookies was nerve-wracking sufficient and I didn’t want so as to add extra variables to the combination. I adopted a recipe for walnut alfajores, from queen of baking Alice Medrich’s gluten-free cookbook Taste Flours. The ebook has launched me to so many glorious desserts made with nonwheat flours and grains, however this recipe is a selected favourite. The cookies are crisp with only a tiny little bit of chew (which I hoped would make them sturdy sufficient to ship), and I stuffed every sandwich with store-bought cajeta, although it’s simple sufficient to make from scratch. The cookies didn’t come out completely spherical, which made for a couple of wonky sandwiches, with caramel spilling out from the edges. That would’ve made for messy transit, however I individually wrapped every cookie earlier than packing all of them up. Fortunately, the field I packed the cookies in was a pair inches too small, and I had no selection however to eat an additional alfajor… or two. —Elazar Sontag

Sugar cookies: I went with a really easy sugar cookie for 2 predominant causes: 1. You get to brighten them and a couple of. They’re uniform and thus simpler to pack and ship. The Susan Spungen recipe is lifeless easy and simple to roll and minimize out (I used jam jar covers for a constant form) and will be the bottom for infinite adorning methods. At first I used to be tempted to make an entire batch of tie-dye cookies, following this Bon Appétit method, however I shortly realized it’s extremely tedious and I’m particularly lazy. As a substitute, I went with two stable colours and performed with some swirls on the finish. —Amanda Kludt

Peanut butter miso cookies, Spherical Two: I’ve by no means baked cookies, even out of a can or a tube or no matter ready-to-bake cookie dough is packed into today — has anybody disrupted cookies but? — and something that comes out of my kitchen is sort of completely by the use of the NYT Cooking app (although shoutout to Simply One Cookbook) as a result of, regardless of its half-broken search, it’s nonetheless the least annoying approach for a lazy (or is it burned out?) individual to accumulate and efficiently transubstantiate a listing of substances and directions into one thing edible with out having to place down their telephone. So there was just one doable final result if I efficiently compelled myself to bake cookies: the New York Occasions peanut butter-miso cookies.

However I discover cookies that don’t have chunks in them crushingly boring, even ones loaded with miso, so I threw in a heap of white chocolate — admittedly dangerous for a virgin cookie expedition — and hoped it will work out. What I’ve discovered from this serendipitous expertise is that baking cookies is extremely simple, even with out {an electrical} mixing equipment of any variety, so anybody can do it, and that I by no means will once more. —Matt Buchanan

Maple shortbread sandwich cookies: Sandwich cookies are the sneakiest transfer. Actually, you’re consuming two total cookies masquerading as one, with a bonus layer of sugary cream within the center. I finally landed on this recipe as a result of A. I like maple (the whole lot tastes like pancakes!) and B. King Arthur Flour recipes are identified to be nicely examined and all the time function gram measurements in addition to cups. Utilizing a scale means you may simply dump stuff in a bowl straight from the container, which is nice for lazy cooks and reluctant dishwashers like me. The clincher with these cookies, although, is the Nordic cookie stamps that I’d been eyeing for some time and at last bought, that are a great way to make cookies really feel fancy with out frosting them. (I. Detest. Frosting. Cookies. I’m horrible at piping, and the icing is all the time too thick or too runny, and approach too fragile for delivery.) These cookie stamps took just a little getting used to, however as soon as I discovered the sturdy and slightly satisfying thwack wanted to pop the cookies out, it was a cinch.

Notice: I doubled the recipe as instructed for stamping, however in the long run it nonetheless solely made 13 cookies. I’d quadruple the recipe if you wish to make greater than only a batch, or skip the sandwiching altogether, which made for some fairly burly cookies. That’s by no means an issue for me, however daintier tastes may get away with one after the other. —Lesley Suter

Mexican wedding ceremony cookies: Together with sugar cookies formed like reindeer and snowmen, I grew up making Russian tea desserts, aka Mexican wedding ceremony cookies, across the holidays (though again then I simply referred to as them snowballs). So for this venture, as a result of I used to be not in an bold temper and don’t personal any cookie cutters, Christmas-themed or in any other case, I opted for a Bon Appétit recipe for Mexican wedding ceremony cookies that I’ve made earlier than. The brown butter on this recipe makes the basic cookie really feel just a little bit extra particular than those I baked as a child, however they’re fortunately nonetheless extremely simple to make — and, I used to be comfortable to study, they ship okay too, even when they ended up wanting much less like snowballs after they reached their remaining vacation spot. —Monica Burton

Photograph credit: Cookies from Tomalu, LindasPhotography, Anjelika Gretskaia, Alinakho, James Andrews, and AnjelaGr/Getty Pictures

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