Food Talk

Holiday Cookies!

Researched and Written by Kelsey of The Naptime Chef.

I love Christmas cookies of all shapes and sizes. At this special time of year people around the world pull out all the stops baking holiday cookies, delving into special files of personal recipes to serve to family and friends. Below you will find a few of my favorites, as well as round up of some of the best from my fellow bloggers. Enjoy!

Eggnog Cookies with Browned Butter Icing(shown above)

To me eggnog is the epitome of Christmas flavor. I love the blend of heavy cream and warm spices, everything about it warms me up and gets me in the holiday spirit. I started making these cookies when I found a version of this recipe on the back of an eggnog container. I’ve adapted it a bit since to give it more spice, and added browned butter icing. I mean, it’s the holiday season, why not go over the top?!

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. Eggnog (not low-fat)
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon

For Browned Butter Icing:
5 T. unsalted butter
2 c. powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/8 c. evaporated milk
1 t. good vanilla extract
Sprinkles, for decorating!

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with a silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add in the egg and eggnog, mix well.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a large bowl and mix together. With the mixer on low, slowly add this to the wet ingredients until just combined.
  4. Roll dough into balls and drop them on a cookie sheet. Press the cookies down so that the tops are slightly flattened. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the cookies are golden and edges are browned.
  5. Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before icing.
  6. For icing: Heat butter in a small skillet on the stove. Cook until butter becomes toasty brown and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove butter from heat and pour into a bowl with powdered sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Ice each cookie. Decorate cookies with sprinkles if you want to make them especially festive!!

Grammie Garwood’s 7-Layer Bars

My friend Nicole makes the most awesome 7-layers bars. They are the perfect sticky sweet treat for the holidays. It turns out the recipe is from her husband’s grandmother, an accomplished cook and baker. We like making these during the holidays because they are a nice departure from the more traditional Christmas cookie fare, but are no less decadent.

8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut flakes
12 oz. chocolate chips
12 oz. butterscotch chips
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work best)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In the bottom of a 9×13 pan, melt the butter. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs on top of the butter.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients in even layers, one on top of the other: coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, condensed milk and nuts.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until everything is melted and cooked.
  5. Cool pan to room temperature and then place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours to solidify before cutting into bars.
  6. Store in an airtight container, use wax paper to separate the layers.

There are thousands of amazing Christmas cookie recipes available and here are some that I find particularly exciting. I chose this group to demonstrate the fantastic variety of recipes available, and to highlight some of the best.

Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Mexican-Wedding Cookies. These cookies have many different names and are traditionally served at Christmas in the U.S. This recipe contains all the elements of the perfect walnut butter cookie rolled in sugar. They are sure to please everyone in your house.

Savour-Fare: Laurie Colwin’s Gingerbread. This classic recipe gets well-deserved showcase here. Some say it is old-fashioned to serve moist, spicy gingerbread at the holidays, but I think it is a timeless treat that never grows old.

Recipe Girl: Peppermint Stick Sugar Cookies. If you love Candy Canes you will adore these sweet treats. Minty, buttery and rolled in sugar, this cookie is sure to be a hit, especially with the kids.

Under the High Chair: Espresso Biscotti & Cranberry Shortbread. For a more adult holiday treat, biscotti and shortbread are great gifts or snacks to have on hand for guests. Perfect for dipping, dunking and afternoon tea, these are sophisticated to serve at even the most formal holiday dinner.

Cookie Madness: Best Ever Almond Toffee. Candy, toffee and brittle of all kinds are perfect for the holidays. Great as gifts or serving at a gathering, this sweet almond toffee is a great way to round out any holiday treats tray.

Kalyn’s Kitchen: Five Delicious Sugar-Free Flourless Christmas Cookies. For guests with special diet requirements all of these cookies fit the bill. Tasty, gluten- and sugar-free, they are the perfect solution to meeting the needs of almost anyone of a special diet.

Seven Spoons: Holiday Palmiers. Homemade pastries always have a place at the holidays. I love this recipe because it is manageable to make and delicious to eat. They would be perfect for any holiday brunch display.

The National Cookie Network: Official Guide to Decorating Holiday Cookies. Everyone loves decorated butter cookies at Christmas, but decorating them can be difficult. If you need help look no further, this is the perfect guide to decorating holiday cookies with great tips for parents and children alike.

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Joined: 03/10/2009

Aww, thanks Kelsey. Gingerbread is also an excellent dessert to bring to all those preschool potlucks that pop up this time of year. It’s so old fashioned and wholesome.

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