Whether covered in multicolored frosting, speckled with holiday cherries, or dipped in chopped nuts, cookies during the holidays define the concept of cheer.
Case in point: What’s an appropriate “Thank You” gift to give Santa after he shuffles down your chimney to put presents under the tree? Cookies!
If you’re tired of making the same old classic sugar cookies, check out our list of Five Unique Christmas Cookie Recipes. If you have a better recipe, add it in the comments!
Stained-Glass Ornament Cookies
Use fruit-flavored Life Savers, sour balls, or similar hard candies for the “stained glass.”
It is fun to make your own design for the ornaments.
For example, if you want to make a holly leaf or a dove, draw the shape on a piece of cardboard—about 3 inches in diameter is a good size—and cut it out.
Edge the gingerbread strips around the design on the cookie sheet. Continue until all the gingerbread has been used.
To crush the candies, use a food processor or place the candies between 2 pieces of waxed paper and crush with a rolling pin.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup water
6 ounces translucent hard candies in colors of choice, crushed
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and molasses and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in the water. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms.
3. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil.
5. Divide the dough into thirds. Divide each third into 10 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll each piece on a lightly floured work surface into a rope 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter.
Gently trace the design of your choice onto the prepared cookie sheets (a wooden spoon handle or chopstick works well for tracing on foil). Outline each design with a rope of dough, pressing the ends together to seal securely.
6. Sprinkle the inside of each design with the crushed candies, dividing the candies evenly among the outlined designs and creating an even layer.
7. Bake in the center of the oven or until the edges of the cookies are golden and the candy has melted, 6 to 9 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets on wire racks until the candy hardens, about 5 minutes. Gently peel the foil away from the cookies and transfer to the racks to cool completely.
Cookie Exchange Tip: To make this cookie into a tree ornament, attach a loop made from the dough to the top of each cookie before baking. After the cookie is baked, thread a piece of ribbon through the loop and tie the ribbon in a bow. To make these ornaments at a party, prepare the cardboard patterns in advance.
Delicate Mint Sandwich Holiday Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Colored sugars, such as green, blue, red, silver and white
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 or 2 drops mint extract
1 or 2 drops red or green food coloring
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth using a handheld mixer in a medium bowl. Add the flour slowly, mixing on low, until incorporated. Scoop the dough into a ball using your hands and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until the dough has firmed slightly, about 30 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll the dough about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible with a small cookie cutter and transfer to ungreased baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between each cookie. Re-roll the dough scraps and repeat until all the dough is used. Use a smaller cutter, about 3/4-inch, or cut freehand with a small sharp knife to punch a small window out of half of the cookies. Place the cutouts on the baking sheets and sprinkle all the cookies and cutouts with the colored sugars.
Bake until golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
For the filling: Place the sugar, butter, mint extract, food coloring and 1/2 teaspoon of water in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed until well combined and fluffy. Spread a thin layer of mint filling on the cookies without the windows and place the wafers with the windows on top. Sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar, if using, and serve the sandwich cookies with the cutout cookies on the side.
We truly appreciate fans’ bringing concerns to our attention and are sorry for any less-than-positive experience, this recipe did test successfully as written. Times vary greatly depending on the type of oven you have, placement in the oven, brand of oven, and whether the oven is gas, electric or convection. Piercing or pricking the cookies is important as the ones we did not prick puffed up. Fans can also double the recipe if they would like to make more.
[Source: Food Network]
4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
24 silver dragees decorating candy
1/4 cup sliced almonds
12 (2 inch) pieces long red vine licorice
Melt the chocolate, and combine with sour cream. Stir in 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until firm.
Roll by level tablespoonfuls into balls. Mold to a slight point at one end (the nose).
Roll dough in confectioners sugar (for white mice), and in chocolate cookie crumbs (for dark mice). On each mouse, place dragees in appropriate spot for eyes, almond slices for ears, and a licorice string for the tail.
Refrigerate for at least two hours, until firm.
Christmas Shortbread Bites
1.25 cup(s) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon(s) sugar
.5 cup(s) (1 stick) butter (no substitutions), cold, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon(s) red and green nonpareils or sprinkles or 1/2 cup mini baking bits
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse flour and sugar until combined. Add butter and pulse until dough begins to come together. Place dough in medium bowl. With hand, gently knead in nonpareils or baking bits until evenly blended and dough forms a ball.
On lightly floured waxed paper, pat dough into 8″ by 5″ rectangle; freeze 15 minutes. Cut dough into 1/2-inch squares. Place squares, 1/2 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet.
Bake cookies 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned on bottom. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Store cookies in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week, or in freezer up to 3 months.
[Source: Good Housekeeping]
Peppermint Meringues With Chocolate Filling
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup(s) sugar
1/2 teaspoon(s) pure peppermint extract
Red gel-paste food coloring
1 cup(s) heavy cream
6 ounce(s) good-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; secure corners with masking tape. Fit a pastry bag with a small open-star tip (such as Ateco #22). Set aside.
Make meringues: Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir gently until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Mix in peppermint extract.
Using a new small paintbrush, paint 2 or 3 stripes of red food coloring inside the pastry bag. Fill bag with 1 to 2 cups meringue. Pipe small (3/4-inch-high) star shapes onto prepared baking sheets. Refill bag as necessary, adding food coloring each time.
Bake cookies until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.
Meanwhile, make ganache: Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just simmering. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let ganache cool at room temperature, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, until thick enough to hold its shape, about 45 minutes. (If ganache sets before using, reheat in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; repeat the cooling process.)
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small plain round tip (such as Ateco #5) with ganache. Pipe a small amount onto bottom of 1 meringue. Sandwich with another. Repeat with remaining ganache and meringues. Transfer to wire racks; let set 30 minutes. Cookies can be stored in a single layer in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.