I love baking cookies during the holidays, they are my favorite gift to give (you know, except for these). Who doesn’t want to open a box filled with meticulously handcrafted cookies? You will never find anybody feigning excitement for a box of cookies the way they do when they unwrap a pair of red and green socks. I like to change up my cookies every season, so here are the cookies that you’ll find me baking for my loved ones this year!
For the stoner in your life:
These cookies are a grown up version of my favorite packaged treat, Little Debbie’s chocolate marshmallow pies. I sub out some of the flour in the shortbread for toasty pretzels and salty potato chips to give it a stoney vibe and to balance the sweetness from the marshmallow filling. The main thing to remember with these cookies is that since the fat is so high, don’t worry about developing gluten. Keep kneading the dough until it comes together, because it definitely will. And while the bitter dark chocolate dip may seem like a hassle, it is definitely worth it and plays its part in balancing all the sweet-salty flavors floating around.
For long distance shipping:
These crisp butter cookies perfectly encapsulate the flavor of almond toffee. They use ground up bits of toffee in place of some of the sugar, have a nutty brown butter icing and are topped with thinly sliced almonds. The key to keeping these sandwich cookies light and shatteringly crisp is to roll the cookies thin enough (about two stacked pennies) before you bake them. Since the moisture level in the icing is pretty minimal, these cookies will stay crisp for up to a month in an airtight container, making them perfect for shipping.
For the lover of spice:
I always find that gingerbread cookies never have enough spice or… ginger! It’s in the name! Not so with these fiery cookies. There’s even fresh ginger in them! I know grating that much fresh ginger can be daunting, and may seem like a bit of a hassle, but all your hard work will be rewarded once they come out of the oven. These have the texture of my ideal cookie, crunchy along the edges, but dense and fudgy in the center. They warm up your insides with an undercurrent of black pepper and other warm spices. The slight smokeyness from the molasses really rounds out the sweetness and I rarely can stop myself after having one. These aren’t great to ship though, as they are best enjoyed the same day. These are my guest pleasing cookies, and I’ve yet to have a guest leave displeased.
For the fruit connoisseur:
These cookies are based on classic lime meltaways, who get their texture from cornstarch. I believe that there aren’t enough fruit forward cookies, so I developed these with blended up freeze dried fruit in place of the cornstarch. They turned out better than I ever expected. They have the same delicate, crumbly texture as the original, but with a fruity ferocity that leaves you feeling like you just had a bite of some fresh fruit. Any freeze dried fruit will work, but I feel like the flavor really shines with tart cherries or blueberries. This is also a great cookie to have in your freezer, as the rolled up logs can keep for up to three months. Just slice, bake, and toss in the blend of confectioners sugar and powdered freeze dried fruit and you will be in tender, crumbly, tart bliss.