Bakers, you’ve got 8 more days. Eight more days until your home-baked Christmas cookies have to be ready for munching – wrapping, gifting or dunking in eggnog.
Did I sound like Noel Fielding calling the time for the Great British Bake-Off? It’s what I was going for. But while the time announcements in the tent always send me into a panic – I don’t know how the bakers do what they do under such tremendous pressure – 8 days is plenty of time to bake up batches of cookies for boxes and platters, parties and Santa. Really.
Tell me if I’m wrong, but I think I’ve seen more stories and You Tubes and ‘grams about cookie boxes than ever. Right? It can’t be the pent-up urge to bake – we’ve been baking like mad since the pandemic began. I think it’s the pent-up need to share. To make things for others. To be kind and sweet. It’s also just cookies. We love them and they make the perfect gift for anyone. Everyone loves cookies.
So here are my ideas about choosing cookies for a box:
I think every box should have at least one chocolate cookie – chocolate is not all that traditional for Christmas, but I’m not giving up on my campaign to make every holiday a time for chocolate.
At least one spice cookie.
At least one cookie with a little fruit.
And at least one chocolate chip cookie. Again, I know I’m bucking tradition – most people don’t think chocolate chip cookies are special enough for a holiday box. I disagree. Also, I think that the chipper I’m proposing is plenty special.
This year, I’m baking batches of Coffee-Anise Stars, Iced and Spiced Hermits, Classic Jammers, World Peace Cookies 2.0 (I know you’re not surprised) and Caramel Crunch-Chocolate Chunklet Cookies. All of the cookies are from BAKING WITH DORIE, with the exception of the Jammers, which are from DORIE’S COOKIES. Scroll down for more about these cookies and links to all the recipes.
Bake on! Have a sweet weekend and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday.
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While these cookies have cinnamon, the quintessential holiday spice, it’s the star anise – in tandem with coffee – that provides the surprise and intrigue. The combination is unexpected and delightful. I love when a cookie looks familiar and tastes completely new – and this one does. The dough, which has a little spelt flour in it, is very easy to work with – it rolls like a dream and holds its shape when baked. And there are a bunch of options for finishing them. If you love decorating cookies, you can go to town with these because their surfaces are smooth. And if you want beauty without fuss, just glaze them and top them with sparkly sanding sugar. Get the recipe from Williams Sonoma.
I can’t believe that I hadn’t made a hermit until I created this recipe for BAKING WITH DORIE. Hermits are a tradition in New England and a recipe that goes back hundreds of years. While the origin of their name is fuzzy, the fact that they’re spiced, a bit chewy, have a little fruit in them and are baked in logs and then sliced – like biscotti minus the second bake – is for sure. I flavor mine with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and some freshly ground black pepper, and stir in some raisins. If you don’t love raisins as much as I do, think about dried cranberries, snipped figs or apricots, or even some candied or stem ginger. If you’re working ahead, you can make the dough, roll it into logs and freeze the logs. Defrost before patting down gently and baking. Get the recipe from Bon Appétit.
It touches me so that World Peace Cookies have become classics. I’m hoping that this new version will be equally as beloved – it’s the first time I’ve tinkered with the original since the pastry chef Pierre Hermé gave me the recipe more than two decades ago. The cookie is dark from cocoa and a little chewy from brown sugar. It’s got lots of chopped chocolate and enough salt so that you can’t miss it. My new version has everything that makes the original so wonderful, plus some rye flour, cocoa nibs, freeze-dried raspberries and a little chile powder (I like piment d’Espelette or Piment d’Ville described here). The wonderful Priya Krishna recently told NPR that these cookies are "impossible to hate." "If someone gave me a jar of cookies the size of a fire extinguisher, I would be so thrilled," she said. These are slice-and-bake cookies, so go ahead and make as many logs as you need and freeze them. The dough gets very hard, so let the logs warm up some before you cut them. Get the recipe from King Arthur Baking Company.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this cookie (the first time I published the recipe was in DORIE’S COOKIES). It’s a vanilla sablé, a rich French shortbread, topped with a dollop of jam and streusel. It’s gorgeous and elegant and fabulously delicious. It’s one of my all-time favorite cookies. Ever. Really. These look good every time because they’re baked in a muffin tin – perfection guaranteed. Get the recipe from The Kitchn.
This is my chocolate-chip cookie offering. Not that it uses chips. It doesn’t, although it could, but I hope you’ll do what I do and chop pieces of your favorite chocolate instead of using store-bought chips. Chopping your own chocolate ups everything in this kind of cookie. The Chunklets are a little like shortbread, they’re firm around the edges and kind of chewy in the center. They’re slice-and-bakes and, like the Jammers, they’re baked in muffin tins. Despite the name, there’s no caramel in the cookie. You get the sensation of caramel from baking the cookies in the tin, where the butter and sugar brown so nicely that they produce that caramel flavor we love. I’m crazy about these cookies. Get the recipe from Bon Appétit.
If you're looking for more holiday baking inspiration, here are some recent books I've been loving!