While everybody celebrates the holiday season in their own unique way, one hobby that finds its way to nearly every household is holiday baking. A warm oven in cold winter months is comforting. These holiday cookie recipes are great if you plan on mailing some holiday care packages to loved ones this year or you just want to try something new.
1. Ammonia Cookies
An old fashioned treat, this peppermint ammonia cookie is the epitome of Christmas and relies on baker's ammonia, found only at drugstores. (Because ammonia cookies were most commonly made many, many years ago, you might find recipes that call for 5 cents worth of ammonia or a "lump" of ammonia, which can pose an additional challenge during the baking process as those measurements are non-traditional and/or obsolete). The entire batch can be prepared and baked in under thirty minutes and with less than ten ingredients, making it an easy weeknight project. A sweet icing makes it just what the doctor ordered!
2. Classic Sugar Cookies
The holiday season isn't complete without sugar cookies shaped like snowflakes, candy canes, and Santa's hat and finished with brightly colored frosting and whimsical sprinkles. While there are, quite literally, thousands of different ways to make a traditional sugar cookie, this recipe includes everything you need to know to make both the cookie dough and the frosting in one central place. Be sure to save a few for Santa in Santa-hosting households!
3. Gingerbread Cookies
While we tend to reserve gingerbread houses and cookies for the holiday season, you might be surprised to know the reason: gingerbread was historically considered sacred and reserved for specific holidays.
These gingerbread sandwich cookies require a little more effort - more ingredients, more steps, and more time - but they present beautifully whether you're hosting or gifting. If you have an artist in the kitchen, these cookies provide a great canvas for frosting art!
4. Fruitcake Cookies
Looking for something a little different this year? While fruitcakes aren't gifted as frequently as they once were, fruitcake cookies provide a modern twist to an age-old holiday treat. They're also unexpected, which makes them great for hosting or gifting.
These fruitcake cookies use chopped pistachios, dried cranberries, and candied citrus to emanate fruitcake in the form of a light and crispy cookie. They're pretty, one-of-a-kind, and tasty.
5. Jam Sandwich Cookies
These jam sandwich cookies make the perfect gift!
Choose raspberry or apricot jam to fill these dainty, giftable holiday cookies. The directions are relatively simple and the ingredients are easy to find, but the final product is bakery quality and will leave your friends and neighbors asking for baked goods for the rest of the year. The recipe even comes with a printable pattern to help you wrap your cookies like a gift and present them beautifully to the people you love!
6. Chocolate Caramel Wafers
Everybody needs a few no-bake options to fill out their selection without tying up the oven - and there's something special about the taste and texture of no-bake cookies that leaves you craving them during the holiday season. Looking for a no-bake holiday cookie to add to your tin?
These chocolate caramel wafers start with a Nilla Wafer base - which means you don't even have to preheat the oven - and then are smothered in a delicious caramel pecan drizzle, melted in the microwave. You can make the recipe from start to finish in under 15 minutes, making it a go-to for holiday parties and last-minute visits.
7. Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
Lovingly known as star cookies, these treats go hand in hand with the holiday season and are often seen in cookie tins, on Christmas platters, and in the hands of children throughout the holiday season. The best part? They're exceptionally hard to mess up, so even the greenest baker can produce a pretty, tasty cookie.
Star cookies have a soft, chewy peanut butter cookie base and are topped with a single chocolate star, making them the perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter and a pretty holiday offering.
8. Almond Cookies
Looking to add cultural diversity to your cookie platter this year? Consider the Chinese almond cookie, rich in history and ideal during the holiday season.
Almond says "holiday season" almost as well as peppermint, and this almond cookie recipe produces decadent, soft, and chewy cookies with little effort and just a handful of ingredients. They're a little non-traditional, which serves as a welcome surprise for the recipient.
In closing, baking is a great way to spend time with your "pod" this holiday season, give meaningful, consumable gifts to friends and family members, and carry on the traditions of your parents and grandparents. At Vista Springs, we plan to bake throughout the cold season, accessing our favorite memories and favorite recipes while we do it.