I decided to spread some holiday cheer this year in the form of cookies! 🍪 So naturally, I went straight to level ten baking nine different cookie types (ten if you count the one I threw out…).
I thought it would be fun to have a cookie box that is more like a box of chocolates. A lot of variety and hopefully some fun looking through them to decide what you’ll try next. I also wanted to be sure there was something for everyone including gluten free, nut free and a vegan option (surprisingly harder for me than gluten free). There’s also a few things for the adventurous eaters but also those who prefer the tried and true favorites.
A few things didn’t turn our quite right and, it turns out, I’m not the best at drawing with icing but I gave them all out anyways. There’s something nice, especially these days, about just owning your imperfection. Plus who couldn’t love this face??
The Cookies and Recipes
Click the cookie names to link to the recipes I used!
I had a cookie baking party with my friend Chrissie and she introduced me to two new-to-me holiday cookies.
These are Scandinavian tart cookies. They’re shaped like a tart but more like a sugar cookie (plus cardamom and almonds).Yummy and cute plus those little tins are a treasure.
The second cookie we made was krumkake. These are normally wrapped around a wooden cone while still warm to make a cone shape that can be filled with whipped cream and lingonberries. We made them flat though for easier storage and snacking.
If I mailed you a box, I didn’t include these (sorry!). I wasn’t as confident I could keep them from getting smashed plus someone ate a bunch of them before I started packing boxes. 🙃
My contribution to the cookie baking party was gingerbread. I was just really feeling the holiday spirit required that I make some. I did bust out of my summer cookie cutters though so you may have gotten one in a less traditional Christmas shape.
I found this recipe on the King Arthur Baking Company website. They are so chewy and delicious! Being me, I didn’t have allspice or ground cloves on hand but I did have garam masala which I think gives it a really nice flavor.
In all of my cookie research, this comes up as something many people recommend for your holiday cookies. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had rugelach before but I really loved the idea of a pastry like item with nuts and dried fruit. This recipe uses apricot, raisins and walnuts.
For those who don’t love dried fruit, I also made a version with just brown sugar and walnuts.
I’ve called these Italian Wedding Cookies or Mexican Wedding Cookies in the past. They are some of my favorites — so nutty and crumbly. I was excited to make some of my own and learned to appreciate they’re generally a little bit salty too.
Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip cookie? This recipe from King Arthur Baking Company has really nice flavors. I’ll be making it again on Christmas day because someone was upset I gave them all away.
A great gluten free option, this is more of a candy in a cookie form. I like them filled with dark chocolate but you can use Nutella if you prefer.
This was a bit of an experiment that didn’t go … perfectly. It’s my second time making macarons which are pretty tricky in themselves. Last time had this incredible filling which I wanted to make again so that’s what I used for the filling. The macarons themselves are matcha flavored. The combination may or may not have been motivated by the colors but I think they came out quite tasty (although hollow and too crunchy).
I was struggling to find a vegan cookie that I liked but came across these magic cookie bars. This is pretty similar to traditional magic cookie bars and delicious!
I did find they are a bit sticky at room temperature (due to the coconut oil I assume) so I find they’re a little easier to eat if you’ve stored them in the refrigerator.
Some Process Pics and Notes
What Happened to my Macarons?!
My last macaron attempt had some issues due to oven temperature and my not realizing how to pipe them correctly. This time the oven had a nice and long preheat but still they came out all wonky.
I cleaned up around them to make them more like the usual shape before adding the filling but you can see they leaked out all the inside and are just hollow. After some internet research, it seems I very likely over whipped them. I knew I went too long but didn’t think there was any harm. Oops! The reason I did was because I’d used larger grains of granulated sugar and they weren’t dissolving which also contributed to this kind of lumpy texture. So a few lessons learned there but they are still pretty yummy and just so interesting with the green tea flavor.
One cookie type I really wanted to include and tried but it just didn’t come out very well at all so I tossed them. These were intended to be pocky sticks introduced to me by the NYT Cooking Video I mentioned above. The different dipped and colored sticks looked fun and tasty but mine came out very dense, chewy instead of crunchy and had way too much fennel. I tried this recipe from the Washington Post. I didn’t know that fennel is not normally in pocky sticks, didn’t have ground fennel so I tried to blend up whole seeds. I also used whole wheat bread flour that weighed the dough down too much. Between the two, I didn’t have enough confidence it would work out even once dipped in chocolate. Maybe next time!
There were two more recipes I had on standby if I had the time/bandwidth to make them. I didn’t this time but I think they would make a really fun addition to a holiday cookie box. Maybe next year!
You can add coloring to make half of these red and half green. Plus you get the fun of making up fun Christmas fortunes. Events from Christmas movies maybe?
These are also on everyone’s cookie box list. They look festive and delicious but I left them out because I wasn’t sure if I could easily ship them without it creating a mess and the cookie type itself is very similar to the shortbread cookies I did include. I definitely want to try them next year.