Treat your friends with these homemade goodies. They are easy-to-make recipes and perfect for giving and nibbling.
Plan to mark holiday cookie baking off your “To Do” list, and host your own sweet swap. Package individual confections in
pretty boxes, or give a crowd-pleasing assortment. The best part of all? There are no gift receipts required.
These terrific cookies and bars were plucked straight from the baking sheets of our annual Test Kitchen holiday cookie party.
“When portioning dough for Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies, spray your tablespoon measure with cooking spray
for easy release onto baking sheets.”
-Angela Sellers, test kitchen professional
“My grandfather was a great cook and inspired me. These cookies, made with fresh Texas pecans, were always in his cookie jar.
You can’t stop with just one cookie. With Pecan Sandie dough, feel free to omit the pecans and substitute almonds or your
favorite nut. You can also freeze the dough for up to two months.”
-Vanessa McNeil Rocchio, test kitchen specialist/food styling
This is a classic recipe Marian updated with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a dark chocolate variation.
“If you like the look of cleaner edges, use a chef’s knife to cut Salted Caramel-Pecan Bars into irregular pieces.”
-Marian Cooper Cairns, test kitchen specialist/food styling
“When I make Snowflake Shortbread or other sugar cookie cutouts, I omit the leavening or choose recipes without it so the
cookies keep their shape during baking.”
-Rebecca Kracke Gordon, assistant test kitchen director
Lyda Jones Burnette, our Test Kitchen director, borrows this recipe from one of her favorite spice stores—Penzeys.
“I like to use the bottom of a glass to flatten Snickerdoodle dough balls slightly before baking for a crackled appearance. Or bake dough balls without flattening for a ‘snowball’ look.”
-Lyda Jones Burnett
“You can keep the dough for Candy Bar-Peanut Butter Cookies covered in the refrigerator up to one week and bake small batches
whenever you want to for that fresh-from-the-oven taste.”
-Pam Lolley, test kitchen professional
“Be sure the zip-top plastic bag you use to pipe preserves into Blackberry Thumbprints is a freezer bag and not a regular
storage bag or you may experience a blowout. Ask me how I know.”
-Norman King, test kitchen professional
Wrap similar treats together so spice cookies don’t pick up notes of peanut butter and chocolate. Use tissue paper, string,
ribbon, and tags for an extra splash of holiday flair.
Ideas for packaging can be found at your local grocery store, supercenter, or crafts store: colorful boxes, Mason and jelly jars, paper lunch sacks, small white and brown bakery boxes, small silver and white aluminum tins, cellophane bags, and clear plastic containers with lids.