8 Cookies Made for Swapping
Plan to mark holiday cookie baking off your “To Do” list, and host your own sweet cookie exchange. 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.
Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies
These flourless cookies are a dream if you're going gluten-free, especially with the perfect pairing of peanut butter and chocolate.
Recipe: Pecan Sandies
“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
Salted Caramel-Pecan Bars
Recipe: Salted Caramel-Pecan Bars
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
Recipe: Snowflake Shortbread
“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
Candy Bar-Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe: Candy Bar-Peanut Butter Cookies
“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
Recipe: Blackberry Thumbprints
“Be sure the zip-top plastic bag you use to pipe preserves into the cookies 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.