I love to bake. I have fond memories of both my Nonna’s baking cakes and cookies and couldn’t wait to get in there with them to make their delicious recipes.
Of course, like most of the older generation, they didn’t follow a recipe, per say. It was a handful of flour, or a small glass of sugar. I am not going to lie, there is something comforting and calming to me about following a recipe.
I am not afraid to try any recipe once. And if that dessert turns out to be a crowd pleaser, than I will keep it and make it again.
When it comes to the holidays, I really enjoy trying different cookie recipes. There are some that I have been baking since I was a teenager, and some that have made it on the plate, and in the cookie boxes for the past few years. There’s even one that I tried for the first time this year, and my family has already requested it next year.
So here are 5 cookie recipes you’ll find on my table during the holidays!
The most tried and true recipe I have is from 1993. The Toronto Sun used to publish a magazine called Modern Woman, and this recipe was featured in the November 1993 issue. I don’t know who Debbie is, but she was from Calgary, Alberta, and her recipe for whipped shortbread is the easiest, and most delicious recipe I’ve ever tried.
I always use the same coloured sugar on top and the Little Bird has said that it wouldn’t be Christmas without these cookies on the table!
1. Debbie’s Whipped Shortbread
|1 lb||Butter, preferrable unsalted|
|1 cup||Icing sugar|
|3 cups||All-purpose flour|
|decorations (coloured sugar, almonds, or whatever you prefer)|
- Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a stand mixer, beat butter with icing sugar until light. Gradually add flour and beat until combined. Do not over-beat or cookies will be too crumbly.
- Drop by small tablespoonfuls, spacing about 2″ apart, on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Use your finger to indent the top of the cookie, to hold the decoration. Place your favourite decoration in the centre of each cookie.
- Bake for 10-14 minutes, until cookies are light golden on the bottom but still fairly white on top. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
yields: 4 dozen cookies
This next cookie has become a cult classic among my friends and coworkers. I never make it the same twice in a row. It comes from a Taste of Home – Best Loved Cookies & Bars magazine I purchased in 2008. It was the first recipe I made from the book, which was originally titled Chips Galore Cookies, however I started adding more ingredients to it and changed the name to what everyone knows them as today:
2. Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies!
|1 cup||Butter-flavoured shortening|
|1/2 cup||Packed brown sugar|
|2 tsp||Vanilla extract|
|2-1/2 cups||All-purpose flour|
|1 tsp||Baking soda|
|1 cup||Chopped pecans|
|1 cup||Chocolate chips (milk or semi-sweet)|
|3/4 cup||Peanut Butter chips*|
|3/4 cup||Toffee bits|
|3/4 cup||Salted Caramel chips*|
|3/4 cup||Flaked coconut|
|2/3 cup||Chopped pretzel pieces|
|2/3 cup||Cookies and Cream chips*|
|*can substitute butterscotch, dark, white or other flavoured chips|
- In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
- Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients. (The dough will appear very full, and somewhat crumbly with all those ingredients. It will stick together, don’t worry!)
- Drop by 1/4 cupfuls, 2″ apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks.
yields: 2 dozen cookies
One cookie my girls look forward to me baking every year is the classic gingerbread! They look forward to gathering around the table with sprinkles and icing and decorations galore to ice and decorate their own cookies. Aside from the decorating tradition, I actually enjoy the taste of gingerbread, so it is important to remember to make them a little thicker, so they have some bite and chew to them!
This recipe is from a Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Candies magazine from 2013. The recipe was originally called Gingerbread Babies, but I use a variety of cutters. The recipe is not too big (depending on the size of cookie cutters you use) and the flavour and chew to the cookies are delicious!
3. Gingerbread Cookies
|3/4 cup||Butter, softened|
|1 cup||Packed brown sugar|
|4 cups||All-purpose flour|
|2 Tbsp||Baking cocoa|
|2 tsp||Ground ginger|
|1-1/2 tsp||Baking soda|
|1-1/2 tsp||Ground cinnamon|
|3/4 tsp||Ground cloves|
|1/2 tsp||Ground all spice|
|1/4 tsp||Ground nutmeg|
- In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour, cocoa, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, all spice, nutmeg and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours, or until easy to handle.
- Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 3/8″ thickness. Cut with cookie cutters of your choice. Place 2″ apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Re-roll scraps, cutting until all dough is used.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.
- Once cooled, use royal icing or icing of your choosing and decorate as desired.
yields: about 2 dozen cookies
Of course the best part is decorating!! I had a couple helpers for that…
Fairly new on my holiday cookie plate is delightful Gingersnap! This recipe makes the house smell like the holidays, with it’s addition of freshly grated ginger, and dash of ground black pepper. It’s a favourite and definitely don’t last too long!
The recipe is from Chatelaine’s Holiday Treats magazine of 2017.
|2 cups||All-purpose flour|
|1 1/2 tsp||Baking soda|
|1 tsp||Ground ginger|
|1 cup||Unsalted butter, softened|
|3 Tbsp||Fancy molasses|
|2 Tbsp||Finely grated fresh ginger|
|3/4 cup||coarse sugar|
- Whisk flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer, on medium until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and molasses and beat until combined, then beat in fresh ginger. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350F, and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Scoop out 1-tbsp portions of dough and roll into balls. Coat with course sugar and arrange 2″ apart on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake until browned for 11-13 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool. Cookies will keep well for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
yields: 50 cookies
New to the dessert table this year was the Pecan Puff! Also from a Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies and Candies magazine from 2013, I was looking for something different to add to the cookie platter, and these were quick and easy to make.
Note, they don’t last long, as the meringue will fall after a few days. So it’s best to make these at the last minute to enjoy fresh!
5. Pecan Puffs
|1 cup||Packed brown sugar|
|1 cup||Chopped pecans|
- In a bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 5-8 minutes. Fold in vanilla and pecans.
- Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Make at 225F for 50-55 minutes or until firm to the touch. Store in air-tight container
yields: 3 dozen
The final recipe I added this year was another new one. My Little Mouse adores chocolate, and this Holiday Chocolate Brownie Cookie hits the spot! The recipe is from Chatelaine.com and has their triple-tested seal of approval!
My kids also gave them the thumbs up for their chewy, chocolately goodness!
6. Holiday Chocolate Brownie Cookies
|2/3 cup||Granulated Sugar|
|1 cup||Semi-sweet chocolate chips|
|3/4 cup||Chopped dark chocolate|
|1/3 cup||Unsalted butter, cubed|
|1/2 cup||All-purpose flour|
|2 Tbsp||Cocoa Powder|
|1/2 tsp||Baking Powder|
|1-1/4 cups||Chopped dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips|
|Colourful dragées or sprinkles|
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment
- Beat eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment on medium-high, until tripled in volume, about 10-12 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
- Melt both chocolates and butter in a large heat-safe bowl set over a large put with 1″ of simmering water, stirring until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
- Gently fold one-third of the egg mixture into the chocolate until no streaks remain. Fold in remaining egg mixture. Sift flour mixture over chocolate and gently fold until just smooth.
- Scoop batter using 1-Tbsp measure. Place 20 portions 1″ apart on a prepared sheet. Bake until cookies are puffy and cracked on top, about 9-10 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Melt chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl, stirring halfway 1 to 1-1/2 minutes. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate and place on the same parchment lined baking sheets. Decorate with sprinkles as desired. Let stand until chocolate is set. (Note: I also flash freeze them for 1-2 minutes, to set the chocolate).
yields: 40 cookies