There are all kinds of cookies on the market: those in the store bakery that tempt you while the deli slices your turkey, the shelves full brand-name packages with ingredients you can’t pronounce, and even logs (conveniently chilled next to the milk) that you can slice for a quick fix. But, armed with some easy-to-make recipes, you’ll want to head straight to the baking aisle at the grocery store so you can whip up a batch of homemade cookies.
The holidays are the perfect time for baking up batch after batch of tiny treats. Cookies are perfectly portable for giving to neighbors, co-workers, teachers and school bus drivers. Homemade cookies say, “I care” without breaking the bank or taking up too much of your busy holiday time. At a party a festive dinner, cookies round out (pun intended) the holiday dessert table by offering guests a treat they can hold while also holding a conversation.
Here are two easy cookie recipes to try this season: one is a delectable sweet-salty combo and the other is gluten-free.
Salty Toffee Cookies
Makes 36 cookies
- 2-1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
- 3/4 cup Heath “bits-o’-brickle” toffee bits
- Sea salt for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Cream the cooled, melted butter and sugars together in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
3. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in butterscotch chips and toffee bits.
4. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to let the dough firm up.
5. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets (use parchment or Silpat to cut down on cleanup), leaving about 3 inches between cookies.
6. Bake until golden around the edges and soft on top, about 9-11 minutes. Take out of oven and immediately sprinkle with desired amount of sea salt.
7. Cool on rack.
Flourless Chocolate Mint Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
- 2-2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar (check package to ensure gluten-free)
- 3/4 cup Dutch unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2/3 cup green mint chips
- Red and white peppermint candies, lightly crushed
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together sugar, cocoa powder, salt and cornstarch.
2. Whisk eggs in mixer until white and frothy but not stiff. Mix in vanilla.
3. Fold in the flour mixture with plastic spatula. Gently stir in mint chips.
4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets (use parchment or Silpat to cut down on cleanup), leaving about 3 inches between cookies.
5. Put trays in oven, and then lower temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes, and then rotate pans and bake for 5-8 minutes more until cookies are shiny and crinkly.
6. Take out of oven and immediately sprinkle with crushed peppermint.
7. Cool on parchment.
Tip: Eggs are easier to separate when they’re cold and easier to whip when they’re room temperature.
Tip: If batter is too thin, add more sugar and cocoa; if too thick, add egg whites.
Variation: Substitute semi-sweet chocolate chips for the mint chips, add 1 cup of toasted walnuts to the batter, and then omit peppermint topping for a chunky chocolaty option.