Nothing better than baking during the holiday season, especially this one when we have plenty of time to spend indoors. These cookie recipes are pretty fast, festive, delicious, and even make great homemade gifts. It all begins with relatively basic dough recipes, and then just adding a few touches to elevate the cookies and make them even more special.
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamo
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the eggs and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and stir into the shortening mixture.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon.
- Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 tablespoon per ball), and roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar. Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake two sheets at a time until the edges of the cookies are set but the centers are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Transfer the cookies to wire racks for cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Store in an airtight container.
- One 3-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine salt
- 1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
- With an electric mixer, beat the 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Add the flour and beat until fully combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.
- Shape the chilled dough into 24 balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Press each ball into a cup of the muffin pan, spreading evenly and up the sides, then spoon 1 teaspoon of the pecans into each muffin cup. Fill each cup with the egg mixture until evenly distributed, about 1 teaspoon in each. Bake until the filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from the muffin pan.
Note: I recommend doubling the dough recipe as when I tried this recipe out, I ended up with a lot of extra filling/nuts.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Colored sugars of your choice
- Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) until smooth. With the mixer running at low speed, add the remaining ingredients (except the colored sugars) and mix until smooth. Form the dough into 2 disks, wrap them separately in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour. The recipe can be made up to this point and kept refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to a little less than 1/4 inch thick.
- Traditionally using a thimble (but use whatever you have on hand – I used a teaspoon measuring spoon. Any cookie cutter would also work). Dip it in flour often to keep the cookies from sticking, cut out tiny rounds of dough. Carefully transfer to cookie sheets. Reroll the scraps once and cut out more cookies, then discard the scraps (they will become tough if you keep rerolling them).
- Sprinkle the tops with plain or colored sugars, then press the sugar lightly into the cookie with your thumbs. Bake until light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. Let the cookies cool on wire racks and store them in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg, separated
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup red sugar
- 30 green M &M candies
- With a paddle attachment beat butter, cream cheese and egg yolk until smooth, reserving the white for later. Stir in flour and baking powder. Mix until stiff dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Lightly beat egg white and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- On lightly floured surface, roll dough, 1/2 at a time, into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. With sharp knife, cut dough into 3-inch squares. Place 3 inches apart on ungreased, parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Brush with egg white. With sharp knife, cut the dough diagonally from each corner to within 1/2-inch of center of each square. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon red sugar over each square. Fold alternate corners of the square to the center to form pinwheel, overlapping the dough at the center pushing down gently to seal in center. Press one M & M in center of each pinwheel.
- Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until set. Using spatula, immediately remove from cookie sheets.