It’s that time of year again! All of the holiday hustle and bustle leave you strapped for cash? We have the perfect, inexpensive gift idea for you: cookies! These are perfect for co-workers, neighbors, your mailman, really anyone. Here are some recipes for our favorites.
BEST Sugar Cookies Ever
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Coarse sugar crystals (optional)
In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In separate large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low; beat in eggs, almond extract, and vanilla extract until mixed, then beat in flour mixture just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each piece into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove dough from refrigerator. On lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough until 1/8-inch thick. With floured 3-inch to 4-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; reserve trimmings. Place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets. and sprinkle sanding sugar on top (if desired).
Bake until edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
Let cookies cool. Store in tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer up to 3 months.
Chocolate Espresso Snow Cap Cookies
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat in milk until just combined. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Pour confectioners’ sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.
Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies
Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Jam Sandwich Cookies
2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1 1/2 c. apricot or raspberry jam
In large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, cloves and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and yolk, then vanilla and zest.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Shape dough into 4 disks and roll each between 2 sheets parchment paper to 1⁄8- inch thick. Chill until firm, 30 minutes, in refrigerator or 15 minutes in freezer.
Heat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using floured 2- to 3-inch round fluted cutters, cut out cookies. Place on prepared sheets. Reroll, chill and cut scraps. Using smaller cutter, cut out centers of half of cookies.
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are light golden brown around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Dust cutout cookies with confectioners’ sugar, then form sandwiches with whole cookies, jam (11⁄2 teaspoon per sandwich) and cutouts.
What you’ll need: round cookie cutter set ($12, amazon.com)
No-Bake Peppermint Bark Cookies
1 12 ounce package Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melts (or chopped good quality white chocolate)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not imitation extract)
1 9 ounce package Chocolate Wafer Cookies
8 candy canes, crushed
Pour the white chocolate into a small microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave in 30 second intervals stirring after each cycle. Once the chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint extract.
Dip the top of the wafer cookies in the chocolate to coat and set on a wire rack. Sprinkle with the candy canes and allow the cookies to cool until the chocolate is set.