Like many great cookie recipes, this one was born by accident. One year while I was making gingerbread men, some careless dough-rolling birthed a man who baked up chubby, thick and cakey, not flat and crisp like his brothers. Surprisingly, this textural mutation of a gingerbread man turned out to be the best one of all. You can call it cookie evolution, the accident that led to the creation of these chewy, molasses-spiked cookies. With their warm, spiced flavor and cake-like softness punctuated by the coarse crunch of sparkly sugar, you might also call them a new holiday tradition.
Attention, 'nog heads! If you live in the small cross section on the Venn diagram of "beer lovers" and "eggnog lovers," then boy oh boy, do I have the most perfect holiday brew for you. It's called Beer Nog and it's exactly what it sounds like: heaven.
This time of year it seems everywhere you go—from the office to grandma's living room, from your friend's apartment to your partner's holiday party—you find a plate of cookies: decadent, sweet, sticky. It's wonderful and enjoyable, but if you're like me, at some point all that gooey sweetness fails to satisfy, and you find yourself wanting to nibble on something a little lighter, simpler, yet still festive and fitting to the season.
Frankly, I don't really understand the December cookie craze. If you ask me what my favorite Christmas cookie is, I'll tell you chocolate chip. Only chocolate chip. At least, that would have been my firm answer right up until last week when I discovered Regan Daley's butter-toffee crunch shortbread and had a change of heart. It was love at first bite, and it took everything in me not to hide in the pantry and devour the whole pan.
Last year, I shared an old favorite recipe for Peppermint Cream-Filled Butter Cookies, which are infamous in my family for being both ridiculously tasty and also ridiculously tedious to make. This year, I thought I'd try tweaking the recipe just enough to keep all its most swoon-worthy qualities while trimming away the labor. The result might, just maybe, be better than the original.
Do you have a perfect recipe for cut-out sugar cookies? One that rolls out beautifully and bakes up sturdy yet chewy? What about that killer Nutella cookie recipe — the one that will climb to the top of the cookie exchange? We have these for you today and more — a list of our own very favorite recipes for this high season of holiday cookie baking.
No, I didn't make these amazing sweet cookies that look like savory things, but I really, really want to. And I probably won't.
I am quite sure that I'm not alone when I say my kitchen has been extra busy these days. Even as I write this, several jars of freshly canned fig chutney are lined up on the counter waiting for their labels while a pot of experimental mincemeat simmers on the stove and two sticks of butter slowly soften in a mixing bowl. (It's that Most Wonderful Time of the Year when one can automatically place two sticks of butter out to soften every morning upon rising, for surely they will be needed before the day is done.) It's a little crazy, a little stressful, and I love it.
If you happen to be into chick flicks, which I am, then maybe you love the Christmas movie The Holiday as much as me? (Unfortunately I have to watch it alone, because it doesn't meet my fiancé's manly standards.) In one scene in particular, Kate Winslet offers to whip up some "Christmas fettuccine" for Jack Black, who is in need of some much-needed cheer.
For much of the year, I have to limit my special purchases at the farmers' market to a jar of honey here and a bag of local nuts there. But this time of year, I go wild. I love giving locally-made foods to friends and family for the holidays. Not only does it support my favorite farmers and artisan producers, but I get to share a little piece of my corner of the globe with people who live far away.
Shopping for new cooks is a real pleasure. There's so much excitement and optimism to work with! You could probably rattle off a list of must-haves in the kitchen (our Essentials posts do just that) but gifts for new cooks require a little more finesse. They should be practical, yet inspirational, something to not only outfit them for successful cooking, but also get them excited about doing it! In this gift guide we offer suggestions for essential and long-lasting tools that'll make cooking that much easier (a good chef's knife, a cast-iron skillet), as well as a few amped up basics (a jaw-dropping butcher block, a hand-carved wooden spoon) and specialty ingredients to entice them (high-quality olive oil and finishing salts).