I Made Molly Yeh’s Favorite Holiday Cookies (and It Was a Journey)
Before she was tapped to be the star of Food Network’s latest cooking show, Girl Meets Farm, Molly Yeh earned her stripes as the creator of the beloved blog My Name Is Yeh. (Her last name is pronounced “Yay!” which is the perfect way to describe Molly’s delightful style of cooking.) She’s the queen of Funfetti cake, homemade Oreos, and succulent frosting — and on account of all that her Instagram feed is #goals.
Molly has always been the kind of baker I aspire to be and so when I reached out to find out her favorite holiday cookie recipe, I had a few inklings of what they might entail. Forget the sugar plums — images of marzipan, tahini, tater tots (!), and naturally hued sprinkles danced in my head. Whatever Molly’s favorite cookies might be, I was sure they would be bespoke, beautiful, and probably a pain-in-the-butt for me (a baking plebeian) to make.
“I can’t wait to make these glazed sugar cookies with buttercream ’embroidery‘ again this year. They’re glazed and frosted, so you get a pretty glaze and the tastiness of buttercream. I also have so much fun creating rustic-y color palettes and then looking at embroidery artists on Instagram for design inspiration,” Molly said.
OMG I HAVE TO MAKE THESE?! I begged my editor, Ariel Knutson, for mercy. “YASSSSS,” she replied. Here goes nothing!
Get the recipe: Glazed Sugar Cookies with Buttercream “Embroidery”
I took a deep breath, and walked to NY Cake, the most magical baking emporium in all the land, to gather materials. I had most of the ingredients for these bad boys in my baking pantry but got a 2.5-inch fluted square cookie cutter, festive sprinkles, almond extract, and food coloring for good measure. (I searched far and wide for Princess Bakery Emulsion as well, to no avail.) With most of my raw materials in tow, I got to work.
Sans stand mixer (I really need to invest in one of those), I made the sugar cookie dough, and panicked of course. After mixing and mixing the wet with the dry ingredients, the contents of my bowl was a crumbled mess instead of a cohesive dough. I placed full trust in Molly’s instructions and turned the “dough” out on my floured countertop. To my surprise, with a little love from my hands, it came together. I formed two disks and stowed them away in my fridge for an hour.
After exercising a level of patience I didn’t know I had, I pulled the disks out to roll out. As any great baker might, I flattened it to a quarter-inch thickness with a bottle of port.
I used my cute new fluted cookie cutter to get the right shape, and sent the pan on its merry way into the 375-degree oven. Molly Yeh, how am I doing so far?
The cookies emerged, looking like they were just “thinking about starting to turn brown” (my favorite bit of advice from Molly’s recipe). I set them off to the side to cool and then prepared a pink glaze.
In her recipe, Molly explains that her reason for choosing pink was to prove her husband “Eggboy” wrong that pink is not a holiday color. With no instructions on exactly how to achieve her perfect level of peachy pink though, I added A SINGLE drop of red food coloring into my glaze and ended up with Pepto-pink. (Can’t win ’em all.) The glossy sheen is definitely festive though!
And now for the part that I was dreading: The decorating. I gave myself a pep talk. Frosting embroidery? RELAX, you can do this. You were in the Quilting Club in 8th grade for crying out loud!
Without any fancy piping bags or tips in my possession, I cut the teeniest holes in zip-top bags and placed my equally horrible colored buttercream frostings (which also looked nothing like Molly’s) within. I recruited my roommates for some assistance so that I wouldn’t have to shoulder full blame for them turning out completely off (thanks, team!) and we got to work. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with our handiwork. What do you think? Not too shabby!
As for the taste? The sugar cookies are like buttery pillows sent from heaven, and when you bite into them, you get these hints of almond extract and lemon zest. They’re somehow simple and fancy at the same time. I left a few of them naked, and my roommate took the liberty of drizzling melted chocolate and crushed hazelnuts over the top of those. They’re the perfect blank canvas for all of your decorating desires. (Even if your decorating skills leave much to be desired!)