The best cookie recipes to make during the holidays

Ava Riach, Business Manager

As the holidays approach, many will be searching the web for the best cookies to make with their family, for their friends or to just get into the holiday spirit. Cookies made during the holidays come in many variations, from the spice being used, or even the shape they are cut in. 

The first recipe shown is for vegan gingerbread cookies, made by Pickles & Honey. This is great for anyone who has joined the vegan movement or has dietary restrictions but still want to enjoy a classic. Swap the eggs for a flax “egg,” swap the white sugar for coconut sugar and use blackstrap instead of molasses. The icing is non-dairy, containing vegan butter, powdered sugar and some almond milk. This can be used to decorate cookies to your desire.

The ingredients needed include 1 flax “egg” (1 tablespoon flax seeds, freshly ground with 3 tablespoons warm water), ½ cup vegan butter, ½ cup coconut sugar, ½ cup blackstrap molasses, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough, 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt.

To make these cookies, start by mixing the ground flax and warm water in a bowl then set it aside for 3-5 minutes to thicken. Next, mix the vegan butter, sugar, molasses, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and flax “egg” on medium-high speed for 30 seconds until combined. Mix in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt until combined. At this point, the dough should be thick. Using plastic wrap, wrap the dough and let it chill for one hour in the freezer. 

After chilling, split the dough in half and roll them out between two pieces of parchment paper after flouring the bottom piece of the parchment paper and the top of the dough to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thick, and cut into desired shapes. Place the cut-out cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet two inches apart. Let this chill in the freezer for 10 minutes in the freezer to prevent the cookies from losing their shape. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges begin to darken. Let the cookies cool for 3-4 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. 

For the icing, start by mixing the cream, vegan butter and powdered sugar together. Mix in the almond miz 1 tablespoon at a time until “the texture is thick but pliable.” Transfer the icing to a sealable bag, squeeze the air out, then seal. Use scissors to cut a 1 mm hole at the bottom of one of the corners. Decorate as you wish!

The second recipe shown is made by Brooklyn Farm Girl and is perfect for making with kids because of how simple it is. Sugar cookies are a classic but are always fun to make because of all the different ways you can shape and decorate them. 

The ingredients needed include ½ cup melted butter, ½ cup sugar, 1 egg, ½ teaspoon baking powder, 2 cups flour and festive sugar sprinkles. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugar. Next, add egg and vanilla and mix. Add the baking powder and flour, mixing until the dough forms.

Spray cookie sheets with a nonstick spray. Separate the dough into tablespoon-sized pieces and roll into balls. Place on the baking sheet and press down gently with a fork. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.

Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the bottom has browned.

The final recipe is for Linzer cookies, made by King Arthur Baking Company. These cookies are great for the holidays because they are easy to make but will be sure to stand out from the rest. 

The ingredients needed include 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, ½ cup sugar, grated rind (zest) of 1 lemon, or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 large egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 ⅓ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, ¾ cup almond flour, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, raspberry jam for filling, confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar for dusting.

For the dough, beat butter, sugar, and zest or cinnamon until light and fluffy for 3 minutes. Add the yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. Whisk together the flour, almond flour and salt. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide dough in half, pat each half into a disc. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, for about 1 hour.

To assemble, remove dough from  the refrigerator and let soften for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is soft enough to roll. The dough should be cold but not hard. Flour your surface, and roll one disk of dough to about ⅛ inch thick. Using a 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Transfer rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather scrap dough, roll and repeat. If the dough becomes sticky during this process, refrigerate for about 20 minutes, until firm. Place cookies in the refrigerator for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While the first half of the cookies are chilling, cut the rest of the rounds from the remaining dough. Once these have been transferred to a baking sheet, use your smallest cookie cutter or the end of a round piping tip to make a peekaboo cutout in the center of each. Place cookies in the refrigerator and let them cool for 30 minutes.

Bake all of the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges start to turn brown. Let them cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. 

To fill the cookies, place the cookies with the holes in them on a cookie sheet and sift confectioners’ sugar over the top. Turn the remaining cookies flat side up and spoon ½ teaspoon of jam into the center, spreading it lightly. Top with the sugar-dusted cookies.

Baking is an amazing way to bring families together and create holiday memories. Recipes can be passed down through generations and the best part is not just making cookies, but also being able to eat them at family gatherings and sharing them with friends and neighbors.

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