Creative Cookies for the Holiday Season

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Ella McNamee

Festive cookies are a staple of the holiday season.

Evelyn Lowen, Sentry Staff Reporter

The holiday season is the perfect time of year to curl up by the fireplace, drink hot cocoa and eat chocolate chip cookies. To switch things up this year for a festive twist, try out these holiday edition ultimate cookies. Have fun with your family or friends while baking these amazing recipes while listening to holiday themed music. 

Chai tea eggnog cookies are the perfect snack to eat while enjoying eggnog, the spicy chai will make you feel like you are living in a Christmas movie.

https://www.myrecipes.com/holidays/cookies/best-holiday-cookie-recipes?slide=54423#54423

Ingredients: 1 chai tea bag, 1 (17.5-oz.) package sugar cookie mix, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 large egg, 4 tablespoons eggnog, divided Parchment paper, Cinnamon sugar, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350° and remove tea leaves from tea bag; discard bag.

Step 2: Stir tea leaves, cookie mix, butter, egg and two Tbsp. eggnog until well blended.

Step 3: Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten dough slightly with bottom of a glass dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Step 4: Bake at 350° for eight to ten minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet to a wire rack, and cool completely, which will take about ten minutes.

Step 5: Whisk together powdered sugar, nutmeg and remaining 2 Tbsp. eggnog until smooth, then spoon over cooled cookies.

These peppermint topped brownies take the classic dessert that everyone knows and loves, and add a crunchy and minty layer on top for the perfect holiday dessert.  https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/peppermint-topped-brownies

Ingredients: 10 tablespoon butter, plus more for pan, 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 80 red-and-white peppermint swirl candies, 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped and 1 cup whipping cream

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350° and butter a 9 inch by 13-inch baking pan. In a medium saucepan, stir butter and bittersweet chocolate over very low heat with a heatproof rubber spatula until just melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about five minutes.

Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Slowly pour chocolate-butter mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Into a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, then whisk together. With a clean rubber spatula, gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined.

Step 3: Spread batter evenly in the baking pan and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until brownies are firm, beginning to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few crumbs clinging to it. Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Step 4: Reduce oven temperature to 300° and line a level, rimmed 11 ½ inch by 16-inch baking sheet with parchment. With a pencil, draw a grid of 1 ¾ inch squares on parchment (five rows of eight), leaving about a one-inch border and turn parchment over. Place a mint in the center of each square. Bake 15 to 25 minutes, or until completely melted into one large sheet, but remove before candy begins to turn yellow. Immediately score peppermint squares with a pizza cutter, using the pencil lines as your guide. If scored lines don’t hold, rescore quickly. Let candy cool completely. Gently break into squares along score lines. Arrange, bake and score remaining 40 candies the same way.

Step 5: In the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over simmering water, combine chopped semisweet chocolate and whipping cream. Cook, stirring often, until melted and blended. Remove from heat and let ganache cool until just warm.

Step 6: Pour ganache over cooled brownies in pan and allow to set until firm, about 2 hours at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Step 7: Place peppermint squares bottom side up on ganache, leaving enough room between squares to cut brownies. Cut brownies into squares along edges of peppermint tops, wiping knife clean between cuts. Remove brownies from pan, discard (or eat) scraps and return brownies to pan. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure wrap does not touch peppermint, and refrigerate 3 hours (to soften candy a bit). Serve slightly chilled.

These chocolate sandwich candy cane cookies are perfect to bring to any party or just to have with friends and family because they are vegan, but still delicious. https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/12/7/chocolate-candy-cane-sandwich-cookies/

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cups of unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder, 1 tsp of baking soda, 1 cups vegan butter, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup nondairy milk, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1 tbsp vegan butter, t3 tbsp warm water and 5 drops food grade peppermint essential oil 

Step 1: Sift flour, cocoa powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork or whisk to combine well.

Step 2: In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until whipped and smooth. Add in the sugar and continue whipping for 30 seconds to 1 minute until well combined and fluffy. Add vanilla and gradually add the nondairy milk while continuing to whip the mixture together until combined.

Step 3: Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon. 

Step 4: Split the dough into 2 equal portions and place each portion into a piece of plastic wrap. Roll it out with your hands between the plastic to form a log approximately 2 inches wide. Try to flatten the ends as best as you can so you have a cylinder shape. Wrap up the 2 logs in the plastic wrap and tightly secure the ends. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours until firm.

Step 5: If you used margarine, you will have quite a soft dough in comparison. Split it into 2 portions and wrap it in wax paper or plastic wrap and flatten to a thick disc. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. For this version, you will then roll out the dough with a rolling pin between the wax paper or plastic wrap until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Don’t roll it out onto a floured surface as the excess flour will affect the cookie dough. Then cut out 2 inch to 2 ½ inch cookies with a round cookie cutter. Place the cut-out cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets.

Step 6: For the butter version, remove the logs from the fridge and unwrap them. Using a sharp knife, cut rounds ¼ inch thick. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 5 to 6 minutes in an oven preheated to 350°F. Allow the cookies to cool completely before frosting.

Step 7: For the peppermint frosting, sift half the confectioners’ sugar into a large mixing bowl that contains the butter. Using a hand mixer or in a stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until combined. While continuing to beat with the mixer, gradually add a bit of warm water and then more sifted confectioners’ sugar until it’s all well incorporated and you have a smooth and spreadable, but still slightly stiff frosting. Then stir in the peppermint oil or extract with a spatula. Depending on the peppermint oil you’re using, just start with 2 drops and add more if necessary.

Step 8: In a heavy-duty zipper bag and bash it with a rolling pin or with a mortar and pestle. Small pieces are desired, but not completely pulverized to dust. Pour the candy pieces into a small bowl.

Step 9: To assemble the sandwich cookies, spread 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of frosting onto the bottom of a cookie with a small icing spatula.

Step 10: Place another cookie on top and lightly press so there is some frosting coming out the sides. Then sprinkle crushed candy canes all along the sides of the sandwich, letting the pieces stick to the frosting and the excess fall back into the bowl.

Step 11: Allow the cookies to dry at room temperature before storing between layers of parchment paper in a container. Store at room temperature for a few days. For longer storage, you can freeze these cookies and thaw them at room temperature.