May Your Holidays Be Sweet

Cookbook

We're dreaming of a white (and red) Christmas, complete with deliciously whimsical desserts to bake and share.


Photos by Con Poulos Prop styling by Megan Hedgpeth
Above Image | Cookie Presents.

Santa Hat Meringues

Active | 1 HR Total | 2 HR 5 MIN (PLUS COOLING) Makes | 4 DOZEN MERINGUESx Cost per meringue | 20¢


  • 4 large egg whites
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • Red gel food color
  • 10 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups finely shredded coconut

  • Heat oven to 225°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt in a large bowl on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the cream of tartar, then increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar 1 Tbsp at a time, waiting 4 to 5 seconds between additions, until the meringue forms stiff glossy peaks; transfer ⅓ cup of the plain meringue to a small piping bag with a small round tip. With the mixer running, add the food color to the remaining meringue and tint to desired color.
  • Transfer the red mixture to a large piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe Santa hats onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1½ in. apart. Using the reserved plain meringue, top each peak with a dot (for the cotton ball). Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until no longer tacky but still soft, 60 to 65 minutes. Let cool completely on the sheet.
  • Once cool, melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Dip the bottom ½ in. of each Santa hat into the melted chocolate, shaking off any excess, then immediately coat in the coconut. Repeat with the cotton ball. Transfer back to the parchment-lined baking sheets and let set.

PER MERINGUE 63 CAL, 3 G FAT (2 G SAT FAT), 1 MG CHOL, 20 MG SOD, 1 G PRO, 9 G CAR, 0 G FIBER


Cookie Presents

Stack square and rectangular cookies (we used sugar wafers, Chessmen and Lorna Doones) and place on a wire rack set over parchment paper. Melt white chocolate or red candy melts; pour over cookies; let set. Using white or red-tinted royal icing, pipe ribbons on the presents.


Raspberry & Vanilla Cream Napoleons

Active | 20 MIN Total | 20 MIN Makes | Cost per napoleon | 63¢


Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat 1 cup heavy cream, 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar and 1 tsp pure vanilla extract in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag with a large star tip. Form two-layer sandwiches with 24 waffle cookies, 6 oz raspberries and the whipped cream, piping the cream between the raspberries. Dust with 1 Tbsp confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.


PER NAPOLEON 277 CAL, 17 G FAT (10.5 G SAT FAT), 66 MG CHOL, 82 MG SOD, 3 G PRO, 29 G CAR, 1 G FIBER


Peppermint Ornaments

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat the insides of metal cookie cutters with nonstick cooking spray and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Arrange peppermint candies (breaking them for smaller cutters) inside the cutters (there should be space between the candies). Bake until the candies have melted, 5 to 6 minutes. Let the candies cool for 1 minute, then, with a greased skewer, make a small hole in the candy. Let cool completely, then gently pop out of the mold.


Checkerboard Cake

Active | 1 HR 15 MIN Total | 2 HR 5 MIN Serves | 12 Cost per serving | $1.05


FOR THE CAKE:

  • Oil, for the pans
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp red liquid food color
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ¼ cup apricot jam

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

  • Heat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil two 8½ x 4½-in. loaf pans and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-in. overhang on the two long sides; oil the parchment. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg whites and vanilla.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures. Transfer half the mixture (about 2½ cups) to a bowl and mix in the food color. Add the almond extract to the remaining batter in the mixing bowl.
  • Transfer each batter to a prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let each cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then use the overhangs to transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
  • Heat the jam in a small saucepan until melted, then push through a wire mesh sieve or strainer.
  • Cut the rounded tops off each cake and trim all of the sides to remove the brown edges. Cut each cake into two long strips that are equally tall as wide (about 1¼ in. wide; you will have scrap pieces of cake). Using the apricot jam as glue, put the strips of cake together in a checkerboard pattern. Spread the cream cheese frosting all over the cake.

PER SERVING 529 CAL, 23.5 G FAT (14 G SAT FAT), 64 MG CHOL, 258 MG SOD, 7 G PRO, 74 G CAR, 1 G FIBER


Red & White Chocolate Bark

Active | 20 MIN Total | 20 MIN (PLUS COOLING) Serves | 10


  • 1 lb white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 oz red candy melts

  • Line a 9 x 13-in. cake pan with nonstick foil or parchment paper, leaving a 2-in. overhang on all four sides.
  • Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until smooth (about 80 seconds). Spread into the prepared pan.
  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the red candy melts on medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until smooth (about 60 seconds). Drop small spoonfuls of the red candy melts onto the white chocolate and, using a knife or skewer, swirl the red candy melts through the white chocolate. 4 Refrigerate the chocolate until set, about 20 minutes. Break into pieces before serving.

PER SERVING 289 CAL, 17 G FAT (11 G SAT FAT), 10 MG CHOL, 50 MG SOD, 3 G PRO, 32 G CAR, 0 G FIBER


Marshmallows

Active | 35 MIN Total | 35 MIN (PLUS OVERNIGHT RESTING) Makes | 25 MARSHMALLOWS


  • 3 0.25-oz pkgs powdered gelatin
  • 5 Tbsp plus ½ cup water
  • Cooking spray
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Red food color
  • 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Crushed peppermint candies (optional)

  • In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, whisk the gelatin into 5 Tbsp water and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, line an 8-in. square cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on all four sides; coat with cooking spray.
  • In a small saucepan with a candy thermometer attached, combine the granulated sugar with ½ cup water and ¼ cup corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until it reaches 230°F, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt the gelatin mixture in the microwave, about 30 seconds on high, then transfer to the large bowl of an electric mixer (with the whisk attachment). Add the remaining ¼ cup corn syrup and run the mixer on low (this will prevent the gelatin from setting while you make the sugar syrup).
  • Once the sugar mixture reaches 230°F, immediately add to the gelatin mixture in a slow and steady stream (keeping the mixer running on low the whole time). Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and doubled in volume, 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla and red food color. Increase the speed to high and beat for 5 minutes.
  • Coat a rubber spatula with cooking spray and use to quickly transfer the mixture to the prepared pan; let sit at room temperature overnight.
  • In small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle the cornstarch mixture on a clean cutting board. Invert the marshmallow on top and cut into squares. If using, right before serving, coat the edges with the crushed peppermint candies.

PER MARSHMALLOW 61 CAL, 0 G FAT (0 G SAT FAT), 0 MG CHOL, 12 MG SOD, 3 G PRO, 13 G CAR, 0 G FIBER


Spiral Cookie Pops

Active | 35 MIN Total | 50 MIN Makes | 30 COOKIES Cost per serving | 30¢


  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp red liquid food color
  • 6 Tbsp red and white nonpareils

  • Ice cream sticks

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Remove half of the dough and shape into a 1-in.-thick square. Add the food color to the remaining dough and mix to incorporate; shape into a 1-in.-thick square.
  • Roll each square between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper to a 9 x 12-in. rectangle; refrigerate each for at least 10 minutes and no more than 30 (otherwise it will crack when rolling).
  • Remove the top layer of parchment from the plain cookie dough and lightly brush with water. Remove the top layer of parchment from the red cookie dough and invert on top of the plain dough. Peel off the red dough parchment and trim so that the edges are straight.
  • Lightly brush the red dough with water, then, starting with the long side facing you, using the parchment paper to guide you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Refrigerate on parchment for 1 hour (and up to 3 days).
  • When ready to bake, heat oven to 350°F and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Lightly brush the outside of the cylinder with water, then roll in the nonpareils. Slice the cookies into ¼-in.-thick rounds and place cut-side up on the prepared sheets, spacing them 2 in. apart. Gently push an ice cream stick halfway through one end of each.
  • Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cookies are lightly golden brown around the edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

PER COOKIE 131 CAL, 7 G FAT (4 G SAT FAT), 22 MG CHOL, 29 MG SOD, 1 G PRO, 16 G CAR, 0 G FIBER