Dazzle By The Dozen

Your kitchen's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Leave the toys to the elves—in this workshop, you've got the cookie magic covered. Fa-La-La-La-La!


Frosted Cutout Sugar Cookies

When I was a girl, Mom and I always made these simple cutout cookies. Iced and sprinkled with colored sugar, they remind me of our handiwork together. —Sonja Stromswold, Mohall, ND

Prep | 30 min. + chilling Bake | 8 min./ batch + cooling Makes | 5 dozen

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp. half-and-half cream
  • Food coloring, optional
  • Colored sugar, optional
  • Decorating candies, optional

  • Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in shortening and butter until crumbly. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk and vanilla; add to flour mixture and mix well. Divide dough into three balls; cover and refrigerate until easy to handle, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 325°. Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator at a time. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-in. cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Bake until the edges are lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Cool 1 minute before removing cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  • To prepare frosting, cream butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough half-and-half to achieve spreading consistency. If desired, tint with food coloring. Frost cookies. Decorate with colored sugar and candies if desired.

Per cookie: 112 cal., 5g fat (2g sat. fat), 15mg chol., 58mg sod., 16g carb. (11g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g pro.


German Christmas Cookies

This little spice cookie tastes very European and is similar to pfeffernuesse. We make ours with cozy spices, anise flavoring, almonds and candied citron. —Carole Mueller, Florissant, MO

Prep | 30 min. Bake | 8 min./batch Makes | 12 dozen

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp. anise extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied citron
  • Confectioners’ sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first seven ingredients. In another bowl, combine eggs, butter, lemon peel and extract. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in almonds and citron.
  • Shape into 1/2-in. balls and place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake until set, 8-10 minutes. Roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar; cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Per cookie: 29 cal., 1g fat (0 sat. fat), 4mg chol., 13mg sod., 4g carb. (2g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g pro.


Raspberry Linzer Cookies

These raspberry-filled sandwich cookies take a little extra effort, but when I see the delight on people’s faces once they take a bite, the prep is worth it. —Schelby Thompson, Camden Wyoming, DE

Prep | 30 min. + chilling Bake | 6 min./batch + cooling Makes | 2 dozen

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry preserves

  • Cream butter, gradually adding 2/3 cup sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Shape dough into a ball; cover and refrigerate until firm, 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. On a surface dusted with confectioners’ sugar, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness; cut with a floured 21/2-in. round cookie cutter. With a floured 1-in. cookie cutter, cut out centers of half of the cookies.
  • Beat egg whites until frothy. Mix almonds and remaining sugar. Brush cookies with egg whites; sprinkle with almond mixture. Bake cookies 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes. Cool on racks.
  • Spread 2 tsp. raspberry preserves over the solid cookies. Top with window cookies, almond side up.

Per cookie: 209 cal., 9g fat (5g sat. fat), 36mg chol., 92mg sod., 30g carb. (19g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g pro. Note: Substitute apricot or your favorite preserves in place of raspberry.


Striped Icebox Cookies

I’ve been making cookie dough with stripes since I was a little girl. It’s easier than cutout cookies, and you can mix and match your favorite ingredients. I like mine with chocolate and cherries. —Patricia Reese, Pewaukee, WI

Prep | Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake | Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling Makes | 5 dozen

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 2 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 4 tsp. nonpareils

  • Cream butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in egg. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into the creamed mixture.
  • Divide dough into thirds. Add the cherries and food coloring to one portion, chocolate to another portion and nonpareils to remaining portion.
  • Line a 9x5-in. loaf pan with waxed paper. Spread cherry dough over bottom. Cover with chocolate dough, then remaining dough. Refrigerate, covered, until firm, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 375°. Remove dough from pan; cut in half lengthwise. Cut each portion into 1/4-in. slices. For easier handling, freeze slices until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake 1 in. apart on lightly greased baking sheets until edges begin to brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool on racks.

Per cookie: 71 cal., 3g fat (2g sat. fat), 11mg chol., 46mg sod., 10g carb. (6g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g pro.


Cookies & Cream Truffle Balls

For easy truffles, I roll crushed cookies and cream cheese into balls, then dunk them in white chocolate. That’s merry and bright in one bite. —Carla Giorgio, New York, NY

Prep | 30 min. + chilling Makes | about 3 dozen

  • 1 pkg. (151/2 oz.) Oreo cookies
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 pkg. (10 to 12 oz.) white baking chips
  • Colored sugar, optional

  • Pulse cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add cream cheese; pulse just until blended. Refrigerate, covered, several hours until easy to handle. Shape into 1-in. balls; freeze several hours or until firm.
  • Microwave baking chips on high until melted; stir until smooth. Dip balls in melted chips; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. Drizzle with remaining chocolate or, if desired, decorate with sugar. Refrigerate.

Per truffle: 109 cal., 6g fat (3g sat. fat), 8mg chol., 72mg sod., 13g carb. (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g pro.


Chocolate-Mint Dream Sandwich Cookies

For a family cookbook, my cousin submitted a cookie I’ve since tinkered with, and it’s now a showstopper. These dreamy cookies with chocolate and mint pretty much melt in your mouth. —Shannon Koene, Blacksburg, VA

Prep | 45 min. Bake | 6 min. + cooling Makes | about 11/2 dozen

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) miniature
  • semisweet chocolate chips

FILLING

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • 5 to 6 tsp. 2% milk
  • 3/4 tsp. peppermint extract

CHOCOLATE GLAZE

  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. shortening
  • 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Crushed candy canes

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in cooled chocolate and extract. Gradually beat in flour. Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Drop cookie dough by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 1/4-in. thickness. Bake until set, 6-8 minutes. Cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, mix filling ingredients. Spread or pipe the filling onto the bottom halves of cookies. Cover with remaining cookies.
  • For glaze, microwave chocolate chips and shortening on high until melted, stirring every 30 seconds; add extract. Dip about a third of each cookie into the glaze, allowing excess to drip off; top with candy canes. Place on waxed paper; refrigerate until set.

Per filled cookie: 277 cal., 17g fat (10g sat. fat), 23mg chol., 75mg sod., 33g carb. (23g sugars, 2g fiber), 3g pro.


Sparkly Meringue Snowmen

For my son’s first Christmas home after serving in Iraq, I wanted everything to feel magical. He loves meringues, so I made him a big batch of airy cookies with just a touch of mint. —Patricia Lindsay, Independence, KS

Prep | 30 min. + standing Bake | 1 hour 20 min./batch Makes | about 2 dozen

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. mint or vanilla extract
  • Black nonpareils
  • Orange sprinkles

  • Let egg whites stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 200°. Add cream of tartar to egg whites; beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold in extract.
  • Cut a small hole in the tip of a pastry bag or in a corner of a food-safe plastic bag; insert a #12 round tip. Transfer meringue to bag. Pipe snowmen about 4 in. tall, 2 in. apart, onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Decorate with black nonpareils and orange sprinkles. Bake until firm to the touch, 80-90 minutes.
  • Remove the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Per cookie: 18 cal., 0 fat (0 sat. fat), 0 chol., 5mg sod., 4g carb. (4g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 pro.


JUST ADD MILK

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