This holiday season, get in the spirit with a party concept that’ll satisfy each guest’s sweet tooth and spread wintry cheer. Inviting friends over for a midday cookie swap is a super-simple way to gather loved ones and mix and mingle over treats, and when guests get to contribute their own recipes and baked goods to the spread, hostess duties are a breeze. Simply set a neutral foundation with tableware that you likely already have, then add some sparkly handmade details to turn up the holiday factor in a flash.
If ever there was a reason to preheat your oven, the holidays are it. Whether you’re setting cookies out for Santa, going in on a cookie swap or baking a batch for yourself, these 10 cookie recipes are a must.
1. If you’re looking for a butter-and-sugar staple to be iced and frosted, Alton’s Sugar Cookies (pictured above) is the most versatile recipe of all. Buttery, chewy and slightly crisp, each made-with-love cookie is the perfect canvas for all the candy cane, snowman and Christmas tree cutouts you can get your hands on.
Now that school is back in session, we’re bringing back an old-school concept — the cookie jar — and giving it a fresh new look and taste. Have fun baking a few batches of homemade cookies over the weekend and store them in airtight containers or jars for the kids to select an after-school sweet. These bright, candy-adorned treats from Food Network chefs appeal to the child in us all. The kids won’t be the only ones trying to sneak them from the cookie jar (a high shelf helps!).
Even though it’s still technically summer, with the Labor Day holiday come and gone, the shift from light, bright warm-weather foods to autumn’s hearty meals and comforting flavors has started. If you’re already craving the classic tastes of fall, look no further than this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.
These surprisingly healthy treats are laced with fragrant spices like ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, and thanks to the use of canned pumpkin puree, they’re a cinch to prepare too. Best of all, these chocolate-studded bites are ready to eat in just over 30 minutes.
If April showers bring May flowers, what do Mayflowers bring?
Yes, Mayflowers do bring pilgrims, as this grade school riddle so memorably illustrates, but May flowers bring joy — the kind of joy that inspired me to break out my brushes so that I could paint and capture what I saw on … cookies!
Not only is it easy and fun to celebrate spring with these hand-painted watercolor flower cookies, but you can do your pretty decorating without the use of artificial dyes and additives. Herbs, fruit juice and plant dyes all can be used as food coloring, and companies like India Tree even make premade versions available for purchase. What other natural food colorings can you come up with?
Every stage of the cookie-baking process — from licking the batter to succumbing to seconds — is therapeutic. Just as soon as you slide them from the pan, any kind of work-, traffic- or weather-induced woe will meet its end. But let’s be realistic; cookie comfort isn’t one-size-fits-all. You may need to bake up some solid recipes for old-school classics, or try your hand at new creations you might not have considered. All that’s left is a non-negotiable glass of cold milk, since cookies are simply better when they’re dunked.
A no-fail recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies is vital for any baker. Consider this easy, versatile dough a jumping-off place; whatever you add beyond chocolate chips is up to you. For those who prefer these classics with a crunch, Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies are baked until just brown around the edges.
The Olympics are a big deal in my house — and not just during the official biennial games. A couple of summers ago, my 11-year-old daughter and her aunts came up with their own version of the sporting competition and recruited the whole family to participate. The events were varied — think obstacle courses through the woods, round-robin volleyball matches and paddleboard balancing contests — and the rivalries fierce. At the end of the weekend, the victors were presented with first-, second- and third-place medals my daughter had created from construction paper, glitter and striped ribbon. You can’t underestimate the pride each winner took in wearing the fluttering tokens. (Athletic triumph, even in the backyard, is still a triumph.)
Flash forward to this winter, when all of us at Food Network Kitchen were plotting our Olympic-themed offerings. “What can we make that both parents and kids would like?” I asked my daughter when I got home. “Cookie medals!” was her response. And behold the tasty creations we came up with in the Kitchen. You can duplicate them with pretty much any sturdy sugar-cookie dough; the one in our recipe will hold up to the handling of even the most-enthusiastic junior chef. And because these medals are easy to make in multiples (unlike the paper variety), you can bake enough for fourth-, fifth-, even sixth-place competitors (or those who are cheering them on). In other words, with these cute cookie trophies, everyone can be a winner (and victory is, indeed, sweet).
Check out the recipe and our step-by-step tips below for cookies that truly take the gold.
The Olympic rings symbolize peace, goodwill and global solidarity. Get into the spirit of the winter games in Sochi, Russia, by celebrating with these cute and colorful Olympic-ring cookies.
I used my tried-and-true gingerbread recipe after experimenting enough to learn that most sugar cookies, including those made with store-bought premade dough, spread out too much in the oven. Gingerbread also adds a touch of warmth to these games set in a snowy winter wonderland. This recipe is almost as easy to make as with a prepared mix, though it does take a little muscle to roll out. Pressing the dough thin before refrigerating helps to reduce some work later.
I’ve seen versions of this cookie recipe online in many places, so when it was my family’s turn to bring a snack to my 4-year-old’s preschool class, we gave it a shot. What a hit! It’s the only time we’ve ever come home with an empty bowl, to my toddlers’ total dismay. They were really looking forward to eating those leftovers and I don’t blame them because there are many things to love about these cookies.
First, they’re simple. You mash up two very ripe bananas with old-fashioned oats and bake. That’s the whole technique right there. But you could also add things to your liking: walnuts, raisins, almonds, chia seeds (which we used), dried cranberries, etc. Add whatever mix-ins your kids enjoy (whatever you want them to eat more of in a perfect world). Second, they’re sugar-free. And third, they’re full of great-for-you ingredients.
We have a fresh bunch of bananas sitting on our counter right now, just waiting for a brown spot or two to appear before we whip up a new batch to keep for ourselves.
Get the full recipe for Banana Cookies at Foodlets.com.
When my sister and I were young, we had a standing Christmas- cookie-decoration date with a family friend. Eleanor’s kids were grown, but she loved mixing up several batches of dough (some colored red and green with food-safe dye), pulling out the cookie cutters, and helping us make and bake fancy tray after tray of cookies.
I looked forward to that afternoon in Eleanor’s kitchen every year. Even after I got too old for the annual cookie party, I thought about it fondly (and dreamed about her delicious, buttery cookies).
When December rolled around this year, I found myself craving the experience of making and decorating holiday sugar cookies. I used to have a copy of Eleanor’s recipe, but no matter how much I looked, I couldn’t put my hands on it. And so I went looking for options and found The Pioneer Woman’s Favorite Christmas Cookies.
It uses vegetable shortening in place of butter and adds a little bit of orange zest to the dough, but otherwise seems very close to the recipe I once knew. And truly, it’s a delightful dough to work with. It comes together quickly, rolls out beautifully and holds its shape nicely while baking. If you’re still in the midst of your holiday baking, stir together a batch of this dough and cut out some cookies for your Weekender!