Christmas Cookies


Given the popularity of the Thanksgiving baked goods post, here is a similar article on Christmas cookies. Inspired by my friend who invited a group of ladies over for a bake-fest on Sunday, you should give them a try.  Whether you plan to eat them yourself or share with others the smell of freshly baked cookies add to the holiday spirits!

Although I wasn't involved with baking all the cookies, I've ordered the recipes by difficulty and/or amount of time required to prepare. I've also included some tips from the chefs and my thoughts on the finished products.  The photos are our actual creations, not bad for a first attempt.

Holiday Toffee Bars


I chose this simple recipe and it was certainly quick and easy, and is great for those who want to whip up something without too much preparation. 

I was puzzled that the recipe had "Toffee" in the title, but the ingredients didn't sound like the finished product would be toffee tasting at all.  Accordingly, I used a 50/50 mixture of butterscotch and semi-sweet chocolate chips in my version.  Additionally, I suggest increasing the amount of chocolate chips. In the end, I used about 75% more than the recipe called for, as when I placed the amount suggested in the recipe on the cookie crust, there didn't seem to be enough coverage to allow for even spreading.

My thoughts on its taste:  The bar reminds me of a crunchier brookie (brownie cookie).  I put the cookie crust in for the suggested 30 minutes; it was too much as the cookie layer ended up crunchy and flakey.  If you like a softer cookie like me, bake it closer to the 25 minute mark.

Triple Chip Cookies


If you like chewy chocolate chip cookies, this recipe is for you!  White chocolate, milk chocolate and butterscotch all mixed together in one creation.  These are definitely not your regular chocolate chip cookies.

My thoughts on its taste:  Firstly, I do not love chocolate.  Don't get me wrong, I don't hate it, but I just don't drool over it like most.  Perhaps it's because of this that I found the cookie overpowering - it was extremely sweet, to the the point that I was craving a tall glass of milk after having half a cookie.  You likely should lower the 1.75 cups of sugar or 4.5 cups of chocolate chips that the recipe requires - with that much chocolate, you really don't need that much sugar. 

Toblerone Shortbread Cookies


As a warning, this is not for those watching their weight, shortbread takes alot of butter!  But, the outcome is a melt-in-your-mouth cookie.  Imagine an unassuming looking shortbread and when you bite into it there's a surprising Toblerone filling. 

The chef advises that step #3 of using a teaspoon of cookie dough is not enough; you will likely need more than that in order to fully cover a whole triangle of Toblerone.  In the end, each recipe only made a dozen cookies.

My thoughts on its taste:  I was surprised they were so enjoyable as I normally find shortbread too dense and plain tasting.  These cookies were fluffier and tasted delicate even though they were so rich.  I liked that the dough itself was not overly sweet and complemented the Toblerone well.  

Stained Glass Tree Cookies


These cookies are so festive and pretty you simply don't want to eat them!  You really could customize the cookies into any shape you want - stars, Santa or snowmen the choice is yours. 

The recipe calls for about 30 Jolly Rancher candies.  The chef advises this is way too much, as there was so much left over.  So, I'd say lower the count to about 15 candies.  Within the instructions it states "sprinkle candy ... avoid edges", you should follow the guidance otherwise, the candies start melting into the cookie edge and won't look as crisp. Also, don't crush the candies too finely as the ones that turned out best seem to have large chunks of candies so that it would formed a thicker "stained glass".

My thoughts on its taste:  The actual sugar cookie part is good and tastes like any other recipe.  Whereas, the candy part is a bit chewy and not something you'd want to munch on.  But, who cares!  They look so great that really you don't want to eat them anyways.

Gingerbread Cookies


It will take some time to prepare, chill, roll, decorate and dry the cookies but nothing says Christmas more than colourful gingerbread cookies.  These are perfect for getting a group of people together to help decorate.

My thoughts on its taste:  The finished product was very good, much moister than a recipe I had tried previously.  I like my gingerbread crispy on the outside but chewier in the middle.  It could be due to my friend substituting the ground ginger with freshly grated ginger - it adds some stringy looking bits in the dough but made for a moister product.

Have fun baking and most of all enjoy the holiday season!