Something my family (and probably yours too, I imagine) has always done every holiday season is gift giving in the form of baked goods. In addition to a seemingly never ending supply of cookies in our Christmas cookie tins, my mom always made loaves of cranberry bread for our teachers, and cookies for our neighbors. Always perfectly wrapped in cellophane, with perfect ribbon curls.
So it makes sense that I’ve followed in my mom’s footsteps: I would rather give baked goods to lots of different friends, than personalized gifts to only a few. Okay, okay, lest you think I am a cheapskate, I still give gifts to my family and some close friends.
I’m also part of a group of 10 friends that does a Secret Santa drawing every year, so I get one gift for whichever name I draw, and bring cookies to our gift exchange to serve as a gift for the rest of the group, haha. And the group is mostly guys, so it all gets eaten up REAL quickly. This year, I am actually probably going to host the gift exchange (it is on Christmas Eve morning, so I’ve got all kinds of holiday brunch ideas floating in my head already), but more on that later.
Today I’d like to share some of my favorite goodies to include on my cookie tray, and open it up to you the readers to weigh in and share your favorites as well! Call it a virtual cookie swap, a brainstorming sesh, or what have you. Without further ado…
A true holiday classic. And it’s best made by my best friend Joanna (see photo above, taken by her lucky roommate, my dear friend Alex). The best part is, it’s super easy. All you have to know how to do is temper chocolate!
I made these cookies last weekend and O-M-G. I knew immediately that I would be making them again as Christmas goodies. I made 2 dozen…the first dozen was almost immediately gobbled down by us and the two couples we were with. The other dozen, which I brought back to T-Man’s house, quickly disappeared. About a day later, his roommate came up to me and was like, “So, uh, Katie… Are you going to make those cookies again?” I wasn’t even offended by the notion that he expected me (the female) to make him (the male) cookies. Because the answer was a resounding, “HELL YEAH!”
I’m also thinking about making this dough with different mix-ins. I bought some peppermint white chocolate M&Ms at Target this weekend and am definitely going to incorporate them into a recipe!
My famous Lemon Shortbread Squares
I found this recipe on FoodNetwork.com two years ago and have been making it ever since. Shortbread infused with lemon zest, covered in a lemon glaze….Seriously, nothing could be better. It’s one of my all-time favorite dessert recipes!
Decorated Sugar Cookies
Every year, I throw together a batch of sugar cookies and have fun
destroying decorating them. But let’s be honest, the above is a stolen photo. My cookies usually look like this:
If I have time this year, I may actually make my own royal icing and use this tutorial from Brown Eyed Baker to do some fancy decorating. That’s a big IF though :-)
And that’s all I have so far cookie-wise!
And I am planning on making this drool-worthy coffee cake from Joy the Baker at least twice.
What cookies and goodies do you love to bake and gift at this time of year?