In our family, we enjoy baking for the holidays. It’s the one time of year that we actually carve out time to spend together in the kitchen baking, donning aprons and listening to festive holiday music. We usually set aside one weekend to get all of the baking done, but I know other families who spend time each week making all sorts of delicious holiday concoctions! Here are some of the cookies that we enjoy making. These are really easy and don’t require hours in the kitchen by any means!
- Hershey Kiss Macaroons These are not only my favorite, but also a hit with everyone I know. They’re so easy, too! Line a cookie sheet or pizza stone with parchment paper (this is absolutely necessary, because these cookies stick!). Mix together a 14-oz bag of shredded coconut, two teaspoons vanilla extract, one teaspoon almond extract and a 14-oz can of condensed milk. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes in a 325 degree oven. While they’re baking, unwrap Hershey kisses, one for each cookie. Take the cookies out when the coconut starts turning light brown, and gently push one kiss into the top of each cookie. Let them cool, then use a spatula to remove the cookies from the parchment paper.
- Thumbprint Cookies I usually cheat and use packaged sugar cookie mix for these. If you want to, just use your favorite recipe to make the cookies homemade. Once you have your dough mixed, drop by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. Let your child make a thumbprint in each cookie, and fill each indentation with a small amount of raspberry fruit spread. (You can use whatever flavor you want, of course.) Bake as directed on the recipe or the package.
- Magic Cookie Bars These are seriously so delicious that I only make them if I have someone to give them to; otherwise, I’d eat the whole pan myself! My grandmother used to make them when I was little, so to me, it’s a taste of my childhood. Crush a sleeve of graham crackers into crumbs and use them to cover the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan. Slice up a stick of butter and lay the slices all over the crumbs, then put the pan in a low oven for a few minutes, just to melt the butter. Pour a can of condensed milk over the crumbs and pat everything down to make a crust. On top of the crust, you’ll be sprinkling layers of chopped nuts (whatever kind you like), flaked coconut, butterscotch pieces and chocolate chips. If you don’t like one of those ingredients, substitute something else (like peanut butter or white chocolate chips) or just add more chocolate! Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, then let the pan cool. Cut into bars and watch them disappear!
What are your favorite holiday cookies? Share your tips with our readers!