GLOBAL HOLIDAY COOKIES
Holidays = cookies, and we are fast approaching that time of year where you are either getting your baking skills ready for holiday parties and family get togethers or you’re thinking about yummy gifts for your friends and co-workers. Because, honestly, it’s impossible to buy everyone presents this time of year, but it's sooo easy to bake delicious cookies for them! To keep it interesting, I like to make different types of cookies for the holidays and incorporate some from around the world. The following are just a few to get started on your lists - click through for the recipes. There are so many to choose from - happy baking!
Nothing is more impressive than nailing a great madeleine. This traditional French small cake is unmistakeable with its distinctive shell-like shape and delicate, cake-y textures. Kourabiedes are a Greek shortbread that's usually had around the holiday - almond-scented and perfumed with rosewater, and that was the inspiration for this combo cookie. They are best served right away and warm, so I would use these for a holiday party rather than as a gift.
Although alfajores originated in Spain, the South American version is twice as good, namely because the cookies sandwich dulce de leche. These can be chocolate-coated, dusted with coconut, or holiday-decorated and are the perfect gift!
These are the ultimate double chocolate mint cookies - brownie-rich, chocolate chip cookies scented with peppermint. The dough freezes really well too.
ITALIAN RAINBOW COOKIES
Rainbow cookies are a childhood favorite and one I love to make around the holidays. They do take a couple days (just to set the layers and cool) but the end result is equally impressive as it is yummy! Originally colored to represent the Italian flag by Italian - American immigrants, you can play around with the (all natural...) food coloring to the occasion. A little more red and green for the holidays please!
Okay, so baklava isn't technically a cookie, but it really doesn't matter. My recipe for these is the easiest out there!
Okay, okay! This isn't a typical cookie either! But this is a beautiful cake that I make into squares. Pone is a super dense, slightly gummy cake, and in different West Indian countries, I’ve seen pone made with root vegetables – cassava here but also carrots and sweet potato. It always has coconut, and some even have pumpkin and raisins. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of black pepper makes this complete holiday fare.
An Austrian favorite that is seen around the holidays is the linzer cookie. These are sandwich cookies with jam in the middle and cutouts in the center to peek at the filling, usually hearts but I like to do Christmas trees, stars or candy canes for the holidays. Also, a good time to use the preserves you made earlier this year!
Jam-filled and thumbrint cookies are one of my favorites, and I love that these use guava paste in lieu of other preserves. It's a totally unique flavor - tart and sweet - and an unexpected twist, and yet they have such a traditional look about them.
SOUTH AFRICAN CRUNCHIES
These are classic, South African cookies - crunchy (of course), buttery and coconut-ty. These are a one bowl, easy cookie to make, so great if you need to feed a crowd.
Really, not much needs to be said about these. Gingerbread (wo)men, different holiday shapes - these are a must!