There are many reasons to appreciate holiday cookies: they satisfy even the most overbearing of in-laws; they’re sweet sustenance for shivering carolers; and they bring us all together via a shared love for creamed sugar and butter. While every family has their own cookie traditions, we hope to add to the season’s sprit with a few of our own festive recipes.
Let’s Sugar Cookies
Throughout his childhood, James Beard enjoyed these simple, elegant sugar cookies made by Jue Let, the Beard family’s personal chef. But don’t be fooled by their innocent looks: the cookies contain mace, the outer membrane of nutmeg that packs a more pungent flavor.
Lavender Short Bread Cookies
The holidays can be stressful: batteries not included with new toys; the challenge of threading a tiny needle for your popcorn strand; a tree that just won’t stand up straight. Relax: we have shortbread cookies made with the calming aroma of lavender.
Cranberry–Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
Say goodbye to raisins and add some festive cranberries to your oatmeal cookies.
Dark Chocolate–Dipped Cinnamon Meringues
Become a popular giver of homemade presents and make these spicy meringues for your friends and loved ones. They take a couple hours to bake, but your efforts will be appreciated.
Originally published in James Beard’s American Cookery, these traditional German cookies pair well with a cup of coffee. And just like fruitcake, they improve with time.
Gianduja Chocolate Chip Cookies
Instead of chocolate chips, this recipe from JBF Award winner Michael White calls for gianduja, an addictive, Nutella-like hazelnut-flavored chocolate, which gives the cookies a subtle, nutty flavor.
For the overachievers in our midst, here’s an in-depth gingerbread house recipe. Joanne Lambe Hayes, a longtime Beard House holiday guest, guides you through the rewarding process of baking and assembling your own gingerbread edifice from scratch. Just make sure you have plenty of candy on hand for constructing gumdrop roof shingles, candy-cane fence posts, and licorice-lined walkways.