by Keri Mills, Young Adult Librarian
It’s already time to get started on your holiday baking if you haven’t already. Many of us have favorite, traditional family cookie recipes, but if you are looking to switch things up a little bit, the library has plenty of cookie cookbooks to help you out.
One of my favorites is “Decorating Cookies: 60+ Designs for Holidays, Celebrations, & Everyday” by Bridget Edwards. This is the book for you if you have always wanted to get your sugar cookies to look like those beautiful bakery frosted sugar cookies. There are only a few basic recipes included for sugar cookies and for royal icing, but the specific step-by-step decorating instructions are easy to follow and perfect for beginners. Only a handful of the decorating ideas are specific to Christmas cookies, but they should be enough to spark your own creativity.
If you want to make some cookies for a Christmas party, but are short on time, try “Smart Cookie: Transform Store-Bought Cookies into Amazing Treats” by Christi Farr Johnstone. As the title indicates, learn how to spruce up store-bought cookies into something unique and beautiful. There are only a few cookie ideas that pertain directly to Christmas, but there are many other ideas that could be adapted for the holidays. My favorite part about this book is that you don’t have to be an expert decorator to create most of these cookies!
For more traditional Christmas cookies, start with “A Baker’s Field Guide to Christmas Cookies” by Dede Wilson. This cookbook has a wealth of information in a very easy-to-use format. Each cookie has its own page with a picture of the finished product. There is also information on its type (dropped, rolled, bar, etc.) country of origin, description of its flavors, traditions, tips, variations, and length of time the cookies will keep. Helpful symbols are included that tell you which cookies are good to make with kids, freeze well, are quick to make, and sturdy enough to send in the mail.
Can’t figure out what type of holiday cookies to make? There is always the good ole American chocolate chip cookie, which is featured in the book, “The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book” by Carolyn Wyman. There are over 75 recipes in this book for chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip dessert variations like truffles and brownies. One interesting page gives suggestions on simple additions/substitutions to the basic Toll house cookie recipe, such as bacon, cereal, donuts, ice cream cones, and Brussel sprouts. While your cookies are baking, read up on the fascinating history of the chocolate chip cookie in the United States which is included in this book.
Cookie swaps are particularly popular this time of year. If you don’t have time to bake 50 different kinds of cookies this holiday season, then, hold your own cookie swap. “Cookie Swap!” By Lauren Chattman tells you exactly how to organize one. There is a handy checklist for planning your party and an example invitation. And, of course, there are also a number of cookie recipes suggested for your swap.
If you are vegan yourself or baking for vegan friends or family, try “Chloe’s Vegan Desserts” by Chloe Coscarelli. There is a whole chapter that focuses on cookies and bars. There are full color photos of most of the recipes. Bake homemade Oreos, ginger molasses cookies, snowballs, black and white cookies, or the many others included in the book.
If you really want to switch things up, make an ice cream cookie sandwich from “Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich” by Tessa Arias. The recipes in this book are as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious. They are almost too pretty to eat (almost). Can’t decide what cookies to start with? Try a few from the “Holiday” chapter, such as Maple-Nut, Gingerbread, Hot Cocoa, Candy Cane, or Eggnog ice cream sandwiches.
The library has all of these cookbooks mentioned, and many more to satisfy all of your holiday baking needs, so get started today!