I may not be able to decorate cookies like Jen, Lillian and Hazel, but that didn’t discourage me. Here’s a little recap of how my holiday baking went. These sugar cookies come from one of my all-time favorite books, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich. I made the variation with the Chinese 5-spice powder added to the sugar which the cookies are rolled in before baking. Great texture, and they’re quite pretty too. Next time I might try the garam masala variation.
These are butter-pecan rounds from the Martha Stewart Cookies book. They were a hit with my mom, but the recipe is a little cryptic because nuts are “finely chopped” and added to the dough. “Finely chopped” will mean something different to every person who tries this recipe, and then they baked up much flatter than they were supposed to. Tasty, but proceed at your own risk.
The chocolate-walnut cookies (also from the Alice Medrich book) were a total sleeper. They look kind of normal and were a challenge to photograph because they’re so dark, but wow… these are chocolate heaven with amazing texture — very highly recommended.
Then came the toffee bars. I’m certain I’ve made these before, but I always forget how incredible they are. Of course this recipe comes from the Alice Medrich book too. Seriously, what did I do before this book was published? (Well, actually I used another, older Alice Medrich book which is now out of print.)
You make the toffee layer yourself and pour it over the prebaked crust and pecans. Then you add chocolate to the top after it’s baked, and you can swirl it or pipe it or do whatever you’d like. As pretty as I think these are, they’re really about the flavor, and they’re about as good as it gets. So that’s how my holiday baking went. I hope yours went well too. Happy holidays, everyone.