This holiday season, get in the spirit with a party concept that’ll satisfy every guest’s sweet tooth and spread wintry cheer. Inviting friends over for a midday cookie swap is a super-simple way to gather loved ones and mix and mingle over treats. Since guests get to contribute their own recipes and baked goods to the spread, hostess duties are a breeze. Check out these delish cookie recipes! Oh, and by the way – we tested them all.
Butter Spritz Cookies
One of the most iconic of holiday sweets, spritz are bite-size buttery cookies with vanilla and almond.
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Sprinkles, for garnish
Special equipment: cookie press (a.k.a. spritz gun)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and the egg and mix to incorporate; don’t worry if the mixture seems to separate.
Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the creamed butter. Mix until combined. Using a cookie press, press the cookies onto ungreased baking sheets. Top with sprinkles of your choice. Bake until firm but not yet browning, 6 to 8 minutes. After a few minutes, move cookies to a rack and cool.
Triple Chocolate Cookies
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, such as Medaglia D’Oro
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine salt
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup best-quality white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate and espresso powder in a medium bowl and place over a pot of simmering water and melt, whisking occasionally, until smooth. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment or wax paper, or into a small bowl, and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar until lightly and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla extract, and beat on high speed for 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the melted chocolate mixture until just combined. Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in the pecans and chips. The batter will be loose. Cover and refrigerate until just firm, about 30 minutes.
Using a small ice cream scoop (about 1 tablespoon size), scoop heaping tablespoons of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, putting 8 cookies on each sheet. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. The surface will be dry and shiny but the tops and insides will still be soft. It will take no longer than 10 to 11 minutes, so set the time. Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool 5 minutes longer. Repeat with the remaining batter. These cookies are best eaten the day they are made. Wrap leftovers well in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.
*Recipes reprinted from FoodNetwork.com