Coastal Holiday Cookies

Make picture-perfect cookies to give (or eat!) with these delicious recipes from four simple doughs.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Coastal Cutout Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #1: Coastal Cutout Cookies

This simple dough is perfect for baking unique cutouts for any occasion. We also have a few more creative ways to use this basic recipe.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Lifesaver Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #1: Lifesaver Cookies

Cut dough into circles using a 3-inch round cookie cutter. Cut out centers of circles using a 1-inch round cookie cutter. Bake as directed; let cool completely. Spread about 1 teaspoon raspberry preserves, strawberry jam, or buttercream frosting between 2 cookies. Dip in Decorating Icing, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Add pieces of red licorice to resemble stripes on a life preserver ring. Makes 32 sandwich cookies.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Decorating Icing

Photographer Alan Richardson

Decorating Icing

Place 1 cup powdered sugar in medium bowl; gradually add 2 to 3 tablespoons whipping cream, stirring constantly, until icing reaches an almost pourable  consistency. Tint with food coloring, if desired. Makes about 1⁄2 cup.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Coconut Snowballs

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #1: Coconut Snowballs

Substitute 1⁄2 teaspoon coconut extract for vanilla and almond extracts. Stir in 1⁄2 cup finely chopped toasted macadamia nuts and 1 tablespoon lemon zest. Chill dough 30 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake, in batches, at 350° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on bottoms. Transfer to wire racks; let cool 2 minutes. Place 11⁄2 cups powdered sugar in a bowl, and toss cookies to coat. Let cookies cool completely on wire racks. Toss in powdered sugar again, coating well. Makes 4 dozen.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Sunny Citrus Bars

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #2: Sunny Citrus Bars

We've taken basic lemon bars up a knotch by adding orange juice and zest to make a decadent citrus filling on top of a buttery, golden crust.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Coconut-Pineapple Bars

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #2: Coconut-Pineapple Bars

Prepare crust as directed. Omit orange zest and orange and lemon juices. Add 3⁄4 cup or 1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice and 1⁄2 cup sweetened flaked coconut to egg mixture. Bake as directed. Garnish with toasted coconut, if desired.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Key Lime Bars

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #2: Key Lime Bars

Prepare crust as directed. Omit orange zest and orange and lemon juices. Add 3⁄4 cup Key lime juice to egg mixture. Bake as directed. Garnish with lime zest, if desired.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Spice Island Drop Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #3: Spice Island Drop Cookies

Use a small scoop for drop cookies, so that they will all be the same size and bake evenly. For these cookies, a 1½-inch-diameter scoop is ideal.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Oregon Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #3: Oregon Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

Omit maple extract, 1⁄4 cup flour, and spices. Add 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa to dry ingredients. Stir in 1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and 1 cup dried sweetened cherries. Bake as directed. When cool, drizzle cookies with 1⁄2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels, melted, if desired. Makes 2 dozen.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Caribbean Coffee Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #3: Caribbean Coffee Cookies

Omit maple extract and spices. Add 1 teaspoon instant espresso or coffee powder to butter mixture. Stir 1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts into batter. Bake as directed. Makes 2 dozen.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Sugar Sand Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #4: Sugar Sand Cookies

To prevent a “flat bottom” look on slice-and-bake cookies, rotate dough occasionally while chilling. When cutting, rotate log a quarter turn after each slice.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Ginger Sand Dollar Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #4: Ginger Sand Dollar Cookies

Stir 1⁄2 cup crystallized candied ginger, finely chopped, into batter. Cut logs into slices, sprinkle each with sugar, and arrange 5 slivered almonds in a star design to resemble sand dollars. Slice and bake as directed. Makes about 5 dozen.

Our Best Holiday Cookies: Nantucket Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies

Photographer Alan Richardson

Dough #4: Nantucket Cranberry-White Chocolate Cookies

Stir 1 cup dried cranberries and 1 cup white chocolate morsels into batter. Slice and bake as directed. Drizzle 6 ounces white chocolate, melted, over cooled cookies; sprinkle with nonpareils. Let stand until chocolate is firm. Makes about 5 dozen.

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