I wasn’t kidding when I said planning for holiday baking begins months in advance.  I try out recipes, consider themes and attempt to devise a combination of different flavors and textures that will include a little something for every taste.  I am also a great appreciator of holiday baking lists; a conisuer of cookie compendiums, if you will.  So, I thought I’d make some lists of my own.

Last year about this time, I wrote a post about planning.  This might be a good place to begin if you are considering a little  seasonal creativity.  There are lots of ways to categorize treats and I’m sure, over the years, I’ll try them all (because you know you’ll get at least one “clip show” post this time each year).  This time around, I’m hitting you straight on and categorizing by preparation: roll and cut cookies, cut-out cookies, drop cookies, bars, candy and fancy treats.

Roll and Cut Cookies

These are the secret weapon of the entertainer and grateful guest.  It’s easy to make up several batches of dough, wrap them tightly and then freeze.  To bake, just slice and turn on the oven.  The roll and cut method also works beautifully with texture-dependent cookies like sables and shortbread.  The minimal kneading and manipulate really helps maintain this important cookie component.

Chocolate Cayenne Cookies

Dirty Chai Shortbread

Orange Cranberry Shortbread

World Peace Cookies (chocolate sables)

Sables

Cut-Out Cookies

If cookies had enemies, cut-out cookies and roll and cut cookies would be bitter rivals.  The opposite of delicate, the two recipes below can take a rolling-out and then probably another.

THE Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies

and just for good measure, these aren’t cookies, but are solid, especially when gifted with a bottle of wine.

Cheese Crackers

Drop Cookies

Go on, I know you want to.  Okay, I’ll do it with you. Ready? And…drop it like it’s hot, drop it like it’s hot.  The drop cookie is a classic and has so many possibilities.  Here are a few of my festive-worthy favorites (even if some actually get a little flattened after they drop).

Triple Ginger Cookie

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

 Nutella Cookies

Blueberries and Cream Cookies (I bet these would be excellent with dried cranberries or currants)

Brown Sugar Crinkles (do not underestimate these simple cookies)

Bars

I love the bar cookie.  In fact, I have a great business idea if anyone has some capital they’d like to put up.  I especially love bars during the holidays–the all-in-one-pan delivery makes it easy to cut, pack and give.  If you are feeling particularly fancy, they’re even more special nestled in the little wrappers.  I’m limiting my list below to five that don’t have toppings for packaging ease, but for more, go here.

TMH Brownies

Bella Bars

Hazelnut Caramel Chocolate Bars

Candied Orange Peel and Almond Blondies

Caramel Crunch Bars

Candy

Candy is a whole world I’ve just started to explore.  Including  one or two types has the dual advantage of variety and the potential for a more shelf-stable treat.

Candied Citrus Peel

Honeycomb

Marshmallows

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bon Bons (Schweady Balls)

Fancy Treats

Not to say that the goodies listed above aren’t give-worthy.  Because, they are.  But, sometimes you just need a little somethin’ somethin.’  Whether its the execution or the ingredients, this final list should fit-the-bill.

Glittery Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Rum Butter Nuts

French Macarons

Florentines

Confetti Cookies

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