Best Christmas Cookie Recipes

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We've got a few delicious Christmas cookie recipes to share. There are some food items over the holidays that I find very difficult to resist. Cookies, specifically homemade cookies are one of them. Not only a delicious treat, but one that can be a low-key activity for older kids who can mix and place decorations like sprinkles on top (see our cookies with the assistance of my toddler).

I was really excited to try out a lemon, ginger-studded sugar cookie and a pistachio chocolate biscotti from latest issue of Food and Wine magazine - but since I had the assistance of my daughter to decorate the cookies I didn't make the icing and used more orange zest than the recipe called for - creating a delicious ginger/orange sugar cookie. Also, I omitted the rum that the chocolate biscotti asked for.

Of course, the cooking and prep is tons of fun, but it's also exciting to have your culinary creations displayed such on this festive Christmas tree plate by Villeroy and Boch. Not only for cookies, the large platter would work to plate turkey or display cake. The holiday line also includes vegetable bowls, mugs, a heater, and covered sugar dish.

The Holiday Serving Platter by Villeroy and Boch retails for $ 69.95 and can be purchased here

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Ginger-Studded Sugar Cookies
Recipe by Kevin Sbraga from Food and Wine Magazine

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Royal Icing, colored sugars and silver dragées, for decoration (optional)

Directions:
1. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the flour and salt at low speed until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar, ginger, vanilla and orange zest and beat at low speed until smooth. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 disks. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working in batches if necessary, roll out the dough a scant 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Stamp out shapes as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 14 to 18 minutes depending on their size. Transfer to a rack to cool. Meanwhile, refrigerate the scraps until chilled, then reroll, stamp out more cookies and bake.
3. Decorate the cookies with Royal Icing, colored sugars and silver dragées.

Make Ahead:
The baked, undecorated cookies can be wrapped well and frozen for up to 1 month. The decorated cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Chocolate-and-Pistachio Biscotti
Recipe by Kevin Sbraga from Food and Wine Magazine

Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups raw pistachios, plus chopped pistachios for garnish
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Melted bittersweet chocolate, for dipping

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla seeds and rum and beat until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and beat at low speed until incorporated. Beat in the whole pistachios.
2. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 1 1/4-inch-thick log. Arrange 2 logs on each baking sheet about 3 inches apart and press to flatten slightly. Brush the logs with the egg white.
3. Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, until the tops are cracked and glossy and slightly firm to the touch. Let the logs cool slightly.
4. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the logs into 1/3-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheets; bake for about 20 minutes, until dry. Let cool completely. Partially dip the biscotti in the melted chocolate and sprinkle lightly with chopped pistachios. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

Make Ahead:

The biscotti can be stored between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.

Serena Norr is a NYC-based writer/editor, soup-maker, and more importantly, a mama. You can read more soup recipes on her blog: seriouslysoupy.blogspot.com. 

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