Guest blogger, Heather is behind the blog Kitchen Concoctions, a blog that features fast, fresh, family friendly recipes, cooking tips & tricks and much more.
One of my favorite childhood holiday memories was baking dozens and dozens of cookies. Our little kitchen would be covered in flour, eggs, massive amounts of brightly colored sprinkles; all while festive music and little giggles of laughter filled the air. In addition to baking up copious amounts of cookies, banana bread and brownies; I always looked forward to the holiday cookie exchange parties or cookie platters delivered by neighbors. It was fun to see all the varieties of cookies, brownies and bars that adorned colorful plates, but even the little foodie in me back then was on the look out for that one cookie that stood out among the rest.
So many similar cookies often show up at holiday cookie exchange parties but it is easy to take your favorite cookie or bar recipe and make it into a holiday party knock out with a simple addition. Below are a few easy ways to add a little extra holiday “spice” to those family favorite cookie recipes.
Think outside the cookie box: Even if you are not very creative in the kitchen a few simple swaps will make your holiday cookies standout among the rest. If your recipe calls for milk or water, using all natural fruit juice, coffee, eggnog, coconut milk and even Stubb’s Sticky Sweet Bar-B-Q Sauce can add an extra depth of flavor to cakes, glazes and pies.
Stir in some mix-ins: A quick and easy way to change up a basic sugar, oatmeal or chocolate chip cookie recipe is by adding in nuts, chopped candy bars, dried fruit, coconut flakes, marshmallows and even potato chips. These extra mix-ins will quickly transform your “tried and true” holiday favorite and make it something fresh and new!
Add a little extra spice: Don’t be afraid to increase the amount of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, or nutmeg called for in a recipe to add an extra pop of flavor. Even spices like black pepper (the perfect addition to pumpkin pie or apple cake), cayenne pepper (which pairs perfectly with chocolate) or Stubb’s Spice Rub (for a unique spin on lime bars or pecan pie) can make simple desserts over the top.
Swap out the extracts: Vanilla extract is a common ingredient in many cakes, cookies and frosting recipes. However, baking aisles at most grocery stores are filled with a variety of extracts and flavoring oils. Try adding some almond extract to your basic buttercream frosting or adding peppermint extract and peppermint candies to your favorite brownies for a festive holiday twist.
Feeling inspired to change up your standard holiday recipes? Give these Thin and Chewy Sticky Sweet Cookies, a chewy cookie with crispy edges, filled with warm winter spices, a try! Or check out one of these other popular dessert recipes, with a new twist!