This year, when I was planning my usual holiday cookies, I resolved to limit myself to a dozen or so favorites, like gingerbread trees, girl scout thin mints, and my mom's sugar cookies. But as I got going, I started thinking about how to balance textures, flavors, and colors, adding an oatmeal lace cookie for crispness, linzer cookies to get some fruit flavors in there, and Italian rainbows for color.
Sometimes I was intrigued by the look of a cookie, like the chocolate rosette sandwiches with marshmallow buttercream. Or I was seduced by the concept, like chocolate brownie-stuffed chocolate chip cookies. I had almond paste left over from my rainbow cookies--what to do? I know, make pignoli cookies!
The result was a total of 32 different kinds of cookies, which I'll list below, with as many links as I could find so you can try making them yourself. My secret was to get started before Thanksgiving (and not to host Thanksgiving!). Almost all cookie dough can be made in advance and frozen, which I did by wrapping the dough in plastic wrap, then a layer of tin foil, and then inserted into sealed freezer plastic bags to ward off any potential for freezer burn. Many cookies also freeze well after they're baked, particularly shortbread-style cookies, but even my raspberry crumb bars come out of the freezer perfectly fresh and delicious.
Judging by my and my friends' reactions, the biggest crowd pleasers were: red velvet whoopee pies, chocolate rosettes with marshmallow buttercream, peanut butter sandwich cookies with peanut butter and chocolate filling, lemon goodies, brownie-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies strawberry linzer cookies, and girl scout thin mints.
I think 32 may be a record I won't try to beat in the future, but you never know...
Here's the list!
1. Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting Filling
2. Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
3. Palmier Pinwheels with Jam Centers
4. Brownie-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
5. Chocolate Rosette Sandwiches with Marshmallow Filling
6. Lemon Rosette Sandwiches with Marshmallow Filling
7. Chocolate Cookie Cups with Whipped Milk Chocolate Ganache (I filled the cups with a ganache from a different recipe, found in the cookbook The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
8. Raspberry Crumb Bars
9. Browned Butter Shortbread
10. Italian Rainbow Cookies
11. Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
12. Lemon Goldies
13. Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons
14. Strawberry Linzer Cookies
15. Pignoli Cookies
16. Pecan Cinnamon Sledges
17. Peppermint Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies
18. Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Peanut Butter and Chocolate Filling
19. Girl Scout Thin Mints
20. Orange Cinnamon Cookies
21. Lemon Cardamom Cookies
22. Martha Stewart's Favorite Cookie: Chewy Chocolate Molasses Cookies
23. Gingerbread Trees with Lemon Icing
24. Chocolate Dream Cookies with M&Ms or Thin Mints
25. Iced Sugar Cookies
26. Pistachio Mexican Wedding Cookies
27. Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
28. Cinnamon Roll Cookies
29. White Chocolate Dipped Green Tea Shortbread
30. Berry Glazed Earl Grey Shortbread *for the tea-flavored shortbreads, I used the same recipe for the green tea shortbread and tried different flavors of tea*
31. White Chocolate Dipped Chai Shortbread
32. Berry Glazed Jasmine Shortbread