hot cocoa cookies
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Quick and Easy Holiday Cookies

Happy Holidays, Friends! 

Welcome back to a SUPER sweet holiday edition of Whatcheescooking, the culinary klatch where I share with you the tips, recipes, and products to make restaurant-quality meals a reality at your family’s table. 

For this month’s klatch, I will share three of my family’s favorite holiday cookie recipes that are quick and easy to put together, are TOTAL crowd-pleasers, and look festive and fantastic on any cookie plate.

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Quick and Easy Holiday Cookies are a Family Staple

When I was younger, I remember my mom and aunties baking and cooking furiously to prepare for our family’s annual Christmas Eve get-together. 

Baking and decorating endless quantities of sugar cookies, making countless batches of Chex Mix (my mom makes THE best) and pies, candies … ALL the goodies.

Disclaimer: My mom still stays up WAY too late making Christmas goodies to share with us all. She’s the best. 

So, naturally when I had kids, I wanted those traditions to continue. 

My kids know they’re getting ALL of their favorites when they’re home for the holidays, and I absolutely love spoiling them. Acts of Service, you know? 

The treats below are three of my family’s favorites that they LOVE to see on my cookie plates throughout the holiday season – and I know you’ll love them, too!

No-Bake Ritz Cookies

PB + Chocolate = Love 

Ingredients

  • 2 sleeves of Ritz crackers
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (not natural, as it runs out the sides) 
  • Your choice of chocolate or chocolate melts (more reliable, less temperamental than chocolate) 
  • Sprinkles of choice



Instructions 

Step 1: Once you’ve assembled your ingredients, begin spreading peanut butter on one sleeve of Ritz crackers.

Step 2: Top peanut-buttered-Ritz crackers with non PB’d ones to create little, peanut-butter-Ritz-cracker sandwiches. Place into the refrigerator to chill.

Step 3: Either in the microwave or over a double boiler on your stovetop, begin to melt your chocolate melts. If using a microwave, make sure to melt in 30-second intervals, stirring between each round in the microwave so that you don’t scorch your chocolate. 

Step 4: Once chocolate is melted all silky smooth, remove Ritz/PB “sandwiches” from the refrigerator.

Step 5: Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and get ready to start dunking those sandwiches.

Step 6: Using tongs or two forks, dunk each sandwich into the melted chocolate. Make sure to coat evenly and set onto the parchment paper lined pan.

Step 7: Decorate as you would like, though I usually stick to my favorite sprinkle mix.

Step 8: Place into the refrigerator until chocolate is set.

These “cookies” are chocolatey, crunchy, buttery and peanut buttery with just the right amount of salt to balance them out. They go FAST in our house, so it feels like I am constantly making more and more throughout the season. Plate up with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy! 

Serinakaker (Norwegian Butter Cookies)

Traditional Norwegian butter cookies, or Serinakaker are simple, quick to make and a delicious holiday favorite.

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar (icing/powdered sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons butter, cold
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg white, beaten 
  • Sprinkles of choice/Pearl sugar to decorate


Instructions 

Step 1: Put your cheese grater into the freezer to chill, along with the butter.

Leave for 10-15 minutes to get nice and cold.

Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients, including flour, powdered sugar, vanilla, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Grate the chilled butter with your chilled box grater, and add it to the dry ingredients.

Continue to crumble the mixture with your hands (or a stand mixer) until it forms small crumbs, like coarse sand.

Step 4: Beat the egg in a separate bowl, then add it to the butter/flour mixture.

Mix until the dough comes together, but be careful to not overwork the dough.

Step 5: Roll the dough into a log; wrap and place in the fridge for about an hour.

Step 6: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 7: Remove from the refrigerator, slice off small sections of dough and roll them into small balls in your hands (about the size of a ping-pong ball). 

Place the dough balls on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and, using the bottom of a glass, flatten out. 

Step 8: Brush with egg white and sprinkle pearl sugar, or sprinkles of your choice.

Step 9: Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the bottom is very slightly brown. Do not over bake. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

These tender, buttery cookies are a nod to my Norwegian heritage, and they look beautifully festive for being so simple. 

Note: I will encourage you to use REALLY nice, quality butter, as it enriches the butter flavor, which is central to this cookie’s identity.

Hot Cocoa Cookies

TOTALLY craveable Hot Cocoa Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup hot cocoa mix of choice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips or baking chocolate



Instructions 

Step 1: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.

Step 2: Add the egg, vanilla extract, and hot chocolate powder, and mix until well incorporated.

Add flour and mix until well incorporated.

Step 3: Turn dough out of the mixing bowl, pat the dough into a disc, wrap and chill for AT LEAST 45 minutes.

Step 4: Once the dough is chilled and ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  

Step 5: Roll the dough 1/4 inches thick on a lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of parchment paper, and cut into desired shapes. 

I like to use a scalloped rectangle so that these bad boys fit into my mugs of coffee or cocoa. Priorities. 

Step 6: Bake for 7-9 minutes. Remove and let cool on pan for 10 minutes before transferring to parchment to cool.

Decorate however you would like! I usually dip half into melted white chocolate, and top with crushed candy canes and sprinkles… HOWEVER, they are delicious frosted and plain as well. You really cannot go wrong. 

These three cookies are realistic, honest and delicious in their simplicity, and because I, too, am a working mom, they’re also busy-life friendly. I hope you enjoy making them as much as you’ll enjoy eating them. 

And, regardless of how you choose to celebrate, I hope you are able to be with family and/or friends this holiday season. 

Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Do you have a favorite holiday cookie? No shame if it’s bought vs. homemade!

Kim Lehr

Kim Lehr is a bar/restaurant industry veteran who owns The Accompaniment Co. and is obsessed with all things pickled. Most importantly? She’s a wife and mom who wants to feed her family more healthful, wholesome, flavorful, and creative meals. Join her to share some of those meals and her small batch, local products with your family’s table.

read all of kim’s articles here.

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