Cookies that Wow

by Laura M.

The holidays can put a lot of pressure on people. Cards to be written and mailed, trees and your home to be decorated, perfect gifts to be bought for all your loved ones and…finding the most unique cookie to make for that cookie swap.

I mean, you could just phone it in. Make the standard sugar cookie with icing. But secretly, deep down inside, you want yours to be the one that everyone ooohs and ahhhhs over.

Limitations on tools, ingredients, or a well-proven family recipe might leave you feeling locked in. Just remember that you can always make things up as you go along.

Here are a few suggestions:

Mary Mayer’s Raspberry Linzer Tarts

This recipe comes from a lovely cookbook called “Recipes Remembered” curated by June Hersh. Not only does the book have yummy recipes but it also shares the inspiring stories of families who survived the Holocaust. I gave the cookbook to my friend Alecia as a Hanukkah gift but before giving it to her, I tried out this recipe. It turned out to be a nice lesson in improv.

I wanted to make my Linzer tarts in the shape of the Star of David. But I didn’t have a cookie cutter in that shape. Brilliant bestie Darla suggested I just draw it on a piece of paper and use that as a template. Why didn’t I think of that??? 🙂


Then I used some sort of utensil, I don’t even know what you call it, to cut the shape of the cookie. It’s a device that came with a cheeseboard. You could always use a regular knife:


I bring this up in case you ever want to improvise your own cookie shape. Don’t be deterred just because you don’t have a cookie cutter!

I should mention that the reason these cookies are such a great pick is that you probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboard:

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Stained Glass Window Cookie


Let’s all take a moment to appreciate how PRETTY these cookies are! And how clever to melt Jolly Ranchers in the middle to make them look like stained glass windows – amiright?

I found this recipe in the latest Cooking Light issue, which I purchased to help my friend Heather’s kiddo earn money for his classroom. You can find the recipe here.

Dark Chocolate Stars


These are also quite pretty. And easy to pass off as your own, especially when you serve them in your Grandmother’s beautiful glass dish. OK, you guessed it – they’re from Trader Joe’s. Hey – I won’t tell if you don’t.

Check in tomorrow to learn about Ellen’s favorite family Christmas cookie recipe. And feel free to share your favorite in the comments below!


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