For the love of Cookies

'Tis the season for home-baked holiday cookies! These sweet little treats make great gifts for friends or family and guarantee you won’t show up empty-handed to a holiday party. So warm up the oven and get ready to bake up a batch (or two or three). Here are 6 delicious cookies to give, swap or just keep to yourself this holiday season – all courtesy of top local food bloggers.

Jammy Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 45 cookies

4 cups barley flour
3 cups toasted unsalted whole almonds crushed in a food processor
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup canola oil
1 cup maple syrup
Your favorite jam flavors

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the jam, in a large bowl. Take some of the mixture in your hand and see if it will stick together and form a ball. If the dough does not hold together alternate adding a teaspoon of maple syrup or canola oil until the dough holds together. Keep in mind this dough is incredible crumbly. Form into rounded tablespoon-sized balls and space them evenly on baking sheets lined with parchment. Use a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon to make an indentation in each cookie. Fill each cookie with a small amount of jam. Bake until cookies are evenly browned, about 20 minutes.

– Recipe and photo courtesy of Arctic Garden Studio (

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies with Orange

Makes about 2 dozen large cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet. Cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla, orange zest and orange juice.
Combine the flour, salt and baking soda, oats, then stir in the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Allow space, as these cookies do spread out. Bake 10 minutes. Cookies will be golden and crisp on edges, slightly gooey in the center. Do not over bake. Allow to cool 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

– Recipe and photo courtesy of Alaska From Scratch (

Double Chocolate Bourbon Balls

Makes 24 cookies

1 9-oz package chocolate wafer cookies
1 cup pecans, toasted
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 Tbs cocoa powder
1/2 cup bourbon

Add chocolate wafer cookies, pecans, powdered sugar and cocoa powder in the bowl of a food processor. Chop until mixture is reduced to coarse chunks. Pour in bourbon and process until mixture is totally combined. Roll into small teaspoon sized balls. Place in covered container in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to one week. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

– Recipe and photo courtesy of Arctic Garden Studio (

Eggnog Butter Cookies

Makes 48 cookies

14 Tbs (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dark rum
2 tsp brandy
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg yolk
2 cups all-purpose flour
powdered sugar and additional grated nutmeg for dusting the cookies

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fully mixed, but not fluffy. Beat in the salt, vanilla, rum, brandy, nutmeg and egg yolk. Add the flour and mix until it is just incorporated. Dump the dough onto a cutting board and knead a few times to gather up the dry pieces of dough. Roll dough into a 12” x 2” log, wrap and refrigerate overnight. At this point you can refrigerate the dough for up to three days or freeze it for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a rack in the center of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove chilled dough from fridge and cut the log in half. Return half to the fridge. Cut the dough in 1/4 inch thick slices and place on cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake about 14 minutes or until the cookies are just barely golden brown at the edges. Place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack and let cool completely before removing cookies. Repeat process with remaining cookie dough in the fridge. Once completely cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and a little fresh grated nutmeg. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

– Recipe and photo courtesy of Arctic Garden Studio (

Guilt-Free Pecan Pie Cookies
(paleo & vegan)

Makes about 18 cookies

For the filling:
1/3 cup dates, chopped
5 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbs almond milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

For the cookie base:
2 1/4 cup blanched almond flour, gently packed
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
5 Tbs coconut oil, at room temperature
3 Tbs maple syrup
1-2 Tbs almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the filling:
Cover the chopped dates in 1 cup of hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, almond milk and vanilla extract. Stir until the coconut oil is just melted and then remove from heat. Drain and discard the hot water from the dates, and place the dates in a blender with the saucepan contents. Blend until smooth, pour back into the saucepan (so you don’t dirty another bowl) and then stir in the sea salt and chopped pecans. Set aside.

To make the cookie base and form the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond meal, sea salt and baking soda. Whisk in the coconut oil until the dough resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla and almond milk. Start with 1 tablespoon of almond milk and add another tablespoon only if the dough needs more moisture to pull it together. Roll the dough into balls (using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough each) and place on the cookie sheet. Flatten the balls of dough and use your fingers to make a well (or indentation) in the middle of the cookies. Generously fill the cookies with the pecan pie filling. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Allow the cookies to completely cool on the cookie sheet (otherwise they will fall apart).

– Recipe and photo courtesy of Allergy Free Alaska (

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Makes 25 cookies

6 oz unsweetened chocolate,
coarsely chopped
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 tsp espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz white chocolate chunks
1/2 cup finely chopped candy cane pieces (or peppermint candies), divided

Combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water. Stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the eggs with the sugar, espresso powder and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture, stir to combine. Stir in white chocolate chunks and 1/4 cup peppermint candy cane pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 days.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place heaping tablespoons of cookie batter 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, until they are puffed, dry and crackled on the surface but soft within. As soon as cookies are removed from oven, sprinkle with remaining candy cane pieces. Place cookies on a cooling rack. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to two days.

– Recipe and photo courtesy of Arctic Garden Studio (