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Dominate the Holiday Office Party Game With These Cookie Recipes

Shondaland logo Shondaland 12/4/2018 Kelly Cheever and Aubrey Gelinas
a box filled with different types of food: Celebrate #NationalCookieDay the right way. © AlexRaths - Getty Images Celebrate #NationalCookieDay the right way.

One of the best things we were both lucky enough to experience is a childhood full of happy memories in the kitchen, especially around the holidays. Donning our little aprons, we pulled up our step stools and spent hours baking cookies and talking alongside the women who raised us. We would box, wrap, and ribbon hundreds of cookies each winter, and then go in-person to gift each sweet treat to our neighbors, family, and friends.

It may sound a bit hokey and old-fashioned but we believe strongly in the idea that food has the power to strengthen community. There is something special about crafting every bite with love and sharing that love with the people around you.

So even if you are just beginning to learn your way around the kitchen we invite you join us on this sweet little trip down memory lane. No matter which holidays you celebrate, hand-crafted treats made with love are a simple (and delicious!) way to bring us all a little bit closer together.

Chocolate Balls © onepony - Getty Images Chocolate Balls

No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls

What you need:

  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 10 oz bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles/decorations of your choice

The Step-by-Step:

  1. In a large mixing bowl and using your hands, combine powdered sugar and peanut butter. Then fold in melted butter and continue to mix until texture and look is consistent.
  2. Begin to roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, placing on a sheet tray lined with wax paper.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and place a toothpick in the top of each ball.
  5. Next put your chocolate chips in a large microwaveable bowl. Heat in 30-second increments, being careful to stir well as you go. It will melt quickly and can overheat easily so take your time here.
  6. Once melted, coat each ball in the chocolate and place back on the wax paper.
  7. Decorate as you like before the chocolate dries.

(Makes approximately 24 balls)

Peppermint Bark © MSPhotographic - Getty Images Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark

What You Need:

  • 2 10 oz bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 10 oz bag white chocolate chips
  • 5 regular-sized candy canes
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

The Step-by-Step:

  1. Pour white chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips separately into two microwaveable bowls.
  2. Add ¼ tsp peppermint oil to each bowl.
  3. Place your candy canes in a sealed plastic bag, eliminating as much air as possible.
  4. Using a mallet or hammer, lightly bang on the candy canes until they are all in small pieces.
  5. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  6. In the microwave, heat your semi-sweet chips in 30-second increments until just melted through. Be careful to stop and stir as you go.
  7. Pour the chocolate onto the baking sheet and smooth into an even layer with a spatula.
  8. Repeat this process with the white chocolate chips.
  9. Use a knife to swirl them together in a nice design and sprinkle your candy cane shards evenly across the top.
  10. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour. Use a knife to cut into triangular pieces.

(Makes about 12 pieces)

a plate of food: Aromatic lavender cookies. French cuisine, handmade © Sunteya - Getty Images Aromatic lavender cookies. French cuisine, handmade

Lavender Dream Cookies

What You Need:

  • 8 oz unsalted butter, left at room temperature to soften
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lavender extract, divided (or 4 tsp lavender syrup like Monin – both can be purchased on Amazon)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

The Step-by-Step:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In medium mixing bowl add eggs, sugar, butter, and lavender extract. Use hand mixer to combine thoroughly – a small blender will also work well.
  3. In large mixing bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add wet ingredients to this bowl and mix well.
  4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and coat with cooking oil spray.
  5. Using a spoon, place cookie dough in small mounds on your baking sheets, about 12 per sheet. Be sure to space them as evenly as possible.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until edges are golden brown. Watch closely as oven temps vary.
  7. Let cool thoroughly.
  8. Combine powdered sugar, water, and remaining lavender extract in small bowl and whisk until smooth to make frosting.
  9. Drizzle frosting over cookies. Decorate with purple sprinkles, dried lavender flowers or any edible flowers you like.

(Makes about 24 cookies)

a piece of cake on a plate: Red velvet valentine's day cookies © LeeAnnWhite - Getty Images Red velvet valentine's day cookies

Inside-out Red Velvet Cookies

What You Need:

  • 2 egg
  • 12 tablespoons butter, left at room temperature to soften
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 12 oz boxes full-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

The Step-by-Step:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar in small bowl until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Line two baking sheets with wax paper and coat with cooking oil spray.
  4. In medium mixing bowl use hand mixer to beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
  5. Add egg and vanilla extract and mix through.
  6. Add flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and food coloring and beat until you have created a dough with consistent texture throughout.
  7. Grab a scoop of dough and roll into a ball using your hands, then flatten into a little pancake that is about 2 inches in diameter. In the center of that pancake add a generous pinch of cream cheese filling, about 2 tsp worth. Bring the sides of your pancake up around the filling and pinch closed then roll into a ball using the palms of your hands. Place on baking sheet 3 inches apart and put in oven for 15-17 minutes (in batches if necessary.)

(Makes about 24 cookies)

a piece of cake on a plate: Warm Homemade Gingersnap Cookies © bhofack2 - Getty Images Warm Homemade Gingersnap Cookies

New England Molasses Cookies (aka Joe Froggers)

What You Need:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons rum or 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Sugar to sprinkle on top

The Step-by-Step:

  1. In a large bowl, beat shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk molasses, hot water, and rum together.
  3. In a third bowl combine all remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Alternate between the molasses mixture and third bowl with dry ingredients – adding a bit of each to the large bowl first mentioned and beating after each addition until all ingredients are combined in the large bowl.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about four hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 375.
  7. Line baking sheet with wax paper and spray with cooking oil.
  8. Shape dough into 1 ½ -inch balls and place 3 inches apart on baking sheet.
  9. Using the bottom of a drinking glass, press on each one to flatten to about ½-inch thickness. Sprinkle with sugar.
  10. Bake 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

(Makes about 24 cookies)

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