Sweet Treats: Christmas Cookies with Fruit, Cream, and Spice

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At Christmastime, cookie exchanges and recipe-swap parties are everywhere; if you’ve got one (or several) coming up, try a few of these crowd-pleasing alternative Christmas cookies that go way beyond gingerbread, as featured at Better Homes & Gardens (bhg.com). Are there lemon lovers in the house? Make a Lemony Star Sandwich cookie with lemon curd and mascarpone cheese for a crunchy outside and chewy citrus inside. You can choose 7-layer bars for a little taste of sweet, tart, and crunchy on an orange-graham cracker crust, or make a basic cookie dough recipe that can be turned into Roly-Poly Santas or lots of other fun shapes. Love mint chocolate chip ice cream? Try Mint Meringue Kisses, with their “core” of melted chocolate, for that taste in a handy bite-sized cookie.

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If you know someone who “swoons” for macaroons, they’ll put you on Santa’s “nice” list if you present a neat almond-and-cherry version with buttercream filling! The mellow flavor of Dulce de Leche highlights a dark chocolate/cinnamon sandwich cookie; star anise-and-vanilla crescent cookies, sprinkled with powdered sugar, are sure to win some smiles. And for those of you who can’t get enough biscotti (and you know who you are), a cranberry-pistachio version gives you red and green coloring in a soft, chewy cookie that’s eminently “dunkable” — and giftable. Finally, look for a touch of decadence in the center of Cherry Surprise Crinkles — we won’t tell if you don’t! Cookies are one of the best ways to share good wishes from your kitchen…bake some of these and enjoy the kudos!

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