F&W offers 12 of our favorite baked dessert recipes for the 12 days of Christmas.
Food & Wine
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Roll-and-Cut Sugar Cookies
The dough recipe here is ideal: durable enough to withstand rolling and rerolling, yet soft enough to cut neatly. The cookies themselves are extremely versatile. They can be simply sprinkled with sugar and baked; or, after they’re baked, they can be decorated with royal icing or sandwiched with jam and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.
Maria Helm Sinskey created this delicious cake as an homage to the classic European princess cake; her simpler version substitutes whipped cream for pastry cream and a luscious chocolate glaze for marzipan.
Pastry chef Nicole Plue was intrigued by a recipe she discovered for matzo covered in toffee and chocolate. But she knew she could improve it by using crackers instead of matzo for a hit of salt. Now the saltines, slathered with buttery toffee and bittersweet chocolate, are a favorite on her petit four tray.
Delicate and substantial at the same time, Nick Malgieri’s pistachio-topped coconut meringues are chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside. For the best results, bake them on a dry day: Humidity can make meringues disappointingly soft.
These delightful nut bars, inspired by a recipe from Ken Oringer’s mother-in-law, are both gooey and crisp. Oringer sometimes adds a pinch of curry powder to the caramel because, he says, “I like for people to bite into these and wonder what the spice is. I love that element of surprise.”
These marvelous Christmas cookies combine chocolate with spicy gingerbread. “I was tired of basic gingerbread,” says Matt Lewis. “And my connection to chocolate is really deep.” An added benefit of these cookies: The supple dough is very easy to work with, and the scraps can be rerolled and cut out.
A stuffed cookie is like a sandwich cookie, only with more cream on the inside—it’s fatter, fuller and (if you’re the kind of person who twists apart the cookies to get to the cream) better. Pastry chef Jessica Sullivan makes hers with nutty chocolate-chip cookies and silky chocolate ganache.