Cookies on a plate

Ten cookies enter. One cookie wins.

Try a new holiday cookie recipe, on us!

The holiday cookie bake-off has become a tradition at Simple Truth, and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a competitive bunch. Below are the recipes from this year’s participants. We’re sorry we ate them all already, but we need your help deciding which cookie sounds like it deserves bragging rights. Which one looks the best to you?

Karen’s Grapefruit Vanilla Shortbread

Makes 16.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated grapefruit zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
  • Himalayan pink salt, dried hibiscus flowers, red sprinkles or sanding sugar, dried rose petals and/or cracked pink peppercorns (for serving; optional)

Special Equipment

  • 9″ springform pan

Preparation

Dough can be pressed into pan 1 day ahead.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly butter pan.
  3. Pulse grapefruit zest, vanilla extract, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a food processor until smooth and homogenous.
  4. Add flour and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; pulse just to combine.
  5. Press dough evenly into prepared pan, smoothing top with a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup.
  6. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
  7. Prick shortbread all over with a fork 1″ to 2″ apart and bake until edges are golden and center is pale but firm to the touch. (15 to 18 minutes)
  8. Remove band from pan and immediately cut shortbread into 16 wedges. Let cool.
  9. Whisk grapefruit juice, a pinch of kosher salt and remaining 1 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl until smooth.
  10. Spread a thin layer of icing over shortbreads with a small offset spatula, leaving a thin border of crust exposed.
  11. Top as desired. Let sit 10 to 15 minutes to allow glaze to set. Retrace cut marks.
  12. Cover and chill.

Shannon’s Peanut Butter Blossoms

peanut-butter-blossoms

Makes about 48 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 48 Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  3. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended.
  4. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy.
  5. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.
  6. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  7. Shape dough into 1″ balls.
  8. Roll in granulated sugar, if desired; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  9. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges.
  10. Remove from cookies sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. 

Mande’s Peppermint Mocha Cookies

peppermint

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder or 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini or regular size semisweet chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large candy canes, crushed

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on medium speed until completely smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and light in color.
  3. Beat in egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts on high speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt together until combined.
  5. On low speed, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick.
  6. Switch to high speed and beat in the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky.
  7. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this cookie dough. I always chill mine overnight.
  8. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes—if the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This makes the cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  10. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  11. Scoop and roll balls of dough, about 1.5 Tablespoons of dough each, into balls and place on the baking sheets.
  12. Bake the cookies for 8 to 9 minutes. (My oven has hot spots and yours may too, so be sure to rotate the pan once during bake time.) The baked cookies will look extremely soft in the centers when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. They will slightly deflate as you let them cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  13. Melt the chopped white chocolate in a double boiler or (carefully!) use the microwave. For the microwave, place the white chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Melt in 15-second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth.
  14. Dip each completely cooled cookie halfway into the white chocolate and place onto a parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet.
  15. Sprinkle crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate. Repeat with the rest of the cooled cookies.
  16. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator to help the chocolate set. Once set, enjoy!

Maura’s Chocolate Chip Cookies with Peanut Butter Morsels

cc-pb

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup peanut butter morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  6. Stir in morsels and nuts.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Pan cookie variation: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 15″ x 10″ jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.

Mick’s Magic 5 Cookies (Holiday Edition)

oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon molasses 
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preparation

  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and oats together. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. 
  3. Add the eggs and beat on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the vanilla and molasses and mix on high until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined.
  6. With the mixer running on low speed, add the white chocolate, dried cranberries, coconut and pecans. Dough will be thick, yet very sticky. 
  7. Chill the dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator (and up to 3 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, though, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard and the cookies may not spread.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  9. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  10. Roll balls of dough (about 1-1/2 tablespoons of dough per cookie) and place 2″ apart on the baking sheets.
  11. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes, until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. While the cookies are still warm, I like to press a few more white chocolate chips into the tops—this is only for looks!

Cathy’s Chocolate-Dipped Almond Horns

almond-horn

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • Powdered sugar 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In large mixer bowl, combine powdered sugar and butter, and beat at medium speed for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add egg yolks and vanilla, continue beating until blended.
  4. Add flour, almonds, cream of tartar and baking soda. Continue beating until well mixed.
  5. Shape into 1″ balls, roll into ropes, shape into crescents.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes (cookies do not brown).
  7. Cool completely. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate, sprinkle remaining half with powdered sugar.
  8. Refrigerate until set.

Ina’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocchip

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted butter, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup brown sugar (medium color)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package Nestlé semisweet chocolate chips

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, add room-temperature soft butter, brown and granulated sugars, vanilla extract, and one egg, then whip it up with a fork until it has a frosting-like consistency.
  4. Once it is like frosting, add the other egg. Beat, beat, beat. Start adding your flour a little at a time.
  5. Once done, mix in chocolate chips. 
  6. Grease baking sheet with Crisco. 
  7. Scoop mixture and roll into medium-size balls (6 cookies per sheet).
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, then take them out and let them rest for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet. After 2 minutes, transfer cookies to a paper towel to cool. This way they will be soft and chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside.  

Cesar’s All-Purpose Butter Cookies

sugar-with-nutmeg

Makes about 3 dozen. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar, processed to fine texture in a food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk, plus 1 whole egg
  • 2-1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Melted dark chocolate for dipping (optional)

Preparation

  1. Cream butter, sugar, nutmeg and salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Add yolk, beat well, then add whole egg and vanilla; continue beat­ing until well incorporated.
  3. Add flour and beat on low speed until flour is just mixed.
  4. Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (Dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or double-wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.)
  5. Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions and bake cookies at 375°F until lightly brown. 
  6. Optional: Once cookies are cooled, cover the bottoms in melted dark chocolate, then place upside down on cooling rack to let chocolate set.

Sharon’s Fudge Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies

no-bake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats

Preparation

  1. Blend together sugar, cocoa powder, butter and milk.
  2. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  3. Beat peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal into the chocolate mixture and mix well.
  4. Form into little patties and place on wax paper to set.

Rhonda’s Butterscotch Blondie Bars with Peanut-Pretzel Caramel

blondies

Makes 10 bars.

Ingredients

BLONDIE

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

PEANUT-PRETZEL CARAMEL

  • 4 cups roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups 1-1/2″-wide thin twisted pretzels, coarsely crushed

Preparation

BLONDIE

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1″ overhang on long sides of pan.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Stir butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until browned bits form at bottom of pan, 7 to 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand. (2 to 3 minutes)
  6. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy and well combined. ( about 2 minutes)
  7. Add dry ingredients; beat until smooth (batter will be thick).
  8. Using an offset or regular spatula, evenly spread batter in prepared pan.
  9. Bake blondie until golden brown, edges pull away from sides of pan, and a tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. (20 to 25 minutes)
  10. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

PEANUT-PRETZEL CARAMEL

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Spread peanuts over the sheet in an even layer.
  4. Bake, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, then set aside. (5 to 7 minutes)
  5. Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.
  6. Increase heat; boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until caramel is deep amber. (12 to 15 minutes)
  7. Add honey; return to a boil, stirring often. (about 1 minute longer)
  8. Add butter; stir until blended.
  9. Add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously); whisk until smooth.
  10. Stir in peanuts and pretzels.
  11. Pour over cooled blondie.
  12. Chill until cool.(about 30 minutes)
  13. Run a knife around short sides of pan to release blondie. Using parchment paper overhang, lift from pan. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 10 bars.


The office winner? The Magic 5 cookies compliments of Mick (or rather his wife Stephanie). Most of these recipes came from our families and our hearts which is why we wanted to share them with you. Try giving one of them a shot for your next holiday party and let us know how they turned out!