Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on News Radio 830 WCCO! See all of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top 5 lists here!
What kind of a top-5 list runs to an actual top-7? Of course it’s a list of all-American, top Minnesotan Christmas cookies, the ones you are guaranteed to see in any good church cookie-sale, and which you should make. Make all the cookies! Then bring them to all your neighbors. Then be happy: you did it!
Peanut Butter Blossoms
You know this cookie by the whole entire Hershey’s kiss stuck in the middle of the thing. They’re truly kid-magnets, and if your goal is to have the first empty-plate on the buffet these are the ones to make. They’re also very fun to make with little ones who are good at sticking a chocolate kiss in the dough. Very satisfying.
Chocolate and peppermint pretzel haystacks
A no-bake crowd pleaser, all you do is melt chocolate, smash up some pretzel sticks (you can use gluten free if you like), shape, sprinkle with bits of broken candy cane, done! I find these irresistible.
I know for a lot of you Christmas requires snickerdoodles, and so I am sharing an extra buttery recipe—though if you want to know my secret sometimes I just put cinnamon sugar on some sugar cookies and call it good. Because I’m lazy! Or efficient. One of those.
Raspberry jam sandwich cookies
Here’s how I roll. All summer I collect interesting jams at the farmer’s market. Then I find fun and interesting ways to use them in the winter, like peeking out from raspberry jam sandwich cookies. Though you can use any jam! Rhubarb strawberry is pretty.
Barefoot Contessa’s gluten-free jam thumbprints
I wanted to get a special gluten-free recipe up for you gluten-free folk, and here it is—a very delightful coconut cookie recipe with a perfect little nesty place for jam or marmelade or chocolate ganache.
Amy Thielen’s Sugar cut-out cookies
One of the best parts of having kids at Christmas is making the sugar cookies, and friend of the show Amy Thielen has shared a great recipe with us all. My advice: Get the good butter. I prefer Hope Creamery butter out of southern Minnesota’s town of Hope. It’s fantastic. And I always use salted even though pastry people say unsalted is better. I just like the final results more!
Do you have an old Spritz-cookie-press lurking in the cupboard? Get it out for these simple cream-cheese cookies. My grandma Kay used to make these, and then my mom, and now me, and to me they are just the absolute taste of Christmas the essence of cookie. If you want you can divide the dough and tint individual batches with food-coloring, or dip them in chocolate. They’re really such lovely classic cookies. Even though they don’t look very extreme or extravagant, they just make my year.