Health

Not for you, Cindy Lou! These tasty holiday treats are for grownups

Holiday reception desserts from the White House, including cookies created to look like the first family's pets.
Holiday reception desserts from the White House, including cookies created to look like the first family's pets.
TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

The sweet aroma of cookies baking wafts through the kitchen as the kids trample in and plead, "When are they gonna be ready?" Smile and reply softly, "Soon. But these are for the company, dear hearts."

And these cookies will still be there when your guests arrive, because the kids will taste them and move onto the chocolate chips and frosted Santas.

With twinges of flavors like anise, cardamom, basil, liqueur and coffee, these treats definitely appeal to grown-up taste buds.

"All Things Considered" has gathered recipes from three bakers who suggest these adult holiday cookies.

MISO MACADAMIA BLONDIES

Genevieve Ko is a baker, food writer and author of "Better Baking: Wholesome Ingredients, Delicious Desserts." She shares this recipe from her book.

In Genevieve Ko's blondies, macadamia nuts take the place of butter and flour
In Genevieve Ko's blondies, macadamia nuts take the place of butter and flour
Melissa Gray/NPR

The butterscotch pleasure of blondies intensifies when macadamia nuts take the place of butter and flour. With a creamy richness that evokes pound cake, the roasted nuts blend with brown sugar into bars that are tender at room temperature and as chewy as fudge when frozen, which is how I love them. Miso, a Japanese soybean paste, adds a savory depth that gives these an alluring salty-sweet balance.

Tip: White (shiro) miso, available in Asian and natural foods markets, is the sweetest and mildest of miso varieties. It also tends to be smoother. If you buy one made with just soybeans and rice, it should be gluten-free. Read the label carefully, though, since miso is sometimes made with wheat or barley too.

Makes 25 gluten- and dairy-free blondies

Ingredients

Directions

BISCOCHITO

Ignacio Alvarez is president of Lux Bakery, a family owned business in San Antonio established in 1965. Dip these cookies enough and it's possible to catch a buzz. You may find yourself "socially lubricated," says Alvarez.

Ignacio Alvarez's Biscochitos with chocolate dipping sauce are flavored with anise.
Ignacio Alvarez's Biscochitos with chocolate dipping sauce are flavored with anise.
Courtesy of Lux Bakery

Makes approximately 2 lbs. batch in ounces and grams to measure quickly.

Ingredients

Directions

Chocolate dipping sauce:

Ingredients

Directions

COFFEE CARDAMON COOKIES

Dorie Greenspan is the author of 12 cookbooks, including the recently released Dorie's Cookies. She shares this recipe from her book.

Dorie Greenspan's coffee cardamom cookies have freshly ground espresso in the dough.
Dorie Greenspan's coffee cardamom cookies have freshly ground espresso in the dough.
Davide Luciano /Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan

 

If spice cookies are good alongside coffee — and they are — then wouldn't they be even better with coffee in them? That was the question I asked myself and these cookies are the affirmative answer.

These have freshly ground espresso in the dough (you can use whatever coffee you'll be drinking with the cookies or, in a pinch, instant espresso — but don't use as much: 2 teaspoons does the trick.) I love that you can see the specks in the cookies. And although there's cinnamon in the mix, it's the addition of cardamom that makes these cookies extra special. The cardamom blends so beautifully with the coffee and cinnamon that it's elusive, but it adds spice and warmth.

I bake these until they're set around the edges but still have a little give at the center. If you'd like them a bit chewier, bake them for less time. But don't bake them longer, since they crisp after a couple of days.

The glaze is optional, but I like the look and the extra bit of sweetness that it brings to the cookies.

A word on the glaze: The recipe calls for half an egg white. The easiest way to divide the white is to beat it lightly to break it up, and then measure out 15 grams. Or put it in a mini liquid measuring cup and pour off half.

Makes about 30 cookies

For the cookies:

Ingredients

For the optional glaze:

Ingredients

Directions for cookies:

Directions for optional glaze

Storing

The rolled-out dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or, wrapped airtight, frozen for up to 2 months. Cut and bake directly from the freezer. Covered with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against its surface; the glaze will keep at room temperature for about 4 days. Packed in a covered container, the cookies will keep at room temperature for 5 to 7 days. They'll get drier, but they'll remain delicious. Unglazed cookies can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months.

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