Easy baking for the holidays

Story by Elena Rivera, Staff Writer

 With the holidays comes holiday baking. Baking festive cookies can seem daunting, but they don’t have to be. Here are some easy recipes to make with the holiday season quickly approaching. 

 

The first recipe is an easy option for vegans. By using vegan butter and a plant-based milk, these sugar cookies can be made vegan. This recipe comes from lovingitvegan.com and has been modified slightly. For this recipe you will need:

1/2 cup (112g) Vegan Butter

3/4 cups (150g) Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Almond Extract

2 cups (250g) All Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Tbsp Soy Milk (or other non-dairy milk)

Sparkling Sugar for decoration (Optional)

To make the cookies you will need to:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

 

Cream the vegan butter and sugar together and then add the vanilla extract and almond extract.

 

Sift the flour into a separate mixing bowl and add the baking soda and salt.

Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until crumbly. Add soy milk and mix in to create a big ball of dough. If your mix is too crumbly to form a ball of dough, add in a little more soy milk until it does.

 

Using a small ice cream scooper, scoop out balls of dough onto the cookie sheet and evenly space them out.

 

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. At about five minutes in, sprinkle coarse sparkling sugar on the cookies and then bake the remaining five minutes (optional). 

 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before eating.

The next recipe is for peppermint brownies. This recipe is based off of the fudgy chocolate brownie recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. This recipe makes fudgy brownies that have a hint of peppermint that’s perfect for the holiday season. For this recipe you will need:

7 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into four pieces

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 eggs

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons peppermint extract

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Crushed peppermint candies

 

To make the brownies you will need to:

 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Grease foil with butter and set pan aside.

 

Melt chocolate chips and butter in the microwave for two minutes at half power. Whisk in cocoa powder. Set aside to cool slightly.

 

Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour until combined. Transfer batter into pan, spreading evenly. Bake until slightly puffed, 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies and let cool. Cut brownies into 1-inch squares and enjoy. 

The last recipe is for shortbread cookies. These cookies are a classic cookie for cutting out some festive holiday cookies. This recipe has been adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. For this recipe you will need:

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon salt

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ⅛-inch-thick slices

 

To make the cookies you will need to:

 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. 

 

Mix flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt using a stand mixer until combined. Add butter and mix until dough forms and pulls away from the bowl. Sprinkle working surface with flour. Roll dough to ½-inch thickness using a rolling pin. Use cookie cutters to cut out festive shapes and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. 

 

Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes or until edges turn golden.

Cool cookies on a cookie rack and serve.

 

Hopefully you’ll try out these easy recipes in time for the holidays.