It's a Matter of Cookies

I’ll be honest with you. I usually don’t serve things like Grilled Salmon and Caprese Salad during the holidays. While I love both of those dishes as much as any of you, I usually reserve them for warmer weather when the grill is fired up and the tomatoes are fresh off the vine.

That’s mainly because – like you – I pull out all the stops during the holidays and serve all those wonderful dishes my family and guests dream about during the rest of the year. Things like Braised Short Ribs or Lamb Shanks with Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes. Or Osso Bucco, Beef Tenderloin, or Pork Loin, all paired with rich, savory side dishes. I might even go so far as to define these meals as ‘decadent,’ which is just how my guests seem to like it at this time of year. The richer, the better.

The thing is, once they’ve finished a meal like this, they are rarely in the mood for a fancy dessert – you know, one that’s made with lots of butter and dripping with chocolate or caramel. The ones that take hours to create and turn out to be as much a work of art as much as something to eat. It’s not that my guests wouldn’t indulge themselves if they could. No, it’s that they usually just can’t find room for something ooey, gooey, more fattening and filling. So what do I do? What do I serve while we’re sitting around the table, enjoying coffee, conversation, and maybe a liqueur? I serve COOKIES, of course!

In fact, that is when I most enjoy serving all of those beautiful cookies we bake during the holidays. I love nothing more than to create a huge tray of gorgeous cookies and let my guests pick and choose whatever appeals to them. Or I build a Cookie Bar or Cookie Buffet, so when we move to more comfortable chairs in front of the fire for our cordials, everyone can treat themselves to a few small bites along the way.

Some of the cookies – like our White Chocolate Macadamia Nut, Black Forest, and Viennese Chocolate Tea Cookies – are richer than others. Some, like our Lebkuchen and Ginger Ginger Cookies are more refreshing. And some, like our Pizzelles or Maple L’orange Cookies, are soothing at the end of a meal.

To make things a little more fun, I sometimes serve a more ‘dressed up’ version of cookies by using them in individual Trifles or Tiramisu. While lighter than many other holiday desserts, both Trifle and Tiramisu make an elegant presentation, appropriate for the elegant meal your guests have just enjoyed.

So take it easy on yourself this holiday season. Save those fancy chocolate tortes, tarts, mousses, and the like for another day. Plan to serve those on Valentines Day, or to wow your guests at other times when your menu might be simpler. For now, enjoy baking all those beautiful cookies. And enjoy watching the delight on your guests' faces when you serve them for dessert after your next holiday meal.

In the meantime, if you are looking for some new ideas for your holiday menus, check out our recipes online at

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