Two events have me thinking about cookies right now.
Christmas is the obvious occasion. For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without a tray of homemade goodies. Decorated cut out cookies with icing and lots of sprinkles always make an appearance on my cookie trays – both the trays I bring to Christmas gatherings and the ones I give as gifts.
The other event is the fundraising auction our school holds each year. While the auction isn’t until spring, the auction committee is already at work collecting donations for the auction. Last year, I donated a gift certificate for custom-made decorated cookies along with samples of each of the cookie flavors. The winning bidder got to choose from Raspberry-Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, Chocolate-Hazelnut Cut Out Cookies (from Bridget Edwards' cookbook, Decorating Cookies), Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies, and Oatmeal-Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies (see recipe below).
I haven’t decided whether I’ll donate decorated cookies this year or go with something like gift certificates for milk and my homemade Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. But I do know that whatever I donate will be edible.
Edible gifts are perfect in so many ways. Few things speak kindness more than homemade cookies or delicious treats. Plus, most people already have enough “stuff” so receiving (or bidding on) a consumable gift is often much preferred.
For the several years now, we have given edible gifts to teachers, bus drivers, our mail lady, and others. A pound of Land O Lakes® Butter, a tub of Land O Lakes® Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread, and a package of Land O Lakes® Co-Jack® Snack Cheese fit perfectly inside these assemble-at-home cardboard boxes. I add a handful of paper shreds to make it look festive and the kids decorate the outside of the box with markers or simply tuck a card inside.
If you like the idea of edible gifts, here a few more ideas from the Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen to consider:
If you like the combination of oatmeal and brown sugar as much as I do, you’ll love these out-of-the-ordinary cut out cookies.
I was so excited when I first spotted a recipe for oatmeal cut out cookies while browsing a recipe site. Unfortunately, that recipe resulted in downright terrible cookies. My dog wouldn’t even eat them.
I decided that the idea of an oatmeal cut out cookie was worth pursuing, so I fiddled around with the recipe and several tweaks later ended up with cookies that are definitely worth getting excited about.
I outline my cookies with royal icing (using Bridget’s recipe from Bake at 350). Then I fill the cookies with vanilla-flavored Cookie Icing and top them with sprinkles. They would also be divine with cream cheese frosting.
Oatmeal-Brown Sugar Cut Out Cookies
1 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened*
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal, ground fine
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Cream butter and sugar together in large mixing bowl. Beat in egg, vanilla, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk ground oatmeal, flour, cinnamon, and ginger together. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in three parts and mix just until flour is completely incorporated. Divide dough into two pieces; shape each piece into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
*Note: You can prepare the dough for these cookies with cold butter, as well. Cut the butter into chunks before creaming with sugar using heavy-duty mixer. Reduce chilling time to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. On a well-floured surface, roll one piece of dough out to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased (or parchment-lined) cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes (this helps the cookies hold their shape while baking). Bake the cookies for 9 to 10 minutes or until they look done in the center. Let cool for 10 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Decorate as desired.
I am a Land O'Lakes Cooperative farmer-owner. I received compensation from Land O'Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own. Land O Lakes and the Indian Maiden brandmark are registered trademarks of Land O’Lakes, Inc.