Lyric favorites: Holiday treats

It has become a Lyric family tradition to gather each December for a holiday cookie exchange. Bakers ooh and ahh over the vast assortment of treats and go home with a tray full of everything from classic chocolate chip to intricately decorated sugar cookies, delicate macarons, and more. This year, our cookie exchangelike many celebrationslooked a bit different, as we moved it online. Here are a few of our favorite recipes that our intrepid bakers shared over Zoom. On your marks...get set...bake!

Ginger walnut shortbread

Lyric’s General Director Anthony Freud likes to spice up a traditional Scottish shortbread recipe with the very untraditional addition of ginger and walnuts. This update works with any basic shortbread recipe (we recommend this easy four-ingredient option from daringgourmet.com). Simply add finely chopped crystallized ginger and finely chopped walnuts. If you’d like to add an additional level of flavor, Anthony recommends a homemade orange curd and a dark chocolate and coconut sauce to dip or use as a glaze.

 

 

Yields: 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar (or pulse granulated sugar in a blender until very fine. Do NOT use powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional add-ins: crystallized (candied) ginger, nuts, fresh herbs, dried cranberries, etc.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 8x8 or 9x9 inch square baking pan.  You can also use a round cake can and cut the shortbread into triangles.

Place the caster sugar, flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until it's combined and looks like coarse breadcrumbs but is soft and pliable and comes together in a dough when you press it together between your fingers. If it's too dry and crumbly it needs to be pulsed a bit longer. (If using any add-ins, stir them in at this point.)

Pour the mixture into the greased baking pan.  Use your fingers and hands to firmly press down the mixture. Note: If the mixture is too dry to work with, including pricking with a fork (see below), then it was not pulsed long enough in the food processor.

Place the shortbread on the middle rack and bake for 30-35 minutes or until light golden and firm. Let cool. Cut and serve. Store the shortbread in an airtight container for up to several weeks.

Whiskey oatmeal raisin cookies

This next recipe is a family favorite of Lyric’s Senior Accountant, Ana Joyce. It’s the perfect way to amp up pre-made cookie mix and goes perfectly with a cup of coffee (Irish or otherwise). To make it kid-friendly, Ana recommends using orange juice in place of the whiskey and adding a tablespoon of orange zest.

 

 

Yields: 36 medium cookies or 24 larger cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix
  • 1 cup of raisins soaked in whiskey (enough whiskey to cover the raisins)
  • ½ cup of softened butter or margarine (Let butter soften at room temperature for 40-60 minutes or microwave for 10-15 seconds until softened, not melted)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water (you can also use the excess whiskey not soaked up by the raisins)

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375 (or 350 for dark or nonstick cookie sheet).  Stir cookie mix, softened butter, water (or and egg in a medium bowl until dough forms (dough will be stiff). Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes for regular size cookies or bake 11-13 minutes for larger size cookies (or until edges are light golden brown).  Cool 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet.  Cool completely; store in airtight container.

Optional: Add a bonus boozy glaze by whisking together 1 ½ cups (180g) powdered sugar with 3 tbsp whisky and 3 tbsp heavy cream (or half and half, or whole milk). Spread over cooled cookies.

 

"O Coconut Tree" treats

This holiday season, skip the oven and do like our Associate Director of Institutional Partnerships Claire Ryan, and whip together these darling no-bake Christmas trees. Claire’s take below is a simplified version of this recipe from The Recipe Rebel and is the perfect treat for coconut lovers!

 

 

Yields: 24 trees

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 3 cups shredded coconut 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla or mint extract
  • green food coloring

Instructions:

In a large pot, melt butter. Remove from heat. Stir in icing sugar and milk. Stir in coconut, vanilla or mint extract, and enough food coloring to make the mixture green.

Shape into small balls, and using the tips of your fingers gently squeeze one side of the ball until it takes on a cone shape. If you see any later you want to reshape, they are easily reshaped at room temperature. Leave uncovered on a baking sheet to set either in the fridge for 2-3 hours or the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Decorate with a snowfall of powdered sugar, sprinkles for ornaments, or anything you like before returning to the fridge or freezer to set before storing in an airtight container.

Soft pumpkin cookies

Thanksgiving shouldn’t get to have pumpkin all to itself. VIP Ticketing Associate Leigh Folta recommends this recipe for soft pumpkin cookies from Lovely Little Kitchen. It’s the perfect way to use up that spare can of pumpkin puree or leftover pie pumpkin that’s been sitting in your kitchen since fall. You can even take them to the next level by sandwiching them together like whoopie pies with a bit of vanilla buttercream!

 

 

Yields: 36 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick baking spray.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat granulated sugar and butter with a mixer on medium high speed, then blend in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until incorporated. Gradually mix in flour and dry ingredients. Refrigerate dough for 3-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop chilled dough into one inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar, place dough balls on a baking sheet (12 per sheet) and bake for 11-13 minutes.

Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack. When completely cool, store cookies in an airtight container.

Ultimate ginger cookies

Lyric’s Social Media Associate Amanda Reitenbach normally spends the holidays baking family recipes with her grandfather. This year, she took the opportunity to try out some new recipes including this ultimate ginger cookie from one of her favorite celebrity chefs, Ina Garten. These cookies are crunchy on the outside with a spicy-sweet interior that melts in your mouth.

 

 

Yields: 16 large cookies or 36 medium cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 extra-large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped crystallized ginger (6 ounces)
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt and then combine the mixture with your hands. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, oil, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to low speed, add the egg, and beat for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat for 1 more minute. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the crystallized ginger and mix until combined.

Scoop the dough with 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop. With your hands, roll each cookie into a 1 3/4-inch ball and then flatten them lightly with your fingers. Press both sides of each cookie in granulated sugar and place them on the sheet pans. Bake for exactly 13 minutes. The cookies will be crackled on the top and soft inside. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Pecan crunches

This delectable recipe can be easily cut in half for the solo baker or doubled to feed a crowd. It’s a favorite of Lyric’s Director of Media Relations, Magda Krance, who stumbled upon this classic recipe in her mother-in-law’s old recipe box.

 

 

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cups butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cold water
  • 1 cups pecans

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 275. Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl until a dough forms. Scoop and form into 1-inch balls, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 30 minutes. 

While still hot, roll the cookies in powdered sugar and let cool. Roll in powdered sugar again before serving or storing in an airtight container.