You can probably guess that we have sweet treats on the brain. It’s the holidays, and we did recently show you how to host a hipster cookie party. With everyone’s ovens working overtime, is it any wonder we’re craving cavity-inducing yumminess? After we spotted a holiday recipe from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his family (it’s in a new cookbook filled with recipes from technology gurus), we wondered what other famous people are snacking on while they make merry. It felt like the right time to host an online cookie exchange. Get personal recipes from Neil Patrick Harris (he loves his cookies “ooey gooey”), Cookie Monster, and many others past the break. Report back to let us know how the taste test went.
Unsalted butter or margarine (soft, not melted)
“Put 3/4 cup of butter or margarine (that’s a stick and a half) into your mixing bowl. Measure 1 cup of sugar. Pour sugar over butter. With a fork, squash butter and sugar together until blended. Crack shells of 2 eggs and pour eggs over the mixture in the bowl. Measure 1 tsp vanilla and pour over mixture. With fork, blend everything in bowl together. Measure 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and pour over mixture in bowl. Measure 1 tsp baking powder and sprinkle over flour. Measure 1 tsp salt and sprinkle over flour and baking powder. Mix everything together either with a fork or with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap or put in a zip bag and put dough in the icebox to chill (at least one hour). You can make lots of dough at once and keep it in your icebox in a plastic bag (it will last a long time). Then whenever you make cookies, just take out as much as you need. Me heat oven to 400 degrees. Now take some cookie dough out of the icebox. If you all out of cookie dough (oh dear) just make some more! Sprinkle counter with flour and put dough on it. Roll out dough flat, about 1/4-inch thick. Now come the tricky part-need to find things to make SHAPES with, 2 to 3 inches a good size. Let me see… Ah! Can use GLASS to make round cookies…. and those box lids make good rectangles and squares. Me just push them down on dough and peel away dough on outside. Then me make squares and rectangles (or whatever shape cutter you have). Put cookies on ungreased cookie sheet, and put cookie sheet in oven. OK now come the hard part again. Me have to wait about 10 minutes while cookies cook and turn golden brown on bottoms. What me going to eat?”
Watch this video of White House pup Bo Obama inspecting his abode’s Christmas decorations to get you in the mood to bake these.
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons amaretto (almond liqueur)
1 teaspoon each orange and lemon zest
3 cups cake ﬂour (not self-rising)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg white
Chopped nuts or dried fruit (optional)
Heat oven to 325 degree F. Line a 17 x 12 x 1-inch baking pan with nonstick foil. In large bowl, cream together butter and 1-1/2 cups of the sugar. Slowly add egg yolks, and beat well until smooth. Beat in amaretto and zest. Stir in ﬂour and salt until combined. Spread dough evenly into prepared pan, ﬂattening as smoothly as possible. Brush top of dough with egg white; sprinkle with nuts or fruit (if using) and with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake at 325 degree F for 25 minutes or until brown, turn oﬀ oven and allow cookies to sit in oven (with door ajar) for 15 minutes. Cut while slightly warm.
Nonstick spray for pan
1 box pound cake mix (16 oz.)
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl combine cake mix, butter, and 2 eggs. Mix until smooth. Spread mixture evenly in pan. In a medium bowl combine 2 1/2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Carefully spread cream-cheese mixture evenly over first layer and sprinkle with pecans. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Dust with remaining sugar and cut into 2″ squares. Serves 10
Just pretend these are cookies, since Blossom star Mayim Bialik celebrates the holidays (Hanukkah) with a vegan twist on a traditional treat: sufganiyot. You could also bake her Pecan Pie Truffles if you need to stuff something more cookie-like into your ravenous maw.
1 pkg. (1 scant tbsp.) active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup + 2 tbsp. rice or soy milk
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
3 tbsp. melted (then cooled) vegan margarine
6 cups vegetable oil
Powdered sugar (optional)
Combine the yeast, sugar, and 1 cup of the nondairy milk in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, egg replacer, and cooled margarine and beat until soft but not sticky (I do this by hand, but a stand mixer can also be used).
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl coated with cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a draft-free place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down. Knead a few times and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut out rounds with a 2-inch cookie cutter (or drinking glass!) and transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with the towel and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Heat the vegetable oil to 375°F, or just until a drop of dough makes it bubble. Fry each doughnut for about 1 minute on each side and remove with a slotted spoon. Let cool on a wire rack before serving.
Optional: Fill each doughnut with jelly and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Alicia Silverstone enjoys these cookies practically every week of the year, holidays be damned, but she also has a recipe for vegan challah if you’re celebrating Hanukkah. Pre-mastication not required.
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup maple sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup safflower oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. molasses
1/4 cup chopped dried plums or other dried fruit
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the syrup, oil, vanilla extract, and molasses. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the dried plums and nuts.
Using your hands, roll tablespoon-size scoops of dough into balls. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and press down slightly on the balls to flatten the tops. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.
For variety, replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour, barley flour, spelt flour, or a gluten-free baking mix (choose one that does not include baking soda and baking powder). You can also substitute chocolate chips for the dried fruit and any kind of nuts for the walnuts.
The idea of Mira and her pop, Goodfellas‘ star Paul Sorvino, enjoying gingerbread cookies together is fugetaboutit cute.
3/4 cup palm sugar or coconut sugar (much lower carb and glycemic index than sugar), warmed in the microwave for a few seconds if very hard
1/2 cup salted butter
2 tablespoons organic molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the palm sugar, room temperature butter, molasses and vanilla; beat by hand until well mixed. Add the flours, ginger, cinnamon, xanthan gum, baking soda, nutmeg and salt and stir to combine. Add 1/3 cup water, a bit at a time, if the dough is very clumpy or stiff just until a soft, but slightly sticky dough forms.
You may roll small balls with your hands (1 tablespoon size), make thumbprint cookies, or chill the dough for 20 minutes and then roll it and cut out with gingerbread shapes. The flatter the cookie, the less time it will need in the oven, anywhere from 10 to 15 or 16 minutes.
Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes, remove from the sheet, serve and enjoy!
If Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” hasn’t haunted your dreams by now and turned you a total grinch, try her album-inspired Christmas cookies.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cream butter, gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, milk, vanilla and lemon zest. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture. Chill for easy handling. Roll out dough to 1/8″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into festive holiday shapes with floured cookie cutters. Bake on a cookie sheet in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Decorate with icing and green and red sprinkles. Place cookies on a plate beside the Christmas tree with a tall glass of milk for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve!
Cusack worked with Glad to Give’s Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, which promotes various bake sales to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
The lifestyle mogul says these are “zingy,” which definitely sounds like a Martha-ism. You can find her recipe for royal icing over here.
3 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cloves
1 cup(s) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
3/4 cup(s) packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon(s) grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon(s) grated peeled fresh ginger, combined with above
1 large egg
1/4 cup(s) unsulfured molasses
Royal icing (optional)
In large bowl, with wire whisk, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and cloves; set aside.
In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat butter, sugars, and fresh ginger until combined. Increase speed to medium; beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in egg and molasses until blended. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Transfer dough to clean work surface. Divide dough in half, and flatten each half into a disk; wrap disks in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
Arrange two racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Remove dough from refrigerator, and let stand until slightly softened. (This will help keep dough from cracking when rolled.) On large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, with floured rolling pin, roll dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. To prevent sticking while rolling, occasionally run large metal offset spatula under dough, and sprinkle with more flour. Place parchment paper and dough on another cookie sheet; freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove dough from freezer; working quickly, with floured large cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes. (If dough begins to soften too much, return to freezer for a few minutes.) With wide metal spatula, transfer cutouts to prepared baking sheets; chill until firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until crisp but not darkened, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating sheets between upper and lower racks halfway through baking. Transfer cookies, on parchment, to wire rack to cool completely. Decorate as desired with royal icing, if using. Store cookies, in airtight container, at room temperature for up to 5 days.
1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), softened 3/4 cup honey 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2/3 cup almonds, finely ground 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour Jam or preserves for filling (optional)
In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, cream butter, honey, and vanilla. Add almonds and flours, and mix until well blended. Divide dough into four pieces; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. On lightly floured waxed paper, roll one piece dough 1/8 inch thick. With 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into hearts; transfer to cookie sheet. Wrap and refrigerate trimmings. If filling cookies with jam, make a shallow thumbprint in center of each cookie, then spoon a dab of jam into each thumbprint.
Bake cookies 12 to 14 minutes or until browned at edges. Let cookies remain on cookie sheet 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings. Makes 5 dozen cookies.
We wonder if 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter (who used to be a peanut farmer), snacks on these when he gets the munchies.
1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup peanut butter 1 egg
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together all ingredients. Form into walnut-size balls. Put on ungreased cookie sheet, then mash down with a fork. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
4 egg whites 8 teaspoons powdered skim milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract 1 teaspoon liquid artificial sweetener Cinnamon to taste
Beat egg whites until stiff. Add powdered skim milk. Mix well. Add extracts and sugar substitute. Drop cookies by spoonsful onto cookie sheet. Bake at 275 degrees F for 45 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and dust with cinnamon. Yields 2 to 2 1/2 dozen.
The Damages actor created these cookies to sell online, supporting Glad to Give Celebrity Cookie Bake Sale, which is in partnership with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. It’s the same nonprofit that Joan Cusack donated treats to. The organization helps fund pediatric cancer research.
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips 1 cup dried tart cherries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together the first four ingredients in a small bowl. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture on low speed until blended well, then mix in chocolate chips and cherries with a wooden spoon. Put level tablespoons of dough 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets and bake in batches in middle of oven until golden around edges; bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
The Pepper Potts-playing Gwyneth Paltrow named these cookies after her mother, Blythe Danner (Lalo is her nickname), and featured them in her recently released cookbook.
2 cups barley flour
1-1/2 cups raw (unroasted) whole almonds, finely chopped
½ cup each: pure maple syrup, canola oil
½ tsp each: ground cinnamon, fine sea salt
Jam (such as raspberry, blueberry or apricot)
In large bowl, combine flour, almonds, maple syrup, oil, cinnamon and salt. Stir with wooden spoon until blended. Drop by heaping 1-tbsp portions of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Using index finger, make vertical indent into each cookie. Fill each with small amount jam (about ¼ tsp depending on depth of holes). Bake in preheated 350 F oven until lightly browned, about 16 to 18 minutes. Cool completely. Store in airtight container up to 1 week. Makes about 24.