Create New Cookie Traditions

My Aunt Millie was famous for her kringla cookies. To make this Scandinavian holiday favorite, she'd roll the rich, buttery dough out paper thin, slice it into narrow strips and carefully fold each strip into a delicate bow shape before baking. Every single one of Aunt Millie's kringla was a flaky, perfectly formed masterpiece. Over the years, many in the family have tried to duplicate her trademark treat using her own recipe. But they're never quite as good, largely because in this day and age, nobody has the time or patience to devote hours to such fussy, meticulous labor. As my mom used to tell Aunt Millie, "After all that work, if somebody reached for one of my cookies, I'd slap their hand!"

We all love the special foods and sweets that are a traditional part of the holiday season, and everybody has fond memories of a favorite cookie or candy. But between jobs, kids and other obligations, it feels overwhelming to think of making the kind of cookies we remember from childhood. Happily, this year I found a way to make a variety of absolutely delicious holiday sweets simply and easily. The secret? Tastefully Simple's Holiday Baking Kit!

The kit comes with products and recipes to make seven distinctly different cookies. I discovered I had most of the additional needed ingredients, such as chocolate chips and creamy peanut butter, already on hand. I set aside one morning to try several of the recipes in the kit.

Absolutely Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Absolutely Almond Thumbprint Cookies recipe | Tastefully Simple
These reminded me of a version my mom used to make – but hers involved a whole lot of mixing, chopping and rolling. These were so easy: just mix Absolutely Almond Pound Cake Mix with a stick of butter, one egg and a tablespoon of water to make a soft dough, roll into 1-inch balls and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and use the back of a spoon (I used a nice, rounded tablespoon measure) to create a hollow on the top of the warm cookies. Spoon a teaspoon or so of tangy-sweet Rhubarb Strawberry Fruit Spread into each hollow, then pop them back into the oven for an additional 4-6 minutes. These cookies are so soft and pretty, with the mild flavor of the almond cookie partnering delightfully with the "pop" of rhubarb-strawberry flavor.

Bite-Size Monster Cookies
Bite Size Monster Cookies recipe | Tastefully Simple
In my book, any cookie with chocolate chips is a good cookie. This simple recipe takes it up another notch, adding red- and green-coated candies for a festive, holiday touch. Using Nana's Apple Cake Mix® as a base, the recipe also includes creamy peanut butter and quick-cooking oats – so it's *cough* healthy, right? This was another goodie that came together fast and turned out great.

Mini Classy Whoopie Pies
Classy Chocolate Whoopie Pies recipe | Tastefully Simple
To be honest, my only previous experience with whoopie pies came wrapped in plastic from a vending machine. It was … uninspiring. So I was a little skeptical about these. But it's chocolate fudge sandwiched between chocolate cookies. How can you go wrong with that? I was also tickled by the fact that these are "mini" versions of the classic version. I'm all about the cute. So I gave it a whirl. Surprise! They turned out adorable – and delicious!

By the time I finished these three recipes, I had a nice collection of treats to share with coworkers at work the next day. Best of all, I finished all three batches in about the same amount of time it took my dear Auntie Mil to make one batch of her classic kringla. I'll always miss those kringla. But I'm excited to have found some new favorites to add to the family's holiday traditions!

Tips & Hints
  • Coat a cookie scoop with non-stick spray to make it easy to turn out perfect amounts of dough.
  • Dress up the Absolutely Almond Thumbprint Cookies by drizzling melted white chocolate over them.

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