How do we choose?
That’s the biggest question when faced with piles of recipes sent in from readers for our annual section of holiday cookie recipes.
This year’s contest was no different.
Readers sent in 110 recipes and narrowing down the pack was no easy task. After reading through every recipe and the stories submitted along with them, we began whittling the pile with one thought in mind: Show us something different.
Let’s be honest. We all have a favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Many of them probably came right off of the back of the bag of chips. The same goes for oatmeal, peanut butter, cut-outs, and a host of other traditional holiday cookies. Most of us don’t need a new recipe for these classics.
Over the years we’ve printed scores of recipes for local ethnic favorites kifli and pizzelles, and while we love to see them on a holiday cookie plate, we’d like to see them sitting alongside something we’ve never tried before.
That’s not to say that everything we found was a new recipe. To the contrary, plenty of the ones submitted have been around for decades, but they represent something different from the traditional treats we’re used to baking this time of year.
We whittled the pile down to a few dozen and sent most of them to the University of Akron, where Chef Andy Mikuszewski and his hospitality management students at UA’s Summit College baked them up for us.
A few were rejected after Mikuszewski noted that they were difficult to prepare to the point of being impractical for most folks. Those that survived, however, were easy enough for a college student to make, even though some had no previous baking experience.
Then we taste-tested, and knocked some more out of the pack because they just didn’t taste as good as we had hoped. So we baked more, and tested more, and baked more and sampled more until we were satisfied that we had two dozen really good recipes to share.
There are two gluten-free cookies in the bunch, which is an indication of just how many folks are following the special diet. There are drop cookies and bar cookies, German, Hungarian and Italian cookies, and — dare we say — not one recipe for plain chocolate chip cookies in the bunch.
Our winners received a Beacon Journal coffee mug, filled with Cinemark movie money so they can head out to a show when their baking is done.
We present the recipes for you in this special section and hope that one or two of them will find their way onto your holiday cookie plate for years to come.