Old-Time Shortbread

In a bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and sugar. Rub butter into dry ingredients until crumbly and the size of rice grains. Blend in water.

Pat dough into an ungreased 9”x9” square baking pan. Press bottom of another pan the same size against crumbs, making surface as even as possible. Refrigerate 15-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Prick shortbread with a fork in about a dozen places. Put pan on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. If edges brown too fast, cover loosely with strips of foil.

Place pan on a rack and let cool to lukewarm. Cut shortbread into 16 squares. Remove with a thin spatula and let cool completely. Drizzle with dulce de leche. Store in cookie tins, placing waxed paper between layers.

Chocolate-Dipped Almond-Cranberry Biscotti

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, toast for 10 minutes, and let cool.

In a food processor with blade attachment, add 1/2 cup almonds and 1 tablespoon sugar. Blend until finely ground. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse to blend.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat eggs, vanilla and remaining 3/4 cup sugar on medium until thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour-almond mixture. Mix on low until just blended. Add remaining 1 cup almonds and cranberries, if using, and stir to combine.

Evenly divide dough into 3 pieces. Place on prepared sheet, shape into three 2 1/2″x10” loaves, and smooth tops. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Carefully transfer loaves to a cutting board. Let cool slightly and cut crosswise into 1/2” thick slices.

Reduce oven heat to 325°. Place slices on baking sheet, standing them upright. Bake until crisp, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1” of water to a simmer. Transfer half of chocolate to a heatproof bowl and place on top of pan. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted, about 3 minutes. Add remaining half of chocolate, remove from heat and let stand 2 minutes. Stir gently until smooth.

Dip biscotti bottoms into chocolate and place biscotti on parchment to set, about 15 minutes.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and mix until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and mix until blended. Add lemon zest, juice, and extract and mix until well blended.

Add flour mixture and mix on low just until incorporated. Place sugar in a shallow dish. Shape dough into 2” balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat. Place balls 2” apart on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until edges are lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute and transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely. Garnish with lemon zest.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, or top of a double boiler, over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Into a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix on low speed until just combined. Divide dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. On a surface dusted with powdered sugar, use your hands to roll each portion of dough into a log 16″ in length and about 1″ in diameter. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1″ pieces, and toss pieces in powdered sugar, a few at a time.

Using your hands, roll pieces into balls. If any of cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in powdered sugar again to coat completely. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets 2″ apart. Bake until cookies have flattened and sugar splits, 12-15 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

From Martha Stewart

Gingerbread Cookies

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients; mix just until a dough forms. Place dough on floured plastic wrap; pat into an 8″ square. Wrap well and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), roll out dough to 1/8″ thick, turning, lifting, and flouring as needed.

Cut out shapes, and transfer to prepared sheets. Decorate with sugar or sprinkles, as desired.

Bake until firm and edges just begin to darken, 10-18 minutes, depending on size. Cool completely on baking sheets.

From marthastewart.com

Learn to make Royal Icing.

Ginger-Molasses Crinkle Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 2 baking sheets.

In a large bowl, combine butter, oil, molasses, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir until well blended and smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients to form a soft dough. Roll dough into 1″-1½” balls then roll balls in granulated sugar to coat. Place about 2″ apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake until just set around edges, 12-14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool or serve warm.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sugar, milk and orange oil and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cool cookies.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and sugar and cream until light in color and well blended. Add eggs, one by one, scraping down sides of the bowl, until incorporated. Add vanilla and pumpkin puree and mix on low to blend.

In a medium bowl, add baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and flour and stir to combine. Add flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and mix on low just until flour almost disappears. Turn off machine, add more flour and mix on low just until flour almost disappears. Repeat, adding remaining flour and mix on low just until flour is incorporated. Add chocolate chips and mix on low speed to combine, about 15 seconds.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls, 9-12 cookies per sheet. Bake until cookies are lighter in color and edges appear dry, 10-13 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Remove cookies from oven and let cool, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Almond Biscotti

In a bowl, whisk butter, sugar, almond liqueur, and almond extract. Whisk in 1 egg at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in almond paste and almonds. Form into 2 10”x4” loaves, place on a silicone mat-lined baking sheet, cover, and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove cover from loaves and bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, 15 minutes. Transfer loaves to a cutting board and cut into ½” thick slices. Return slices to baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Turn cookies over and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, top with almonds and sugar, and let cool completely.

Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Palmiers

To make the filling, in a bowl, combine nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Divide in half.

Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Generously pour sugar on a work surface. Roll 1 sheet of pastry to a thin rectangle. Lightly brush pastry with butter and sprinkle evenly with 1/3 of first half portion of filling.

Fold long edges of pastry inward 1″. Brush surface with more butter and sprinkle with next 1/3 of filling. Fold both edges inward again 1″ to meet in center, brush again with butter, and sprinkle with remaining filling. Fold in half. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Repeat with second pastry sheet and remaining half portion of filling.

Preheat oven to 425°. Using a sharp knife, cut pastry crosswise into 1/2″ strips. Open from center fold to form an “m” shape and place 1/2″ apart on prepared baking sheets.

Using your thumb, flatten the pastry lightly. Freeze for 5 minutes.

Bake until golden, rotating baking sheet after 5 minutes, about 10 minutes total. Remove palmiers to wire racks to cool completely. In a small heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of just simmering water, melt the chocolate until smooth, stirring frequently. Line baking sheets with waxed paper. Dip each palmier halfway into chocolate and place on lined baking sheets. Allow to set.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and stir into cream cheese mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate. Chill dough until firm, 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared sheets, 2″ apart. Bake until puffed and golden, 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, about 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. When cool, dust cookies with powdered sugar.