When my blog friend Monica of Cakes and Lilies emailed me about potentially doing a holiday cookie link-up, my answer was a resounding yes – and I immediately started brainstorming ideas for what to make. I don’t have a tradition holiday cookie that I make every year, so I set off in search of a great one to share here…and I think I found it!
When it comes to sweets, I’m a huge fan of anything in the cream category (rice pudding, milkshakes, panna cotta), so it occurred to me that an eggnog cookie might be just the way to go…even though I don’t think I’ve ever actually had eggnog (an unfortunate fact that I shall be rectifying this holiday season, for sure). Since vanilla is my very favorite flavor in the world, I decided to tweak the recipe that I found to make it even more vanilla-y, and the results are, if I do say so myself, spectacular. If you need to bring holiday cookies to a party or gathering this year, these are sure to make a big splash. Also (bonus) – they’re super easy to throw together.
Cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg lend a subtle spice to the cookie batter.
I’m normally not the biggest fan of icing on cookies because #overkill, but since I really wanted to do the nutmeg sprinkled on top of these, the icing was necessary as a sticking agent. It turned out to be really delicious, so I might be a new convert to the whole concept!
These are somewhat like a more complex version of sugar cookies, which I always find to be a little one-note, tasting only of sweetness and devoid of any other flavors. The addition of fresh vanilla bean to the cookie and the frosting adds so much, and the freshly grated nutmeg on top lends a great little zing of holiday flavor. If you’ve never cooked with fresh vanilla bean before, you simply MUST. It is miles more flavorful than extract and whatever you put it in will have those little flecks of vanilla bean (love that). The fresh pods can be rather expensive, but I absolutely promise you, they’re worth it.
Vanilla Bean Eggnog Cookies – yields approximately 22
adapted slightly from Cooking Classy
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for topping
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (a stick and half) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large egg yolks
Seeds scraped from half of a fresh vanilla bean (other half goes in frosting)
1/2 cup eggnog
1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
3-5 tbsp eggnog
3 cups powdered sugar
Beans scraped from half of of a fresh vanilla bean
Splash of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or you can use a hand mixer), mix the butter with the two sugars until pale and fluffy. Drop in egg yolks one at a time, mixing each until just combined after each addition. Add in the vanilla beans scraped from half of the pod, then mix in the eggnog.
With mixer set to low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Drop the cookies onto a parchment-lined baking sheet by heaping tablespoonfuls. They will spread a bit while cooking, so leave about two inches between. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned and the cookies are set (but not too stiff, as they continue to bake a bit after you remove from oven).
Cool completely, then frost and grate fresh nutmeg on top.
In bowl of stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), whip butter until pale and fluffy. Add in 3 tbsp eggnog, seeds scraped from half of vanilla bean pod, and confectioners sugar. Add in a splash of vanilla extract, and then continue adding eggnog until it reaches desired consistency.
Note: The yield on this batch is smaller than other cookies I’ve made, so if making for a crowd I recommend making the cookies smaller or doubling the recipe.
Don’t forget to check out the tasty cookie recipes from the other bloggers participating in the Holiday Cookie Link-Up. You’re sure to find some great new reads and lots of holiday recipe inspiration: