‘Tis the season for sharing home-baked treats! This year we partnered with some of our favorite bakers to create the ultimate holiday cookie swap. See them all here, then follow along and show us your own holiday cookies on Instagram @williamssonoma with the hashtag #wscookieswap.
There’s plenty to love about Ashlae Warner’s blog Oh, Ladycakes. Sure, she shares recipes for her best baked goods like cookies and pies, but she also uses wholesome ingredients whenever possible — and all of the treats are vegan. (Some are even gluten free and raw.) Plus, we can’t get enough of the sweet stories that often accompany her recipes. Here, Ashlae tells us all about her favorite holiday cookies, go-to flavors, tips and gifting ideas. Read on, and try her recipe for (vegan!) Gingerbread Folk.
What are some of your favorite holiday baking traditions?
Iced sugar cookies are probably my favorite holiday baking tradition. I actually just perfected my vegan sugar cookie recipe (made with coconut oil) and am excited to put it to use come December.
What flavors are best for baking this time of year?
My fiancé turned me onto cranberry-orange (scones, sweet bread, etc.), but I’m also a big fan of anything chocolate or peppermint — but not necessarily together.
Let’s talk cookies. What are your top tips for making the best batch every time?
Let the dough chill in the fridge for at least an hour. And if you’re baking cutout cookies, swap half of the sugar with powdered sugar and freeze the cookies for 10 minutes prior to baking. It’ll help them retain their perfect shape.
Any creative cookie decorating ideas?
If making cutout cookies, marbled royal icing always looks stunning and is a lot easier than it looks.
When it comes to holiday cookies, do you stick to tradition or try to experiment?
I come from a family that rarely breaks tradition, but I have to admit I’m a big fan of experimenting, which is why I will likely never be in charge of organizing the Warner family holiday feast.
Any memorable cookie baking disasters?
I used to be really into making sugar cookies with royal icing. One time I was transporting a freshly iced batch to the dining room table when I tripped and the cookies went everywhere. To add insult to injury, I ruined one of my favorite rugs.
What’s in your ideal cookie tin?
Can you share any fun presentation/gift wrapping ideas for cookies?
Here’s the thing: people don’t like when they get a package of baked goods and it takes forever to open. Get yourself some brown paper sandwich bags and some decorative washi tape (or twine), and you’ve got everything you need to make a simple, beautiful, and delicious cookie package.
Tell us about the recipe we’re sharing, Gingerbread Folk. What was your inspiration?
I found the little cutters at a local craft store and couldn’t resist buying them. A few years later I found them at the bottom of my cookie cutter drawer (yep, that exists) and didn’t think twice about how I was going to put them to use. I haven’t made a normal sized gingerbread man since.
What’s special about the recipe?
Your grandma won’t have a clue that they’re vegan.
Any tips for people making these cookies? Creative twists or other ideas?
Get yourself some tiny heart sprinkles and smoosh one into the chest of each cookie.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?
With a mug of hot coffee.