‘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.
On her blog Bakers Royale, Naomi Robinson shares creative recipes for all things sweet (and sometimes savory)! The self-taught baker has won over plenty of fans with her gorgeous photos and swoon-worthy cakes, cookies, breakfast treats and more. Here, she tells us all about what she bakes during the holidays, her favorite festive flavors, and what you’ll love about her Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies.
What are some of your favorite holiday baking traditions?
Putting a Christmas movie on in the background while getting everything measured and in place, and playing a board a game and drinking hot chocolate between bake sheets.
What flavors are best for baking this time of year?
I love working with peppermint and anything boozy like Kahlua, amaretto or rum.
Let’s talk cookies. What are your top tips for making the best batch every time?
It’s going to be pretty standard, but here goes—and this is based on watching people make the same recipe with varying results. Google New York Times chocolate chip cookie and you’ll see what I mean: some are puffy, some are flat, and some more crackled than others.
With that here are a few my top tips: (1) Use the best ingredients, especially butter because it definitely affects the overall taste and texture (my favorite is from President Cheese). (2) When it comes to mixing — if in doubt, it’s usually better to undermix than overmix. (3) Use an oven thermometer for precision; being over or under by a few degrees can really affect the texture of cookies.
Any creative cookie decorating ideas?
Admittedly, I’m not very good with decorative cookies. I don’t have too much patience for royal icing. But outside of iced cookies like that, my go to for adding a bit of extra “dress-up” is to use chocolate glazes with a little luster dust or some gold leaf.
When it comes to holiday cookies, do you stick to tradition or try to experiment?
Both. I always have the traditional ones my family expects and 2 to 3 experimental cookies that are introduced every year, and then we decide on one if it makes the cut for inclusion next year.
Any memorable cookie baking disasters?
I once tried to use beet powder to naturally color macarons and it was a colossal fail on all fronts — taste, texture and appearance.
What’s in your ideal cookie tin?
Hmm . . . it should include something nutty, something fruity, something boozy — and there should always be a heavy dose of chocolate.
Tell us about the recipe we’re sharing, Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies.
This is a classic holiday cookie in my home. We all love it for its flavor and soft chewy texture.
What was your inspiration?
Panera. It’s a holiday cookie that my son and I always look forward to, so a few years back I decided to take a stab and at making a copycat version.
What’s special about the recipe?
There’s a bit of Nutella in it—it helps to keep the cookie chewy and bumps up the flavor.
Any tips for people making these cookies? Creative twists or other ideas?
If peppermint isn’t your flavor, try other flavor extracts that pair well with chocolate, like coffee, rum or orange.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy them?
With a cup of hot chocolate.