Cookbook Review: Holiday Cookies by Elisabet der Nederlanden

Ya’ll, Christmas, baking, and books are three of my very favorite things. When they all combine in the wonder of a fabulous cookbook, I’m a very happy person. Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season by Elisabet der Nederlanden is a TREAT of a cookbook. Its simple layout and photos are eye-catching to say the least, and the recipes are easy to follow and promise all sorts of yummy holiday times. I should know. I’ve tested FIVE recipes already!!! Just to make sure. Quality control and all.

Each recipe I have made has been perfect to a “T” — the measurements, baking times, and consistency of the results. I’m happily going into the Christmas season with this book in hand, planning to try the oatmeal crisps with chocolate next!

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What I’ve tried so far, from top left: Italian Pignoli Cookies, Peanut Butter-Chocolate Crunch Squares, Espresso Thins, Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownie Sandwich Cookies, Thumbprints with Spicy Plum Jam.

Thank you to Blogging for Books and Ten Speed Press for the complimentary review copy. This is my honest review.

Pinterest Find: Homemade Thin Mints

Pinterest is one of the greatest websites ever designed (in my opinion, at least). If you are looking for inspiration, for anything from cooking, crafting, home remodeling, art, lesson plans, to funny quotes and useful tips, you can find it on Pinterest. (check out my boards and pins here

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this blog post featuring a recipe for homemade thin mints (yes, like the Girl Scout cookies).  Immediately this caught my attention. I LOVE chocolate-mint anything. After a mouth-watering review of the pictures Sue posted, I was determined to try the recipe.

The original recipe was posted by the Chicagoist. Access it here. It’s so simple, yet is tastes exactly like real Girl Scout Thin Mints.

I used unsweetened cocoa powder for the recipe, as called for by the Chicagoist. On the first blog post I saw with the Thin Mint recipe (the one with the mouth-watering pics), Sue said she used dutch-processed cocoa powder. You might be able to use either one, but the consistency of the cookie may not be the same.

If you are wondering about the difference between regular unsweetened cocoa powder and dutch-processed, you are not alone. I confess, I had to Google it myself. I found this awesome website with a great explanation. Dutch-processed is neutral (as opposed to normal cocoa powder which is slightly acidic), and is typically used in recipes with more baking powder or another acidic compound.

Also, when I made these cookies, I used bittersweet instead of semisweet chocolate to coat them. This gave them a richer, less-sweet taste, which I loved because I am a big fan of dark chocolate. If you prefer, you can use semisweet or even milk chocolate for the chocolate coating.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and I would love to hear how your cookies turn out. Happy baking!   -Courtney