A definitive ranking of holiday cookies by team East Fork.A few months ago, we took a company-wide poll to figure out what the best sugary breakfast cereal ever is. I think we all knew what was coming when Cinnamon Toast Crunch won by a landslide. What’s better than sugary, cinnamony, crunchy little squares? Correct answer is: nothing.
To circle back, we thought it wise to do a similar poll, but with holiday cookies. It’s a great way to uncover the weird, sometimes deeply unsettling, culinary opinions of East Fork at large. With half the crew thinking that chocolate chip is the quintessential holiday cookie, and the other half thinking it belongs far, far away from associations with Christmas, this ranking became one of the more divisive undertakings we’ve done so far.
9. Jam Thumbprint Cookie
Beloved by our customer care angel, Marissa, as well as myself. While being similar to Italian Horns or Koloczki, they are round, thicker and offer a bit more richness. Plus, the seedy, raspberry jam brings beautiful color to a cookie platter, and they taste great with tea or coffee. A good cookie.
8. Marzipan Cookie
Only Erin on this one, but it made the cut because they sound so good, and seem really special. Erin says "My grandma makes these marzipan cookies shaped like a Christmas Tree that are pretty excellent. She has this super old cookie press she uses to get the shape. The press versus roll-and-cut is essential” Wow, very professional and undoubtedly festive. Anything that is the shape of a Christmas tree, Santa head, snowflake, or angel is a ‘duh’ in my book.
7. General Ginger Variety
Gingerbread women is the obvious holiday choice, but we couldn’t settle on it being necessarily better than a ginger snap, or a ginger molasses cookie. A soft ginger cookie is the favorite of Alex, while a gingersnap really gets Zoe going. And, this is after she said, “I’m not really a cookie person.” I think anything ginger flavored falls into the Christmas category of things, and these types of cookies are no exception. The warmth of ginger permeates, just like the Christmas spirit.
6. Peanut Butter Blossom
Kirby says this cookie is, “Pure joy,” and she’s not wrong. This nutty, oily cookie bejeweled with a single Hershey kiss is a Christmas classic. It checks all the boxes: rich, sweet, cute, and eating a bunch gives you a stomach ache. The crust of sugar on top is also v delish. Important to note: the Hershey kiss is the qualifying factor on this being a Christmas cookie, otherwise it would be a simple peanut butter cookie, which is inherently not specifically a holiday cookie.
5. Almond Sand
This is a Sarah Walter's family recipe that everyone loves. I have personally never tried them, but they sound amazing. Erin, Sarah and Savannah agree that these are the best holiday cookies. When I asked what they tasted like, the answer I got was sugar and almond. Hey, when that balance is struck with grace and precision, it can’t be bad. Oftentimes, simplicity makes for excellence.
4. Chocolate Chip
Cannot believe I’m evening putting this on the list, but I must relay the truth in order to be truly democratic. John and Thomas both immediately agreed on this being their favorite cookies. The ever romantic John argued that, “the heart wants what it wants.” I’m not a cookie expert, but I just don’t see this cookie fitting seamlessly into a platter of x-mas treats. Although, Nicole asked the compelling question, the hard question, the question everyone desired to ask, but no one dared: “What do you leave out for Santa with milk at night?” Conclusion: Chocolate chip is only appropriate for Santa and that is final. Moving on.
3. Italian Deli/Bakery Cookies
Personally, I think these should have won. My first job at 14 was at Giovanni’s Bakery in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, where my jobs were to fill cannolis, slice bread, and stuff boxes full of the many varieties of these semi-sweet and flaky cookies. A lot of us agreed on liking these, and there were no real haters. This is an umbrella term and includes many cookies like: the Italian horn, which is a plain flaky dough square, filled with jam, and then folded over to look like a little swaddled jam baby. These are similar to Jo (and another of my) favorite, the polish classic, a Koloczki. Other Italian deli cookies are: tiny biscotti, rainbow cookies (the pink, white and green dudes), almond cookies, and lemon cookies. Simple and divine.
Snickerdoodle quickly became an unlikely lead. I’m not surprised it has so many fans, because it’s an incredible cookie—but I am surprised because I kind of forgot about them, and I definitely don’t think they are particularly festive. Also, Erin and Emily are adamant that this is not a Christmas cookie, while Whitney and Jo (among others) champion the cinnamony sweetheart. They do definitely read like a summer bake sale treat, alongside it’s sister in basic-ness, the choco-chip.
1. Mexican Wedding Cookie
What is not to like? This cookies claim to fame is the snow-like powdered sugar delicately dusting a buttery, nutty dough that crumbles and melts in your mouth. It's a quality cookie that everyone loves, and despite it's name, it reeks of Christmas. Sierra's mouth watered just talking about them, and pretty much everyone agrees, that they are head over heels for Mexican Wedding Cookies. We made some, adapted from this recipe- using our Executive Coordinator, Jo's homemade vanilla extract. Merry Christmas!
These cookies didn’t make the cut because either A. They are not cookies per say, or B. They are fringe entries, beloved by only one:
Potato Chip Cookies, Thin Mints, Italian Wine Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, and Cheese Pennies.