Sprinkles, peppermint, icing, sugar and spice are the heartbeat of December baking—the most cookie-centric month of the year, no doubt. Pro bakers around town are churning out extra festive creations in the coming weeks. We asked a handful of our favorites what's new on their cookie trays for the holidays, and here's what they came back with.
Baker & Banker's Lori Baker bakes a down-home spin on the mass-marketed Oreo for the holidays: A chocolate cookie with vanilla buttercream filling and sides coated in crushed peppermint. She also has a chewy-soft ginger cookie on offer that includes both candied and dried ginger, and is a whopper—just about the size of your favorite Elvis Christmas CD.
Denise and Eloise Leung, the lovely couple who run DeLise Dessert Cafe on the Wharf, churn out holiday desserts with true refinement, especially their French macarons in festive flavors. This year, Leung is making a chocolate macaron with peppermint white chocolate ganache, a salted walnut macaron with ginger orange and cranberry jam fillings, and green pistachio macarons with saffron filling and quince jam.
Snowflake shaped shortbread, Warren pear jam thumbprints, snowballs, gingerballs, and gingerbread men: Batter Bakery's shelves explode with edible Christmas cheer this time of year. Don't miss baker Jen Musty's peppermint sandwich cookies, a 2012 original made from chocolate shortbread, peppermint-laced bittersweet chocolate ganache and "just enough Maldon sea salt to bring out the richness of the chocolate."
Miette has been making extra delicious traditional sugar cookies for the past ten years, using liberal amounts of Straus butter. Each one is hand-decorated by Jeff Goesche, who has a striking understanding of realistic colors and details. Just check out that patridge and pear duo above. If you like Goesche's style, he also teaches cookie decorating classes in the bakery.
Tartine Bakery's Liz Prueitt makes classic glazed gingerbread just for the holiday season. Prueitt tricks her recipe out with extra molasses and corn syrup, making the gingerbread soft enough to hold its antique mold impression. When the sugar glaze is added, it dries unevenly, leaving the impression of a delicate antique tile.
At Pastry Cupboard in Hayes Valley, the prize holiday treats are pastry chef Chona Piumarta's seven-inch shortbread snowflake cookies. Just like real snowflakes, each one is an original. Piumarta takes about 20 minutes per cookie to hand-decorate with royal icing, chocolate "pearls," and more. She plans to make about 150 of the beauties this year, and expects them to fly off the shelves.
Have a go-to holiday cookie that isn't listed? Tell us about it in the comments.