‘Tis the season

Try these uniquely flavored treats for your next holiday cookie exchange.

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These Lavender French Madeleines are topped with a sugar glaze and crushed lavender buds. — Marnely Murray

Just a few reminders to make sure your holiday cookies are the best they can be: Do use room-temperature ingredients, definitely preheat the oven, and remember that darker cookie sheets will mean a darker bottom on your cookies, so maybe try out a newer pan this year.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

The tasty combo of bacon and chocolate in these cookies is sure to wow family and friends this holiday season.

(Recipe adapted from the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.)

Yield: 2 dozen medium cookies

1 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

4 strips bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the flour and baking soda and set aside.

Cream the butter, sugars, and vanilla extract for 5 minutes. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Dump in dry ingredients, chocolate chips, and chopped bacon (reserve 1 Tbsp. bacon to top cookies). Mix until all ingredients come together and form a homogenous dough.

Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop cookies onto baking tray, top with reserved bacon, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Almond Apricot Biscotti

This Almond Apricot Biscotti is a nice fruity addition to a holiday cookie spread.

Yield: 30 to 40 biscotti, depending on size

3 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar  

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. kosher salt

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1½ tsp. baking powder

½ cup slivered almonds

½ cup dried apricots, chopped

3 tsp. half-and-half

egg wash

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a baking tray. Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Incorporate eggs and mix. Dump in flour, baking powder, chopped apricots, and almonds. Mix on low speed until the ingredients come together. Add half-and-half to make a more manageable and moist dough.

Form into large log and brush with egg wash. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until only slightly golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, and slice biscotti log into cookies ¾ inch to 1 inch thick. Arrange sliced cookies on baking sheet and continue to bake for 25 to 30 more minutes, until they feel dry. (I like to flip them over halfway through this second baking). Remove from oven, and let cool completely before storing.

Lavender French Madeleines

Yield: 1 dozen

⅔ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

⅓ cup granulated sugar

1½ tsp. culinary lavender

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

½ cup butter, melted

for glaze:

4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

water, to desired consistency

extra lavender buds

Preheat the oven to 375°F and butter your madeleine pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, crush the lavender buds into the sugar. Add the vanilla, eggs, and melted butter. Add the liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, and mix by hand until incorporated.

Pour about 2 Tbsp. into each madeleine cup (about ¾ full, no more). Bake until golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool all the way while making glaze.

To make glaze, in a small bowl place powdered sugar and add water by the teaspoon until consistency is smooth. Dip cooled madeleines halfway into the glaze and sprinkle with lavender buds. Let set for 30 minutes before serving.

(Recipes by Marnely Murray)