Slice and bake cookies are my jam.
Maybe it’s because I find those pre-packaged Pillsbury cookies with the outlines of a Christmas tree or a reindeer so nostalgic. Or maybe it’s because they are the ultimate make-ahead dessert. (The fact that, at a moment’s notice, you can whip out a batch of cookies is just too good to pass up.) It’s safe to say I’ve been on cookie-overload these last few weeks and I’ve been looking for something a little different for the back half of December.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the flavor of butter and rich chocolate, but it’s precisely that: super-rich. I don’t know about you but I’ve been craving lighter and brighter flavors in my cookies. So, when I started thinking about what goes into my ideal cookie, I began to play around with the ingredients in my parent’s pantry to create the ultimate slice and bake cookie recipe.
I wanted something bright, a little salt to cut through the sweetness, and a tart bite that would wake me up a bit. So lo and behold, I stumbled on a Christmas miracle with the ultimate flavor combo in these cookies below.
When I think about ingredients that help cut through sweetness, my mind first went to the bag of dried cranberries that my dad uses in his homemade granola and the pile of oranges that my mom always in her fruit bowl. Cranberries add that perfect tartness to any recipe while playing perfectly off the sweetness, and orange zest adds this brightness that really lifts everything up and keeps it from being too heavy.
Pistachios, which my dad always snacks on, also add a great crunch and a bit of saltiness. I use roasted and salted pistachios in my slice and bake cookie recipe because I like the flavor, but you could use raw pistachios as well. Plus, it feels so classic for pistachios and cranberries to add the red and green festive vibes. To round everything out (and because I think it’s the perfect spice for sweets) I used some freshly ground cardamom to add a bit of floral warmth—it pairs so perfectly with the orange and cranberry. And because it’s the holidays, I just had to add a drizzle of white chocolate.
My brother tried a few of these straight out of the oven and he was obsessed, calling the flavors here “the perfect harmony.” Everything plays together without competing and it’s just wonderful. To finish it off, I actually toss together some crushed pistachios, extra orange zest, a pinch of cardamom, and finishing salt to add some extra texture and flavor to everything going on inside the cookie.
This slice and bake cookie recipe makes the kind of simple and rustic cookies that I love, nothing fancy, but it still feels so nostalgic for the season.
Plus, the benefit is that these are truly slice and bake! I love that I can make the dough real quick and then wrap it up in wax paper to sit in the fridge overnight. Then I can make fresh baked cookies at a moment’s notice. The dough is basic enough that you can totally customize your flavors too. Maybe I’ll add some peppermint bark and drizzle on dark chocolate to my slice and bake cookie recipe next time? Yum!
The cookies get slightly golden on the bottom, and if I do say so myself, taste even better the next day.
While we’ll keep some of these for ourselves to pack in a cookie box for our annual neighborhood drive to look at the lights—hot cocoa in a thermos and cookies for snacking is the ultimate tradition—we might share these with Santa on Christmas Eve. I’m looking forward to his reviews.
Happy cookie baking, everyone!