Carla Hall’s holiday cookie recipes bring the merry and bright to the table

Washington DC - November 26th 2021 -Carla Hall and cookies!Photographed in Washington DC on November 26th 2021. Photo by Peter Taylor
Washington DC - November 26th 2021 -Carla Hall and cookies!Photographed in Washington DC on November 26th 2021. Photo by Peter Taylor /

While holiday baking might be a tradition in many households, Carla Hall has opened her kitchen to share some holiday cookie recipes that will bring delight to everyone. The talented chef, author and food television personality always has the perfect tip, explanation or just welcoming tone when dishing out food advice, avoiding those baking pitfalls and stopping those cookie crumbles. While she might not be rolling out the dough in your home kitchen, her baking recipes and tips will ensure that the merry and the tasty are front and center in this year’s celebration.

Recently, FoodSided spoke to Hall about cookies. While recipes and baking tips were part of the conversation, she wanted to share some insight about some other cookies that are always around, but maybe not often talked about. Although many people would remember how many cookies that they eaten at one sitting, they might not remember how many cookies that they accepted online.

In partnering with Avast, Hall wants people to be more conscious of that “accepting cookies.” While not all cookies are bad, the reality is that people need to be aware of giving access to information. Just like grandma’s secret ingredient in her infamous cookie recipe is highly guarded, people need to be selective with the information that they share online.

From searching for online recipes to finding those kitchen essentials, sometimes those internet searches come with a little extra. Just like people want to know what ingredients are in a dish, people just need to be more conscious of how and why the information on the internet is being used. Informed decisions are often the best ones.

Ready to bake some Carla Hall holiday cookie recipes?

As part of her partnership with Avast, Carla Hall shared two holiday cookie recipes that might become new favorites. During our conversation, Hall offered a few baking tips and tricks to ensure that the cookies will be the star of any celebration.

The two cookie recipes are Cranberry Ginger Linzer Torte and the Painted Shortbread. These two recipes will impress with flavor and visuals.

A Linzer cookie has always been a favorite, but one that tends to stump my personal baking skills. While that little window to the luscious jam should be picture perfect, my cookie is more abstract that perfection. Luckily Hall has come to my rescue.

During our conversation, Hall told me the reasons why my Linzer cookie was one that tastes better than it looks. Simply stated, she told me, “the dough probably wasn’t cold enough.” And, she thought that the dough “might not be rolled out thin enough.”

Hall recommended “rolling out the dough to an eighth of an inch.” The pattern of “chilling the dough, rolling out the dough, then chilling the dough, then punching the dough, then chilling it again” would solve my cooking catastrophes. While the idea might sound simple, it is a perfect reminder that baking needs precision in order to execute well.

While the dough is key to any great cookie, Hall has a little extra secret with her Cranberry Ginger Linzer Torte cookie. The cranberry ginger filling can be used in other recipes as well. Hall revealed that she makes a double batch to use on a holiday pork roast or other savory recipes. A touch more lemon can round out the flavor a little.

Since Hall always loves a good pucker, this Cranberry Ginger Linzer Torte gets a boost of brightness from the ginger. That touch of spice lifts the flavor similar to how an acid would. This little tip could change a lot of recipes going forward.

With the baking tips at the ready, Hall wants people to enjoy the experience of holiday baking. Her second cookie recipe, the Painted Shortbread is an alternative to that traditional cutout, decorative sugar cookie. Instead of putting perfection on the plate, these cookies are all about self-expression.

Hall appreciates that everyone likes those decorative cookies, but she wanted to do something that had a “bigger palate.” This shortbread cookie is a canvas for creativity and doesn’t have to be “picture perfect.”

While these cookies would be delightful for Santa, Hall and I discussed a different idea for that holiday table or dessert presentation. Since the Painted Shortbread is a little bigger cookie, it could serve as a place card at the table.

Whether it is a name, a picture or even just an abstract idea, that personal cookie adds a special element to any celebration. Even beyond the holiday season, this shortbread cookie idea could be the star of the table.

Holiday cookie recipes do not have to come with a side of fear of topping the baking naughty list. With a little help from Carla Hall, the cookie plate will earn rave reviews from everyone at the table.

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