These sprinkled and spiked butter cookies melt in your mouth — and they make the best holiday gift

Amaretto and almond extract reimagine a classic New York bakery staple for kids at heart

By Joseph Neese
December 5, 2020 10:30PM (UTC)
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Holiday Sprinkle Cookies (Courtesy Meghan McGarry/Buttercream Blondie)

If you're from New York or have visited the Big Apple on a trip, you'll recognize Salon resident pastry chef Meghan McGarry's favorite cookie in an instant: the sprinkled butter cookie. They instilled in McGarry a love for sprinkles, which add a nostalgic feel to the traditional desserts she makes over at Buttercream Blondie. 

McGarry shared her grown-up version of those buttery New York-style cookies with Salon readers earlier this year, when she was feeling nostalgic for her her trips to local bakeries as a child. It was in those sprinkle wonderlands that McGarry first fell in love with baking.

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"Sprinkles are happiness in a bite," the owner of the beloved Buttercream Blondie brand told Salon Food in a recent interview. "Now, we've come full circle, because my first line of cookies soon to be available for nationwide shipping include a cookie that doesn't hold back on the sprinkles."

Until that magical day, McGarry is tying over Salon readers eager to try her very own spirited sweets with a seasonal cookie that you can make in the comfort of your very own kitchen. It's the second installment in Salon Food's holiday baking series, which is designed to help you win this year's cookie swap. We're baking at home more than ever, so what better way to put your newfound culinary skills to the test than by gifts baked with love.

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McGarry follows up her beloved Raspberry Almond Thumbprints with a second dessert you can put in the tins you're packing for your family and friends: sprinkled and spiked confetti cookies. These are a holiday spin on the cookie she introduced to readers earlier this year while she was missing being able to make trips to the iconic brick-and-mortar bakeries from her childhood. 

"This is my interpretation of those retro New York sprinkled butter cookies," she said. "This recipe uses amaretto and almond extract, which reimagine them for kids at heart." 

RELATED: Win the holiday baking swap with this spirited new take on classic raspberry thumbprint cookies

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Because it's the holidays, McGarry also swapped her signature rainbow sprinkles for a green, red, and white palette. If you're making these as a gift, feel free to customize the color scheme to the tastes of the friend or family member to whom you're bestowing a cookie tin. But there's one thing you should stick to: Use nonpareil sprinkles. In addition to looking beautiful, they also provide an added crunch to your cookies as you bite into them. That crunch provides the perfect compliment to the soft and pillowy texture of this cookie.

While almond extract and amaretto add an extra depth of flavor, the secret ingredient in these reimagined bakery cookies is an unexpected one: cream cheese. The addition of this favorite New York ingredient creates an almost velvet-like texture that melts away in your mouth. The end result is a cookie with a true lush factor. 

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RELATED: This no-fuss cinnamon swirl quick bread is better than any cinnamon roll you've ever tasted

As always, McGarry shares her pro-tips for how to make cookies that look as good as they taste. For example, she recommends using a cookie scoop when to scoop out your dough to not only ensure that all of your cookies come out of the oven the same size but also that they bake evenly. You can find her complete cookie cheat sheet by clicking here.

Enjoy some sprinkled and spiked cookies by an open fire this weekend. And don't forget to check back next week for more ways to continue baking spirits bright throughout the holidays.

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Recipe: Must-Make Holiday Confetti Cookies!

Yield: 4 dozen 1/2 ounce cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tbsp. Amaretto
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup holiday nonpareils

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add egg, followed by vanilla, almond extract and Amaretto, and mix until combined.

Click here to access the remainder of Meghan McGarry's raspberry almond thumbprints. And don't forget to follow @ButtercreamBlondie on Instagram for more ways to bake through the holidays. 


Joseph Neese

Joseph Neese is the Managing Editor of Salon. You can follow him on Twitter: @josephneese.

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Baking Buttercream Blondie Cookies Food Holidays Meghan Mcgarry New York Recipe