‘Tis the season for all things magical, when hearts of all ages beat a little faster in anticipation of sugary wonders. Why do we go utterly bonkers over cookies during the most wonderful time of the year? It’s simple—cookies are a buttery hug, a burst of sweet nostalgia, and a speedy path to straight-up joy. In Bend, the holiday cookie scene is nothing short of spectacular.
Macarons by Too Sweet Cakes
Indulge in French Flair
Amidst the holiday frenzy, macarons emerge as festive jewels. And Too Sweet Cakes, the delectable brainchild of Shelbi Geyer, is a rendezvous point for these exquisite French delights. “They’re one of my favorite things to make,” said Shelbi. “Details matter, and not everyone can master the macaron.”
Too Sweet’s macarons are a labor of love, crafted using the Italian method of blending hot sugar syrup with egg whites and almond flour to achieve that coveted shine. The true marvel is what’s inside—a luscious buttercream filling with evocative holiday flavors such as peppermint, gingerbread, and eggnog. These dainty delights—perfect for parties, gatherings, or a secret stash—are tiny works of art that add a touch of French elegance to the season.
Pressed Flour Cookies by The Flourist
The Craft of Botanical Baking
Step into a realm where holiday cookies take a surprising turn thanks to the enchanting creations of Andy Andreu, also known as The Flourist. With a culinary background and boundless curiosity, Andy ventured into botanical baking during the pandemic. She has been forever pondering “What if?” as she experimented with edible flowers.
The Flourist’s pressed flower cookies bring a botanical twist to holiday treats. Made from shortbread dough, these crunchy, perfectly buttery delights are adorned with dried organic flowers and herbs that change with the seasons. Holiday flavors include cozy combinations like Turkish coffee spice and tahini chocolate.
Andy has also perfected the madeleine, a cake-like cookie French mothers used to whip up as an afternoon treat for their children. Crispy on the outside and spongy on the inside, madeleines are perfect for dunking in tea, coffee, or a steaming mug of hot cocoa. Andy cranks up the creativity by dipping half of the madeleine in velvety chocolate and sprinkling it with a blend of pistachio nuts and rose petals for a floral holiday indulgence.
Sweet Sugar Cookies at Sparrow Bakery
Your Classic Sweet Treat
Sugar cookies are timeless treats brimming with creative potential. When it comes to mastering this festive craft, the folks at Sparrow Bakery shine bright. Owners Whitney and Jessica Keatman have always held authenticity close to their hearts, striving to craft meaningful experiences for everyone who walks through their doors. What started as a scrappy word-of-mouth endeavor in 2006 has evolved into the bakery equivalent of Santa’s workshop.
Sparrow’s “Cookie Team” elevates creativity to the level of sugarplum dreams by plucking design inspiration from real life. Instead of following trends, they create cookie collections from holiday shapes and colors that tell a whimsical story—bewhiskered elves and furry friends in a frosty forest or a crackling fireplace surrounded by the family’s stockings. The buttery shortbread crumble is lip-smacking, but the real magic is found in the joy their cookies give—like a long hug from a beloved Nonna. With meticulous icing and attention to detail that would make Santa’s elves proud, each Sparrow cookie is almost too delightful to devour.
How to Bake the Best Holiday Cookies in Central Oregon
Here are some tips and tricks from Bend’s best bakers to ensure your cookies are as magical as a snowman at a penguin parade:
- Before baking, chill cookie dough until it’s as cold as a winter night in Bend.
- Home ovens are consistently inconsistent. Use a separate thermometer and keep a watchful eye.
- Cool baking sheets with cold water between batches to ensure even baking.
- Elevate creativity by using a vibrant palette of food dye colors for icing. Instead of piping bags, consider using convenient squeeze bottles for precise icing control.
- For perfectly smooth icing, try “flooding.” First, outline the area with icing that has a soft-peak consistency. Then, steadily and quickly fill the outlined area (or flood) with slightly thinner icing. Use a toothpick to smooth air bubbles, and gently tap the cookie on the workspace to level the icing. Allow flooded cookies to dry for several hours before adding more decorations.
- Don’t skimp on quality. Opt for premium organic flour and regularly replace older baking powders and sodas lurking in dark corners of the pantry.
Remember, the magic of cookies is found by spreading the love. Bake with joy and share those delicious creations with others. Looking for dessert while dining out, click here to read about a few of our favorites in Bend. Have a dessert you want to share with us, email us!