Santa cometh. Some people get their jollies from gift-giving guesswork, but my joy lies with the fuel of Saint Nick himself: the cookie. First comes my mother’s batch of Dusty Bliss—dots of espresso shortbread gloved in rich, dark chocolate and dipped in hazelnut crumbs—affectionately named for the svelte texture that screams for coffee or several glugs of ice-cold milk.
But why stop there? After all, this season is big enough for several rounds of cheer: Take cushiony salted chocolate rye cookies (above)—fudgy, complex, and hopelessly dense, they’re the equivalent of frozen custard in a land of aerated ice creams. For a dose of nutty, Southern warmth, I might mess with decadent smoky whiskey balls. Or my favorite, true-blue chocolate-chip cookies, marvelously tweaked from the back of that yellow Toll House bag into that crispy-gooey stuff we’re looking for this season. Let’s all raise a milk glass while the receipts and wrapping paper pile up. No returns, promise.