At this time of year, I traditionally do a holiday cookie bake of goods to send to faraway friends and family. It sometimes includes a loaf of fruit and nut bread, one year had a stollen (not successful) but almost always includes three cookie items which are different enough that everybody will like at least one of them.
Fennel Pollen Shortbreads. These are delicate and delicious with the funky licorice taste balancing the unctuous butter. If you don’t have access to fennel pollen I would experiment with anise extract since fennel seeds would interfere with the desired smooth texture. Recipe here. Note that these guys are rather delicate so wrap carefully if shipping.
Dark Chocolate Biscotti with Chipotle Chili. Chocolate and chili seem to be a thing nowadays, and this is a good example of why the two contrasting flavors work so well together. Do go to the trouble to roast and husk fresh hazelnuts; in fact, make some extras because they’re delicious and can be used in other bakes. Recipe here.
Christina Tosi’s Corn Cookies. Chef Tosi wants you to order freeze dried corn kernels from Amazon to give these a rich corn-y taste but subbing in more finely ground corn flour (NOT cornmeal) will probably work as long as the flour is very fresh. They are very similar to peanut butter cookies in their texture and flavor profile… in fact, one of my more discerning tasters thought that’s what they were. Recipe here.