The Daily App: Martha Stewart Makes Cookies
Holiday activities can become chores during this busy season, but baking Christmas cookies puts the fun back in festivities -- at least if you're on the receiving end. It's just not Christmas without some milk and cookies for Santa. Sure, you can spring for a pack of ready-made ones at the store, but nothing boosts the spirits like a warm, cozy kitchen filling with the smell of fresh-baked cookies, especially during a season of long dark nights.
But what kind to make? Gingerbread, sugar cookies, chocolate chip, peanut butter, cinnamon... the variations are endless. Luckily, there's no shortage of holiday cookie apps to help out even the most inexperienced of bakers.
What Are the Apps?
"Martha Stewart Makes Cookies" is the marquee standard-bearer in this category, as sumptuous as you'd expected from the longtime doyenne of domestic arts. The media maven's iOS app, created with developers Happy, isn't new, but its reflection of Stewart's trademark commitment to excellence makes it an evergreen classic. Her company keeps its apps continually updated, and at this time of year, its influx of holiday-themed recipes keeps taste buds watering and interest piqued. Treats range from Mini Peppermint Meringue Cups and Molasses Drops to Toffee Millionaires and Spiced Cardamon Cookies, all rendered in an elegant look-and-feel that is easy to navigate.
The interface takes advantage of mobile, offering different views of recipes by changing the position of the iPhone or iPad. It's a pleasure to browse through and look at, and the varied recipes look delicious, though some seem to need advanced baking skills. But even for beginnings, the app is a great resource, with timers, shopping lists, instructional videos and conversion calculators -- loads of digital resources to make the job easier. And as a holiday bonus, it's free in the App Store for a limited time, with the option to buy more recipe packs.
If Stewart's brand of home entertaining seems too inaccessible or unapproachable, Country Living's Holiday Cookies app, available for $3 for both iOS and Android, offers equally delicious recipes for a more down-home, rustic palate. It details recipes for cookies like gingerbread, chocolate biscotti, snickerdoodles and other childhood favorites, as well as simple tips and decorating tricks to gussy up the treats. It's not as comprehensive as Stewart's app, but you'll find it bright and appealing to look at and easy to use, with its own kind of festive charm.
Both Country Living and Martha Stewart's cookie-baking apps are great, but even with the helpful guides and tips, they may boggle inexperienced bakers. For beginners, "Christmas Cookies Recipe," offered for $1 for iOS devices, is more palatable. It doesn't offer beautiful photographs or tantalizingly ornate recipes, and its look and feel is serviceable, but it does offer simple, classic recipes with clear instructions that won't overwhelm those who bake a few times a year.
You'll Want It If...
If you've got a sweet tooth and a yen to bake for the holidays, these apps are brilliant. The wide array of recipes and ideas will spark your festive creativity. And even if you're not a baker, both Stewart and Country Living apps are lovely eye candy, perfect if you just want to watch and live and eat vicariously.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
You say you like cookies, but you aren't fond of what they do to your waistline? You can still enjoy the fun of creating and decorating with a virtual cookie making game like "Christmas Cookie Maker" for iOS or "Xmas Crazy Chef Cookie Maker" for Android. Both are cheerful, fun and bring out your cookie creativity, all without blowing up your body. ♦
Categories: Lifestyle | The Daily App