Fabulous Holiday Cookies
From brownies to sugar cookies to pecan bars, we've collected some of our best holiday cookies. Warning: You may feel the urge to eat your screen!
5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
As our gift to you, we've gathered our all-time favorite cookie recipes of the holiday season. Like simple cookies? Then this first recipe is for you! With only 5 ingredients, these sugar cookies are sure to become a classic this season.
Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies
For the best "crackle" effect, reroll balls in powdered sugar just before baking to cover any exposed dough.
Cherry Blossom Thumbprint Cookies
These buttery thumbprint cookies offer a faint cherry flavor in the cookie itself and the most stunning pop of pale pink, along with a delicate taste of cherry blossom, in the jam filling. These elegant thumbprint cookies are almost too pretty to eat (although we’re sure you’ll find a way), and would make the perfect sweet finish to a bridal shower or dinner party. Cherry blossom jelly is a specialty product we ordered online, but we found it to be worth the extra bit of effort and expense for a special occasion. However, you could fill these cookies with whatever flavored jam you like. Alternatively, we also tested the recipe using chocolate kisses instead of a jam, and this is also a delicious option. The chocolate makes a very tasty companion to the subtle cherry notes in the cookie.
Christmas Cookie Puzzles
Choose cutters with simple shapes; they're easier to handle and less likely to break. If you want to make small puzzles, cut dough into 4-inch squares, and use a single cookie cutter to punch out the center of each square while still hot from the oven. Working quickly, cut lines from edges of square to form puzzle pieces. Store icing in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Belgian Spice Cookies
To create a lacy design on these cookies (also known as Speculoos), place a stencil or doily over the cooled cookies before dusting with powdered sugar.
Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
Rolling red and plain-colored dough gives these cookies their fun look. Sandwich them together with a layer of peppermint-cream cheese frosting.
Iced Whole-Wheat Sugar Cookies
Whole-wheat flour adds a layer of complexity to these cookies that all-purpose flour can't achieve; the wheat in the whole grain actually enhances the flavors of butter and vanilla. Unlike classic royal icing, which starts with a pound of powdered sugar, we use just 1/2 cup and thicken it with Greek yogurt. Looking for festive colors without the chemicals? Try naturally colored sparkling sugars (such as those from India Tree), which use colorants derived from plants.
Chewy Ginger Cookies
Fresh ginger and black pepper bring a kick to this classic cookie. Prep tip: Swirl a liquid measuring cup with a thin coat of vegetable oil before measuring molasses for the most accurate (and least sticky) result.
Triple-threat Chocolate Cookies
Prepare to abandon all restraint when you try one of these cookies, made with melted chocolate and chocolate chips in the batter and layered with a chocolate ganache filling.
Rocky Road Brownies
Mini marshmallows melt into this walnut-topped brownie during baking, giving it a gooey, fudgy texture.
Gingerbread Sailors and Mermaids
You can find mermaid cutters at cookiecutter.com, and gingerbread boys from annclark.com. Decorate with icing, sprinkles, and dragées for a sweet and spicy coastal treat!
Almendrados (Flourless Almond Cookies)
The almond base gives these cookies a wonderfully nutty flavor.
Christmas Cookies 4 Ways
Stick with classic sugar cookies, or add spices, lemon zest, or cocoa for fun variations. Cut the dough into lovely holiday shapes and decorate with Royal Icing for a truly original cookie.
Pumpkin Cream Sandwiches
These moist pumpkin cookies are wonderful plain or sandwiched with cream cheese filling.
Autumn Maple Cutout Cookies
Maple syrup gives these cookies a subtle sweet flavor. Spice them up with cinnamon and nutmeg, and top with toasted walnuts.
Louisiana Pecan Balls
These cookies are simple to make and ready in less than an hour. Dust with a little cinnamon or cocoa powder for a pretty presentation.
Dark Chocolate-Espresso Shortbread
Edges tipped with unsweetened chocolate and white chocolate enhance the coffee flavor in these cookies.
Hello Dolly Bars
Also called Seven Layer Bars, this treat combines coconut, chocolate morsels, pecans, butterscotch bits and graham crackers into a sticky-sweet delight.
Luscious Lemon Bars
A crumbly, butter cookie bottom is the perfect partner to smooth lemon filling and powdered sugar.
Salted Caramel Brownies
With their rich, indulgent flavors, these layered brownies are a definite crowd-pleaser.
Lemon-Frosted Sugar Cookies
Classic sugar cookies get a lift when you add a bit of lemon zest to the dough and fresh lemon juice to the frosting. Let your imagination soar and add food coloring to some of the frosting or use colored sugar to decorate the cookies.
Chocolate Chip Blondies
Put a twist on classic blondie bars by adding chocolate morsels and baking them in muffin tins.
White Chocolate-Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
Put a twist on classic oatmeal raisin cookies by adding white chocolate morsels and a bit of orange extract.
These coffee and almond cookies topped with chocolate kisses are easy enough to make that your children can help you prepare them.
Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Caramel bits and chopped apple are the perfect autumn substitute to raisins in these crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside oatmeal cookies.
You'll love how these scrumptious double-chocolate cookies are similar in texture to thick and fudgy brownies.
Two layers of crumbly oatmeal topping sandwich a layer of sweet dates in these super moist bars.
Get your milk ready! A dash of coffe intensifies the luscious flavor of cocoa powder and three types of chocolate.
Two-Layer Caramel-Pecan Bars
Caramel lovers rejoice! A crunchy brown sugar base holds a gooey layer of caramel topped with chopped pecans.
Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mashed banana adds rich flavor and moistness to these cookies.
Death by Caramel Bars
These showy brownies are nice and tall with pockets of caramel goo. They are wicked enough on their own, but for an over-the-top dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce.
These gingery rounds bake up moist thanks to a bit of applesauce and the sugar on top gives them a beautiful presentation.
Peanut Butter Cookies with Butterscotch Bits
These nutty cookies get a buttery, caramel-y touch when you add butterscotch bits to the dough.
With only a few ingredients, you can transform shredded wheat cereal into these whimsical holiday wreaths. Let the kids help shape and decorate them with cinnamon candies, M&Ms, or crushed peppermints.
Just hearing the word snickerdoodle makes us excited to take a bite of these chewy, buttery cookies dusted with cinnamon.
Spicy Oatmeal Crisps
These aren’t your typical oatmeal cookies! Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and black pepper give these crispy cookies a wonderful kick. Line your pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove the cookies.
Toffee-Chocolate Chip Shortbread
Jazz up traditional shortbread with luscious bits of chocolate and salty toffee.
Peanut Butter-Toffee Turtle Cookies
Mix toffee bits and chopped pecans right into the cookie dough and after baking, top with caramel and a chocolate drizzle.
Sugar Cookie Pops
Let your kids get in on the action with these colorful cookie pops. They can roll cookie dough balls in their favorite sprinkles and colored sugar and help you stick each cookie on a craft stick to complete the look.
Vanilla Bean Shortbread
Buttery, crumbly shortbread gets a flavor boost when you add vanilla bean.
We love the mix of coconut, red cranberries and zesty orange in these chewy delights.
Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries
We love these thick, satisfying cookies. The lightly spiced batter and dried cranberries provide a great counterpoint to the macadamia nuts' richness.
Red Velvet Thumbprints
There's no need to use a pastry bag to fill cookies. Just transfer the frosting to a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and snip the corner.
Stained Glass Window Cookies
We found that Jolly Rancher candies produced the brightest, most vibrant "stained glass."
Thick, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you are of the school that thinks chocolate chip cookies should be soft and chewy, you'll love this recipe. Add 1 cup chopped pecans if you like a little crunch.
Amaretto Butter Cookies
These delicate, buttery cookies are flavored with bright orange peel and rich amaretto liqueur. Arrange slivered almonds in a star pattern for a striking presentation.
Fudgy Chocolate-Peppermint Cookies
When a soft, fudgy cookie meets crunchy candy cane shards, it's a match made in heaven.
Peanut Butter Cup Blondies
If you're a fan of the classic flavor combination of chocolate and peanut butter, you'll love these bars.
Crunchy Frostbite Cookies
Dip one side of these crispy oatmeal cookies into melted white chocolate for a “frosted” effect. Sprinkle red or green sugar on top for a fun Christmas look.
Lemon and coconut add a new twist to the traditional wedding cookie. Don't be shy when rolling these in powdered sugar -- the more powdered sugar, the bigger the snowball!
Swirled Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Bars
If you mixed cheesecake and pumpkin pie, this is the dessert you’d come up with. Perfect for any autumn get-together, you can store these bars up to 3 days before your party.
Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies
Two of the most popular cookies combine forces to create these chewy cookies perfect for company or a holiday snack.
Fudgy Mocha-Toffee Brownies
Coffee and toffee give these rich chocolate brownies a unique twist. If they haven't all been gobbled up, store leftover brownies in an airtight container for up to a week or wrap tightly in aluminum foil and freeze for up to four months.
Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies
Fudgy brownies get a decadent top layer of swirled cheesecake and brownie batter in these over the top bars. Raspberry extract also works well as a flavoring.
With less than 10 ingredients you can make a pan of gooey pecan bars. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for an over the top holiday dessert.
Toffee Blond Brownies
These gooey brownies are buttery and taste slightly like caramel from the brown sugar. Toffee bits melt during baking to create a crunchy topping.
Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies
This recipe contrasts the tartness of the cherries with the cocoa and semisweet chocolate chips for an elegant, and delicious, addition to your holiday table.
White Chocolate Snowballs
Roll cookie dough in sweetened flaked coconut and sandwich them together with a white chocolate filling.
Oatmeal and Pie Spice Cookies
Oatmeal cookies get a holiday boost when you add pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice to the dough.
Lemon Sugar Cookies
These beautiful cookies feature traditional sugar cookie dough dressed up with tart lemon juice and grated lemon peel.
Chocolate Hazelnut Cutout Cookies (Nocciolini)
Cornstarch gives these cookies a delicate, sandy texture. You could also fill them with thick caramel or frosting.
Ambrosia Streusel Bars with Shortbread Crust
Use the foil as a handle to remove the cooled batch from the pan for easy slicing.
Hidden Kiss Cookies
We love using mint kisses and candy cane kisses for the holidays.
Minted White Chocolate Balls
Coat in chocolate two at a time.
Coat in chocolate two at a time.
Lavender-Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
These delicate, crispy shortbread cookies are incredibly impressive given how easy they are to make. With just the right balance of gentle herbaceous, floral flavor and saltiness, these not-too-sweet shortbread cookies are the perfect treat to pair with anything from coffee and tea to lemonade or rosé. While both have fairly potent flavors, when applied with an expert touch (i.e. knowing restraint), lavender and rosemary make an amazing team—delivering sophisticated personality to whatever they touch. Culinary lavender buds are readily available in many nationwide supermarkets, but you can also order them online if you have trouble finding them locally. One key baker's tip to remember when it comes to making shortbread, definitely don’t skip out on chilling your dough before baking. This resting period helps the dough relax (resulting in a more tender, delicate cookie) and helps the cookies keep their shape in the oven. If you plan to make these lavender shortbread cookies for a special occasion (or you just love them so much you want to keep them around), you can easily whip up a double or triple batch of dough in advance and keep the unbaked logs frozen; when you’re ready for cookies, just pop the logs out of the freezer, then slice and bake. If you wanted to dress them up even further, a simple lemon glaze would be a delightful addition drizzled over the baked and cooled lavender-rosemary shortbread.