18 Holiday Cookies to Make This Season
Whether you’re a fan of chocolate, sugar cookies, shortbreads, or meringues, these holiday cookies will make a great addition to your menu. From coconut macaroons and cinnamon spritz sandwich cookies to cardamom shortbreads with dulce de leche peda filling, you’ll be hard-pressed to decide which ones to bake first. Read on for all of the holiday cookies we’ll be making this year.
These crisp, ultra-chocolaty cookies have a creamy mint filling. They're especially good drizzled with melted dark and/or white chocolate.
In this version of these traditional German spice cookies, the edges are slightly crisp and the middles, soft and chewy. They're topped with a confectioners' sugar icing that is thicker than the classic see-through glaze. It's important to freeze the soft batter until very firm, so it can be easily scooped onto the baking sheets.
Ginger-Studded Sugar Cookies
"My father used a lot of ginger in his baking," says Kevin Sbraga. "It adds that burst of flavor that makes you think, wow." This sweet, candied-ginger dough can be rolled out and cut into any shape or formed into logs and refrigerated for simple slice-and-bake cookies.
These marvelous Christmas cookies combine chocolate with spicy gingerbread. "I was tired of basic gingerbread," says Matt Lewis. "And my connection to chocolate is really deep." An added benefit of these cookies: The supple dough is very easy to work with, and the scraps can be rerolled and cut out.
Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Karen DeMasco beats the dough for these buttery cookies with an entire vanilla bean, so the oils in the pod add deep vanilla flavor. By rolling the dough in demerara sugar before slicing and baking the cookies, she makes them extra-crispy.
These sweet and chewy two-bite macaroons have only five ingredients (not including the delicious bittersweet-chocolate drizzle).
Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies
Using a recipe Nancy Silverton taught her for a super-buttery dough, Dahlia Narvaez made vanilla-scented cookies shaped like mezzaluna ("half moon") pasta and filled them with a mixed-berry jam she found in Panicale.
Cocoa, coffee and pecans are rolled together in these semisweet, sugar-dusted cookies.
Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Dulce de Leche Peda Filling
Adorned with edible flower petals and gold leaf, these spiced sandwich cookies, which blogger and cookbook author Hetal Vasavada makes for her Diwali celebration, are an occasion unto themselves. Store-bought dulce de leche enriches a filling inspired by peda, a creamy Indian milk fudge flavored with cardamom.
Thumbprint Cookies with White Chocolate-Espresso Ganache
Baking legend Claudia Fleming based these melt-in-your mouth cookies on a recipe her mother used to make. They owe their texture to the perfect amount of cornstarch, which makes them exquisitely crumbly without being too dry. The buttercream-like filling is light in texture but stable thanks to the white chocolate.
Cranberry-Lime Shortbread Cookies with Lime Curd
Jodi Elliott loves serving her crisp, buttery, festive shortbread cookies with an intensely tangy and delicious lime curd for dipping or spreading.
Triple-Ginger Rye Cookies
Hearty rye flour paired with three types of ginger—powdered, candied, and fresh—lends an earthy, lightly spicy flavor to these delicious holiday cookies.
Triple Chocolate–Peppermint Cookies
The peppermint bark in these cookies is simple to make and adds a beautiful pop of color and flavor in each cookie, though store-bought bark will work well here, too.
Cinnamon Spritz Sandwich Cookies
Spritz cookies are buttery Scandinavian sweets made by "spritzing" dough through a press, creating fun shapes. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito's cakey version—piped with a pastry bag, then sandwiched with fluffy meringue—resembles a little whoopie pie.
Chocolate Peppermint Marshmallow Cookies
“Mallomars are my absolute favorite sweet treat,” says Della Gossett, executive pastry chef at Spago Beverly Hills. “In my variation, crunchy peppermint candy nicely balances the pillowy marshmallow filling.”
Vanilla–Brown Butter Sablé Cookies
Pastry Chef Natasha Pickowicz loves simple vanilla cookies like these. Vanilla, a notoriously difficult ingredient to grow and source, really shines in this recipe, making the quality especially important. Pickowicz loves the plump vanilla beans from Heilala vanilla. To efficiently seed a vanilla bean, use a paring knife to split the bean in half lengthwise, then use the full edge of the knife to scrape the seeds from the cut sides. Use the seeds immediately, and save the scraped-out vanilla beans to infuse sugar, cream, or milk.
Gluten-Free Cacao Nib Meringues
Made with chocolate, cacao nibs, and cocoa powder, these intensely flavored meringues have a delicate, crispy exterior with a soft, chewy, marshmallow-like interior.
Brown Butter-Cardamom Spitzbuben
German for “cheeky boys,” these Bavarian cookies will be the star of your holiday cookie platter. Brown butter and cardamom make this simple cookie into a fragrant treat. Take the time to freshly grind the cardamom—its robust, citrusy flavor is worth it. You can use round or fluted cutters to cut out the cookies and any shape that takes your fancy for the center.