12 Holiday Cookies to Make This Season

Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Recipe
Photo: Justin Walker

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 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.

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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.

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Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies

Chocolate-Gingerbread Cookies
© Ditte Isager

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.

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Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

These sweet and chewy two-bite macaroons have only five ingredients (not including the delicious bittersweet-chocolate drizzle).

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Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies

Jam-Filled Mezzaluna Cookies
© Marie Hennechart

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.

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Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs

Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs

Cocoa, coffee and pecans are rolled together in these semisweet, sugar-dusted cookies.

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Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Dulce de Leche Peda Filling

Cardamom Shortbread Cookies with Dulce de Leche Pedalboards Filling
Andria Lo

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.

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Thumbprint Cookies with White Chocolate-Espresso Ganache

Thumbprint cookies with white chocolate espresso ganache
Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

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.

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Triple-Ginger Rye Cookies

Triple Ginger Cookies
Greg DuPree

Hearty rye flour paired with three types of ginger—powdered, candied, and fresh—lends an earthy, lightly spicy flavor to these delicious holiday cookies.

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Triple Chocolate–Peppermint Cookies

Triple Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Recipe
Justin Walker

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.

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Vanilla–Brown Butter Sablé Cookies

Vanilla-Brown Butter Sable Cookies
Johhny Miller

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.

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Gluten-Free Cacao Nib Meringues

Gluten-Free Cacao Nib Meringues
Justin Walker

Made with chocolate, cacao nibs, and cocoa powder, these intensely flavored meringues have a delicate, crispy exterior with a soft, chewy, marshmallow-like interior.

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Brown Butter-Cardamom Spitzbuben

Spitzbuben Holiday Cookie Recipe
Photo by Jenny Huang / Food Styling by Tyna Hoang / Prop Styling by Beatrice Chastka

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.

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