The Best Christmas Sugar Cookies
Roll-and-Cut Sugar Cookies
"Roll-and-cut" sugar cookies are made by flattening dough with a rolling pin, then cutting out shapes. The dough recipe here is ideal: durable enough to withstand rolling and rerolling, yet soft enough to cut neatly. The cookies themselves are extremely versatile. They can be simply sprinkled with sugar and baked; or, after they're baked, they can be decorated with royal icing or sandwiched with jam and sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.
Butter Cookies with Clove Sugar
Kantin Dukkan chef Semsa Denizsel's crumbly cookies are lightly flavored with the ground cloves she mixes into the confectioners' sugar coating. Clarified butter in the cookies makes them extracrisp.
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.
Rosemary-Cornmeal Sugar Cookies
Chef Tim Byres of Smoke in Dallas mixes fresh rosemary into cornmeal cookies, giving them a fabulous savory note. The recipe can be made two ways: as drop cookies or the slice-and-bake kind for a crisper texture.
Iced Brown Sugar Cookies
"I really like the idea of using white frosting on this cookie, which has a little bit of brown sugar in it for great color, because the contrast between the two is so distinct," says Matt Lewis of Brooklyn's Baked bakery.
These buttery, almost weightless cookies are a fixture at Big Sugar events. "We love to offer them in small, ribbon-tied gift packages for favors at bridal and baby showers," Lisa Ritter says. And because of their relatively low sugar content, "people who don't normally love sweets are delighted with these."
Candied Orange Sugar Cookies
Suzanne Goin, who used to work at Berkeley, California's Chez Panisse, adapted these sugar-edged cookies from the Chez Panisse Dessert cookbook.
Double-Ginger Sugar Cookies
F&W's Grace Parisi opts for baking soda instead of baking powder to create delectable holiday sugar cookies that are especially crispy.
Use a spoon or your thumb to make a dent for the raspberry-jam filling.
This recipe for biscochitos, rich cinnamon-sugar cookies from Mexico, makes an extra-large batch so there's plenty for your holiday cookie swap.