A mix of classics and new riffs, these cookies are all easy to pull together in time for Christmas.

By Kristin Donnelly
Updated May 23, 2017

1. Simple Butter Cookies

The most complicated part about making these four-ingredient cookies is clarifying the butter (melting it and spooning off the golden fat) which makes them extra crisp. To create the unusual, gnocchi-like shape, small pieces of dough are pressed with the tines of a fork to create ridges.

2. Chewy Meringue Cookies

© John Kernick

These snowy white cookies, made simply from whipped egg whites and sugar, are delightfully chunky, thanks to the addition of chocolate chips, pecans and dried cherries. They’re also cookies you can make the night before: They’re best left to dry out in the oven overnight. (And if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can whip the egg whites with a handheld electric mixer.)

3. Easy Sandwich Cookies

The spicy gingersnaps here are delicious all on their own but to take them up a notch, they get sandwiched with a fast lemon buttercream. Even simpler, spread hazelnut cookies (or any plain or nutty butter cookie) with Nutella and sandwich away.

4. Amaretti Cookies

Take your amaretti cookies (the delicious Italian almond treats) to the next level by adding the bitter liqueur, known as amaro. (If you don’t have a piping bag, no worries: Just put the batter in a resealable plastic bag and snip the corner.)

5. Cookies for Cookie Cutters

If you’re up to stamping out cookies with cutters, try the gingerbread from Maria Helm Sinskey or the no-fail sugar cookie dough from star baker Rose Levy Beranbaum.

6. Thumbprints

For a slight twist on the thumbprint cookie, add cardamom to the dough. Or make them macaroon-style, with nuts and meringue (which happen to be gluten-free).

7. Snowballs

These classic cookies get flavored with vanilla bean seeds (instead of extract) and the walnuts are coarsely chopped to make the resulting cookie a bit chunky.

8. Cocktail Cookies

With a sprinkling of salt, a bit of spicy cayenne and not too much sugar, these chocolate cookies can be served as an unexpected hors d’oeuvres (or are great when you don’t have a sweet tooth).

9. Sugar-Crusted Chocolate Cookies

The dough for these slice-and-bake cookies from star chef Jacques Torres is made entirely in the food processor.

10. Fudgy Chocolate Walnut Cookies


Completely flourless (and thus, gluten-free), these crisp-chewy cookies are richly chocolaty.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016) and the blog Eat Better, Drink Better. She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.