Christmas Cookie Recipes

Wondering what's on Santa's wish list this year? All of his favorite Cooking Light Christmas cookies, of course.

Our Favorite Christmas Cookies

Photo: Rumulo Yanes

Our Favorite Christmas Cookies

Your house will definitely be Santa's favorite if you leave a few of these Christmas treats out for the jolly fellow in red. But, don't stop there. Spread the holiday cheer by baking these gift-worthy cookies for everyone you know. Just be sure to keep a few for your family to enjoy too.

First up: These cookies can easily be made into snowmen if you prefer. First, "flood" snowman-shaped cookies by spreading thin frosting with a small offset spatula to coat, if desired. Pipe thicker frosting from a zip-top bag to outline. Use a toothpick to make small dots of icing that act as glue for decorative details like sugar pearls.

View Recipe: Gingerbread Cookies

Pine Nut Cookies

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pine Nut Cookies

Almond paste is an ingenious way to flavor, tenderize, and sweeten our Pine Nut Cookies because it won't cause spreading like excess sugar or warm butter will.

View Recipe: Pine Nut Cookies

Mexican Spiced Shortbread Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Mexican Spiced Shortbread Cookies

What would happen if pecans and dulce de leche met buttery shortbread? Heaven on a holiday plate. These aren’t just cookies. They’re full-on dessert in a bite-size treat.

View Recipe: Mexican Spiced Shortbread Cookies

Classic Iced Sugar Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Classic Iced Sugar Cookies 

A good starting point for decorated cookies, this basic recipe uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry. Feeling creative? Tint the icing with food coloring and have fun adding your own designs. If you plan on piping the icing, decrease the milk to two tablespoons.

View Recipe: Classic Iced Sugar Cookies

Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookies

How do you improve the perfect chocolate chip cookie? Make it bigger! These ample treats bring out the little kid in everyone when paired with a glass of milk and a mug for dunking. Each batch makes only 6 cookies, so you might want to double the recipe for a crowd.

View Recipe: Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Iced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Iced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies

With nutty, caramel notes from browned butter and a fair bit of salt to balance the flavors, these cookies will become an instant favorite. You can roll out the dough right after combining all the ingredients—no chilling required. Look for pearlized sugar in gourmet markets or craft stores. Let the kids sprinkle the coarse crystals over the icing to give the cookies a sparkly, jewel-like appearance.

View Recipe: Iced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies

Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Photo: Randy Mayor

Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Ground almonds give these cookies a hearty taste and extra crunch. We love the look and texture of raspberry preserves with seeds, but use seedless fruit spread if you like. They make great gifts and centerpieces on Christmas dessert tables.

View Recipe: Raspberry Linzer Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Dear Santa: You won’t want to skip our house. We have warm Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies and a glass of cold milk waiting for you. We all helped make them. They’re going fast, so don’t be late.

View Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Photo: Randy Mayor

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These chocolate and coconut treats will certainly have Santa coming back for more. Don't forget the milk, too!

View Recipe: Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Almond Butter Snickerdoodles - Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

Trust us. Our twist on the classic cinnamon-sugar cookie, lovingly called the Snickerdoodle, won’t disappoint. Using almond butter, egg yolks, and cream cheese in the cookie dough adds richness, and the crunchy coating of cinnamon sugar brings back all the memories from this all-time favorite cookie.

View Recipe: Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

Cinnamon-Sugar Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Cinnamon-Sugar Cookies

Buttery and sweet with a hint of spice, these cookie jar favorites are right for any occasion. If you prefer a slightly chewier cookie, reduce baking time to 10 minutes. A sprinkling of large-grained turbinado sugar makes a pretty presentation.

View Recipe: Cinnamon-Sugar Cookies

Coconut-Cardamom Macaroons

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Coconut-Cardamom Macaroons

When the holidays are upon us, planning ahead is key. You can make this Christmas treat up to a week in advance. Just store at room temperature in an airtight container.

View Recipe: Coconut-Cardamom Macaroons

Pistachio and Pine Nut Brittle

Photo: Marcus Nilsson

Pistachio and Pine Nut Brittle

Santa loves his cookies and milk, but what about those hardworking reindeer? Bake a batch of this festive brittle for Rudolph and his buddies to enjoy.

View Recipe: Pistachio and Pine Nut Brittle

Pecan Cookies

Photo: Rumulo Yanes, Recipes: Julianna Grimes and Deb Wise

Pecan Cookies

Dust cookies with a bit of powdered sugar for a finishing touch that's not too sweet. Place sugar in a fine sieve, and shake it over cooled cookies.

View Recipe: Pecan Cookies

Iced Sugar Cookies

Photo: Rumulo Yanes

Iced Sugar Cookies

Add water to icing a drop at a time for thinner spreading consistency. To make these even more festive, decorate with dragée (sometimes called sugar pearls), gold or silver dust, and coarse or sparkling sugar, and tint the frosting with food color paste. All are available at coppergifts.com. Make the cookie dough up to a month in advance, wrap it tightly, and freeze. Thaw dough completely by placing it in the refrigerator overnight.

View Recipe: Iced Sugar Cookies

Dulce de Leche-Filled Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Dulce de Leche-Filled Cookies

Alfajores, these crisp wafer cookies, are filled with caramelized sweetened condensed milk. Although you often can find a full-fat version of this product at Hispanic markets, we've made our own lower-fat version.

View Recipe: Dulce de Leche-Filled Cookies

Gingerbread People

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Gingerbread People

For a whimsical presentation, arrange these cookies in a lunch box lined with colorful packing paper. Use a variety of cookie cutter sizes to create “families.” If you don’t want to cut the dough into shapes, roll it into two logs, cover, chill, and slice into 18-inch rounds. Refrigerate the dough up to three days, or freeze up to one month.

View Recipe: Gingerbread People

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo: Randy Mayor

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a tried-and-true classic that we know Santa will love. Butter moves from nutty and brown to bitter and burned quickly, so be sure to take the pan off the heat once it turns amber-brown. To keep cookies from spreading, make sure the cookie sheet is completely cool before starting the next batch.

View Recipe: Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints - Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

With a double shot of chocolate and hazelnut flavors, kids and adults will rave over these filled cookies. An addition of espresso powder is optional, but it intensifies the chocolate flavor. Serve these pretty gems at your holiday gathering with coffee or hot tea.

View Recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

Espresso Crinkles Cookies

Photo: Randy Mayor

Espresso Crinkles

Lightly coat your hands with flour to make rolling the dough into balls easier. The dough freezes well. Freeze the dough after step 1, thaw in the refrigerator, then proceed with step 2. The powdered sugar coating gives these cookies an appealing cracked finish. For a Christmas Eve treat, serve with coffee to echo the espresso.

View Recipe: Espresso Crinkles

Healthy Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues

Make up to two days ahead, and store in an airtight container at room temperature. The chocolate and hazelnut coating adds textural interest to these airy, sweet holiday treats.

View Recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

A kid-favorite flavor combination comes together in these adorable preserves-filled cookies. Use your family's favorite type of jam or preserves and you will have a winning holiday cookie.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

Healthy Truffle-Iced Sugar Cookies

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Truffle-Iced Sugar Cookies

You might find it hard to believe that these impressive cookies taste even better than they look. If you're searching for a pretty Christmas cookie to round out your holiday dessert table, look no further.

View Recipe: Truffle-Iced Sugar Cookies

Healthy Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread

Dark brown sugar adds rich caramel notes to these cookies; turbinado sugar provides crunch.

View Recipe: Brown Sugar-Pecan Shortbread

Black and White Striped Cookies

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Black and White Striped Cookies

Cutting and stacking the dough creates alternating stripes of vanilla and chocolate pieces. For pinwheel variation, stack the two (12 x 8-inch) dough rectangles on top of each other, and roll up into a 12-inch-long cylinder as if you're making cinnamon rolls. Chill the roll before slicing.

View Recipe: Black and White Striped Cookies

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

We love these thick, satisfying cookies as humble as peanut butter cookies but not as crumbly. Dried cranberries provide a slightly tart counterpoint to the macadamia nuts' richness. The dough is somewhat sticky; chilling it briefly makes handling easier.

View Recipe: Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries

Sweet and Salty Peanut Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Sweet and Salty Peanut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Go beyond average holiday cookies with our play on sweet-and-salty in these gift-worthy treats. Coarse-grained sea salt does not melt into the batter, so you experience a crunchy burst with every bite. Use any other nut you like in place of peanuts. Package simply in glass jars for gifts or stash for an afternoon dose of yin-and-yang.

View Recipe: Sweet and Salty Peanut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies - Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

These rich, chewy cookies contrasts the tartness of the cherries with the cocoa and semisweet chocolate chips for an elegant, and delicious, addition to your holiday table.

View Recipe: Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

Amaretti - Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Amaretti

Package these crunchy cookies in a gift box with a pound of your favorite coffee beans. Look for almond paste on your supermarket's baking aisle, and for best results, don't substitute marzipan, which is sweeter and more finely textured, in place of the paste.

View Recipe: Amaretti

Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti - Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti

It may be the holidays, but sneak in some good stuff with these coffee-dunking biscotti. Your little secret: whole-wheat flour, flaxseed, dark chocolate chips, and almonds add fiber and antioxidants without sacrificing one ounce of pleasure.

View Recipe: Deep Dark Chocolate Biscotti

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