11 Timeless Holiday Cookies
Christmas Sugar Wafers with Vanilla Icing
Freezing the dough before baking makes for an extra-crunchy version of these holiday staples, and the simple icing is a way to show off your decorating creativity. These delicious cookies are easy on the waistline, too, with only 2.3 grams of fat and less than 100 calories apiece. For more lightened recipes for the season, try our Lighten Up: Holiday Classics gallery
Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies
Swirling together mint cheesecake and traditional brownie batters makes these treats fudgy, creamy, and gorgeous to look at. Try adding a few drops of red food coloring to the cheesecake mix for a candy-cane pink color. And yes, brownies are a type of cookie―a bar cookie. Learn more with our guide to the seven cookie varieties (with recipes included, of course).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut butter and chocolate is the perfect flavor combination that these simple cookies highlight, whether soft, melty, and fresh from the oven or baked and then frozen for a cold crunch. You probably won't be able to resist sampling the dough, either (though we can't recommend that―it contains raw egg). The cookies come together in less than 20 minutes from ingredients you likely have on hand, making them perfect for a last-minute treat. They're also great for kids: fun, easy, and fast. Try these kid-friendly recipes for more cookies the young 'uns will love.
A tangy, crumbly cream-cheese dough surrounds a sweet-and-crunchy filling that's brightened with an unexpected hint of citrus in these mini-tarts. Their elegant look makes them perfect for a home-baked gift or a buffet dessert. Build the rest of your holiday menus from the 73 choices in our Ultimate Holiday Cookbook
Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, and Pecan Cookies
These easy, crisp-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside drop cookies combine crunchy nuts with hearty oats, and mini chocolate chips ensure sweet goodness in every bite. The simple recipe is a great introduction to cookie baking for beginners. Check out Cookie Basics for more tips.
Unsweetened chocolate and instant espresso powder give depth of flavor to these sophisticated cookies. A dredge in powdered sugar before baking ensures sweetness, and also gives them a unique cracked surface and snow-covered look. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, making it an excellent choice for a cookie swap party. Learn how to host one in our cookie swap guide.
Pine Nut Biscotti
These crisp and crunchy classics get authentic Italian flavor from subtle pine nuts and a hint of lemon, though other kinds of nuts make a fine substitute. They're great to dip in coffee, hot chocolate, or tea after any winter dinner. Just make sure they stay fresh and crisp. Read more with our Cookie Storage Strategies.
Macadamia Butter Cookies with Dried Cranberries
They may look like old-fashioned peanut butter cookies, even down to the crosshatch pattern pressed in with a fork, but these treats are completely unique, as they're based on a nut butter made from Hawaiian favorite macadamias instead. The dried cranberries add chewy texture and pockets of bright tartness to complement the sweet and subtle macadamias. Are you a cookie fiend? Learn all our best tricks and get more great recipes: Take our Cookie Course
Spiced Vanilla Cookies
This recipe yields lots of thin, crisp cookies, enhanced with the warmth of cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a few batches to spread homemade holiday cheer to friends and loved ones who live far away―these are a great candidate for mailing. Learn our secrets to ensuring they'll arrive in one piece with Sending Cookies in the Mail.
This is a classic French-style macaroon: made with egg whites and ground nuts, crisp on the outside, and chewy within. To that formula, these cookies add the distinctly American flavors of pecans and Black Mission figs for a whole new macaroon experience. Ready for more holiday desserts? Check out our Ultimate Holiday Cookbook desserts gallery.
Get the kids involved with a Saturday morning bake-a-thon. They can help decorate these adorable ginger people. Get a head start by baking cookies up to four days ahead and storing in an airtight container. Frost one day before serving; after frosting is set, pack cookies in airtight containers between layers of wax paper. This dough also makes fine slice-and-bake cookies if you want something a little easier.