When I was a little girl, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season was when my dad would bring home a tin of Christmas cookies from his coworker Nancy. Every year, she would spend weeks in the kitchen making a variety of holiday cookies. Then she would put them in a festive tin and give them to nearly everyone she knew. We were always so excited when we saw him carrying home that trademark tin. And whether it was the thrill of unexpected cookies, the excitement of Santa coming, the Christmas lights, the promise of holiday vacation, or simply Nancy’s culinary genius, no cookies ever tasted better!
Now, I love to recreate that same holiday magic in my own kitchen. I like to stick to the classics during this time of the year, and make vintage favorites that never lose their appeal. Here are 12 Christmas cookie standards that every cook should bake this holiday season:
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
With just a few simple ingredients, you can create this classic Christmas cookie. Best of all, you can make the dough ahead of time and let the dough sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roll them out and bake them. Wrap it well, and you will have 3-5 days before you need to bake them. Perfect for the busiest time of year! Find the recipe here from Hershey’s.
Pfeffernusse cookies, also known as “Peppernut cookies,” are a German favorite during the holidays. These small, sugary cookies pack a spicy punch, thanks to rich, wintery spices like cloves, mace, nutmeg, cardamom, and anise. Perfect for pairing with a coffee or a glass of red wine. Get the recipe here from Life at Cloverhill.
Christmas Sugar Cookies
Of course no holiday would be complete without sugar cookies! This recipe from Easy Peazy Mealz gives you step-by-step instructions for creating the perfect sugar cookie. Whether you’re six or 60 years old, sugar cookies never fail to please.
Chocolate Pinwheels are my sister’s favorite holiday cookie. And, she was always frustrated that my mom would drag her heels about making them. The problem? Despite the deceptively simple list of ingredients, it does take a bit of extra time and patience to put these cookies together. Thankfully, this step-by-step guide from Sugar Winzy makes it a lot easier…and hey, when they taste this good, it’s worth a little elbow grease!
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Peanut Butter Blossoms are such a kitschy but delicious holiday cookie. I think all of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s had these at our holiday parties! And why not? They are simple to make but they look extra-festive, and who doesn’t love the combo of chocolate and peanut butter? This recipe from House of Nash Eats will take you back to those carefree days when you still believed in Santa Claus.
Okay, I know these aren’t “technically” a cookie, but I couldn’t resist throwing these in as there were such a staple in our household around Christmastime. They also require no baking, so it’s perfect for a make-ahead dessert whenever you have a million other things to do. Get the recipe here for chocolate haystacks from To Simply Inspire. You could also get creative and try recipes for butterscotch haystacks, peanut butter haystacks, white chocolate haystacks and even peppermint haystacks.
Raspberry Linzer Cookies
I adore raspberry Linzer cookies, which is a holiday classic that comes to us by way of Austria. There they are called Linzer Sablés, which means biscuit (or cookie here in America!). The combination of decadent raspberry filling with a light angelic topping of powdered sugar just feels so…Christmasy. Get the recipe here from The Speckled Palate.
No holiday would be complete without gingerbread cookies! Get the recipe here from Land O’Lakes. Make your recipe extra special with some of these sweet and adorable cookie cutters from SweetLeighPrinted on Etsy. Almost too cute to eat….ALMOST!
These are my all-time favorite holiday cookies! Nothing says wintertime quite like spicy winter flavors such as ginger, molasses, cloves and allspice. These recipe can also be easily modified to suit your particular tastes, whether you want a mild flavor, a bold and spicy bite, or whether you want them soft n’ chewy or crisp and n’ crunchy. I’m a soft and spicy girl myself…and I love this recipe from ButterBeReady.
Holiday Sprinkle Cookies
Holiday sprinkle cookies are a party for your eyes AND mouth. They are so easy to prepare, but they look like they came from a specialty bakery. Perfect for dessert, or even with your cup of coffee in the a.m. (Hey, New Year’s resolutions haven’t kicked in yet!) Get the recipe here from The Salty Marshmallow.
Monster cookies may sound like they belong another holiday altogether (namely, Halloween), but these cookies are a Christmas standard in many homes across the country…including mine! They are so absolutely decadent and rich in chocolate, sugar and butter that Christmas is the only time of year they feel quite appropriate. Get the recipe here from Simply Happenstance.
No Christmas cookie roundup would be complete without Spritz cookies! Spritz is short for Spritzgebäck, a type of Christmas “biscuit” in Germany that is made with flour, butter, sugar and eggs. You can also add almond extract, or add dried fruits or nuts. But, most American cooks like to sprinkle their Spritz cookies with colored sugar in holiday colors like red/green or blue/white. Although the ingredients are similar, they differ from sugar cookies, shortbread and other comparable recipes due to the difference in proportions of butter, sugar and flour..
Spritz cookies are also utterly simple to prepare (recipe here from Betty Crocker), but I have it on good authority that they are Santa’s favorite!