52 Highly Festive Holiday Cookie Recipes From Our Favorite Bakers

A collection of extra-special treats and stories full of cheer—straight from the Food52 team, community, and a few star cookie-bakers, too.

December  5, 2023
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food stylist: Samantha Seneviratne. Prop stylist: Brooke Deonarine.

This time of year signifies a great many things: gatherings of loved ones, thoughtful gift exchanges, feasting galore. But nothing says "the holidays" more than these special-occasion cookies, brought to you by the Food52 team, our community, and a few star cookie-bakers, too. Whether these recipes have been passed down to us from our great-great-grandparents, or brought into the family from a magazine clipping or church cookbook over the years, they usually have a meaningful story, and always bring good holiday cheer.

To share these baked goods with loved ones—and ensure your cookies arrive fresh, whole, and brimming with the festive tidings we're all craving—we also have time-tested tips on how to pack and ship your edible gifts. Frosted gingerbread, nutty biscotti, your famous macaroons—if you can bake them, you can make sure they arrive intact and ready to be enjoyed.

Peruse our 52 favorite, packable cookie recipes and get inspired to remind those closest to you that you're thinking of them.

Our Best Christmas Cookies

1. Secret Cookies from Merrill Stubbs

Our co-founder, Merrill Stubbs, has been making these buttery, sparkly cookies for years: to package as holiday gifts for her elementary-school teachers, and pick out from the cookie jar once all the gifts were given. She learned the recipe from her mother, who learned it from a woman who learned it from another woman before that—and now, Merrill's taught the recipe to her own kids, and to us, too. We're glad the secret's out.

2. Salted Rosemary Shortbread from Carla Lalli Music

Carla Lalli Music grew up not in a "decorated cookie" household, but in a "biscotti/gingersnap/shortbread" kind of household. This means that every holiday involved some very delicious salted rosemary shortbread, which her mother baked in quadruple batches and sent home with every guest leaving her parents' house (wait, can we come next year?). When Carla grew up and began hosting holidays of her own, she carried on the tradition of this rosemary shortbread, embracing its savoriness by adding grapefruit zest to the dough, and extra flaky salt on top. Fun fact: This shortbread freezes really well—we're just going to leave that info right here.

3. Sweet Potato Rum Cookies from Chrissy Teigen

Though Chrissy Teigen, by her own admission, has "never been a sweets type of girl," she wowed us with a holiday cookie that's unlike any other in our recipe box. These beauties are made with plush, silky sweet potatoes in syrup, and scented with a hit of allspice. Best yet, they're drizzled with a rummy, buttery glaze that makes things "fun for the adults" while being Luna-friendly, too (thanks, rum and butter extracts!). Chrissy says she likes to make extra glaze for cookie-dipping, and keep a pinch bowl of salt closeby for sprinkling on top of each bite. Chrissy's a smart—well—cookie.

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (Aka Magic Middles) from Emma Laperruque

Food writer and recipe developer Emma Laperruque grew up eating "magic middles" for years, before she discovered that the term meant different things to different bakers. There were the (discontinued!) Keebler magic middles, with fudgy insides wrapped in a chewy sugar cookie blanket; there were the Stella Parks revivalist cookies on Serious Eats; and there were the Beta Sigma Chi/church community cookbook/newspaper-clipping versions, with peanut butter bellies and brownie-like outers. This only means good things: You can choose your own adventure when it comes to these cookies. But the chocolate-PB version may be the most delicious adventure to choose.

5. Ginger-Coconut Macaroons from Sam Davis

These macaroons were inspired by Chef Samantha Davis’ favorite treat from her childhood: Jamaican coconut drops, or spicy, candied clusters of fresh ginger and dried coconut. When a craving for them struck, Sam used to pay a visit to her “local” Jamaican store to buy them—traveling to a whole different New York City borough to stock up—but soon found a foolproof way to recreate the flavors in her own home without the long journey. You’ll find Sam with these ginger-coconut macaroons in tow at just about every party she attends, since they’re super-simple to whip up, and a real crowd pleaser.

6. Almond Biscotti from Amanda Hesser

Back in the '90s, our co-founder, Amanda Hesser, considered starting a biscotti biz-cotti business around these almondy classics. The recipe, developed by an editor at the Atlantic back in 1987 and based on the Tuscan classic, biscotti di Prato, was just a little sticky and a lot wordy. Amanda, her sister, mother, and grandmother, took it upon themselves to decode and simplify the recipe once and for all, and sharpen their dough-scraping-and folding-moves as they did it. While he Hessers never did start the biscotti-slinging business, they continued making the cookie every holiday season, and luckily for us, shared the recipe. Now, we're excited to bake these for our holiday swapees this season, or hoard them during the December festivities like Amanda's family does.

7. Orange & Brown Butter Madeleines from Aran Goyoaga

The lingering, nibbling, and conversation that happens after a meal was—and still is—cookbook author, food stylist, and photographer Aran Goyoaga's favorite part of the holidays. There is a Spanish word for just this, sobremesa (literally "over the table"): a time to talk about current affairs and gossip, to deeply connect, and for Aran's family, who owned a pastry shop in Basque country—always accompanied by madeleines. Aran's take on her family-favorite treat is deeply nutty and toasty, thanks to the brown butter, with a zip of freshness from a good amount of orange zest. The recipe is gluten-free, too.

8. Post Punk Kitchen's Chai Spice Snickerdoodles from Priya Krishna

Writer and cookbook author Priya Krishna has finally made peace with the fact that she doesn't have a set job at holiday gatherings. She's okay with just being the "floater" in the room—running out to grab forgotten cups, roasting off backup vegetables, greeting guests as they file in—because she knows she's got this foolproof, crowd-pleasing cookie up her sleeve. The recipe, originally from popular vegan food blogger, Isa Chandra Moscowitz (aka Post Punk Kitchen), combined all her family's favorite flavors—warming spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves—in a thick and chewy package. Priya lightly adapted the recipe to amp up the spices, and switched out non-dairy milk for its creamy, traditional counterpart. She landed on a real winner—a back-pocket cookie that always ends with an empty platter.

9. Olive Oil Sugar Cookies With Pistachios & Lemon Glaze from Sarah Kieffer

When recipe developer and cookbook author Sarah Kieffer was in middle school, her grandmother gave her and her brother a framed photograph of grandma as a Christmas gift. Confused and disappointed, Sarah still hung that photo up in her room...then her dorm, and then her first apartment with her husband. She still has that framed photograph; grandma is still watching. And though grandma might not like the glaze in this pistachio-fied version of her pecan cookies, Sarah thinks she would approve overall.

10. One Big Cookie from Dorie Greenspan

Give the people what they really want this holiday season: A queen-sized cookie from the Queen of Cookies herself, Dorie Greenspan. She's crispy, chewy, and properly baked ("French baked," to achieve maximal butter nuttiness and caramelized-sugar toastiness). Her vast (read: sheet-sized) cookie landscape is studded with chocolate, laced with espresso, and disrupted by nuts and spices. Or not; it's totally the eater's choice. There are no rules to this cookie here, only that you must share it with family and friends.

11. Grandma Stauss’ Almond Christmas Balls from Naz Deravian

Whether at her husband's grandparents' home in Battle Creek, Michigan, or her own grandparents' home in Tabriz, Iran, cookbook author Naz Deravian finds some things to be the same: the smells and sounds of a busy kitchen, the hubbub of preparing the holiday meal, post-meal digestive silence, and cookie-fueled evening card games. As almond lovers, these are the cookies Naz and her mother-in-law look forward to baking most. Naz makes Grandma Stauss's recipe her own by substituting dried cherries for candied.

12. Tahini Chocolate Shortbread Bars from Melissa Clark

Before tahini and halvah were cool, Melissa Clark was eating the stuff every Sunday morning as a kid, after weekly bagels and lox brunch with her family in Brooklyn. No matter the size of slice of halvah they took home from the store, it managed to disappear by end of day, crumble by crumble. (And faster still when they discovered there existed a chocolate flavor.) Years later, as a grown-up food writer, Melissa had the genius idea to fuse her two loves, new and old: buttery shortbread with chocolatey halvah. And so, this recipe was born.

13. Ammama's Semolina Butter Cookies (Aka Sugee Biscuits) from Brinda Ayer

For former editor Brinda Ayer's family—all excellent cooks, but more-hesitant bakers—these simple-as-can-be cookies were the perfect addition to the table during the December holidays, Deepavali, or Hari Raya. Derived from a traditional Malaysian treat, sugee biscuits, these crumbly, buttery confections are made with fine semolina, all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt, and a lot of ghee, then baked until crackly topped. The resulting cookies have a melt-in-your-mouth consistency (which is why they're lovingly known as "Old Man Biscuits" in Brinda's family) and keep in an airtight container for...well...they've never lasted long enough to find out.

14. Salted Double-Chocolate Chewies From Shauna Sever

During the holiday cookie season, cookbook author and baker extraordinaire, Shauna Sever, is guided by one belief, and one belief only: that the cookie tin should be well-balanced. Growing up, her family's tin always featured a cookie for everyone: something buttery, something chocolatey, something spiced, and the classic chocolate chip—but never the cocoa-heavy, chocolate-on-chocolate cookie Shauna really wanted. This all changed when she got married 17 years ago, and she began her own cookie-tin tradition. Now, there's always this double-chocolate cookie in the mix. It's such a simple, fuss-free recipe that Shauna will even make them outside of cookie-tin season.

15. Minty Oreo Meringues from Erin Alexander

When asked for a special family cookie recipe, former editor Erin Alexander was totally stumped. She doesn't have many memories of cooking with her family (sorry, mom and dad!). What she does remember, and treasure, are the moments outside the kitchen—especially watching Will and Grace reruns with her mom, after all the homework was said and done, both armed with mint-chip ice cream with a splash of milk on top. These mint-chip Oreo meringues are a cookie-fied version of that tradition, and Erin won't be passing these down, but up: Over the holidays, she'll be making these with her mom (before sitting down to ice cream and TV, of course).

16. Caramelized White Chocolate & Toasted Milk Cookies From Hetal Vasavada (aka Milk and Cardamom)

Blogger and cookbook author Hetal Vasavada started Milk and Cardamom so her daughter could recreate the comfort foods of her childhood (and, someday in the future, share them with her kids). While growing up, Hetal felt like every family but hers had an heirloom cookie recipe. By re-imagining Jacques Torres's chocolate chip cookies with Indian flavors and ingredients, she arrived at a recipe that perfectly captures the feelings, flavors, and scents of her grandmother—one that can be passed down for generations to come.

17. Buckwheat & Oat Flour Cutout Cookies From Nik Sharma

What's more traditional for this time of year than a cutout cookie? Cookbook author Nik Sharma's genius addition of buckwheat adds an alluring, almost-bitter toastiness that bats back and forth with the sweet icing. Despite being tempted with—and simultaneously terrorized by—holiday cookies for days on end, the test kitchen team couldn't help but sneak bites of these cookies that had been "accidentally broken," or "a little too dark," or "iced a little too perfectly."

18. Red Velvet Cookies From Eric Kim

In the decade since Table for One columnist Eric Kim bit into his inaugural Magnolia Bakery red velvet cupcake, a lot has changed. He's settled into his N.Y.C. self and home, forgotten the name of the boyfriend that so broke his heart, and watched the cupcake craze come and go. These red velvet crinkle cookies are an homage to his first 10 years spent in the Big Apple—nostalgic and bittersweet (but mostly sweet).

19. Danish Butter Cookies From Samantha Seneviratne

To food stylist and cookbook author, Samantha Seneviratne, Christmas was less about Santa Claus and cookie-making, and more about snuggling, watching Selena, and tearing through the mountain of gifts given to Sam's mother, a Montessori-school teacher. Each year, Sam and her brother unwrapped the gifts speedily and wildly, taking great pleasure in the way the wrapping paper littered the room like colored birds, until hitting jackpot: a blue tin of Danish butter cookies. Perfect fuel for yet another family movie session.

20. François Payard's Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies From Kristen Miglore

These cookies—so glossy, crackled, and bumpy in all the right ways—are made without butter, oil, and flour. How could this be? This recipe's curious proportions made our Genius Recipes columnist and creative director, Kristen Miglore, do a double, double-take. She's since discovered the original recipe can be credited to François Payard, who—not wishing to compete with the American chocolate chip or snickerdoodle in his first Manhattan patisserie—instead riffed on the classic French macaron.

21. Almond Cookies From Andrea Nguyen

Andrea Nguyen, of the beloved Viet World Kitchen, gifted us with two recipes hidden in one. First, almond-perfumed cookie dough gets balled, rolled in an egg yolk caramel, and baked off until cratered and crisp. Then, after the cookie swaps are said and done, return to this thorough introduction to Nước Màu, a Vietnamese caramel sauce that serves as the base for many savory braises, glazes, and marinades.

22. Hazelnut Gelt Cookies From Molly Yeh

Molly Yeh grew up celebrating everything. Her family threw Chrismukkah parties and dumpling-making shindigs and invited everyone they knew. Nowadays, December is just as festive for Molly, especially when you add in her husband's family's traditions (hello, lefse). The only catch: There aren't enough Hanukkah cookie recipes out there. So, this year, Molly is creating her own. These cutout cookies are hazelnut-based, which makes them extra-nutty and extra-tender, like shortbread. Once they're out of the oven and cooled, you top them with circles of melted milk chocolate (gelt!) and shower gold sprinkles like we're celebrating something. We are.

23. The Sampler Cookie from Jerrelle Guy

Throughout the year, recipe developer and blogger, Jerrelle Guy, is pretty good at planning ahead. Every time she makes cookies, she mixes up extra dough—rolling scraps into logs that she then stashes in the freezer. But to her, holidays are not about streamlining, but about loosening up a little. Two years ago, instead of making a brand-new batch of cookies, she reached into the freezer, mashed two odd logs of cookie dough together, and voila: a centaur cookie was born. The flavor combinations are inspired by her family's mashed-up favorites: her dad's love of milk and cookies, her sister's of pretzels and strawberries, and somewhere mixed in all that, her mom's love of coffee. For maximum holiday cheer, Jerrelle recommends attaching the cookies right down the middle for a very visually pleasing effect.

24. Ginger-Citrus Cookies from Marcus Samuelsson

Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author Marcus Samuelsson was, like most kids, on a constant quest for cookies growing up. One of his holiday favorites was a ginger-citrus cookie inspired by his grandmother, Helga. Spending time in the kitchen with Helga was about more than just baking; it was about spending time together, hearing her stories, and contributing to the julbord, the traditional Swedish holiday spread. Cooking across generations is a tradition Marcus hopes his son, Zion, will pass down to his own family one day, along with the recipe for these snappy ginger cookies.

25. Nut BonBon Cookies from Ella Quittner

Food writer and recipe developer Ella Quittner is a dessert maximalist—something that she has in common with her sisters and dad. Her mother, on the other hand, is a dessert minimalist—perhaps because she's the granddaughter of Vina Slatalla, whose Depression-era devil’s food cake is exceptionally simple, yet magnificent. Naturally, if there's one holiday dessert everyone in the family can agree on, it would be Vina's golden, bonbon cookies, stuffed with a whole nut, a piece of dark chocolate, or fancy maraschino cherry, depending on what you liked the best. They’re decadent, just the right amount sweet, and best of all, they offer something for everyone.

26. AK Cookies from Peter Meehan

The Tough One, a poem of found text by food writer, Peter Meehan:

"I eat so many / I feel like the moon man waxing toward maximum weight when they are in the house /the only consolation from the sadness that accompanies their absence is that at least I am not eating cookies all day long. / Until she makes them again."

But in all seriousness, these cookies are our muse, go make them.

27. sugar cookies with vanilla frosting from Mary-Frances Heck

Sometimes, there's only one cookie that will really do it, that will truly hit the spot. No, not chocolate chip, but a cake-crumbed vanilla cookie, thickly frosted with buttercream. This holiday season, when your energy level is slightly higher than buying pre-made but much lower than piping meringue florets, this is the cookie for you. Food & Wine's Senior Food Editor, Mary-Frances Heck, recommends pairing them with a glass of milk or bourbon, depending on who's enjoying these treats.

28. Chocolate & chipotle crinkle cookies from Fany Gerson

Baker and cookbook author Fany Gerson made a few small, super-clever tweaks to the traditional crinkle that really made her version stand out" Ground cinnamon and chipotle paste take bittersweet and dark chocolate to new heights, resulting in a super-fudgy, complex cookie that still doesn't end up feeling like an overload of cocoa. The dough not only gets rolled in powdered sugar for the snowy effect, but first granulated, then powdered. The granulated sugar provides a barrier between the fatty dough and powdered sugar, so the final effect and crinkle is even downier.

29. Sparkle Pigs (Gingerbread Shortbread Cookies With Cranberry Curd) from Jesse Szewczyk

When food editor and stylist Jesse Szewczyk was just 12 years old, he entered a version of his mom's linzer cookies into a local baking competition (and won!). These are an updated version. Trading linzer dough for a spiced shortbread, jam for a cranberry curd, and the heart-shaped cookie cutter for a piglet-shaped one (a nod to Jesse's Midwestern upbringing), Jesse's all but ensured your cookie prowess at every swap this year.

30. Shrewsbury Biscuits from Arati Menon

One of former editor Arati Menon's favorite holiday traditions took place not during the holidays, but right after, when she'd return from break to her all-girls college in Bombay. Each January, she and her friends would return with more luggage than they left with: suitcases and duffels filled with festive treats their moms would send to share. One year, a friend came back with several boxes of a kind of biscuit she'd never heard of before. It was from a family-owned bakery in a city three hours away, and stamped with the word "SHREWSBURY." This sweet and buttery shortbread was light, crisp, and wonderfully crumbly. Years later, she's developed her own recipe—an amalgamation of several—that's as close as one can get to the real thing.

31. Sausage Balls From Ben Mims

Growing up, Ben knew to rely on Aunt Dolly's four, famed cookies come holiday season: the crisp and chewy oatmeal raisin, crumbly and snowy wedding cookies, nutty and salty chocolate mounds, and these: orbs of Bisquick-bound sausage and cheese. Ben never explicitly calls these the "palate-cleanser course," but as the only savory option, these sausage balls—especially when enjoyed with coffee—were everyone's favorite treat, a welcome respite from sugar, the much-needed break before diving back in.

32. Gingerbread Cookies from Ella Quittner

We can’t talk about Christmas cookies without mentioning gingerbread cookies. Instead of a whole host of spices, all it takes is (a lot) of ground ginger, ground cloves, and molasses to make adorable gingerbread people. 

33. Russian Tea Cakes from Alice Medrich

You’ll get powdered sugar all over your fingers when you eat these cookies throughout the holiday season, but it’s so worth it. These butter cookies “are the essence of Christmas,” says community member kellyhere, who makes many batches each year to share with family and friends. “The dough is perfect for raspberry jam thumbprints, too.” Recipe developer Alice Medrich recommends letting this dough sit overnight—or even for a few days—to let the flavors and texture of the dough develop.

34. Roasted Chestnut & Fig Thumbprint Cookies from Jillian Atkinson

“A twist on the traditional thumbprint cookie and a play on the old "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" vibe of the holiday season, this buttery soft cookie has hints of cinnamon, sweet fig, and a subtle chestnut crunch,” writes recipe developer Jillian Atkinson.

35. Yule Log Cookies from Hetal Vasavada

During the 2021 holiday season, we made it our mission to turn holiday treats—think: latkes, sufganiyot, and yes, a bûche de Noël—into cookies. These butter cookies are rolled into cylinders and dipped in melted chocolate to resemble wood logs.

36. No-Bake Chocolate Peppermint Cookies from Grant Melton

Surely you’ll have a few extra candy canes on hand during the holiday season. Turn them into these easy chocolate-dipped Christmas cookies—no baking required!

37. Bizcochitos (Anise Cookies) from Gourmet

Anise cookies are often a staple in Italian-American homes. Oftentimes they’re iced and garnished with sprinkles, but these are simple cut-outs dusted generously with cinnamon sugar.

38. Spritz Butter Christmas Cookies from Kendra Vaculin

Don’t let a cookie press turn you off from making these cookies. If you’ve never used one before, it does take some getting used to but the result is so worth it. The dough is a breeze to make and you can get creative with food coloring and the shape of the cookies.

39. Panettone Cookies from Grant Melton

Panettone, meet shortbread. As part of our 20201 series Holiday Classics Turned Into Cookies, these cookies are inspired by the Italian fruit-studded cake known as panettone. And what’s the Christmas season without shortbread cookies anyway?

40. Dominique Ansel's Linzer Cookies

The man himself (the famous baker Dominique Ansel) demonstrates how to make this classic Christmas cookie recipe. These are filled with jam (you get to choose the type of berry you want!) and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

41. Bien Cuit’s Masala Pecan Sandies

I was a late bloomer to pecan sandies, which is to say I made my first batch only last year. But then I proceeded to eat the entire batch in one sitting and had to bake another round (I just had to!). This holiday cookie recipe from NYC-based bakery Bien Cuit uses a masala (Indian spice blend) with cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, dates, and vanilla for even more flavor.

42. Italian Rainbow Cookies from Rebecca Firkser

Baking eight dozen Italian rainbow cookies takes time, but devote a day to baking the festive, fun treat and your family and friends will be happy that you did.

43. Snickerdoodle Shortbread from Emma Laperruque

“In this mashup cookie, you get the best of both worlds: a buttery, crumbly, tender shortbread, spiced with cinnamon, and coated in a sparkly cinnamon-sugar crust,” says former food editor Emma Laperruque.

44. Peanut Butter Cookies from Merrill Stubbs

Yes, peanut butter cookies are really a year-round treat, but they’re great for holiday baking (especially when a chocolate kiss is pressed into the dough for each one before baking).

45. m&m Cookies from Coral Lee

Dump a bag of red and green m&ms into the cookie dough for these cookies. It’s an easy swap that will make everyone say, “Oh now it’s Christmas!”

46. Rum Ball Cookies from Nik Sharma

We love it when Nik Sharma shares a recipe with us because his food science background always lends itself to some “why didn’t I think of that” holiday baking tips. Like this one, for example: “Save those little bags of silica gel beads that show up in your dried food goods and reuse them when storing the rum balls.”

47. Triple-Ginger Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Susan Spungen

These ginger-chocolate cookies were developed by Susan Spungen, a former food editor at Martha Stewart Living. To say that they are adored by staffers would be a severe understatement.

48. Holiday Cut-Out Cookies from Amanda Hesser

“This is my mother’s recipe. She’s a stickler for details, which plays to her advantage when it comes to baking. Her cut-out cookies are always the thinnest and prettiest and have the most restrained amount of decoration. Contrary to the plump and pale versions you often see, cut-out cookies should be very thin with browned edges, so they’re crisp and nutty,” says Food52’s founder Amanda Hesser.

49. Glazed Eggnog Madeleines from Elisabet der Nederlanden

Everyone’s favorite Christmas drink in the form of a soft French cookie? Yes please!

50. Chewy Chocolate Meringues from Riki Shore

Meringues are often an afterthought—think mini mushrooms for a bûche de Noël or piped into red and white swirls—but rarely are they a cookie that people think about baking as part of their holiday spread. These three-ingredient chocolate cookies will change your mind.

51. Merrill Stubbs' Cream Cheese Cookies

These cookies—procured from a Tupperware party in the 1970s and passed down in the Stubbs family—are crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle, and travel well. Feel free to add nutmeg or another warming spice for more holiday razzmatazz.

52. Chewy Gingerbread Cookies from Erin Jeanne McDowell

One last gingerbread cookie, but the one’s chewy (plus this list wouldn’t be complete without a recipe from our Resident baker, Erin Jeanne McDowell). “These are the gingerbread cookies you’ll find me slipping into cookie boxes each holiday season—and just about everyone who tries one asks for the recipe!” Now you have it!

This article was updated 12/5/23.

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aura A. February 24, 2022
Jennifer H. December 20, 2021
I make rugelach every holiday season!
Vanessa W. January 2, 2021
This years favorite was the fruitcake cookie my sisters and I love fruitcake but none of our kids or grandkids (they only like apple pie) will even try them so I decided to make the cookies and sprinkle them with powdered sugar after cooling. I gave cookie tins to my sisters and they were thrilled the recipe called for 3 cups of pecans along with candied fruit, dates, raisins, I also added tart cherries, dried apricots, and soaked all in 1/4 cup blackberry brandy. Every cookie is like eating a piece of fruitcake. Yum
SilverInBlood December 14, 2020
It's the infinity shaped kringla that always make me think of family Christmas :) and lefse with leftover mashed potatoes! One of these days I'll make it myself, but as long as mom's alive I'll prefer her version as the most authentic (to me)
TatianaMH December 12, 2020
My husband’s grandmother was a Swedish immigrant. She worked as a pastry chef to wealthy families in NYC. One of her recipes, that my husband requests I make every year for Christmas, is for Walnut Cookies. It is a very simple brown sugar dough packed full of chopped walnuts that is packed into a loaf pan, chilled, then sliced very thinly and baked. So simple. SO DELICIOUS. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them.
LAURIE November 13, 2020
The one tradition I have is making peanut butter balls, a recipe passed down by my grandmother. I showed up without them one Christmas and was surprised how much it ment to my nephews.
kellyhere December 18, 2019
For me, Alice Medrich's Russian Tea Cookies ( are the essence of Christmas. I make many batches each year to share with family and friends. The dough is perfect for raspberry jam thumbprints, too.
m.sharpe December 5, 2020
using this dough for jam thumbprints is genius - thanks for the tip!
gissel4115 December 16, 2019
I would absolutely try any of these helpful tips and make some of the best treats
chevy December 13, 2019
The latest addition to our (new!) family holiday cookie tradition is Martha Stewart's chewy molasses cookies, or Merrill's peanut butter cookies for a safe bet!
Janice K. December 13, 2019
I've been making these for decades, so much better than pecan pie--a must every Christmas--I have to give most of them away though or I'll eat them all! Happy Holidays everyone!
HalfPint December 11, 2019
These Cherry Cheesecake cookies,

OMG. So. Good.
Kathy M. December 10, 2019
We make grandma's sugar cookies. It's a pretty standard roll out, crispy cookie. But the scraps are rerolled and cut with my tiny cookie cutters...We call them animal crackers. This year my six year old grand daughter asked if we could just make animal crackers. I am making a batch of dough just for that! It's a great idea.
Thank you to everyone who let us see these great recipes...getting butter out as I write.
Zorro December 6, 2019
At Christmas my mom would always made refrigerator cookies using condensed milk, graham wafer crumbs, walnuts, miniature marshmallows and maraschino cherries. There was no baking and all the ingredients were put together in a bowl, stirred, then rolled into cookie logs dusted with icing sugar. The logs were put in the fridge to set and then mom would slice them up. Yum yum. My mom just passed away last month and I miss her terribly. I love all the cookie recipes but I love the stories associated with them even more. Merry Christmas everyone!
Deedledum December 7, 2019
I'm sorry about your Mom Zorro.
My Nana used to make these, but rolled them into balls, and mailed them (along with other goodies-banana jam too!) each yr. I've been looking for a recipe for them for yrs-would you mind sharing it?
Zorro December 7, 2019
Thank you for your kind words. I also didn't write down this recipe from mom but I did find something similar on the Eagle Brand website. If you Google "Festive Snowflakes" and click on the Eagle Brand website or go directly there and type in "Festive Snowflakes" you can find it. I hope this helps you! Merry Christmas!
Deedledum December 9, 2019
Thanks so much Zorro. I'll check it out!
Eric K. December 10, 2019
I'm so sorry for your loss, Zorro. Three of my cousins lost their parents this year (three deaths in the family within months of each other), and one of my best friends died of cancer. I don't know about you, but these losses make this Christmas feel even more important to celebrate. Hope you're taking care of yourself this holiday season.
Maryellen B. December 23, 2020
Try Festive Snowballs
Nicki December 6, 2019
Spoon Cookes from Gourmet Magazine circa 2005... The lead in to the article started "Once a year at Christmas I make the best cookies in the world. It very nearly kills me." I read that and thought "I have to make these cookies." I did. And now I do. Every year. At least 7-8 batches. And it very nearly kills me, But they are SO worth the effort. (And if I didn't make them, well attendance at our annual Holiday Party would probably decline.... and mu co-workers would be quite unhappy. (
Susi S. December 7, 2019
I love these cookies! I began filling them with chestnut puree, and they are sublime! Dulce de leche or cajeta is another favorite filling.
granjan December 18, 2019
That article was so lovely. And expresses so well the sentiments of anyone who spends hours making their favorite holiday cookies. Spoon cookies have become the #1 favorite for 2 family members over our equally tedious and delicious cream wafers.
anniette December 6, 2019
Thank you! These are lovely. My mother makes "Church Window Cookies" with candied cherries and pecans in a powdered sugar shortbread. They are my favorite, with a glass of Madeira. I like to try different recipes that catch my fancy: I'll try several of these. But my friends and family always want my chocolate chip cookies—big and flat, crisp on the outside and caramel-like within.
Kimberly P. December 6, 2019
This is a traditional family recipe, as written by my Grandma Margaret, from her mother Anna Amanda Braucksieker Schaberg:

Hazelnut Halfmoons (Haselnuss-Halbmonde)

5 oz. hazelnuts, ground
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. sugar
½ lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
vanilla sugar for dipping

Mix hazelnuts, flour, sugar and butter. Roll out 3/16” thick. Cut into half-moon shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 275ºF for 30 minutes, or until just golden—they burn easily. While hot, dip in vanilla sugar.

Pretty simple, but over many years I’ve learned some tricks.

When Grandma made them, Grandpa used a hand-cranked nut grinder to grind the hazelnuts. I use the food processor. Based on recommendations from other recipes, I grind the nuts with the sugar to minimize the chance of making nut butter. Add the butter to the processor and mix, then add the flours and mix until blended.

Roll 3/16” thick and cut half moon shapes. Grandma used a round drinking glass and cut two overlapping circles, so for every two crescent moons there was a football. I have a crescent-shaped cutter. Reroll trimmings and continue to cut until all dough is used; it doesn’t seem to get tough with handling. I was having difficulty with the cookies sticking to the baking sheets, so now use an anti-stick baking mat or parchment paper.

Bake at 275ºF until just golden. The original directions state that they burn easily; I’ve never had this happen, but depending on your oven they may need to bake for 35 minutes or more.

Handle the cookies gently, they break easily. I typically lose about 10%; these are the cook’s dividend!

While still warm roll in a plate of vanilla sugar.

Vanilla sugar is made by storing granulated sugar in a jar with a vanilla bean. It can be a pod that has been used for a custard and then washed and dried, or an empty pod that has been emptied of seeds for another dish. Grandma had, and I have, a jar in the cupboard all the time. It will take about a cup to coat all the cookies.

Yield is between 5 and 6 dozen cookies.
Eric K. December 10, 2019
Amazing. Thank you for sharing.
Panfusine December 6, 2019
Merrill Stubbs' Cream Cheese cookies is a family favorite.
Eric K. December 6, 2019
I love those, too. My holiday swapee baked them for me last year (they travel well!).
Dominique D. December 5, 2019
We don't have many holiday cookie traditions (most traditions involve lobster and bacon), but I've been making London Fog icebox cookies for a few years, from Chatelaine Magazine in Canada. We also make big gingerbread men with molasses cookie dough, which yields a cookie with a soft but not too fluffy interior. I'm looking forward to trying new ones!