Holiday Cookie Recipes

 Cookies are a holiday staple all over the world. Some of these cookies are traditional for holidays, while others are a twist from traditional desserts. These recipes can help bring different cultures into the kitchen or help give a twist on a classic dessert that you already know and love. These desserts can help improve cooking skills, and these recipes range from beginner to intermediate cooking abilities. 

Sugar cookies are a simple classic holiday season. These cookies are a holiday classic that are easy to make. They can also be fun for kids because they get to decorate their own cookies. These cookies can also be a good building block for any flavor that you would like to bring to the holiday season.


3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour 

1 teaspoon of baking powder

 1 teaspoon of kosher salt

 1 ½ cups unsalted butter at room temperature

1 ¼ cup of sugar 

 2 large eggs

 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 frosting, glaze, royal icing or any other decoration 


  1. In a large bowl mix in flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, using an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy and pale. This will take two to three minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until well combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
  4.  Scrape the dough out of the bowl. Then divide it in half. Put each piece in plastic wrap and half into 1-inch thick disks and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  6. Roll out the dough one disk at a time on a lightly floured surface until it’s about an 1/8 inch thick. Create shapes using a cookie cutter or knife to cut until whatever shape is desired. If at any point the dough becomes too soft, put on a baking sheet and chill for a few minutes in the freezer or refrigerator. Gather any extra pieces and repeat the process. 
  7.  Put each piece and plastic wrap each piece into 1-inch thick disks and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 5 days.
  8. Place shapes onto lined baking sheets 1 inch apart. Put it into the oven for 6 minutes then switch the position of the sheets in the oven and cook for 6 more minutes.The cookies should be pale and sandy looking. Cool on a cooling rack or  on the pans. Once they are cool, decorate as desired.  

Christmas Classic: Gingerbread. Many people think that homemade gingerbread can be somewhat of a daunting task but it’s really a simple recipe. This year you can mix it up and make your own gingerbread house with homemade gingerbread people. These cookies are crispy and super flavorful. 


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup molasses

1 large egg

1 teaspoon. pure vanilla extract

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2″ piece fresh ginger, grated (optional)

zest of 1 orange (optional)

sugar Cookie Icing, for decorating

sprinkles, for decorating


1.In a large bowl using a hand mixer beat the butter, brown sugar, and molasses until fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. 

2. In a separate medium bowl add flour, spices, baking soda, and salt into the bowl and combine with the mixer on low. 

3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients along with fresh ginger and orange zest. Mix until the dough comes together. Do not overmix. 

4. Divide the dough into 2 disks and wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm for about  2 to 3 hours. 

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place one disc on a lightly floured surface and roll until the quarter inch thick. Cut-out gingerbread man or any desired pattern (must be around 3¨).Place on a baking sheet. 

6. Bake until slightly puffed and set. This will take 9 to 10 minutes depending on the size of cookies. Cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling racks.   

7. Once cool, decorate with icing and sprinkles if desired. 

A twisted Christmas classic: Ginger-chocolate cookies. Ginger chocolate cookies are a combination of holiday flavor and the American classic chocolate chip cookies. Making these cookies are a tradition in my family and they are some of the best holiday cookies. These are crispy and chewy chocolate cookies that have so much holiday spice.  


 2 cups of all-purpose flour

 2 teaspoons of baking soda

 2 teaspoons of ground ginger

 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

 one teaspoon of ground cloves

 1 teaspoon of salt

 half cup of vegetable shortening

 half cup unsalted butter at room temperature

 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

 1 egg

 a quarter cup dark molasses

 2 teaspoon of grated orange zest

 and some extra granulated sugar 


1. In a bowl sift together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.

2. In a different bowl combine shortening, butter, and brown sugar. Use an electric mixer at high speed and  beat until fluffy. Next add egg, molasses, and orange zest until blended.

3. Reduce speed to low, add the flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

4. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or as long as overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare buttered baking sheets.

6. Using hands form the dough into an inch and a quarter ball and roll into granulated sugar to coat evenly. Place some basic baking sheets 2 inches apart.

7. Bake for 12 minutes until pale golden and cracked. Let cookies cool for 1 minute then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Hanukkah classic: Sufganiyot (Israeli Donuts). This recipe for Israeli jelly donuts is the way to go. These are so delicious and are a great Hanukkah tradition. These donuts are enjoyed by people in Israel and all over the world during Hanukkah. 


1 cup warm water, heated to around 110°F 

1 tablespoon active dry yeast 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus about 2 quarts more for frying

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 1 cup jam or jelly (or custard, Nutella, pudding, pumpkin butter, apple butter, dulce de leche, etc.) (optional)


  1. Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Once it starts to foam it’s done. 
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, confectioners sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine then set aside.
  3.  Add the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of oil, and vanilla to the water-yeast mixture and whisk until combined. 
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture using a spatula until dough comes together. The dough should be sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit for about 2 hours. 
  5. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; then line a different baking sheet with parchment paper and dust heavily with flour. 
  6. Dust a clean countertop and hands with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the counter and pat the dough with flour. Using your hands, pat the dough down to 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Making sure the bottom doesn’t stick, add more flour to the counter in your hand as needed.  
  7. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into twenty-four two-inch squares and transfer to the floured baking sheet; leaving space between the squares. Then sprinkle with flour.
  8. Add two inches deep of oil to a heavy pot. Place on medium heat until 350 degrees.
  9. Put 6 pieces of the dough into the oil and fry until golden brown. About 3 minutes in, flip halfway through. You can adjust the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature, but it has to stay between 325 and 350 degrees.
  10. Take the doughnuts out of the oil using a slotted spoon and place on the paper towel lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
  11. When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to puncture the side of each to form a pocket in the center.
  12.  Place the tip of a squeeze bottle or piping bag in the pocket and insert about 1 to 2 teaspoons of jam or jelly inside. 

Cookies to impress: Linzer cookies. Linzer cookies look great in photos and are a great way to show off your skills. These cookies have flavors and spices that are  not usually seen in cookies like black pepper. These cookies are not the normal recipe that you would find for these thanks to Bon Appetit Test Kitchen.


1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

3¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more

1½ cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 large egg, room temperature

2 large egg yolks, room temperature

Powdered sugar (for dusting

 ½ cup red currant jelly


1. Brown butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir often until the butter foams, then after 5-8 minutes scrape into a large bowl and let it cool.

2. Whisk salt, baking powder, cardamom, cloves, pepper, and flour in a medium bowl to combine. 

3. Add granulated sugar and lemon zest to the butter. Scrape vanilla seeds in and throw away the pod.

4. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs until very light and fluffy for about 5 minutes. Then reduce the speed to low and add dry ingredients in three batches still mixing after each addition. 

5. Scrape out the dough and put onto a  surface;  knead  until no dry spots remain. Then, divide the dough in 1/2 and wrap using plastic wrap, then patt into three quarter inch thick disks and chill until firm for about 2 hours.

6.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

7. Let one disc sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes until slightly softened. Then roll out on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, picking it up often on a sheet and dusting with flour to keep it from sticking. Keep going until about an 1/8 inch thick. 

8.Cut desired shapes using cutters; have 10 places on sheets that are 1/2 inch apart. Gather scraps and re-roll. Repeat with the remaining  disc. Make sure it is an even amount. 

9. Using a cookie cutter punch-out the middle of half of the cookies. Cook for 12 -15 minutes then bake the rotating sheets halfway through until golden brown around the edges. 

10. Put powdered sugar and stir ¾ tablespoon jelly until smooth onto cut-out cookies and let it set for around 15 to 20 minutes. 

Wild Card: Coconut Cranberry Chews. Coconut Cranberry Chews are a non traditional holiday flavor, but you can still tell that they are in tune with the season in their buttery and delicious flavor.  This recipe also makes  many cookies for the amount of ingredients  put in. These can also be simply turned vegan by using vegan butter or any oil instead of the normal butter. The dough can also be eaten raw so can also be eaten like cookie dough. 

1 ½  cups of butter

 2 cups of sugar

 1 tbsp of grated orange peel

 1  teaspoon of vanilla

 3  1/4 cups of flour

 1  teaspoon of baking powder

 quarter teaspoon of salt

1  tablespoon of vanilla

 1 ½   cups of dry cranberries

 1 ½ cups of sweetened flaked dried coconut 


1. In a large bowl with a  mixer put 1 1/2 cups of butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth.

2. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until dough comes together. Then add cranberries and coconut flakes.

3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. 

4. Bake at 350 for about 8-11 minutes until the cookie edges just begin to turn brown. 

Author: Claire Kilgariff

Claire Kilgariff is a sophomore, reporter, and a member of the website team. In her free time she enjoys taking naps, watching America’s Next Top Model, and drinking coffee. A fun fact about Claire is that she hates squash.

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