The Holiday Cookies Food Network Staffers Can't Wait to Make This Year

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See which sweet treats Food Network staffers will be baking up first this holiday season.

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Holiday baking season is upon us, and while we’re tempted daily by the prospect of putting together all manner of cakes, cinnamon rolls, gingerbread houses, cheesecake and tarts, it’s really all about the cookies for us. Read on below to see which cookies we Food Network staffers will be baking up first this season, and get the recipes to try them at your home, too.

“Meltaways (aka polvorones, aka Mexican wedding cookies, aka butterballs) have always been my favorite Christmas cookie (my mom called them ‘snowball meltaways’ when I was growing up), but this year I’m making Food Network Kitchen’s new version: Eggnog Meltaways. They really do taste just like eggnog – there’s bourbon, rum extract and nutmeg in the dough — but they’re buttery and crumbly like a meltaway should be.”

— Michelle Buffardi, Director, Digital Programming

“Oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies — you name it, my Mama Hynes always has a truly fantastic batch of soft, perfectly baked cookies on her kitchen counter. But as much as I aspire to be just like my grandma, rolling sugar cookie dough is my nemesis; even though you might think having three helpers would make the job easier for me, eight hands are not better than two! But my kids really love to measure, pour and mix, and watching them sit impatiently on the kitchen floor staring through the oven door while something they’ve helped make bakes warms my heart. This year I’m looking forward to trying our hands at Butter Spritz Cookies. The kids can choose their own cookie-press shapes and have fun decorating their creations with sprinkles, and I can have dozens of homemade cookies on the counter without having to roll a single scrap of dough.”

— Meghan Cole, Content Administrator

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“Giada De Laurentiis’ Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies were the first Food Network recipe I ever made, and maybe the first thing I ever baked, full stop. Back in high school, I’d bake a batch on the Sunday before school let out for the holidays so I could give them out to friends and teachers. Honestly, I don’t know how I parted with them. Packed with chewy, finely chopped oats, toasted hazelnuts and English toffee, these buttery beauties would have me in a sugar coma until at least New Year’s.”

— Allison Milam, Associate Editor

Peanut Butter Blossoms are my holiday-season Achilles’ heel — my mother-in-law makes them by the boatload, and I eat just about as many. This year, I want to try Nancy Fuller’s take on the recipe, which incorporates peanut butter chips into the batter. She also suggests spreading a little jelly on the cookies before finishing them off with a chocolate candy. Sounds delicious!”

— Lauren Piro, Food Network Editor

“I know that baking is a science and that recipes for baked goods ought to be followed to the letter. But — confession time — when it comes to the cinnamon in things like cookies, pies and tarts, I usually double or even triple the amount called for in the recipe. That’s how much love that spicy, warm, fragrant flavor. (More is more, right?) So it’s a wonder that I’ve never made snickerdoodles before. Not only are these cookies easy to make, but they’re known for their over-the-top cinnamon taste: They’re rolled in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, after all, which guarantees cozy, comforting cinnamon taste in each bite. This year I’ve got my eyes on Trisha Yearwood’s recipe for snickerdoodles — but there’s a good chance I may up the cinnamon there, too.”

— Maria Russo, Online Convergent Editor

“The best cookies on a holiday cookie spread often look the simplest. You might pass them over for the fancier-looking treats if you didn’t know better. That’s part of the allure of my grandmother’s famous Potato Chip Cookies. The golden rounds look like basic shortbread or sugar cookies, but then you bite into one and the hit of salt and crunch takes you by surprise (and keeps you reaching for seconds, then thirds). I once won a very prestigious interoffice cookie bake-off with these babies, and I’m admittedly not a baker. While Grandma’s recipe is a closely guarded family secret, Ree Drummond has a version that incorporates chocolate, and in my opinion that’s never a bad idea.”

— Sara Levine, Senior Managing Editor

“I went to school near this warm, low-ceilinged Hungarian pastry shop that always reminded me of the Three Broomsticks from the Harry Potter books — so, of course, every day after class I’d go sit in the corner and read by myself. I only ever got one thing: coffee with almond extract, cinnamon and a tall, dramatic swirl of whipped cream (the kind from a can). Such a good drink. Anyway, one year I was dating this nice Italian boy and brought him there after dinner. He asked if I had ever eaten a rainbow cookie. I hadn’t, of course. He explained how important they were for Italian-American families during Christmas, and how he could eat a dozen in one sitting. So we bought a handful and ate them with the coffee I just told you about. To this day I only ever get that coffee with those rainbow cookies. Some people call them “Italian flag cookies,” “Venetian bars” or even “seven-layer cakes” (after the three layers of almond sponge, the two of jam and the two of chocolate). Valerie Bertinelli calls them Neapolitan Cookies. Whatever they’re called, I like to make them around the holidays for my family because they’re like nothing we grew up with, and because they remind me of Greg.”

— Eric Kim, Programming Coordinator

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“A few months ago, I purchased a bag of maple sugar, thinking, ‘I’ll definitely use this at some point.’ It took a while, but I’m finally cracking it open, thanks to this Maple Stars cookie recipe [from Food Network Magazine]. Festive maple-flavored sugar cookies are sandwiched with maple-spiked white chocolate for a breakfast-meets-dessert experience. Plus, who can resist a shimmery dusting of gold sugar for a finishing touch? These will definitely be the stars of my holiday cookie plate!”

— T.K. Brady, Online Editor, Food Network Magazine

Check out Food Network’s complete collection of Christmas cookies right here and plan your next Holiday Cookie Swap Party.