50 Holiday Cookies

Fill your cookie tins with batches and batches of classic cookies and creative variations.

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 food stylist: Stephana Bottom

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 food stylist: Stephana Bottom

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 food stylist: Stephana Bottom

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009 Karl Juengel/Studio D Food Styling: Stephana

Classic Sugar Cookies (No. 1)

Beat 2 sticks butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Beat in 2 egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Whisk 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt; stir into the butter mixture, then chill 30 minutes. Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and flatten; sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Lime Coolers (No. 2)

Make Classic Sugar Cookies (No. 1) with lime zest instead of orange. Whisk 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons green decorating sugar and 3 tablespoons lime juice, then spread over finished cookies.

Brown-Betty Buttons (No. 3)

Melt 2 sticks butter over medium heat until browned, then cool. Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1) with the browned butter in place of the 2 sticks butter and use just 1 egg yolk and 3/4 cup granulated sugar total (omit confectioners'). Scoop into tiny balls and bake 10 to 12 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool, then sandwich with raspberry jam and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Peanut Butter Cookies (No. 4)

Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1) without zest. Add 1 cup peanut butter with the sugar. Roll into medium balls; press with a fork. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Black and Whites (No. 5)

Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1) without baking powder; chill 2 hours. Roll out to 1/8 inch thick, then cut into 2-inch rounds and chill 30 minutes. Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool, then spread with vanilla frosting on one side and chocolate on the other.

Lemon Volcanoes (No. 6)

Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1) with 1 cup granulated sugar total (omit confectioners') and lemon zest instead of orange; omit baking powder. Chill. Pulse 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon zest in a food processor. Roll dough into two 1-inch-thick logs and roll in the lemon sugar. Freeze logs 20 minutes, then slice 1 inch thick. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 325 degrees.

Holiday Windowpanes (No. 7)

Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1) without baking powder; chill 2 hours. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut into large Christmas-tree shapes. Cut out smaller trees from centers. Place on silicone mats and bake 6 to 8 minutes at 350 degrees, then sprinkle the centers with crushed hard candies and bake until melted, 2 to 5 more minutes.

Sugar Sandwiches (No. 8)

Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1) without baking powder; chill 2 hours. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut into 2-inch rounds. Chill 30 minutes, then bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool, then sandwich with jam or frosting.

Mexican Wedding Cookies (No. 9)

Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1) with almond extract instead of vanilla. Add 1 cup almond flour to the dry ingredients. Chill 30 minutes, then scoop into tiny balls and bake 20 to 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool, then toss in confectioners' sugar.

Pistachio Linzer Cookies (No. 10)

Make Classic Sugar Cookie dough (No. 1); add 3/4 cup ground pistachios with the flour. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut into 2-inch rounds. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool, then sandwich with cherry jam.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies (No. 11)

Beat 2 sticks butter, 3/4 cup dark brown sugar and 3/4 cup granulated sugar until fluffy; beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 eggs. Whisk 2 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt, then stir into the butter mixture. Add 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips and chill 30 minutes. Roll into balls and bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Butterscotch Blondies (No. 12)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11), but replace the butter with 1 cup vegetable oil and use only granulated sugar (1 1/2 cups total). Mix in 2 cups butterscotch chips instead of semisweet. Drop by tablespoonfuls and bake 14 to 16 minutes at 350 degrees.

Game-Day Bars (No. 13)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11) with just 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. Instead of chocolate chips, add 2 cups chocolate chunks, 1/2 cup crushed pretzels and 1/2 cup peanuts. Press into a 9-by-13-inch pan; sprinkle with more pretzels. Bake 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Maple-Walnut Trunks (No. 14)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11) with maple sugar instead of granulated and half whole-wheat flour; omit chocolate chips. Spoon 1 teaspoon finely chopped walnuts and 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup into mini muffin cups, then top each with a tablespoonful of dough. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chip Mixers (No. 15)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookies (No. 11) with1 1/2 sticks melted butter in place of the 2 sticks butter. Add 2 cups assorted chips (such as butterscotch, white, mini and/or bittersweet) instead of all semisweet chocolate chips.

Movie Munchers (No. 16)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11); omit chips and add 1 cup chocolate-covered peanuts, 1/2 cup chocolate-covered raisins and 1/2 cup M&M's. Press scoops of dough into standard-size muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Chip Chubbies (No. 17)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11), using 3 egg yolks instead of 2 whole eggs and chocolate chunks instead of chips. Roll into 1-inch balls and chill 1 hour. Bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Brown-Butter Oatmeal Cookies (No. 18)

Melt 2 sticks butter over medium heat until browned, then cool. Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11), using the browned butter in place of the 2 sticks butter. Add 3/4 cup oats and 1 cup golden raisins; omit chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls and bake 12 to 15 minutes.

Pecan Chipsters (No. 19)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11) with 2 cups dark chocolate shavings instead of chips. Add 2 cups chopped pecans. Pat into a rectangle on parchment paper and chill 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and freeze 30 minutes, then bake 14 to 16 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tropical Chewies (No. 20)

Make Classic Chocolate-Chip Cookie dough (No. 11) with 1 1/2 sticks melted butter in place of the 2 sticks butter, and white chocolate chips instead of semisweet. Add 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts, 1/2 cup chopped almonds and 3/4 cup shredded coconut. Scoop into medium balls, sprinkle with coconut and chill. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Classic Chocolate Cookies (No. 21)

Beat 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar and 1 stick butter until fluffy, then beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder; stir into the butter mixture. Chill 30 minutes, then roll into balls and bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Snowstorms (No. 22)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookies (No. 21) with dark brown sugar instead of granulated and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda instead of baking powder. Roll finished cookies in confectioners' sugar.

Coconut Super-Chunks (No. 23)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookie dough (No. 21) without the baking powder. Add 1 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup chopped cashews and 1 cup chocolate chunks to the finished batter. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls and bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Over the Moons (No. 24)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookie dough (No. 21). Roll out to 1/8 inch thick and cut into moon shapes. Bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Beat 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth, then sandwich between cooled cookies.

Chocolate Cherry Gooeys (No. 25)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookie dough (No. 21) with 1 cup dark brown sugar instead of granulated and 3 eggs total. Add 4 ounces melted semisweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons buttermilk with the eggs. Add 2 cups chocolate chunks and 1 cup dried cherries to the finished batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls and chill 30 minutes; bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Gingerbreads (No. 26)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookie dough (No. 21) with dark brown sugar instead of granulated and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda instead of baking powder. Add 1/4 cup molasses, 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger and a large pinch each of ground cinnamon and cloves with the egg. Do not chill. Drop by tablespoonfuls, sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Malteds (No. 27)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookies (No. 21) with dark brown sugar instead of granulated and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda instead of baking powder. Add 1/4 cup malted milk powder with the flour. Press a halved malted milk ball into the center of each cookie before baking.

Cocoa Wafers (No. 28)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookie dough (No. 21). Roll out to 1/8 inch thick; cut into 2-inch rounds. Bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chocolaty Full-of-Nuts (No. 29)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookie dough (No. 21) with 1 cup dark brown sugar instead of granulated and 3 eggs total. Add 4 ounces melted semisweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons buttermilk with the eggs. Add 1 cup oats,1/2 cup Grape-Nuts cereal and 2 cups chopped mixed nuts to the finished batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls and chill 30 minutes, then bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Easy Whoopie Pies (No. 30)

Make Classic Chocolate Cookie dough (No. 21) with 3 eggs and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder total; add 6 ounces melted semisweet chocolate with the eggs. Roll into balls and bake 6 to 8 minutes at 375 degrees; cool slightly. Flip over half the cookies, top each with a marshmallow and return to the oven to soften, 2 minutes. Top with the remaining cookies.

Classic Shortbread (No. 31)

Beat 2 sticks butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Whisk 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt, then stir into the butter mixture. Press into a buttered 8-inch square or 9-inch round tart pan. Score into wedges, strips, squares or diamonds with a fork, then chill 30 minutes. Bake about 1 hour at 300 degrees. Cool, then slice along the scored lines.

Oat-Walnut Thins (No. 32)

Make Classic Shortbread dough (No. 31) with just 1 cup flour. Add 1 cup ground oats and 3/4 cup finely ground walnuts with the flour. Divide between two 8-inch square pans, score and bake about 1 hour at 300 degrees. Cool and slice; drizzle with melted bittersweet chocolate.

Parmesan-Pepper Balls (No. 33)

Make Classic Shortbread dough (No. 31), adding 1/2 cup parmesan, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 2 teaspoons pepper with the butter. Roll into tiny balls, then bake 8 to 12 minutes at 300 degrees.

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread (No. 34)

Make Classic Shortbread (No. 31). Slice into strips, then dip in melted bittersweet chocolate and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Orange-Anise Squares (No. 35)

Make Classic Shortbread (No. 31), beating the seeds from 1 vanilla bean and 1/2 teaspoon crushed toasted anise seeds with the butter. Whisk 2 cups confectioners' sugar and 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice; spread over the finished shortbread and slice. Top with candied orange slices.

Walnut-Lavender Wedges (No. 36)

Make Classic Shortbread (No. 31), adding 3/4 cup finely ground walnuts with the flour. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender over the dough before baking. Slice into wedges.

Lemon Shortbread Squares (No. 37)

Make Classic Shortbread (No. 31), beating 1 teaspoon lemon zest with the butter. Mix 2 cups confectioners' sugar with the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Spread over the finished shortbread and sprinkle with yellow decorating sugar. Slice into squares.

Pecan Sandies (No. 38)

Make Classic Shortbread dough (No. 31), adding 3/4 cup ground pecans with the flour. Roll into two 1-inch-thick logs and chill 30 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and press a pecan into each. Brush the cookies with beaten egg and chill 30 minutes, then bake 12 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Hazelnut Linzer Bars (No. 39)

Make Classic Shortbread dough (No. 31) with just 1 cup flour. Add 1 cup ground oats and 3/4 cup finely ground hazelnuts with the flour. Mix one-third of the dough with 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts; freeze tablespoonfuls in clumps for 30 minutes. Press the remaining dough into a buttered 8-inch square pan. Spread with raspberry preserves and top with the frozen clumps. Bake about 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spiced Shortbread (No. 40)

Make Classic Shortbread dough (No. 31), beating 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom with the butter. Pat into a 1/4-inch-thick square on parchment paper, then cut into 1-inch squares and chill 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and bake 12 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Festive Fritters (No. 41)

Cut store-bought pie dough into holiday shapes and fry in 350 degrees vegetable oil until golden. Cool on paper towels and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Coconut Macaroons (No. 42)

Whisk 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 beaten egg whites, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in 2 2/3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut. Drop by tablespoonfuls, then form into pyramids with your fingers and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cinnamon-Sugar Rolls (No. 43)

Trim store-bought pie dough into a rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with a mixture of ground cinnamon and sugar. Roll into a log, then flatten slightly. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with more sugar and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool, then slice into thin pieces.

Divinities (No. 44)

Mix 4 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan, then cook over medium heat without stirring until 250 degrees on a candy thermometer. Beat 3 egg whites until firm; drizzle the hot syrup into the whites and beat until stiff. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 cups chopped hazelnuts or pecans. Shape into small balls with buttered hands, then roll in more chopped nuts and cool.

Ginger Crackle Cookie (No. 45)

Beat 1 1/2 sticks butter, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup molasses and 2 tablespoons ginger preserves. Whisk 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, a pinch of pepper, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and 1/2 teaspoon each allspice, dry mustard and salt. Stir into the butter mixture and chill 30 minutes. Roll into balls, sprinkle with sugar and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Candy-Cane Meringue Cookies (No. 46)

Beat 3 egg whites until frothy. Beat in 3/4 cup superfine sugar and a pinch each of cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks form. Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract and swirl in 2 drops red food coloring. Drop by tablespoonfuls and bake about 1 hour at 300 degrees. Turn off the oven and keep meringues inside for 2 hours to dry.

Fig Pinwheels (No. 47)

Trim store-bought pie dough into an 8-inch square. Pulse 1 cup dried figs, 1/2 cup pitted dates, a pinch of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice and 1 tablespoon butter in a food processor. Spread over the dough and roll into a log; chill 30 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and bake 12 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Rice Petits Fours (No. 48)

Melt 3 tablespoons butter and a 10-ounce bag of marshmallows in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in 6 cups crispy rice cereal. Press into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread with 12 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate and sprinkle with nonpareils, then let harden. Cut into small squares.

Rugalach (No. 49)

Cut store-bought pie dough into 16 wedges (like a pizza). Starting from the tip, spread apricot jam over the top two-thirds of each wedge; sprinkle with chopped pecans. Roll from the fat end in to form a crescent shape. Brush with beaten egg and chill 30 minutes. Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 325 degrees.

Rum Balls (No. 50)

Mix 1 cup melted semisweet chocolate chips, 20 ground chocolate wafers, 1/2 cup finely chopped prunes, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup rum and 1/4 cup condensed milk. Chill until firm, then shape into small balls. Roll in coarse decorating sugar.

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