The Cookie Recipes Food Network Staffers Always Bring to the Swap Party

You can’t go wrong with these crowd pleasers.

November 22, 2022

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Photo by: Vadym Petrochenko/Getty Images

Vadym Petrochenko/Getty Images

Cookie season is once again upon us and there are fewer holiday traditions sweeter than cookie swaps. Chocolate chunks next to jammy thumbprints next to chewy gingersnaps … pure sampling bliss. We’ve rounded up some of our staffers’ favorite recipes which are sure to be the standouts amongst any swapping crowd. There’s something for the chocolate lover, the citrus lover, the brownie-kind-of-cookie lover and everyone in between. These picks are sure to find their way onto many future cookie swap tables, quickly disappearing as friends, family and coworkers sneak an extra one (or two, or three…) into their boxes.

The Best M&M Cookies

The Best M&M Cookies

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

When I first tasted our Best M&M Cookies, I knew they were something special. First of all, they’re huge, which is so incredibly satisfying for an M&M cookie, that I don't know if I'll ever be happy with a smaller one again. Then, there's the secret: Food Network Kitchen developed this recipe to include a lot of brown sugar, which adds chewiness and a toffee-like flavor that is a perfect complement for M&Ms. This cookie is SO much better than just making your usual chocolate chip cookie, but swapping in the candy. Make them this year, and your cookie swap crew will demand you make them each holiday season for years to come.
- Lauren Piro, Editorial Director

Bake and Slice Thumbprint Cookies

Bake and Slice Thumbprint Cookies

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Thumbprints are a holiday cookie tradition in my house, but the night before a cookie swap is not the ideal time to make them. These bake-and-slice thumbprints, however, have totally changed my cookie swap game. Baking the thumbprints as logs saves so much prep time and I usually have all the ingredients on-hand. These were a hit at last year’s office cookie swap, so this year I plan to make a double-batch! (One more pro tip: If you've invested in a Bonne Maman advent calendar and aren't sure what to do with all those extra jams, this recipe is the perfect solution.)
- T.K. Brady, Senior Editor

I love a good oatmeal cookie, but never have been a big fan of raisins! Instead, adding chocolate and walnuts gives you that extra sweet flavor and a nice crunch. This simple cookie is great during the holidays when you need a break from all the icing and sprinkles but still want a traditional and homey dessert to enjoy.
- Lauren Tom Cerone, Associate Content Producer


Photo by: Emmer Schmidt

Emmer Schmidt

To know Carmelitas is to love Carmelitas. In my humble opinion, this is the best recipe on! These bars are buttery, chocolately and totally addictive. Every time I make them, people FREAK OUT and beg for the recipe. The MVP is the homemade salted caramel sauce – it adds the perfect savory balance to all the sweetness, and the recipe yields extra caramel sauce which is perfect for topping ice cream with. Run, don't walk!!
- Toren Weiner, VP, Social Media and Convergence



Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Some may argue that the brookie (a mashup of a brownie and cookie) has no place in a cookie tin, but I’m a huge fan and always include a batch during a cookie swap! This bar cookie has a thick layer of fudgy brownie batter swirled together with chocolate chip cookie dough and is baked until golden. I personally love that you can slice these cookies into large rectangles or into more bite-size squares, depending on the size of your cookie share.
- Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer

Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Giada's Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

This recipe for lemon ricotta cookies with a lemon glaze is one of my favorites to bake throughout the holidays (though they make for a great treat year-round, too!). The lemon flavor is so delicate and refreshing, and the ricotta makes these cookies fluffy and almost cake-like. If you’re looking for a pillowy, bright cookie to break up some of the richer holiday treats this season, this cookie is exactly what you need!
- Rachel Trujillo, Associate Content Editor

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