12 Delicious Days of Holiday Cookies

Bring on the holiday cheer with a roundup of our most festive treats: brand-new recipes, created for 2021 — to make this year's cookie plate your merriest one yet!

November 22, 2021
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Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

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Photo By: Teri Lyn Fisher

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It wouldn't be the holidays without the scent of sugar and butter wafting from your oven — and cookie tins bursting with treats for sharing. So, we dreamed up a whole new lineup of holiday cookies that are perfect for spreading some holiday cheer. With new takes on classics, kid-friendly sweets and yummy snacks to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve, you're guaranteed to find recipes you'll want to make this holiday season — and add to your annual rotation for years to come!

Mint Brownie Bites

Mint plays a big part in Candy Coated Christmas (our first Christmas movie on discovery+), and so does Ree — she plays Bee, the baker! These minty brownie bites are one of the sweet treats that you’ll see in her bakery case in the movie. Want to bake a batch at home? You’ll need a muffin tin to give them their adorable stout shape and chocolate mint candies for extra pizzazz. Why not whip up a batch and stream Candy Coated Christmas now?

Get the Recipe: Mint Brownie Bites

Pumpkin Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Eddie Jackson’s festive cookie is the perfect mashup of pumpkin pie and chewy sugar cookie, topped off with a super-quick, crunchy pecan crumble, made right in the microwave. Thanks to a double dose of pumpkin pie spice (in both the cookie and the pecan crumble) it has all the cozy flavor you’d expect from a pie-inspired treat. Ready for more Christmas cookies? Catch Eddie as he hosts Christmas Cookie Challenge, Thursdays at 9|8c!

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These soft and crackly cookies are a staple in Italian bakeries. The espresso powder is there to complement and elevate the chocolate — it's subtle but totally worth it. For a variation, try spiking these with 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Gelt Magic Bars

These sweet Hanukkah treats come together quickly and are easy to transport to a party or school event. The bars are quite gooey so be sure to let them cool completely before cutting. There are a lot of fun holiday sprinkle blends available online or you can make your own.

Get the Recipe: Gelt Magic Bars

The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Our sugar dough is easy to roll and cut into all shapes and sizes. The cookies hold their shape during baking and come out firm and strong, perfect for decorating. We made them with a little less sugar, so feel free to load on the icing and sprinkles. Their buttery crispness will still come through.

Get the Recipe: The Best Sugar Cookies for Decorating

Linzer Doily Wreaths

Rolling a woven doily over cookie dough leaves an impression which, after baking and glazing with a simple green frosting, looks like the fluffy pine needles of a holiday wreath. A paper doily doesn’t provide enough of an indentation, so using a woven doily is a must—plus it can be washed and used year after year! Tart raspberry jam pairs well with the almond Linzer cookie, but feel free to mix it up with your favorite flavor.

Get the Recipe: Linzer Doily Wreaths

French Macarons

Macarons are a French cookie made of finely ground blanched (peeled) almonds and meringue. Their texture is light and a bit cakey-chewy with just the tiniest bit of crunch on top. Tinted with food coloring and sandwiched together with jam, fruit curd, chocolate ganache or buttercream frosting, they make an absolutely divine treat during the holidays (or any time of year). They take a bit of time and practice to make at home but we promise they’re worth the effort; they’re sure to be the star of any cookie plate!

Get the Recipe: French Macarons

Peppermint Muffin-Tin Cookies

Thanks to the help of a muffin tin, these peppermint-spiked sugar cookies are perfectly round every single time. They're also easy enough for everyone in the family to pitch in to help. Frozen peppermint patties are stuffed in the middle to ramp up the flavor and provide a hidden surprise with the first bite. No need to decorate after baking — the sprinkles go right on top before going into the oven so that once they are cool, they are ready to go.

Get the Recipe: Peppermint Muffin-Tin Cookies

The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Here's the perfect holiday cookie recipe for cut-outs and decorating. The balanced blend of warm spices and molasses adds just the right amount of seasonal flavor. A combination of butter and shortening creates a dough that rolls out easily and holds it shape during baking.

Get the Recipe: The Best Gingerbread Cookies

Pretzel Shortbread

Pretzel shortbread was created by Lost Bread Co. in Philadelphia as a way to use up stale pretzels and has since gained a cult following. To create our own version, we started with a classic shortbread base and tested it with a variety of pretzel styles to find our favorite. Butter pretzels were the winners — though regular pretzel thins and old-fashioned pretzels also work. A baking soda and egg wash gives these cookies a deep brown color and shine (like a pretzel rod) and pretzel salt really drives home this cookie's origins (although coarse salt or even demerara sugar will work too). The resulting cookie is salty, sweet, buttery and crunchy.

Get the Recipe: Pretzel Shortbread

The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

We skipped the white sugar and went all in with dark brown sugar, which gives our cookies the ideal chewiness and perfect level of sweetness. Paired with the right amount of semisweet chocolate chips, this treat is a definite winner. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but in our opinion, this is never a problem!

Get the Recipe: The Best Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yakgwa

This deep-fried cookie, soaked in a mixture of jochung (Korean rice syrup) and honey, comes in many shapes, textures and sizes. The most common varieties are pressed in a yakgwa press or mold. Since the specialty press may be hard to find in the US, our version calls for cutting the laminated dough into bite-size squares. Likewise, we skipped frying the cookie at two different temperatures, and instead cook it at one, with minimal difference to the flavor and texture. Another shortcut: We omit resting the cookies for 2 days before soaking them in syrup for 4 to 8 hours. Even so, making yakgwa takes time. But with a little bit of patience and planning, you too, can enjoy these crumbly, pie-like cookies with a side of sikhae, Korean sweet rice punch or herbal tea.

Get the Recipe: Yakgwa

Butter Spritz Cookies

One of the most iconic of holiday sweets, spritz are bite-size buttery cookies with vanilla and almond. These classic cookies are made with a cookie press. The dough holds its shape beautifully when baked, making the finished treats as pretty as they are delicious!

Get the Recipe: Butter Spritz Cookies

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