Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

15 Cookie Recipes to Get You Through the Holidays

We've got a cookie for that.

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Dec 19 2017, 8:00pm

Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Any time of year is perfectly acceptable to bake cookies, but the winter holiday season practically requires it. Office holiday party? Be the hero—bring the cookies. Trying to win over the new neighbors? Surprise ‘em with a festive tin of cookies. Reminded suddenly that Christmas and rent day fall very close together? Save some money, and give your friends the gift of homemade goodness. Have to entertain some rambunctious younger cousins at the family gathering? Let them decorate gingerbread men, then send them home to your aunt all sugared-up.

In the grand scheme of holiday baking, cookies are pretty foolproof, and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Here are some of our favorites.


This cookie is triply foolproof. First, it’s a recipe from Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, queen supreme of addictive sweets, who cannot steer you wrong. Second, it’s the kind of perfectly gooey you think you can only find in a bakery. Third, she made it on camera with us too, in case you’re feeling extra uncertain of your recipe reading ability.

This simple sugar cookie gets a little lift with the help of the humble candy cane. This sounds like a scented candle designed specifically to trigger the nostalgic part of your brain that will send you searching for It’s a Wonderful Life on Netflix.

Adult romance novelist Lynn Hubbard gave us this recipe, as inspired by her erotic e-book in which a lost young woman stumbles upon the cabin of a well-endowed anthropomorphic gingerbread man. The cookies themselves can be perfectly PG, though, if a food fetish isn’t your thing.

Feeling a little less sexy, a little more pagan this holiday season? Invoke the archangels with these chewy gingerbread pentagrams. And luckily, as of 2000, it’s not illegal to display the symbol in schools, so you can safely give these as gifts for your (or your kids’) teachers.

If you’d ask us our opinion of dried cranberries and white chocolate individually, we’d probably say we prefer to take a pass. But together, and with this chewy dough, you’ve got some converts. A little tang, a lot of sweetness, but something definitely different to mix up your cookie offerings this season.

Oatmeal raisin cookies always feel a little bit like your mom trying to trick you into eating your vegetables, but that’s kind of ridiculous—there’s still two sticks of butter and two cups of sugar going on here. And these are a little crunchy, which means they’re perfect for milk dipping to soften them up.

Looking to really mix it up a bit? Have that one friend who always shows everyone up with sugar cookies decorated with amazingly intricate royal icing? These cookies may look simple, but are surprisingly sophisticated with a warm hit of cardamom and crunchy toasted nuts.

Once again, we went straight to the experts for this classic. Peanut butter cookie dough is one of the most simple you can have in your arsenal, so you should have a good one. This, from the good folks over at Ovenly, won’t fail to impress.

Do you, too, miss the days when joyous fluff balls, Bo and Sunny Obama, roamed the snowy grounds of the White House? Commemorate them with this sugar cookie cut-out recipe from White House executive pastry chef Susie Morrison. Or decorate them like your own beloved canine.

Made with tahini, then rolled in toasted sesame seeds, these cookies are nutty, soft, buttery and just a tad salty. These are the cookies for the person who never wants to order dessert.

GBBO baking star Ruby Tandoh reminds us that not all cookies must be made with butter. Olive oil will do in a pinch, and we think sometimes you should intentionally make them this way – because these are dense, chewy, and everything we could ask for in a chocolate chipper.

We tried really hard to get to the bottom of this infamous cookie from the pop diva behind our favorite holiday tune. We couldn’t quite get there, but you can still give this recipe a try, and use your mixing spoon as a mic to belt it out. We won’t judge.

Baking for a crowd? Will that crowd likely include some vegans or generally health-conscious eaters? The homemade coconut butter is the secret to getting these as moist and chewy as ones made with dairy butter, so don’t cut corners there.

Some of the best holiday memories we have are of decorating cut-out sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles, and turning the kitchen table into an utter disaster zone. That sounds like a good way to spend an afternoon, doesn’t it? Just remember you have to do the cleaning up now.

Well, we did it. We throw down the gauntlet. These are the best chocolate chip cookies ever, and Culinary Director Farideh Sadeghin stands by them. Crispy exterior, gooey inside, over a pound of chocolate, and sprinkled with salt on top. Perfection.