Nutmeg lends unmistakable holiday flavor to these puffy, old-fashioned cut-out cookies. They do spread a bit, so don't use this recipe for delicate shapes. It's best-suited for circles, bells and the like.
Orange and chocolate: a holiday cookie match that tempt every Santa to take seconds. This recipe comes from Jill Drury in Milwaukee, who loved to bake cookies with her grandmother. "For the longest time I couldn't decide which cookie I liked best, until one day Grandma had me mix my favorite flavors: chocolate and orange," she says. "We came up with this cookie that I now call my holiday favorite."
Graham crackers form the base for this bar cookie with layers of marshmallows, brown sugar, almonds and coconut. "I've made these cookies since 1984," says Georgine Simmonds of Genesee, Michigan. "They're one of my family's favorites."
These cookies are easier than they look —make one batch of dough, divide it in half, and blend cocoa into one portion and crushed candy canes and peppermint extract into the other. The recipe comes from the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago, which hosts an annual cookie swap.
The eggnog flavor in these buttery cutouts comes from nutmeg and rum extract; it's subtle enough to be a pleasant twist on classic holiday sugar cookies without being overpowering. The recipe comes from the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Chicago, which hosts an annual cookie swap.
Whether you hang theses sugar cookies on a decorative tree like blogger Annie Marshall does or share them at a cookie exchange, these cutouts hold their shape beautifully. A standby on the blog Annie's Eats, it's a great recipe to have in your repertoire.
Dust off your waffle iron to bake these Belgian-style cookies. The recipe comes from Connie Shaw of Bettendorf, Iowa, who learned it from her grandmother. "As she taught me to make them, she explained that when she lived in Belgium, families served them when neighbors called," Connie says. "I sent them to my son the two Christmases he was deployed in Iraq. They are part of his Christmas memories, too."
These melt-in-your-mouth cookies come from the recipe file of Georgia Morehouse of Columbia, Missouri. Her family insists she bake at least one batch for New Year's Eve. Sprinkle them with colored sugar right before they bake to give them quick-and-easy sparkle.
These to-die-for cookies use special chocolate and two kinds of salt, and they call for an overnight chill—and you can absolutely taste the difference. Because of the expense and time involved, we don't recommend them for any old weekend, but they are incredible for a gift or other special occasion. The recipe comes from Chicago chef Mindy Segal's cookbook Cookie Love.
Finishing touches add a festive flair to these cookies. Dip Chocolatey Shortbread Bites in melted semisweet or white chocolate and top with a chocolate candy. Give extra zing to Lemony Spritz Cookies with Lemon Glaze and colored sugar.
This slice-and-bake cookie recipe brings several favorite holiday flavors to the cookie tray. Beverly Olson of Marshfield, Wisconsin, added cranberries and orange peel to her butter cookies along with pecans. Finely chop these additions so they won't get in the way when you slice the dough.
Create these rich, chocolatey cookies from refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough--just add cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles and a candy center. Use colored sprinkles instead of chocolate if you'd like a more festive presentation.
You can make these chewy cookies up to three months ahead of the holidays. Just freeze undipped cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container. When you're ready to serve them, thaw and then dip bottoms in melted chocolate.
Friends and family will love any of these tiny treats. Clockwise, from front left:
-- Hamantaschen, a traditional three-cornered pastry pocket with a sweet filling;
-- Pistachio-Tangerine Fudge, a no-fail fudge with add-ins such as tangerine peel;
-- Cranberry-Coconut Tassies, like miniature pies with a cranberry, coconut and brown-sugar filling; and
-- Chocolate Cream Spritz Cookies, elegant cookie sticks dipped in semisweet chocolate and crushed peppermint.
"We use this recipe year-round for all of the holidays," says Laura Maychruk, co-owner of Buzz Cafe in Oak Park, Illinois (10 miles west of Chicago's Loop). "For Christmas, we make snowflakes and Christmas trees. The cookies are delicious even without the icing."
The Cole family of Wadsworth, Ohio, bakes these each year for friends and family. The tradition started more than 50 years ago when Phrania (Fran) Cole and her sister, Ann, began making cookies as affordable gifts. The Coles like the Snowballs' tang of black walnut and the snowy, powdered-sugar coating. You can choose from two fillings when you bake the tiny, turnoverlike Nutjammers.
Slice-and-bake Candy Cane Swirl Cookies add color and minty flavor to a Yuletide cookie tray. Peanut Butter Temptations sink miniature peanut butter cups into peanut butter cookie dough. Elfin Shortbread Bites come in a variety of flavors: Lemon-Poppy Seed, Chocolate Chip and Butter-Pecan. No-bake Chocolate Balls take only minutes to make.