29 Amazing Holiday Cookie Recipes That Every 20-Something NEEDS

Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Raise your hand if you love cookies. That's what I thought: EVERYONE LOVES COOKIES. And at Refinery29, we're no exception. A few months ago, I sent out a companywide email asking for favorite family cookies recipes and I was inundated in yumminess. After a brutal process (they were all so good!) I narrowed it down to 29 fantastic recipes for the holidays.

Every day, starting December 1, this story is going to be updated with one additional compelling reason to get baking this holiday season. Welcome to 29 Days Of Cookies. (Well, it's actually 27 cookies and two cakes, because we just could not resist the two cakes. But you know, semantics. Whatever.) It's kind of like our version of an advent calendar, but better.

Click through to check out our recipe for Day 27, and come back every day for MORE cookies (and cakes) to take you through the holidays!
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Chocolate Chip Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies

Karen Lininger: "These chocolate chip Reese's peanut butter cup cookies are the the easiest cookies ever. You just bake chunks of store-bought cookie dough in a mini muffin tin and then shove Reese's cups into the cookies when they come out of the oven. MAGICAL FOOLPROOF GOODNESS.

1 16.5-oz package refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (the one shaped like a log)
1 bag (about 24) miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups

Note: You will need a mini muffin pan for this recipe.

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray, set aside.

3. Slice cookie dough log into 1-inch thick slices, then into quarters. Place one quarter into each cup of the mini muffin pan, and bake for 9 to 11 minutes.

4. While baking, remove peanut butter cups from their foil wrappers and paper liners.

5. After removing the cookies from the oven, while the dough is still warm, push a peanut butter cup into each muffin cup and let cool in the pan. Once the cookies are cool, use a spoon or knife to release them from the pan.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Aunt Cynthia’s Peppermint Bars
Yield: Approximately 36 bars

Elettra Wiedemann (Moi!): "The Christmas spirit definitely does not come out when my Aunt Cynthia’s Peppermint Bars are around. She had to start giving us each individually wrapped and clearly marked containers for each family member to ease the tension over 'fair shares' of these amazing Christmas-y treats."

1/4 cup water
2 tbsp ground coffee beans
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 15 x 10 x 1 baking pan.

2. In a large saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water and ground coffee beans. Add the butter and the chocolate chips.

3. Over low heat, warm and stir mixture constantly, just until the butter and chocolate melt and are well-blended. Remove from heat.

4. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Lightly beat the mixture just until combined.

5. Stir in the flour, nuts, and salt. Spread the batter evenly in the

6. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

7. To frost, spread Peppermint Candy Frosting (below) evenly over cooled brownies. Sprinkle with additional coarsely chopped peppermints and ground peppermint to garnish.

Peppermint Candy Frosting

2 tsp peppermint powder (2 to 3 pieces peppermint candy ground in food processor)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tbsp boiling water
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Beat all ingredients with a electric mixer on low speed until combined.

2. For spreading, add small amounts of boiling water until desired consistency is reached, about one additional tablespoon, and beat one minute on medium speed.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Deez Balls
Yield: Approximately 24 balls

Nina Wolpow : "My roommates and I have gone a month without gas...so we've had to get super creative. We call these our amazing cook balls a.k.a Deez Balls. They require no melting, no baking, or really even measuring. YES."

1/2 cup agave
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups oats
1/3 cup shredded toasted coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Course sea salt, to taste
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries


1. Combine the agave, almond milk, coconut oil, peanut butter, and oats. Mix well.

2. Add in the shredded coconut, vanilla extract, a pinch of coarse sea salt, chocolate chips, and dried cherries. Stir to combine.

3. Using a spoons and/or your hands, roll into balls. Place on wax paper on a baking sheet and freeze. (Heads up — it's messy!)
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Lazy Girl Dunkaroos
Yield: As many as you want to make

Vanessa Golembewski:Take your grahams, dunk in the frosting, and pretend you are 8 years old again. These are especially satisfying when you've run out of fucks to give.”

1 box of Teddy Grahams
1 jar of frosting

1. Dunk and pretend you are 8 years old again. Especially satisfying when you've run out of fucks to give.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Erin’s Ultimate Ritz Cookies
Yield: As many as you want to make

Erin Donnelly: "My sister is our family baking goddess. One of her specialties is taking two Ritz crackers, spreading peanut butter between them, and then dipping them into melted chocolate almond bark. They have to sit on wax paper for 10 minutes to set, but they're divine. This is why I come back from Texas weighing ten pounds heavier."

Ritz crackers
Peanut butter
Melted chocolate

1. Make small sandwich with two Ritz crackers and peanut butter.

2. Dip in chocolate.

3. Allow to set for 10 minutes on wax paper before consuming.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Ricotta Cookies
Yield: Approximately 60 cookies

Maria del Russo: "My mother makes hundreds of cookies for our big Christmas day party. (We host nearly 40 family members.) And no Italian cookie platter is complete without some ricotta cookies. These are the favorite amongst the dozens of other cookies on the tray."

2 cups white sugar
1 cups butter, softened
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
3 tbsp milk
Small rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Beat sugar and butter in a mixer until combined.

3. Increase mixer speed and beat in eggs until light and fluffy.

4. Decrease speed again and beat in ricotta, vanilla, and eggs.

5. Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until dough forms.

6. Drop dough by tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about one inch apart.

7 Bake for about 15 minutes. Cookies should be lightly golden and soft.

8. As cookies cool, prepare the icing with the confectioner's sugar and milk. When cool, dip the top of the cookies in icing and sprinkle with sprinkles.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Grandma Sylvia’s Kamish Bread
Yield: 4 dozen

Zoe Bain: "It sounds deceiving, but kamish bread or mandel bread is actually a crunchy cookie, sort of similar to biscotti. This was originally my great-grandma’s recipe, but my grandma Sylvia (a woman after my own heart) perfected it by adding chocolate chips. Grandma Sylvia had one special cookie jar that was JUST for kamish bread when my dad and his brothers were growing up, and they always ate them with a light spread of peanut butter over top."

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup nuts, chopped
6 oz Nestle Toll House Morsels (mini)

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Combine eggs and sugar; mix well. Add vanilla and oil; mix until smooth.

3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. The mixture should be fairly thick. If it is not, add a bit more flour until it is easier to handle.

4. Spoon batter onto greased cookie sheets, forming “logs” on each sheet, approximately 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. (The logs will spread, so don’t crowd the cookie sheet.) Dip your fingers into a little oil and smooth the logs.

5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and, while still warm, cut each log into diagonal slices about 1/2 inche wide. Return the slices back to the oven and toast about 7 to 8 minutes. Watch the end pieces — they can burn!

6. Turn the slices over to the other side and toast for another few minutes. (Use caution when working with the warm slices; the melted chocolate chips get very hot.)

7. Remove slices from cookie sheet and cool.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Linzer Tart Cookies
Yield: Approximately 36 cookies

Alex Marino: “I grew up eating linzer tart cookies — my grandmother, mom, and sister are obsessed — and I decided I was going to start making my own for them. It's a decently long process, so I make them tops once a year, but they're SO good and also a really pretty cookie.”

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups ground almonds or pecans (If I can find them, I like to buy cinnamon-coated almonds or pecans, it takes the cookie to another level)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (if you don't get cinnamon-covered nuts)
1 small jar of seedless raspberry jam
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar

1. Beat butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. Stir in 1/2 cup flour, the ground almonds, and cinnamon.

3. Mix in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture becomes a slightly stiff dough.

4. Shape the dough into a ball, divide it in half. Wrap both halves in wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour.

5. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough into a sheet 1/8 inch thick. With a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut as many circles from the sheet as you can. Knead the leftover scraps of dough into a ball and roll it out again into a 1/8 inch sheet. Cut out more circles.

7. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch of space between them. Refrigerate while working with remaining dough.

8. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the other half of the dough. After placing the second batch on the baking sheet, cut out the center of each circle with a 1/2 inch cookie cutter.

9. Bake cookies in preheated oven until light brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.

10. Spread a thin coating of jam on each of the cookie rounds. Set a cut-out cookie on top of each, pressing the two together so they make a sandwich. Spoon a dab of jam into the opening of each tart and sprinkle the tops with confectioner's sugar before serving.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Double Chocolate Crinkle
Yield: 48 cookies

Gabrielle Laub: "I remember making these with my Nana for Hanukkah when I was younger, but I only remember helping her by licking the spoon. So they're really easy!"

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 (6 oz) package of chocolate chips
1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1. Melt the chocolate and shortening together in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water.

2. Stir in the sugar and place mix in a bowl to cool. Once cooled slightly, beat until well blended.

3. Add in the vanilla and beat in eggs, one at a time.

4. In another bowl, sift the flour, and add the baking soda and salt.

5. Stir flour mix into the chocolate mix. Stir in the chocolate chips.

6. Refrigerate dough for several hours or overnight.

7. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease baking sheets and set aside.

8. Break off small pieces of chilled dough and form into 1-inch balls.

9. Roll cookies in powdered sugar

10.Place cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes.

11. Cookies will be very soft, but will firm as they cool.

12. Immediately place on racks to cool. These may be frozen.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Megan’s Mint Surprise
Yield: 5 dozen cookies

Megan Madden: "It's my father's favorite cookie, so much so that he literally hides them when we have family guests over for the holidays because he doesn't want to share."

1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 sticks of softened butter
1 cup shortening
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 package of Andes Candies Mints, snapped in half

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Mix ingredients together, form cookie shapes and hide half mint inside center of dough.

3. Before placing on cookie sheet, dip one side of each cookie in sprinkles.

4. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, about one inch apart, and bake for 15 minutes.

5. Allow to cool and enjoy.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Tea Cakes
Yields about 36 cookies

David Kopach: "Each Christmas, my aunt Maureen hosts our enormous family and each year she has 10 to 15 types of cookies on display. She and her friends have been having a cookie swap for decades and these tea cakes are some of my favorites."

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1 cup
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

2. In a large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed, cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add water and vanilla.

3. Gradually add flour and nuts, beating until well mixed.

4. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls (or crescent moon shape using 1-inch balls of dough).

6. Place on ungreased cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown on the bottom.

7. Cool on wire racks about 10 minutes. Then roll in remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. When completely cool, roll again in remaining confectioners’ sugar.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Pineapple Cookies
Yield: Approximately 5 dozen cookies

Megan McIntyre: "When my mom first made these, I was, to put it nicely, skeptical. I recall making exaggerated gagging noises as she dumped the canned pineapples into the batter. But, cookie junkie that I am, I grabbed one and after one bite of the cookie I was a goner. These cookies are juicy and soft, with just a hint of tart to cut through the sweetness. It's kind of like a piña colada cookie, but way less gross. Now, every time I go home, I beg my mom to make me a batch so that I can snarf it down furtively at night, crouched over the tin like a feral animal. Mmmmmm, cookies."

2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1 whole can of crushed pineapple
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

2. Beat the eggs, and then add in the white and brown sugar, shortening, and pineapple. Mix well then add vanilla.

3. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, and then slowly add to wet mixture. Your mixture should be a consistency that is easily dropped by spoonfuls, not overly runny. If it is runny, gradually add more flour.

4. Drop cookies by the teaspoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms of cookie are a nice light brown. (You can always tap the top of the cookie to see if it springs back to test.) Remove from oven and place on a cookie rack to cool.

5. Enjoy!
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Yield: Approximately 18 large cookies

Melissa Lee: "This recipe has been tweaked a couple of time since its debut but has become somewhat of a holiday staple. It can keep for up to a week, but they will hardly last that long."

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 lb semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (4-5 oz) creamy peanut butter
2 oz salted butter
1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups Trader Joe's mini peanut butter cups

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, and set aside.

2. In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate, the peanut butter, and the butter, and microwave in 30-second increments until completely melted and smooth. Stir after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

3. Place the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a large stand mixer, and beat with a whisk attachment until thick and foamy, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the chocolate mixture and the vanilla, and mix them in until they’re incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, as the chocolate has a tendency to sink to the bottom.

5. Stir in the flour mixture, and when that’s incorporated, chill for 20-30 min. Add the miniature peanut butter cups. Chill for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

6. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a large 1/4-cup scoop to scoop large portions onto the baking sheets. Bake the cookies for about 12-15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Jane’s Chocolate Coca Cola Cake
Yields: 1 (9-inch round) cake

Gabrielle Laub: "THIS right here is why I was overweight (to put it lightly) when I was younger. Pro tip: The microwave does wonders for these babies the next day."

For the cake:
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of sugar
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 pinch of salt
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, unsalted
1 cup of regular Coca Cola
1/2 cup of buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

For the frosting:
1 stick of butter
1/3 cup of Coca Cola
1 tsp of instant coffee
2 tbsp water
1 lbs of powdered sugar, sifted
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and Coca Cola until boiling.

4. Mix together dry and wet ingredients until well combined.

5. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy.

6. Add buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla to the eggs. Whisk until blended.

7. Add to batter and stir until well combined (batter will be thin).

8. Place in a 9-inch cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, make your frosting: bring the butter, Coca-Cola, coffee, and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir to combine.

10. In a separate bowl, stir in the powdered sugar and cocoa. Then, pour the hot butter and Coca Cola mix over. Stir until well combined.

11. Fold in marshmallows.

12. Pour frosting over the top of the hot cake and spread evenly.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Sweet & Salty Holiday Toffee
Yields: 1 (9 x 13) pan of toffee, broken into pieces

Kelsey Miller: "This is my family’s toffee recipe. It's more of a bark than a cookie, but it is better than any cookie I've ever made. I make about 20 batches around the holidays because it's so easy, quick, and cheap — and everyone loves it."

1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
2 tbsp water
1 box Graham crackers (Original — none of that honey nonsense!)
1 (11 1/2 oz) bag good-quality milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1-1 1/2 tbsp Maldon sea salt (coarse kosher salt works, too)

1. Line a 9 x 13 dish with aluminum foil sprayed with Pam and lay Graham crackers along the bottom. Break them into smaller pieces to fill in any gaps, as needed (a little overlap is fine).

2. Fill a glass with COLD water, and keep it on the counter next to you.

3. Over medium-high heat, melt butter, water, and sugar together in a non-stick pot, stirring until the butter is melted and everything is well mixed. Let the mixture bubble, over a medium to medium-high heat, for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until it’s reached the soft-ball stage (240ºF on a candy thermometer).

Note: Soft ball stage is when the mixture forms a little tiny ball when dropped into cold water — that's where the glass of cold water comes in! Just dip a knife in the mixture and let a little drip off into your glass of cold water. If you have a candy thermometer, this is even easier. You want the toffee to reach 185ºF. Then, immediately remove from the heat. Your kitchen should smell like caramel, but not burned caramel.

4. Pour toffee over graham crackers and spread it evenly with a spatula or large spoon.

5. Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee. Let it sit for about a minute, letting the chips soften. Then, spread over the toffee with the spatula as they melt.

6. Finish by sprinkling with almonds and sea salt, cover with foil, and press down very gently to smooth slightly. Then, pop the pan into the freezer.

7. Hang out. Have a drink, why don't you? After 45 minutes, or once the toffee-chocolate awesomeness has hardened, remove and peel off the foil. Break the toffee into cookie-sized chunks, throw ‘em in a tin, head out the door to impress everyone, or just keep for yo’self.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Grandma Egerton's Chocolate Jumbos
Yield: Approximately 56 cookies

Brandon Schleuter: "We (my sisters and cousins) always used to look forward to going to Grammie's during the holidays and getting our chocolate jumbos. Our parents liked them, too — and had opinions about how they should be made — but we usually got to them first."

For cookies:
8 oz. baking chocolate
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup dark molasses
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
Flour to handle (about 5 cups)

For frosting:
2 sticks softened butter
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Milk, to right consistency (add small amounts slowly)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Mix together the baking chocolate, butter, sugar, dark molasses, eggs, dissolved baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, salt.

3. Gradually add in the flour until a dough-like consistency. Roll dough on a well floured surface. Cut with donut cutter. Bake about 5-10 minutes, should still be soft to touch — do not overbake.

4. Meanwhile, make your frosting by combining all the ingredients. Add in milk a teaspoon at a time, until you have a frosting-like consistency.

5. Cool cookies and turn over to frost.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Milana’s Cookies
Yield: Approximately 42 cookies

Milana Baker: "Here's my cookie recipe. I'm really into elevating store bought things, and I'm also pretty sure that I might have stolen this recipe from one of my RAs in college — but it's mine now."

Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie Mix, make according to package instructions
1/2-1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2-1 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Follow the instructions for the oatmeal cookie mix.

2. Add in the butterscotch chips and dark chocolate chips

3. Follow the oatmeal cookie mix instructions for baking (Usually about 10-12 minutes at 375ºF.)

4. COOKIES! (They should be crispy on the outside & chewy on the inside)
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Grandpa’s Cookies
Yield: Approximately 100 cookies

Maria del Russo: "My family has actually forgotten the real name for these cookies, because they're so closely linked to my grandfather — they were his favorites! They're perfect dunked in coffee. I tend to sneak some in the days leading up to Christmas day and eat them for breakfast."

3 1/2 lbs flour
1 lb sugar
1 small can (6 oz) baking powder
1/2 lb butter (room temperature)
1 pound Crisco
6 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup water

1. Pile flour onto a flat surface. Add sugar and baking powder. Mix well.

2. Make a well in the center of the mixed pile. Add butter and Crisco. Mix well until it makes pea-sized pieces.

3. Make a well in the center of that mixed pile. Add eggs and water. Bring together and mix/roll very well until it makes a big, fluffy dough.

4. Take one piece at a time and roll it into circles, small S’s, and any other shape your heart desires.

5. Put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cook at 350ºF until bottoms are golden brown.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Janice’s No-Bake Cookies
Yield: Approximately 36 cookies

Megan McIntyre: "I'm a sucker for oatmeal raisin cookies, but not too big on actually cooking them — I'm scared of my oven. I'm pretty sure it's hatching nefarious plans to facilitate my demise. So, these no-bake cookies my mom introduced me to are a perfect solution; they've got the oats, plus chocolate, and the best part is I don't need to even look at my oven. They look a little gross when you spoon them out on the parchment paper, but believe me, these homely cookies are not only delicious, they're idiot-proof. Take it from me."

2 cups sugar
1 stick of margarine
4 tbsp cocoa
1/2 cup milk
3 cups oatmeal
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup peanut butter

1. Boil the sugar, margarine, cocoa, and milk together for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not cook more than 4 minutes!

2. Remove from heat and add in your oatmeal, vanilla, and peanut butter. You’ll have to be quick when you add these three ingredients, because as the mixture cools down, it starts to harden. So get those ingredients mixed in quick and scoop with a spoon onto parchment.

3. Scoop cookies onto a piece of parchment to set (should set in about 30 minutes).

4. Store in the fridge to keep them from getting melty if you have a warm kitchen.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Maria's Macaroons
Yields: 36 macaroons

Maria del Russo: "These coconut macaroons are seriously addictive — probably because they're dunked in melted chocolate. We only ever eat them at Christmas, which is why I grab them first when dessert is served."

1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of Ghiradelli chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.

2. Mix flour, coconut, and salt in a bowl. Pour in condensed milk and vanilla. Stir well to make a thick batter.

3. Drop the batter by the spoonful onto a well-greased cookie sheet, about an inch apart. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

4. Cool on rack for approximately 15 minutes. While cookies are cooling, melt your chocolate. Once cookies are cooled, dip half the cookie in melted chocolate.

5. Allow to cool and solidify on a rack.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Rugelach Cookies
Yield: 48 cookies

Megan Madden: "For 20 years my mom has baked these homemade cookies to give out to her customers at her christmas tree shop. Although they're free, she's noticed families and older couples strategically come into her store one at a time to get the most cookies for themselves instead of all together as a unit. She's never minded, though, she just loves the tradition!"

For the pastry:

2 sticks unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
1 1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 stick of unsalted butter melted/cooled
1 cup of mini chocolate chips

For the topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg white beaten with 1 tbsp of water

1. To make the pastry: In a large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and salt until smooth. Reduce speed to low, add flour and mix just until dough forms.

2. Turn out dough onto floured work surface. Using floured hands, form dough into log. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap separately in waxed paper. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or as long as overnight, until firm.

3. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

4. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make your filling: In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, mini chocolate chips, and walnuts.

6. Flour one dough disk and place between 2 sheets of wax paper. Roll into 1/8 inch thick round about 10 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment and brush dough with melted butter, then sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of filling mixture.

7. Using a knife or pizza slicer, cut dough into 48 triangles and roll the triangles from the wide side in to the narrow side.

8. Before putting in the oven, lightly coat cookies in egg white and water mix, and sprinkle with toppings spices.

9. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Jennifer’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: Approximately 36 cookies

Jennifer Calloway: "Since most holiday cookies taste distinctly of the season, with lots mint, ginger, and nutty flavors, I like to also include some year-round favorites in my holiday baking to avoid holiday-flavor overload. I love a classic chocolate chip cookie, because you can still incorporate holiday themes into the base recipe if you want, by mixing in seasonal colored chocolate candies, dried fruit, or anything that seems festive to you!"

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of butter (1 cup) softened to room temperature
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 cups chocolate chips of choice (I usually use half milk chocolate chips, half semi-sweet chocolate chunks)

1. Cream the butter, sugars, and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the vanilla and salt. Add the baking soda, and slowly stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time, until it is just combined.

2. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (to prevent too much spreading during baking) but preferably 3-12 hours to let the flavors from the vanilla and brown sugar fully develop.

3. Once the dough has been chilled, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Shape the dough into slightly flattened balls of your preferred size (I do about the size of a golf ball), and bake on parchment paper-lined baking sheets for 10-11 minutes. Be sure to take them out when the edges are just starting to get golden brown, do NOT wait for the centers to look done.

4. Leave them on the hot cookie sheet to cool for at least 10 minutes, they will continue to cook on the sheet and will end up soft and chewy with slightly crispy edges.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Yield: These are cut into squares, so yield depends on how large/small you cut your squares.

Lauren Newton: "My mom's famous 'Hello Dollies' are absolutely a family fave, but one holiday season I couldn't get enough peppermint-flavor EVERYTHING. I decided to put a spin on her cookie-bars by subbing out the classic chocolate chips and graham cracker crust with (drum roll, please!) crushed Oreo cookies and Andes mint chips. My mom is known as the Champion Baker of our family, but after I made these everyone realizes she's got some serious competition."

1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup Oreo cookies, crushed
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup Andes mint chips1 cup of walnuts, chopped
1 small can condensed milk

1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

2. In a 9-inch square pan, melt butter. Add in your crushed Oreo crumbs over butter, smooth out evenly. Cover the entire bottom of the 9in pan (this acts as a crust of sorts).

3. Layer the rest of the ingredients evenly (any order will do, but I generally layer the cookie crumbs followed by the Andes chips, shredded coconut, and, lastly, the walnuts).

4. Pour the condensed milk over the ingredients evenly.

5. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

6. Let the pan cool thoroughly before cutting into squares. Enjoy!
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Grandma’s Chocolate Cake With Coffee
Yield: 1 cake

Gabrielle Laub: "Confession, I have never made this. My Nana is good at everything ,though, obviously, because she's queen in my book. Have you ever been disappointed when coffee and cake get together to make sweet dessert-love? Didn't think so."

1 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
1 cup sifted flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4 egg whites
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot coffee

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.

2. Mix cocoa powder with hot coffee.

3. Beat the sugar and egg yolks until smooth.

4. Add chocolate and coffee mixture.

5. Add sifted flour and baking powder.

6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into rest of mixture.

7. Bake in a tube pan for approximately 30 minutes.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Grandma Bertha's Biscotti
Yield: 3 dozen

Erica Gannett: "Grandma Bertha is the matriarch of our family. She is truly the most maternal women I have ever met. Even at the ripe age of 92, she makes her famous biscotti for every single family function. They are delicious and taste just like home."

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries, soaked in hot water and drained
1 cup shelled walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.

3. Add vanilla, flour, baking powder ,and salt.

4. Mix until blended, stir in cranberries and walnuts.

5. Line cookie sheet with tinfoil. Put a little oil on it so that biscotti do not stick.

6. Divide dough into 3 loaves.

7. Mix cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top.

8. Bake for 25 minutes.

9. Remove from oven and slice into slices diagonally. Put back in the oven until barely golden. Turn over and put back in oven again for another 10 minutes, don't let them get too dark.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Elizabeth’s Christmas Cookies
Adapted from this NYT recipe
Yield: About 5 dozen

Elizabeth Kiefer: "Every year, my girlfriends have a holiday cookie decorating party in Brooklyn and vote on our favorite recipe from the afternoon (based on ample taste testing, obviously). This one has yet to be knocked out of the top spot!"

For the cookies:
1 cup sugar
12 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp extract — baker's choice! Sometimes I use vanilla or almond, or if I'm feeling crazy I might even go with orange.

For the chocolate coating:
Everyone please acquire a double boiler like an adult and don't try and put one pan in another pan full of boiling water (learn from my Cookie Debacle of 2012. It was no bueno.)
2 (8 oz) bars of baking chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted down, but go easy on the oil)

1. Cream sugar and butter in a food processor.

2. Add in the salt, egg, and flour. Mix well to combine. If the dough cracks, you can add up to 1 tablespoon of water, but consider what your radiator is up to, because if it's super dry in your apartment, who knows, you might need more.

3. Roll out the dough until it is very thin on parchment-lined cookie sheets and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to 1-2 days).

4. Once dough is chilled and set, use a circular cookie cutter to make cookie shapes. Set aside on parchment-lined baking sheet, about one inch apart.

5. Bake at 350ºF for 10-12 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, make your chocolate coating: Melt the chocolate. When cookies are done baking and cooled, dip the cookies about halfway. (Skip the sprinkles, keep it classy. Bon chance!)
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Jugoslavian Christmas Cookies
Yield: Depends on size of squares you decide to cut from 10x15” baking pan

Gabrielle Laub: "We make these during Hanukkah because they're easy and delicious. And it was my great-grandmothers recipe... points for family history. These three-layered treats look fancy, but aren’t that tough to make! Just focus on one layer at a time."

1 cup of sweet butter
1 1/2 cups sugar divided (half cup for layer #1 full cup for layer #3)
1 egg yolk
4 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
3/4 cup ground walnuts
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup of blackberry jelly

First layer:
1. Cream the butter with 1/2 cup of the sugar.

2. Stir in the egg yolk.

3. In a separate bowl, sift flour and add salt.

4. Stir the flour with the butter mixture.

5. Pat the dough into a thin layer in the bottom of a 10 x 15 baking pan

Second layer:
1. Spread jelly over the dough.

Third layer:
​1​. Beat the four egg whites until stiff.​

2​. Add in a cup of sugar and beat until all stands in stiff peaks.​

3.​ Fold in ground nuts and lemon extract​

4. ​Spread meringue over top of jelly.

5. Bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes. Cut into squares​ when cooled. Enjoy!​
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Edna’s Hermits
Yields: 18, 2 1/2 x 3" pieces.

Caroline Stanley: "My daughter Penelope’s great-grandmother Edna is 87, and people have been flipping out over her hermit bars for decades. Now that P is finally old enough to eat real people food, I can’t wait for her to try one (or 5!) over the holidays."

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Mix shortening, sugar, egg, and molasses in a bowl.

3. Stir in other ingredients except raisins. Mix well and then add raisins.

4. Divide and spread in two rows, about 3/4 inch thick and 3 1/2 inch wide. Sprinkle with sugar.

5. Bake in a 9-by-12 inch pan for 15 to 18 minutes.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 5 dozen cookies

"Every Christmas, my Polish grandmother baked enormous batches of these cookies — each made in the shape of a Hershey's kiss. When I bake them with my siblings over the holidays, it feels like we are still getting her kisses for Christmas!"

1 cup peanut butter (I like Smuckers Natural)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars together in a large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, beat to combine.

3. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; mix thoroughly.

4. Mix dry ingredients gradually into the first bowl. Once evenly mixed, add chips.

5. Scoop onto cookie sheet with a teaspoon, space cookies about one inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
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Photographed by Ted Cavanaugh; Food Styling by Claudia Ficca.
Love these and want more? We don't blame you! Check back here every day for MORE cookies (and cakes) to take you through the holidays.
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