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5 Party-Perfect Christmas Cookie Recipes

Make these gorgeous sweet treats this weekend.

Raspberry-Almond Linzer Cookies. Credit: Chris Gentile
Raspberry-Almond Linzer Cookies. Credit: Chris Gentile

Written by Maridel Reyes

Christmas (cookie) time is here. And whether you’re baking a batch for a holiday party, plan to give them as gifts or just want to enjoy them with your family, there’s always room in your repertoire for a new cookie recipe—or five. 

No matter what type of sweet treat you favor, we’ve got five perfect cookie recipes that will make your holiday even more delicious.

Chewy Sugar Cookies (Food Network)

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Sprinkles or colored sugar, for decorating

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 375° F.
  • In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in dry ingredients. Add enough buttermilk to moisten dough and make it soft, not wet.
  • Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and place on a ungreased cookie sheet. With a brush or fingers, moisten the top of each cookie with the remaining buttermilk and slightly flatten the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with raw sugar or colored sprinkles.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to cool on a rack.

Rainbow Cookies (Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 cups unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 12 oz. almond paste (not marzipan), chopped
  • 2 3/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. red food coloring
  • 1 tsp. green food coloring
  • 3/4 cup orange marmalade, heated, strained
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350° F. Line three 13x9x2" metal baking pans with foil, leaving overhang; grease with 2 Tbsp. butter; set aside. Put egg whites in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk; beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add 1/3 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a large bowl; cover; chill.
  • Using the paddle attachment, beat almond paste and remaining sugar on medium-low until incorporated, 4-5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high; gradually add remaining butter. Beat until fluffy. Beat in yolks, then flour and salt. Fold in whites in two additions.
  • Divide batter evenly among 3 bowls. Mix red coloring into 1 bowl and green coloring into second bowl; leave third bowl plain. Spread 1 bowl of batter into each prepared pan; smooth tops. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until just set, 9-11 minutes. Let cool in pans.
  • With a pastry brush, spread half of marmalade over green cake. Using foil overhang, lift plain layer out of pan. Invert onto green layer; discard foil. Brush remaining marmalade over plain layer. Lift red layer out of pan; invert onto plain layer and cover cake with foil.
  • Top with a 13x9x2" pan. Weigh down pan with several heavy canned goods to compress cake layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
  • Remove cans, top pan, and foil. Transfer cake to a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
  • Spread half of chocolate over cake in a thin layer. Freeze for 10 minutes. Cover with waxed paper, invert the baking sheet on top, and flip cake. Uncover and glaze with remaining chocolate. Freeze 10 additional minutes.
  • Trim cake to 12x8". Cut crosswise into six 2"-wide strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 96 1/2"-wide cookies. Store in an airtight container. 

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies 
(Martha Stewart)

Ingredients: 

  • 7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions:

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Toffee Squares (Epicurious)

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Topping

  • 7 to 8 ounces milk chocolate, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment.
  • Prepare crust: In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in flour just until mixed. (Dough will be stiff.) Pat dough evenly over the bottom of baking pan.
  • Bake in center of the oven until pale gold on top, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove pan from the oven and scatter chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return pan to oven for 1 minute. Remove pan again and, using a knife, spread the chocolate evenly over crust. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds.
  • Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, then carefully remove from the pan with a small offset spatula or an icing spatula.

Raspberry-Almond Linzer Cookies (Epicurious)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole natural almonds (with skins)
  • Buttery Sugar Cookie dough recipe with adjustments and additions
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam or red currant jelly
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Special equipment: Wax paper; parchment paper; 2 large baking sheets; 3-inch and 1-inch fluted round cookie cutters

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Spread almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrantly toasty and nuts are golden on the inside (cut one open to check). Turn off oven. Cool almonds completely (you can speed this up by putting them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes).
  • Grind nuts with 1/2 cup of flour from cookie recipe in a food processor until finely ground, then transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour from recipe and whisk in cinnamon.
  • Follow the rest of the Buttery Sugar Cookie dough recipe to make the Linzer dough. Divide dough in half, and wrap each half in wax paper, shaping each half into a flattened rectangle, then store each in a resealable plastic bag. Chill dough until firm, at least 2 hours.
  • Heat oven again to 350°F with rack in middle. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • While oven heats, roll out 1 piece of dough (keep remaining dough chilled) between two large sheets of wax paper to 1/8 inch thick. (If dough becomes too soft to roll out, quick-chill on a baking sheet in the freezer or chill in the refrigerator until firm.)
  • Peel back top sheet of wax paper and cut out as many 3-inch cookies with cutter as possible. Then cut 1-inch openings in the center of half the cookies. Transfer cookies, as cut, to a lined baking sheet, arranging them 1 inch apart. (If dough becomes too soft to remove the cookies, quick-chill the dough in freezer or chill in refrigerator again on a baking sheet.)
  • Gather, re-roll, and chill scraps to form more cookies.
  • Freeze or chill cut-out cookies on baking sheet until firm before baking.
  • Bake cookies, one sheet at time, until edges are golden, 6 to 9 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet 2 minutes. Transfer cookies with a metal spatula to a rack to cool completely.
  • Repeat with remaining piece of dough. (Cool sheets and use fresh parchment for subsequent batches.)
  • Spread about 1 teaspoon jam on all the solid round cookies (without holes). Lightly dust rings (cookies with holes) with confectioners' sugar using a wire-mesh sieve.
  • Set rings over jam to form sandwiches.
TELL US: What's your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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