At lunch the other day with Jacqui and her sister Jenny, we got talking about cookies and holiday baking, about how everyone has their favorite type of chocolate chip cookie and how my grandma used to make dozens of cookie tins to give away each year. I eventually found myself saying, with animation even, cookies are my favorite thing to bake, ever. And it’s true.

While this year is going to be my family’s most low-key Christmas yet, with not a lot of celebrations to worry about or long shopping lists to work through, and I won’t be seeing everyone I want to—a fact that gets me a little down when I start thinking about it—I’m still surprised to say that, here we are, December 13, and I haven’t baked a single holiday cookie. (There were sticky buns this weekend though, so don’t feel too sorry for me.)

So in an effort to get myself back in the holiday-baking spirit and to point you to a few quality cookie recipes stashed away on this site, I present Christmas Cookies 2010. If you have a favorite that you make every year, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

first three cookie recipes

  • Buckwheat Ginger Cookies: The first time I used buckwheat flour, the taste seemed strange. Several batches of cookies later though, I absolutely love its unique flavor. Sometime soon, I’ll have to tell you about a great buckwheat chocolate chip recipe.
  • Chocolate Biscotti: It’s been such a long time since I’ve made biscotti, which makes me sad. These little guys are great for dunking in coffee, but if you like them softer, you can also control the crunch with less baking time.
  • Brown Butter Sables: From my grandma’s recipe files. A definite keeper.

christmas cookies

  • Flourless Monster Cookies: Oats instead of flour. Can that really make a good cookie? Oh. Yes.
  • Nutty Chocolate Coconut Cookies: Like Girl Scout Samaos. But better.
  • Iced Chocolate (Spelt) Cookies: Don’t be intimidated by the spelt flour here. You could use regular if you like. Dense and sweet and glazed, these chocolate cookies feel like cookies n’ cream.
  • Grandma’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: My all-time favorite and the one my grandma used to make. If you’re looking for an updated whole-foods option, swap the margarine with half butter and half coconut oil (or another oil); swap the sugars with 3/4 cup Sucanat; swap the flour with spelt; and use dark chocolate chips (or a quality dark chocolate bar, chopped finely).

christmas cookies!

  • Rosemary Cookies: You can’t get more festive than with an ingredient that looks like Christmas trees, right? These rosemary cookies are at once sweet and savory. And PS – If you have one of those Whole Foods rosemary trees from which you pull your herbs, don’t tell me. I’m already jealous.
  • (Spelt) Walnut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies: These cookies amazed me with their unique texture, thanks to the really finely ground walnuts that almost function as a walnut meal. So, so good.
  • The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies: Everyone and their brother has made these. And they really are worth it.
  • Versatile Slice-and-Bake Cookies: In terms of getting a lot for your time, this recipe knocks it out of the park with a total of more than four dozen little gems, customized with the add-ins of your choice.

Merry Christmas in advance, my blog friends! I love how writing posts here feels like I’m talking to a collective audience of one very good friend. Thank you for that. I wish you lots of happy holiday baking—and I’ll be back later this week with a brand-new recipe for a great winter dinner. Here’s a teaser: I’ve already made it five times this month. (And Update! here it is: grass-fed pot roast!)

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Lan

    this year i am laying off the baking and making candy instead. i need stuff that will travel well, as i am going international. i have not started yet, actually heading out tonight for the ingredients. sigh. slightly stressed but mainly excited.

  2. Jacqui

    Yay for cookies! I’m so glad I finally got to participate in the cookie extravaganza that occurs every holiday season — I always felt so left out when every other blog was posting cookie recipes and I just wimped out every year. Your cookie love is truly an inspiration, and with my newfound cookie-making confidence, now I can try some of yours!

  3. Elaine

    My all time favorite Christmas cookie is just your standard sugar cookie with icing. You can’t go wrong with oatmeal raisin either! I went to a cookie exchange this past weekend and made some peanut butter cookies with pretzels and chocolate chips! Those are definitely a new favorite. After reading this post, I’m pretty excited to go home and eat some of my bounty from the cookie exchange!

  4. Caitlin

    My favorite is a thumbprint cookie, rolled in walnuts and filled with raspberry jam – it’s a requirement for Christmas to feel like Christmas, if that makes any sense. But I’m beginning to feel like Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace cookies are a requirement as well – the name is apropos, and I can always use chocolate sables in my life :)

    Merry Christmas to you, and hugs from NC. Someday I’ll have to venture back to your area so we can hang out again – miss you!

  5. bodelou

    i havent started my baking and im afraid i wont have time! looks like you have some good recipes here. i am anxious to try them, if i can ever get my feet back to the ground!

  6. Nikki

    What a great list. I haven’t made any Christmas cookies yet this year either. Some of the reason is because we fly home Saturday and I don’t want to make a load of cookies without loads of family to eat them.

  7. Kelley

    I’ve been eating my favorites since I was a little girl. My mom always made them because my grandma always made them … and now I always make them. Grandma called them Russian Tea Cakes. I’ve found similar recipes called Mexican Wedding Cakes. My husband and I have decided they’re an international delight and must exist in some format in every country. So in our house they are now Polish Moons.

    Also high on my list: Birds Nests — barely sweet brown dough, rolled in nuts and then pressed with a thumbprint and finished with a dollop of homemade icing; and a new favorite, chewy ginger cookies, which showed up at a brunch this year and tempted to me to over-indulge! :)

  8. Ginger

    PERFECT timing. Baking Christmas cookies to try and meet all of my new neighbors tomorrow. I’m sure the sugar will do the trick. :)

  9. Megan Gordon

    I haven’t baked any Christmas cookies either. Not sure what that’s all about. At my dad’s house, my sisters and I usually do “cookie night” on the 23rd where we each choose a recipe, my dad gets all the ingredients, and we box them up for friends and neighbors. It always feels a little late in the game to be baking, but it always gets us in the spirit. This year, I’m going to try the chocolate mint thumbprints from Baked. Happy Baking!

  10. UrMomCooks

    Awesome list of cookies… I have baked a few – chocolate ginger are my family’s favorite, but I have also made a few old-school standbys like peanut butter, chocolate chip and sugar! (With a family of 5 the batch is gone is 2 days…)

  11. Nisrine | Dinners & Dreams

    Wonderful cookies. I’m planning to bake Moroccan-style biscotti.

  12. Nealy

    Thanks for giving me some more ideas of what to add to this year’s list.

  13. Shannalee

    Lan, That sounds great!

    Jacqui, I’m so glad, too! Your first try was a much bigger success than mine was. I see a long future of cookie love ahead for you. : )

    Elaine, Sounds delicious!

    Caitlin, I totally remember that cookie from last year’s BA bakeoff competition! And Jacqui and I were just talking about your cookie tips Saturday–it was almost like you were there with us. : )

    Bodelou, It’s never too late! Even Christmas Day! : )

    Nikki, Smart thinking! Maybe you can bake after you get there? Merry Christmas!

    Kelley, Jacqui and Jenny and I were just talking about those Mexican wedding balls (what my family called them)/Russian tea cakes (what their family called them). So funny that you’ve given them a new international branding. : )

    Ginger, Hope it went well! You can’t go wrong with cookies.

    Megan, I love that idea. A cookie night tradition? So fun. BTW I’m not surprised you haven’t made any yet. Hello? New baking business keeping ya busy? So excited and proud of you.

    UrMomCooks, I made some chocolate ginger cookies in October that I never posted here–they were very different than anything I’d had before. Sometimes I’m afraid to give people “different” cookies because they’re harder to get used to, ha! Love that your fam already loves them!

    Nisrine, Mmm that sounds great! Biscotti’s on my list, too.

    Nealy, You’re welcome! Merry Christmas, friend!

  14. Kasey

    It hasn’t become a favorite yet, but I am currently making thin mints…I’m hoping they’re amazing because they smell it already :) Happy holidays!

  15. Maddie

    Merry pre-Christmas, Shannalee! This is a wonderful collection of cookie recipes to draw from. I need to make those NY Times chocolate-chip cookies again, but I’m distracted by all the other delicious-looking things on the list. Where do you suggest I start? :)

  16. Shannalee

    Kasey, Oh, I always loved the Girl Scout version, so I think you’re on to something with that!

    Maddie, Thank you! And I think I’m partial to the brown butter sables, my grandma’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, the spelt walnut dark chocolate chip…. who am I kidding? I am no help at all. Last night I made the buckwheat ginger ones again, and I am officially over the moon about the flavor of buckwheat. Maybe I like those best. Ha! Good luck. : )

  17. Gemma

    I don’t make cookies often enough but I’m hoping to change that in the next week, I want to make some cranberry, orange and walnut cookies and some chocolate ginger cookies for presents, they are both recipes I haven’t tried before so fingers crossed!

    I really need to make those NY Times cookies, can’t believe I haven’t yet!

  18. Shannalee

    Gemma, Those sound wonderful! Happy baking!

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