It’s that time of year again! Time to dust off your aprons and locate the rolling pin. The holidays are here, and that means Christmas potluck parties, office bake-offs, and cookie swaps galore. Spending time in the kitchen is one of my favorite parts of the season, but it can be daunting to figure out the perfect baked good to bring to all of those parties and events. Everyone always seems to make the same thing, but you don’t want to get too creative and cook up something no one will touch.
No worries, darling, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 10 cookie recipes that you absolutely must try this year. A great mix of classic favorites, each with it’s own special twist, there’s something on this list for everyone. Even your picky second cousin will cease the snide remarks about your cooking and come back for more.
1. Orange Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Who doesn’t love a good chocolate chip? This cookie is king year round, so surprise your holiday guests with an unexpected ingredient—orange zest! Paired with dark chocolate and a pinch of sea salt, these cookies are the classic everyone loves with a zing that will keep them coming back for more.
2. Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Cookies
Cranberry is a seasonal flavor that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Cranberries are capable of much more than that gelatinous canned sauce that’s served at Thanksgiving. Give them another shot with these festive cookies that serve up a triple threat of texture and flavor. With the chewiness of the cranberries, the sweetness of the chocolate, and the crunch of the walnuts, what’s not to love? You might be tempted to buy stock in Ocean Spray after tasting these.
3. Cake Mix Cookies
So maybe you’re not a wizard in the kitchen. Or maybe you’re just running low on time and need to whip something up between commercial breaks on the Hallmark channel. Either way—I hear you! Sometimes quick and simple is best, and these cookies are both. Just take the cake mix of your choice, add eggs and vegetable oil, and plop onto a tray as you would regular cookies. It’s not any more complicated than it sounds, and the cake mix possibilites are endless!
4. Chai Spice Snickerdoodles
Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what these cookies are made of. If you’re a habitual chai drinker like myself, these are the game-changing holiday dessert you didn’t know you needed! This recipe includes instructions for a frosting to go with them, but they also taste good without. Dunk in a cup of milk or pair with your favorite tea. Barista not included.
5. Eggnog Frosted Gingerbread Cookies
I was never a big fan of gingerbread as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I loved decorating them, but I always associated gingerbread with hard flat cookies that might cause tooth damage if you let them sit too long. Not the case with these, which include all the spice of the original, but contained in a chewy cookie that you can actually sink your teeth into. For an extra-festive kick, try the eggnog frosting. You can then frost and decorate with multi-colored sprinkles to your heart’s content, just like you did as a kid!
6. Red Velvet Sugar Cookies
Drop (rather than rolled and cut) sugar cookies were always traditional in my house as a kid. Although I’ve yet to master my grandmother’s recipe, this new twist on a old favorite is sure to please all generations. Who doesn’t love cream cheese frosting? Plus, these cheery red cookies will look perfect atop that cheesy Christmas platter you’re always forgetting to use. Instant centerpiece for the dessert table!
7. Frosted Peppermint Brownie Cookies
Nothing says Christmas quite like the red and white stripes of a candy cane. The hook-shaped candies are everywhere this time of year, but these cookies will remind you just how much you love that cool peppermint taste. Paired with the chocolate-y gooeyness of a good brownie, these cookies take two classic flavors and combine them in a fun way that will keep your party guests coming back for more.
8. Mini Pecan Pies
Okay, so these aren’t cookies, but these bite-sized pies are no bigger than most cookies. And who hasn’t wanted to shove an entire pie in their mouth at once? The filling for these can be whipped up in just a couple of minutes, and creating the small pies is as simple as cutting large circles out of your pie crust with a mug or round cookie cutter. From there, insert the circle of dough into a muffin tin and simply spoon a couple of tablespoons of the filling on top. Voila!
9. Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies
Hot cocoa is good. But hot chocolate cookies with a marshmallow filling and rich Nutella flavor are better. I’ve attempted to make these cookies several times, and I’ll be honest, they’re a challenge. However, if you can get them right, the payoff is worth it! The key is not to be afraid of covering the marshmallow chunks with a thick coating of dough. Also, don’t overbake them, as the marshmallow will leak out of the cookie and burn. But don’t worry too much. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be waiting by the oven in anticipation, and the result with be gooey perfection!
10. Peanut Butter Blossoms
You have not lived until you’ve tasted a peanut butter blossom fresh from the oven. These cookies are super easy to make, and every holiday cookie swap needs a peanut butter and chocolate infusion. For best results, press the kisses on top of the cookies before baking. I promise the kiss won’t melt away to nothing. Instead, they will get just a little bit gooey, and the entire thing will melt in your mouth if you manage to eat one before they cool. But, let’s face it, who’s going to stop at one?
What’s your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Tweet us @litdarling and let us know!