It's the season when cookies come into their own, hung by ribbons from glittering trees and gracing dessert plates from the office potluck to fancy holiday dinners. Stars, trees, angels, rustic thumbprints, sugar-dusted shapes and spicy gingerbread — this is their time.
But did you know that sugar cookies are not only delicious and decorative, but that they can actually save the day? This was the case for a reader named Jenna last year. She was making a huge batch of 200 cookies for a friend's work event, and a famous chef's sugar cookie recipe utterly failed. So she turned to our Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies recipe, and they "worked like a dream," she said. We don't want to toot our own horn, but we do love this recipe to pieces. It's an essential for Christmas baking: Fuss-free, reliable, and delicious to eat.
We're bringing you this recipe today, as well as nine other cookie recipes we've deemed essential for winter holiday baking. Try one or two — we hope you'll find a new favorite and that perhaps one will even save the day for you as well.
10 Essential Holiday Cookies
• 1 Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies - Tremendously easy cut-out recipe. Makes perfect tasty cookies.
• 2 Gingerbread Christmas Tree Ornaments - Tasty gingerbread, and inspiration for turning the dough into ornaments.
• 3 Chewy Molasses Cookies with Crunchy Lemon Glaze - My favorite soft molasses cookie perked up by a tangy, crunchy glaze.
• 4 Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies - Are these really Mexican? Do they have anything to do with a wedding? Probably not, but we love them anyway. A holiday classic.
• 5 Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies - These lemon sandwich cookies glitter like Christmas ornaments.
• 6 The Best Chewy Chocolate Cookies - These are nonfat, ultra-chewy and gluten-free! And they are perhaps the most delicious cookie on this list, too.
• 7 Life-Changing Vegan Thumbprints - Where would a cookie exchange be without jammy thumbprints? These just happen to be vegan.
• 8 Hamantaschen - These jam-filled tricorner cookies are traditionally made for Purim, but some friends make them for Hanukkah as well. It's never the wrong time for these little goodies!
• 9 Super-Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies - A classic holiday cookie. These are ultra-soft, just the way I like them.
• 10 Rosemary-Walnut Brown Butter Cookies - I make these icebox cookies and slice and bake them off as needed. So delicious — a holiday cookie for grownups.
Those are the essentials that we'll probably bake this year. It leaves off a few others that come to mind, though, like extra-spicy gingerbread and pressed-out spritz cookies. What are your holiday cookie essentials?
More Holiday Cookie Tips & Tricks
Freezing Cookies & Dough
• Tips for Freezing Holiday (or Any Day) Cookies
• Tip: Freezing Cookie Dough
Working with Dough & Baking
• Baking Tip: Roll Out Cookie Dough With Powdered Sugar
• Tough Cookies? Try Rolling The Dough From The Middle
• A Quick Way to Cool Hot Baking Sheets
• Quick Tip: Preheat Your Cookie Sheets!
Icing & Decoration
• Tip: Press Vintage Glassware onto Your Sugar Cookies
• Make Prettier Cookie Edges When Presentation Matters
• Cookie Decorating Technique: Piping
• Video: Use Plastic Wrap For Easier Icing Cleanup
• How to Make a Peppermint Gingerbread House
Supplies & Organization
• Best Tips and Supplies for Cookie Decorating Newbie?
• Reader Organization Tip: How To Store Cookie Cutters
• Storage Tip: Store Cake Decorating Tools in a Box
• Make Cookie Cutters Last Longer With a Blow Dryer
(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)