Mmm, cookies.
December 7, 2009 6:13 PM   Subscribe

What cookies should I bake for my family this year? What have been your most successful cookies and/or cake or other holiday sweet?

Last year I was out of commission baking wise. Normally I bake about 60 dozen cookies for family and friends. The basics are: chocolate chip, peanut butter, and a sugar cookie.

Everything else is up in the air.

Thanks in advance.
posted by SuzySmith to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 109 users marked this as a favorite
Rum balls.
My family lives for these at Christmas and they are very easy.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:18 PM on December 7, 2009

Oh how I love Cooking Light's gingerbread people.
posted by bearwife at 6:21 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

The best kind of course: gingerbread.
posted by whiskeyspider at 6:24 PM on December 7, 2009

I really love the Martha Stewart Cookie cookbook. I can personally vouch for the rum ball, pecan log, and gingerbread recipes from there (all super delicious). The chocolate ginger cookies are also very good, for a less traditional variant.
posted by dino might at 6:24 PM on December 7, 2009

These layer cookies are awesome. My mom made these every year when I was little and they are my absolute favorite. They are colorful and almondy and chocolatey and freeze well. You can bring them to room temp or just stand in front of the freezer and eat them. They are the best cookie in the world.
posted by dogmom at 6:26 PM on December 7, 2009

For an easy recipe that's a little different, you could try icebox cookies. The dough is chilled and then sliced. Our favorite are the colorful Spumoni Icebox Cookies, perfect for Christmas with their red and green layers.
posted by misha at 6:29 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sugar Puffs

1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp. soda
1 cup shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream sugars and shortening well. Add beaten egg and mix thoroughly. Stir flour, soda, salt and cream of tartar together. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla. Roll into small balls, dip top in sugar and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees approximately 10 minutes. Yield: 7 dozen cookies.

These are called crack cookies because you eat one and you're like, huh, I don't know about those, and then the next thing you know they're all in your face.
posted by sugarfish at 6:30 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by balls at 6:30 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was just researching cookie ideas myself the other day. I barely decided against Pfeffernüsse. What I did pick, aside from those already mentioned:

Russian tea cakes
Chocolate fudge
Cupcakes (virgin Black Forest cake)
posted by roystgnr at 6:41 PM on December 7, 2009

These biscotti were well-received when I baked them this weekend. Next time I'll add a little orange zest to the batter. Also, I cut out half a cup of the sugar and they were still plenty sweet.

These molasses cookies are on my radar for holiday baking this year, but I haven't tried them yet.

I made these peppermint meringues recently and thought they were delicious. They're sort of like an after-dinner mint! You don't even have to pipe them if you don't want to - they are perfectly charming when dropped by the spoonful with a little swirl.

Also, a simple shortbread dipped in chocolate is always nice.
posted by katie at 6:42 PM on December 7, 2009

One of our family traditions is to make peanut rolls-- basically, the vanilla version of these creamy easter egg candies, dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate, then rolled in finely chopped (unsalted!!) peanuts. They are super fun to make (especially with kids helping) and taste decadently delicious, but need to be kept refrigerated for best effect.

These cranberry-orange cookies are awesome, and a nice change of pace from the standard chocolate/sugary/vanilla/cinnamony holiday flavors.
posted by Bardolph at 6:42 PM on December 7, 2009

If you're looking to change up the usual holiday flavors with something a little lighter, I swear by this macaroon recipe. People beg me to make these for them all the time, and they're embarrassingly easy.
posted by katie at 6:46 PM on December 7, 2009

These are so easy and delicious they should be illegal.

Pecan Pralines:


* 20 to 24 graham crackers
* 1 cup butter
* 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with graham crackers. Bring butter and sugar to rolling boil; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. When bubbling subsides, add chopped pecans. Spoon over graham crackers. Bake praline squares at for 10 minutes. Cool slightly; cut praline candy into 1-inch squares.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2009

Snowballs (with Hershey Kisses)
posted by nightwood at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2009

These Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies are some of the best I've ever made, and I think the cranberries make them sort of festive.
posted by arianell at 6:57 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I made smittenkitchen's chocolate caramel crack(ers) this past Saturday, and oh damn but they live up to their name.
posted by amelioration at 7:04 PM on December 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Bake these! Then send me some!
posted by leigh1 at 7:10 PM on December 7, 2009

I made these a couple weeks ago and they are fantastic and have been added to the list of cookies I'm baking for the holidays: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I will be making these cookies:
Chocolate Crinkles
Potato Chip Crunchies
standard peanut butter cookies
mexican wedding cakes
chocolate chip shortbread
oatmeal raisin (for the people that actually like raisins.)

I normally do a variation of this: Seven Layer Bar

I realize you didn't ask about cake but I cannot recommend this cake enough: chocolate peanut butter cake I made it for Thanksgiving and it is drop dead good...I'm making it again for xmas dinner.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:24 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

homemade oreos
animal crackers
black and whites
graham crackers
fortune cookies
posted by mr. remy at 7:24 PM on December 7, 2009

12 Days of Cookies
posted by purpletangerine at 7:27 PM on December 7, 2009

These are my favorite cookies - I add dried cherries to the mix. It helps if you use really high-quality chocolate, though, so the money and work add up pretty quickly.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:31 PM on December 7, 2009

I posted these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies in another thread recently. Always a big hit.
posted by artychoke at 7:47 PM on December 7, 2009

Alton Brown's The Chewy. The best chocolate chip cookie I've ever had.
posted by neilbert at 7:57 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

My mother has always made a dozen or more different kinds of cookies for Christmas. My favorite, and one I often take to family get-togethers, is Toffee Bars-- the brown sugar shortbread bottom is topped with milk chocolate candy bars (I usually use Trader Joe's) and chopped nuts (I usually use pecans.) I can't bake them for myself because I would just gobble up the whole pan.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:05 PM on December 7, 2009

If you like things towards the molasses/gingerbread end of the spectrum, check out German Love Cookies. (Linked recipe looks pretty much like the one I use.) They are a big favorite in my family, the lemon glaze is an awesome contrast to the spices.

I am so favoriting this post.
posted by usonian at 8:23 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Biscochitos are the official cookie of New Mexico because they are amazingly delicious. My mom makes them from our state's First Lady's recipe (that link says they are basic sugar cookies, they are anything but).

You can make them in shapes too. I have really good memories of walking around Santa Fe looking at luminarias and eating star-shaped biscochitos, drinking mulled cider. They're the taste of Christmas.
posted by NoraReed at 8:36 PM on December 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I will make Lemon Curd Squares (Joy of Cooking version; I've made the Cook's Illustrated version which was a lot more work for not much improvement), Mrs. Kolod-nots (a variation on a jelly thumbprint recipe from one of my grandmother's neighbors that I accidentally invented a few years ago, and my cousin refined), and probably chocolate chip cookies for my brother and dad (I add cinnamon chips to the chocolate chips to add an extra boost). If I get ambitious, I'll make some cut out cookies, but it's more likely that I'll make something from this thread on a tasty whim.

I'm thinking about making cornflake wreaths, too (like rice krispy treats, but with cornflakes, green food coloring, red hots, and a lot more work). My mom will be making Mexican wedding cookies, potato chip cookies, chocolate-covered toffee shortbread and a few varieties that I will neither eat nor mention. My bother and his wife will likely be making peanut-butter based cookies.
posted by julen at 9:18 PM on December 7, 2009

I just made Smitten Kitchen's Pepita Brittle. It is so very good. And has been well received so far.
posted by WayOutWest at 9:57 PM on December 7, 2009

Although its been said many times many ways, shortbread, shortbread, shortbread ! Easy, quick, and oh so good!

Light Christmas cake, with coconut of course.
posted by Taurid at 10:31 PM on December 7, 2009

My favorite Christmas cookie recipe is so simple and easy, and sure to be a hit because its a festive modification of a cookie everyone already loves!

I use the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookie recipe and use only half of the chocolate chips. I replace the other half with Green Mint Chips (pictured 4th from the top).

This small twist on regular chocolate chip cookies makes them delicious and festive and minty and everyone loves them! (plus, for whatever reason, most of the cookie recipes that feature these chips are actual chocolate brown cookies with just the mint chips, but these arent nearly as good as the minty version of regular choc. chip cookies!)

Full disclosure, I am a full blown cookie fanatic. THIS is my ideal job. Also a huge fan of snickerdoodles or Mrs. Fields cinnamon sugar cookies for Christmas, and LOVE the traditional Quaker Oats Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe that others have mentioned above. That said, too much fruit, nuts and other fillings/jellies and take away from the perfect cookie yumminess, so tread lightly.
posted by veronicacorningstone at 11:18 PM on December 7, 2009

If I bake only one cookie over the holidays, it's these rugelach. I usually make a triple batch and store the extra logs of assembled rugelach dough tightly wrapped in the freezer; then it's a snap to take one out, slice, and bake when supplies run low or I need a last-minute hostess gift. (The cream cheese dough needs to be well-chilled when you roll it out, and I like to use a silicone baking mat so that any filling oozing out and forming a crisp, candied coating stays on the cookies rather than the pan.)
posted by timeo danaos at 4:33 AM on December 8, 2009

Almond crescents (aka vanilla kipfel) - really easy to make, always impressive to serve and keep well for a few days in an airtight tin (yeah right, as if there are any left to store!).
posted by ceri richard at 4:52 AM on December 8, 2009

timeo danaos: "If I bake only one cookie over the holidays, it's these rugelach."

I made my first batch of rugelach last week. Even though I messed up and added double the cream cheese, this Cafe au lait recipe was still a big hit. Gone in minutes. They are a bit more work than other types of cookie though.

- - -

For something easier, and a little different, here's a recipe for a chewy chocolate coconut icebox cookie from our local Mennonite Cookbook:

Unbaked Cookies

In a large saucepan, combine:
2 c sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c milk

Stir over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce to medium and cook for three minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the following; stir until competely mixed:
3 c quick oats
1 c coconut
1/4 c cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Drop by heaping tablespoonsful onto pans lined with wax paper. Chill in freezer for two hours. Makes two small cookie sheets full of chewy treats.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:23 AM on December 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

My wife makes her yummy date pinwheels every Christmas. If you like Fig Newtons, you'd love the date pinwheels.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:11 AM on December 8, 2009

I made a batch of these chocolate mocha cookies 48 hours ago, and they are gone. Super yummy.

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned spritz. You need some special equipment to make them look pretty, but they sure are tasty.

And finally, my favorite family christmas cookie tradition are called polka dots. They're basically extra-cakey, chewy chocolate chip cookies with walnut pieces and halved maraschino cherries stirred in. I don't have the official recipe handy, but even adding cherries and nuts to a standard tollhouse batch would be amazing.
posted by vytae at 6:10 PM on December 8, 2009

Just wanted to drop back in and encourage those of you in this thread who bake cookies to join the Mefi cookie swap! hotshotbot is organizing and jessamyn added the link to the sidebar.
posted by misha at 10:35 AM on December 9, 2009

Response by poster: I just joined the cookie swap and I have a bunch of these recipes printed. I am still looking for some other nonchocolate cookies as well.
posted by SuzySmith at 3:02 PM on December 9, 2009

Sting of the Bee Cake, so very yummy.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:34 PM on December 9, 2009

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