Eye-Catching Holiday Cookies
Stained Glass Sugar Cookies
You won't believe how easy it is to make these seriously impressive cookies. Crushed ard candy melts in the center of these festive sugar cookies, making a gorgeous stained-glass effect. Use any shape cookie cutter you like, just make sure you have two--a big one for each cookie, and a slightly smaller one for the hole in the middle.
Snowman Meringue Cookies
You've never made a snowman like this! These cute lightened-up cookies are awesome on their own, or float one in a cup of hot chocolate and watch it melt away. When making meringues, make sure that your bowl and beaters are clean and that there is not a trace of yolk in the egg white; the smallest amount of fat will prevent the egg whites from forming meringue. Depending on the humidity in your kitchen, the baking time might vary considerably. Check to make sure your cookies are crisp throughout before removing them from the oven.
Holiday cookies don't get any cuter than these mini gingerbread houses that kids and adults alike will love. Use a mini gingerbread house cookie cutter to cut out all the parts (the kids will love helping with this part), then build the houses and let the kids go to town decorating. Line up your finished creations to make a gingerbread house village, eat them up or prop them up on mugs of cocoa for dipping and munching.
Clementine & Cocoa Nib Meringues
These flourless orange-and-chocolate-flavored meringues are an easy and healthy dessert cookie recipe perfect for after dinner or alongside a cup of afternoon tea. If you don't have a star-tip and pastry bag, improvise with a gallon-size plastic bag (snip 1/2 inch off one corner). Look for orange flower water and cocoa nibs in the baking section of natural-food markets and well-stocked supermarkets, or substitute dark chocolate shavings.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
Looking for a fun cooking project to do with kids? Make chocolate truffles! In this easy vegan dessert recipe, we make a chocolate ganache filling with peanut butter and coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Make chocolate bark with the leftover chocolate and wrap it up together with a few truffles for a beautiful edible gift.
Nut & Honey Biscotti
This crunchy Italian cookie recipe isn't traditionally very sweet, so just a touch of honey adds flavor along with mild sweetness. Dipping them in chocolate makes them extra special.
Vanilla Candy Cane Peppermint Bars
These festive bars are easy to make for a cookie swap or holiday treats for friends and family.
Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
Coconut oil stands in for butter in this dairy-free, eggless cookie recipe for completely mouthwatering gingerbread cut-outs. Decorate cookies with a simple vegan icing or sanding sugar.
Apricot-Almond Sandwich Cookies
Elegant and delicious, these cookies are the perfect addition to your holiday spread. For a variation, try with raspberry preserves; you can show off the jewel-like filling by cutting the center out of half of the cookies. If giving these as a gift, be sure to pack them carefully with a layer of wax paper between each cookie.
Raspberry-Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies taste decadent, yet are made with ingredients that have healthful benefits: oats, almonds, fruit and chocolate. The thumbprints are versatile as well--use a different type of filling or different extracts to create a completely different cookie.
Festive Fruit & Nut Balls
A no-bake, make-ahead treat, this perfect combination of fruit and nuts is a nutritious and delicious mouthful. Rolling them in shredded coconut gives them their festive look.
Double Nut & Date Tassies
The two-bite pecan tarts satisfy the sweet tooth with far less guilt than pecan pie.
Chocolate, Almond & Jam Thumbprint Cookies
This healthy chocolate thumbprint cookie recipe incorporates dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts into the chocolate cookie dough before it's rolled into jam-filled cookies. Here the cookies are rolled in chopped almonds and filled with cherry jam, but you can use any type of jam or nuts.
Almond & Honey-Butter Cookies
This thumbprint cookie uses honey as the only sweetener and tender ground almonds to replace much of the butter found in similar cookies. Just a touch of butter mixed with honey in the filling gives it a rich flavor without too much saturated fat.
Fig 'n' Flax Thumbprint Cookies
We love how the ground flax adds a nutty flavor and the brown sugar caramelizes on the outside of these thumbprint cookies. Fig preserves make this cookie special; other fruit preserves could be used as well.
Crisp, moist and chewy, this cookie created by Georgene Egri of Walnut Creek, California, has the essential ingredients for the holidays: citrus, nuts and cranberries. These cookies travel well for gift-giving and lunchboxes.
Iced Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
This healthier sugar cut-out cookie recipe uses white whole-wheat flour, honey and lemon zest to make a delicious cookie perfect for decorating. Pull out all your cookie cutters and decorate these adorable cookies with natural decorating sugar and icing.
Coconut Macaroon Thumbprints with Key Lime Curd
In this healthy coconut macaroon recipe, Key lime curd brightens the center of a lightly sweetened coconut cookie. If you can't find ripe Key limes, you can substitute bottled Key lime juice, which is widely available, or try another citrus flavor like more traditional Persian limes, lemons or even bright blood oranges that will produce a coral-colored curd.
Lusciously Nutty Holiday Logs
Registered Dietitian Mary LaRock flavored these phyllo rolls with orange and dark chocolate for a winning cookie that will be a lovely addition to any holiday cookie platter.
Iced Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies
This healthy gingerbread cut-out cookie recipe has all the flavor of traditional gingerbread cookies but incorporates white whole-wheat flour and uses less butter. Pull out all your cookie cutters and decorate these adorable cookies with natural decorating sugar and icing.
Chia Seed Sugar Cookie Thins
This healthy sugar cookie recipe makes delicate, thin cookies by using the bottom of a glass to press the dough into cute wafers, which are then pressed with a small cookie cutter to make an etched design. The cookie thins are sprinkled with fiber- and omega-3-rich chia seeds, which add a little health boost. Make them look extra special by adding a bit of naturally dyed orange icing.
These coconut-chocolate-almond-topped shortbread cookies are reminiscent of Almond Joy candy bars.
Almond Cherry Bites
Dried cherries, ground almonds and a drizzle of chocolate make these cookies festive for the holidays.
Princess Tea Cakes
Working on this makeover of a classic Russian Tea Cake made Bridget Klein feel closer to her late sister, Gina, because they are “a great match for her personality: delicate and refined, pretty to look at, and yet a definite character that inspires adoration and loyalty.” Gina's middle name, Sarah, means “princess,” in Hebrew; hence the name of these confections. Klein's mom “swore these cookies couldn't be made without butter,” she says, “until she tasted them.” Klein continues: “Gina was a traditionalist, too, but I think I might have been able to fool her with these.”
Date Bran Jingle Balls
Trisha Kruse, an administrative assistant, created quick, easy, no-bake date-nut balls to fill that special niche in your holiday repertoire.
Patti Anderson, a professional quilter, had never entered a cooking contest before she took our challenge. This quick, no-fuss, chewy chocolate cookie is made on your waffle iron. No need to haul out the big mixer, you can mix the batter with a small hand mixer or even by hand. Kids love these!
Cranberry-Honey Spice Pinwheel Cookies
These cookies boast a bright, zesty filling and spicy aroma. They make a large batch and are extremely convenient, since you can make the logs of cookie dough ahead, then pull them out of the freezer and slice and bake as many cookies as you need. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
Frances Van Vynckt, 78, combined dates, toasted rice cereal and coconut into an easy no-bake treat that won EatingWell's 2008 cookie contest.
Dense and crunchy, these are the classic Italian dunking cookies. Although they are traditionally dipped in Vin Santo, a sweet Italian dessert wine, these chocolaty biscotti are ultra-satisfying with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.
Lemon Meringue Sandwich Cookies
These pretty and lemony gluten-free sandwich cookies make tasty light treats.
Almond Linzer Cookies
In this almond cookie recipe, star-shaped cutters give these classic jam-filled sandwich Linzer cookies holiday sparkle, but you can also use a more traditional round or scalloped cookie cutter. Almond flour adds crunchy texture and nutty flavor. Look for it near other specialty flours in natural-foods markets.
One Nutty Date
Financial advisor Linda Croley was inspired by childhood memories of a family treat when she created these peanut butter-date cookies. “I get a great feeling when I bite into these cookies and think of my family who are around me today, and those whose memories I'll always cherish,” says Croley. Once you try them, you may never make an ordinary peanut butter cookie again.
This crispy-on-the-bottom-and-chewy-on-the-inside gluten-free cookie recipe is a twist on a traditional Italian holiday treat, pignoli, or pine nut cookies. Look for almond paste--a mixture of ground almonds and sugar (available in tubes or sometimes tubs)--near other baking supplies in well-stocked supermarkets or specialty stores. Sweeter marzipan doesn't work well in these cookies.