32 Make-Ahead Christmas Cookies That Will Make Your Spirits Bright
Get ready for the holiday season with these make-ahead Christmas cookie recipes. These cookies can easily be made a few days in advance, saving you crucial space in the oven. We take classics like sugar cookies and gingerbread and add a fun, flavorful spin. Recipes like Flourless Chocolate Cookies and Spiced Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies are healthy, delicious and full of cheer.
It's time to break out your spritz cookie press for these festive Christmas spritz cookies! These easy Christmas cookies can be decorated with sprinkles or flavored with citrus, spices or sweet sugar glaze. And if you're looking for healthy cookies, these fit the bill thanks to whole-wheat pastry flour that keeps their texture soft while giving them a boost of fiber. For ideas on how to dress up these spritz cookies even more with different flavorings or a glaze, see Tips below.
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.
Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
This healthy 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.
Flourless Chocolate Cookies
These flourless cookies get their volume from whipped egg whites (like a meringue) instead of grains, making them gluten-free and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. A chocolate chip in each bite adds to the rich chocolate flavor.
Snickerdoodle Thumbprint Cookies with Chocolate
This healthy cinnamon-sugar snickerdoodle thumbprint cookie recipe has an added bonus: chocolate filling! With slightly crispy edges and a chewy, chocolaty center, these snickerdoodle cookies are the ultimate crowd pleaser.
Spiced Poppy Seed Shortbread Cookies
Renowned author and spice aficionado Lior Lev Sercarz loves these French sablé-style cookies so much, he sells a collection of five different flavors twice a year. In this variation, he uses tart amchoor (ground dried green mango) to give them a citrusy brightness. These healthy cookies will get you in the holiday spirit.
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.
Oatmeal-Peanut Butter Cookies with Dates
Cookie recipes usually require you to combine the liquid ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another, but for this gluten-free cookie recipe the dry ingredients are sprinkled right on top of the liquids so there's just one bowl to clean. Don't skip the step of refrigerating the dough. The oat flour needs time to hydrate or the cookies will be too dry and crumbly. Regular rolled oats work if you're not gluten-sensitive.
Cranberry-Pistachio Sugar Cookie Thins
This healthy sugar cookie recipe makes delicate, thin cookies that are a great accompaniment to coffee or tea. You press the dough into cute wafers using the bottom of a glass and can sprinkle the cookie thins with dried cranberries and pistachios, as in this recipe, or use your favorite dried fruit and nut combination as decoration.
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.
Spiced Snickerdoodle Cookies
In this healthy snickerdoodle cookie recipe, ginger, allspice and nutmeg combine with cinnamon to make this the best snickerdoodle you've ever had. The cookies get their signature look and texture from a little food science--baking soda makes them rise and cream of tartar prevents the sugar from binding together and causes the cookies to collapse and wrinkle.
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.
Chocolate-Drizzled Gingerbread Cookie Thins
This healthy gingerbread cookie recipe incorporates white whole-wheat flour and uses less butter than traditional gingerbread cookies. These thin, sugar-kissed cookies are then drizzled with white and chocolate icing in a crisscross pattern for a beautiful presentation.
Gingerbread Thumbprint Cookies with Raspberry Jam
This healthy thumbprint cookie recipe has all the flavors of a traditional gingerbread cookie: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and molasses. These soft and chewy gingerbread cookies have an extra kick of spice with a crystallized ginger coating and are filled with raspberry jam--but feel free to fill them with whatever type of jam or preserves you have on hand.
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.
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.
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.
Cranberry-Almond Thumbprint Cookies
A dip in egg white and a quick roll in sugar adds a delightfully crisp crust to these holiday cookies. You'll have leftover jam--perfect for spreading on toast or for glazing the Cranberry Galette with Sesame Frangipane (see Associated Recipes).
Stained Glass Sugar Cookies
You won't believe how easy it is to make these seriously impressive cookies. Crushed hard 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.
Chocolate Cookie Thins
This healthy chocolate cookie recipe makes thin, sugar-kissed cookies flavored with dried cranberries and hazelnuts. The cookies are drizzled with homemade natural red icing, but if you prefer white icing, omit the natural red dye.
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.
Peppermint Checkerboard Cookies
The red and white design makes these white chocolate and peppermint cookies especially colorful for holiday cookie trays and casual gatherings.
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
Gluten-free flour stands in for regular flour in these crisp, festive cut-out cookies that taste amazing. To decorate, dust cookies with sanding sugar before you bake them or drizzle and pipe on royal icing once they've cooled.
Pecan-Gingerbread Cookie Thins
This healthy gingerbread cookie recipe incorporates white whole-wheat flour and uses less butter than traditional gingerbread cookies. These thin, sugar-kissed cookies are then topped with a pecan for a Southern-inspired treat. If you don't like pecans, try other nuts, such as macadamia nuts, walnuts or hazelnuts.
Chocolate Snowcap Cookies
This fudgy chocolate crinkle cookie recipe is a hit with chocolate lovers. Bake the cookies right after rolling them in confectioners' sugar: if they sit, the sugar absorbs into the dough and the rich chocolaty cookies lose their snowcapped look.
These healthier pecan butter cookies are made with whole-wheat pastry flour and plenty of nuts.
Button Shortbread Cookies
This healthy shortbread cookie recipe uses white whole-wheat flour instead of white flour. The light-colored flour is mild in flavor, adding nutrients without overpowering the classic shortbread taste. These cookies are easy to make, so they're perfect for a holiday cookie swap or afternoon tea. These cookies are also wonderful to bake with small kids because they'll love poking the buttonholes in the shortbread dough.
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.
Cranberry-Almond Chocolate Cookie Thins
This healthy chocolate cookie recipe makes thin, sugar-kissed cookies speckled with dried fruit and nuts and topped with slivered almonds and dried cranberries arranged in a flower pattern. These thin chocolate cookies are perfect for accompanying tea or coffee.
Blueberry & White Chocolate Chunk Ginger Cookies
These easy cookies are a real snap to make--just stir and bake.
Citrus-Kissed Honey Buttons
These citrus-flavored sugar cookies are a lovely addition to any holiday cookie platter.
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.