Spectacular Christmas Cookie Recipes, Step by Step
Secrets revealed! Take 8 classic Christmas cookies to the next level with tips and tricks from Yummly’s new Guided Video Recipes.
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You know them when you taste them: cutout cookies with a perfectly sweet, delicate snap. Mexican wedding cookies so sandy beneath their powdered sugar coating that they literally melt in the mouth. And then there are “know-them-when-you-see-them” cookies — ones with sprinkles, chocolate drizzles, and icing swoops that say “take me!” from the cookie platter.
If you’re ready to make this year’s treats extra memorable, Yummly’s new videos for holiday cookies will show you just how easy it is. Like our other Guided Recipe Videos, the Christmas cookies are Yummly originals, created by our team of contributors. We’ve tested and tweaked them to get just the right proportions of ingredients and to show you the essential techniques. So here’s to love at first bite — and to accolades at all your holiday cookie exchanges and bake-offs.
Top holiday cookie baking tips
Before we get into the Christmas cookie recipes, here are a few pointers.
Use fresh ingredients. Since many holiday cookies have only a few ingredients, freshness is key for best flavor, especially when it comes to butter. Keep butter tightly wrapped in the fridge so it doesn’t absorb flavors from blue cheese, say. If you won’t be baking for a week, stash butter in the freezer until you’re ready.
Spoon and level your flour. If your cookies tend to be dry and crumbly, you may be measuring your flour inaccurately. Don’t scoop into the flour with a measuring cup or tap the filled cup down on the counter; this packs in extra flour. For best results, dip a spoon into the flour container, use spoonfuls of flour to fill the measuring cup, then use a flat knife blade to level the measuring cup off.
Keep cookies fresh. Once you’re done baking and cookies are cool, seal them in an airtight container to lock in that just-baked freshness. If you won’t be eating them or giving them away within a couple of days, store them in the freezer.
Have fun! So what if flour flies out of the mixer and hits the ceiling, or the treats come out a bit lopsided. You’re baking cookies!
Let's make Mexican wedding cookies
Some of the easiest Christmas cookies you can make, and a great one for getting kids involved, Mexican Wedding Cookies go by many names, including wedding cakes, Russian teacakes, snowballs, and meltaways. A few secrets for success: Once you make the rich dough, chill it before rolling balls so they’ll keep their shape in the oven. Bake them low and slow to develop the signature buttery, nutty flavor and sandy texture. And roll them twice in powdered sugar — once while the cookies are warm to create a “frosting,” and again once they’re cool for the snowy coating.
Roll Mexican Wedding Cookies twice in powdered sugar
Make snowball cookies with a surprise inside
While similar to the previous recipe, these have a surprise inside: a spoonful of Nutella. Chilling down the dough and the Nutella before shaping, and and then chilling them again once the cookies are formed, helps the filling to stay put during baking. Chopped hazelnuts underscore the nutty flavor.
Seal a spoonful of Nutella inside the nutty cookie dough
How to make perfect gingerbread cookies
Sugar and spice and everything nice: That’s what gingerbread cookies are made of. Take them to the next level with royal icing (a combination of powdered sugar, meringue powder, water, and food coloring). It’s beautifully workable when freshly made, so you can create faces and clothing details for gingerbread men and women, even collars for Rex and Spot. The icing firms up once dried so the decorations won’t get messed up as they might with other kinds of frosting. New to pastry bags? Check out these details for how to fill and hold them like a pro.
Fill a pastry bag in a tall glass, then squeeze down to the tip
Hold a pastry bag with one hand near the tip and the other above the icing
Make beautiful Christmas sugar cookies
Perhaps the most-loved of holiday cookies, these sugar cookie cutouts start with the perfect texture for the buttery dough so it’s easy to handle. For the most tender cutout cookies, be sure to spoon and level your flour when you measure it, and don’t go crazy with the flour when you roll and cut out the dough. Santa cookies, Christmas trees, snowmen, mittens, and ornaments — you can pull out all your favorite cookie cutters. The video takes you through some easy techniques for decorating the baked cookies with royal icing, from a simple outline topped with crunchy turbinado sugar, to stripes, fill-ins, and more.
Outline and sugar-frost a cutout cookie
Get our shortbread secrets
Shortbread cookies that are both delicate and substantial and taste of pure butter — that’s what you can count on here. It’s a Christmas recipe idea that doesn’t require any special baking or shaping skills, but the secrets are in the details. You bake the shortbread cookie dough at 300°F until it’s golden, not pale, to develop the signature buttery flavor and snappy texture. As for shaping, just pat the dough out evenly into a 9x13-inch pan and cut it into pieces shortly after it comes out of the oven.
Cut shortbread cookies while they're still warm
Create chocolate peppermint patty sandwiches
Is there a better holiday flavor combination than chocolate and peppermint? You may need to taste for yourself to decide. Sandwich together pairs of fudgy dark chocolate cookies with a white chocolate peppermint ganache, squeezing so the filling reaches the edges. Then roll them in crushed peppermint candies.
Fill chocolate cookies with peppermint ganache and then roll in crushed candies
Make keto-friendly coconut macaroons
The holiday season can be a tough time of year to be on a keto diet, but there’s no need for friends who are following it to miss out on treats. The low-calorie sweetener called erythritol, which is available in supermarkets, sweetens both these chewy coconut-pecan macaroons and the dark chocolate icing.
Dunk macaroons in chocolate icing and then drizzle more on top
Surprise them with Sicilian-style fig cookies
Unless you’re Sicilian, you may have never heard of cucidati. But they’re a classic Italian cookie that you don’t want to miss. Imagine the best Fig Newton you’ve ever had, made with a buttery dough; dried fig, nut, citrus, and spice filling; and vanilla icing. You seal a log of filling inside a dough rectangle, then slice and bake the cookies. Once they’re out of the oven, dunk them in icing and rain on the sprinkles! Set them out with mugs of hot chocolate, or glasses of eggnog? Why not.
Let sprinkles reign
More Christmas cookie ideas
Looking for more Christmas cookies inspiration? We have thousands more recipes on Yummly, including butter cookies, thumbprint cookies, crinkles, spritz, brownies, cranberry, chocolate mint, and candy cane cookies, and old favorites like chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, peanut butter cookies, and linzer cookies. Our search box makes it easy to look for your favorite ingredients, such as caramel, pistachio, cream cheese, brown sugar, raspberry, m&ms, even pretzels.