8 Favorite Cookie Recipes

Discover delicious cookie recipes to fill your gift bags and cookie jars.


Create glamour from doughCreate glamour from dough
Lemon Meringue-Filled Gingersnap Snowflake Cookies
With a simple cookie cutter, you can create glamour from dough.

Time: 1 hour.
Yield: Makes 50 sandwich cookies


Ingredients
GINGERSNAP DOUGH
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves, nutmeg, and freshly ground black pepper

LEMON MERINGUE
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large egg whites
Zest of 1 lemon
Powdered sugar for dusting


Preparation

1. Make dough: Beat butter and brown sugar together in a bowl with a mixer on medium speed. Mix in molasses, then egg, until blended, scraping bowl as needed.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices; add to butter mixture on low speed, mixing until combined.

3. Divide dough in half, shape each into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 3 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap dough. On a generously floured surface, roll out each disk until 1/8 in. thick. Using snowflake cutters to cut out dough in various sizes, some with the centers cut out using a smaller size cutter to make a window, and arrange snowflakes about 1 in. apart on parchment-lined baking sheets (use a small spatula to transfer). Reroll scraps as needed.

5. Bake cookies until dry-looking and just starting to brown on edges, about 8 minutes. Set pans on racks and let cookies cool on pans.

6. Make meringue: Put sugar, lemon juice, and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a pan filled with just enough simmering water so that bowl isn't touching water. Whisking constantly, heat mixture until egg whites are warm to the touch and sugar has dissolved, about 4 minutes. Put bowl of warm whites on mixer and whisk on medium speed until cool and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Stir in zest.

7. Fit a gallon-size resealable plastic bag with a star tip, snipping hole in corner of bag for tip to fit snugly (or use a pastry bag). Half-fill bag with meringue. Gather bag at top and gently pipe about 2 tbsp. meringue onto flat side of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Dust cookies on both sides with powdered sugar.


Make ahead
: Chill dough (step 3) up to 1 week. Store baked cookies airtight up to 3 days.


Note
: Nutritional analysis is per cookie


    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 105
    Calories from fat: 32%
    Protein: 1.3g
    Fat: 3.9g
    Saturated fat: 2.4g
    Carbohydrate: 17g
    Fiber: 0.3g
    Sodium: 82mg
    Cholesterol: 14mg

    More holiday gifts you can bake yourself


    Like mini pavlovasLike mini pavlovas
    White Christmas Dream Drops
    Submitted by readers Dustin and Erin Beutin, Tustin, CA

    Unlike traditional meringues, which are crisp all the way through, these are still chewy on the inside, like mini pavlovas--but with white chocolate chips and plenty of peppermint. For an elegant touch, dip the edges in melted dark chocolate.


    Yield: Makes 32
    Total: 1 Hour, 15 Minutes


    Ingredients
    2 large egg whites, at room temperature
    1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 cup white chocolate chips
    1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. coarsely crushed peppermint candies


    Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 250°. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a deep bowl with a mixer, using whisk attachment if you have one, just until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and salt. With motor running and mixer on high speed, pour in 1 tbsp. sugar and beat 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat until all sugar has been added. Scrape inside of bowl and beat another 15 seconds. At this point, meringue should form straight peaks when beaters are lifted. Fold in chocolate chips and 1/3 cup candies with a flexible spatula.

    2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, using a bit of meringue at corners as glue. Using a soup spoon, drop meringue in rounded 1-tbsp. portions slightly apart onto sheets, scraping off with another spoon. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. candies.

    3. Bake until meringues feel dry and set when touched but are still pale, 30 to 35 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through. Turn off oven, open door, and let cookies stand about 10 minutes. Let cool on pans.


    Make ahead: Up to 2 days, stored airtight.

    Note: Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 61
    Calories from fat: 25%
    Protein: 0.5g
    Fat: 1.7g
    Saturated fat: 1g
    Carbohydrate: 10g
    Fiber: 0.0g
    Sodium: 18mg
    Cholesterol: 1.1mg

    Basic meringue


    Holidays are not complete without gingerbreadHolidays are not complete without gingerbread
    Gingerbread People
    The holidays are not complete without crisp, molasses-flavored gingerbread men and women.


    Yield
    : Makes about 24 3- to 4-inch cookies


    Ingredients

    3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 cup molasses
    3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


    Preparation

    1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in molasses. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, espresso powder, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir or beat into butter mixture until well blended.

    2. Divide dough in half. Flatten each portion with your hands into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap each disk airtight and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

    3. On a lightly floured board, with a floured rolling pin, roll dough, a portion at a time, to 1/4 inch thick. With floured cutters, cut dough into people shapes (if dough becomes too soft to handle, freeze briefly until firm again). With a wide spatula or your fingers, transfer cookies to buttered or cooking parchment-lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather scraps, pat into a ball, and repeat rolling and cutting.

    4. Bake cookies in a 300° oven until edges are brown, 15 to 20 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking.

    5. With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. If hot cookies start to break, slide a thin spatula under them to release, let stand on sheets to firm up, about 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

    Powdered sugar icing: Controlling consistency of icing is simple. If it's too thick, add a few drops of water; if it's too thin, gradually add more powdered sugar. To tint, add food coloring a few drops at a time.

    For piping: In a bowl, stir 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 1/2 tablespoons water until smooth. Tint with food coloring as desired. Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch tip or a heavy 1-quart zip-lock plastic bag. Seal plastic bag and squeeze icing into a corner; cut a tiny opening at corner of bag to squeeze icing out. Let cookies stand until icing is firm, about 5 minutes. Makes about 3/4 cup.

    Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

    Note: Once the icing is dry, you can store the cookies airtight for up to 1 week.

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 156
    Calories from fat: 32%
    Protein: 1.8g
    Fat: 5.5g
    Saturated fat: 3.4g
    Carbohydrate: 25g
    Fiber: 0.4g
    Sodium: 107mg
    Cholesterol: 15mg

    Cookies for any occasion


    Dough can be made and then frozen Dough can be made and then frozen
    Candy Cane Cookies
    The dough for these peppermint-flavored cookies can be made and then frozen for up to two weeks.

    Yield: Makes about 80 cookies

    Ingredients
    1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    2 large egg yolks
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    5 tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
    Red food coloring

    Preparation
    1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth; beat in egg yolks.

    2. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine milk, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, blending thoroughly after each addition.

    3. Divide dough in half. Leave one half in the mixing bowl and stir in a few drops of red food coloring.

    4. Divide each half of dough in half again (four portions total); wrap dough portions in waxed paper or cooking parchment and chill until firm but still pliable, about 1 hour.

    5. Unwrap dough and roll each of the four pieces into a smooth rope about 15 inches long. Twist each white rope with a red rope into a 13-inch-long combined rope (for a total of two ropes). Wrap twisted rolls in waxed paper; chill until firm, at least 4 hours, or up to 1 week (see notes).

    6. Unwrap dough. Using a sharp knife, cut rolls into 1/8-inch-thick slices; place slices about 1 inch apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.

    7. Bake cookies in a 350° oven until light golden, about 10 minutes; transfer to racks to cool completely.

    Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.


    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 45
    Calories from fat: 47%
    Protein: 0.5g
    Fat: 2.3g
    Saturated fat: 1.3g
    Carbohydrate: 5.5g
    Fiber: 0.1g
    Sodium: 44mg
    Cholesterol: 10mg

    More holiday desserts


    Full of buttery cashewsFull of buttery cashews
    Cashew Stars
    These pretty star-shaped cookies are full of buttery cashews.

    Prep and Cook Time: about 1 1/4 hours

    Yield
    : Makes about 30 cookies


    Ingredients
    1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup minced roasted, salted cashews

    Preparation
    1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and almond extract until smooth. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt; stir or beat into butter mixture until well blended. Stir in cashews (if mixture is crumbly, squeeze into a smooth, compact ball).

    2. Divide dough in half; flatten each portion into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap each disk airtight and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes. On a lightly floured board, with a floured rolling pin, roll dough, a portion at a time, to 3/16 inch thick.

    3. With a floured 3-inch star-shaped cutter, cut out cookies (if dough becomes too soft to handle, freeze briefly until firm again). With a wide spatula or your fingers, transfer cookies to buttered or cooking parchment-lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Gather scraps, pat into a ball, and repeat rolling and cutting.

    4. Bake cookies in a 300° oven until golden, 15 to 18 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking.

    5. With a wide spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool. If hot cookies start to break, slide a thin spatula under them to release, let stand on sheets to firm up, about 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Dust cookies with remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.

    Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 121
    Calories from fat: 62%
    Protein: 1.7g
    Fat: 8.3g
    Saturated fat: 4.2g
    Carbohydrate: 10g
    Fiber: 0.5g
    Sodium: 117mg
    Cholesterol: 17mg


    A holiday twist on traditional pinwheelsA holiday twist on traditional pinwheels
    Gingerbread Pinwheels
    These cookies are a holiday twist on traditional pinwheels, in which plain and chocolate doughs are swirled together.


    Yield: Makes about 50 cookies


    Ingredients

    For gingerbread dough:
    3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup light or dark molasses
    2 large egg yolks
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    For plain dough:
    1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    Preparation
    To make gingerbread dough: In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and molasses until smooth. Beat in egg yolks until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. In another bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and flatten slightly; chill until firm but pliable, about 1 hour (or freeze for 30 minutes).

    To make plain dough:
    1. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and flatten slightly; chill as directed above.

    2. Unwrap dough. With a lightly floured rolling pin, on a lightly floured sheet of waxed paper, roll out gingerbread dough into a 12- by 15-inch rectangle. Slide dough, on waxed paper, onto a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Repeat to roll out plain dough; chill both rectangles until firm to the touch but still pliable, about 10 minutes.

    3. Carefully invert the gingerbread dough over the plain dough, lining up edges as evenly as possible. Remove waxed paper from top of gingerbread dough. With a sharp knife, cut rectangle in half lengthwise to make two 6- by 15-inch rectangles. Transfer one of the rectangles to another sheet of waxed paper.

    4. Starting at long edge of one rectangle, lift waxed paper to roll doughs into a tight, even cylinder (if dough cracks instead of rolling easily, let stand about 10 minutes to soften slightly). Repeat to roll other rectangle. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

    5. Unwrap rolls and slice crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Lay cookies flat, 1 inch apart, on buttered or cooking parchment-lined 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.

    6. Bake cookies in a 325° oven until edges just begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking. With a wide spatula, transfer pinwheels to racks to cool completely.

    Note: Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 145
    Calories from fat: 44%
    Protein: 1.7g
    Fat: 7.1g
    Saturated fat: 4.3g
    Carbohydrate: 19g
    Fiber: 0.4g
    Sodium: 120mg
    Cholesterol: 31mg


    They look great on a dessert bar in a glass They look great on a dessert bar in a glass


    Chocolate-Peppermint Pocky Sticks
    "I loved to eat these when I lived in Asia," says Romina Rasmussen, owner of Salt Lake City's Les Madeleines bakery. "Pocky sticks are Japanese but they're all over Taiwan and Hong Kong too." The flexible dough lends itself to myriad shapes, but long pocky sticks look great on a dessert bar in a glass because they bring height to the table.


    Yield: Makes about 50
    Total: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes


    Ingredients
    1/2 cup (160 g) sweetened condensed milk
    2 2/3 cups (350 g) flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    3 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. (46 g) granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon cardamom
    1/4 teaspoon ginger
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. (120 g) unsalted butter, chilled
    1 large egg, beaten
    9 ounces candy canes or peppermint candies
    1 1/2 pounds (680 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate

    Preparation
    1. In a small bowl, stir together condensed milk and 1/4 cup water.

    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Cut or rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

    3. Stir in milk mixture just until combined. Flatten dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour. Shaping the dough into a disk helps it chill evenly and quickly. And chilling relaxes the dough so it won't spring back when you're rolling it out.

    4. Preheat oven to 300°. Break dough into marble-size balls (15 g each). Roll in your palms until smooth and dense. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll each ball out into a 1/4- by 10-in. rope (cover remaining balls to keep them moist). Lift onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

    5. Brush with egg and bake 15 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a rack.

    6. Meanwhile, put candy canes in a double layer of resealable plastic bags and crush with a rolling pin. Pour onto a plate.

    7. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or metal bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water until about half-melted; stir. Transfer to a 9- by 13-in. baking dish. Let cool until it thickly coats a spoon, 10 minutes.

    8. Set dish on counter with the long side facing you. Place a folded dishtowel under one end so chocolate pools at other end. Roll each stick in chocolate to cover 3/4 of cookie. Holding stick over a clean bowl, sprinkle with crushed candy and set out on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper to dry, about 30 minutes.

    Don't refrigerate these; they'll get soggy.

    Make ahead Dough, up to 3 days chilled or 1 month frozen airtight; baked, up to 3 days airtight at room temperature.

    More pockys, please

    STAR OF DAVID Halve dough rope. Form 1 rope into a triangle; form another on top. Brush with egg and top with blue or silver sparkling sugar; bake.

    CANDY CANE To half the dough, add natural red coloring, such as India Tree. Lay 1 plain dough rope alongside 1 red rope. Roll ends of double rope in opposite directions to twist. Curve into a candy cane; brush with egg; bake.

    CHRISTMAS TREE Use slightly larger dough balls for longer ropes. Leaving 1/2 in. for trunk, coil rope into sideways figure eights. Brush with egg, sprinkle with green sparkling sugar, and bake.

    Note: Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 152
    Calories from fat: 49%
    Protein: 2.1g
    Fat: 8.2g
    Saturated fat: 4.4g
    Carbohydrate: 20g
    Fiber: 1.2g
    Sodium: 27mg
    Cholesterol: 10mg
    Favorite chocolate desserts


    Stunning holiday cookiesStunning holiday cookies
    Chocolate Gingerbread Snowflakes
    Romina Rasmussen, owner of Salt Lake City's Les Madeleines bakery, makes these stunning holiday cookies. "Some gingerbread cookie recipes have chocolate in the dough, but using chocolate glaze offers an opportunity to decorate," says Rasmussen--which, although a bit painstaking, produces cookies so lovely it's worth the effort. The glaze retains an appealing softness even after it's set, so serve the cookies on a platter--in a single layer-to preserve their prettiness.


    Yield: Makes 50 to 60
    Total: 2 Hours, 15 Minutes


    Ingredients

    Cookies
    1 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. (250 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup (110 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
    1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
    1 cup (340 g) unsulfured molasses
    1 large egg
    5 cups (680 g) flour
    4 teaspoons cinnamon
    4 teaspoons ginger
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon allspice
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    3/4 teaspoon cloves
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    Glaze
    8 ounces (225 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate
    1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. (150 g) unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    Outlining and decoration
    4 ounces (114 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate
    2 ounces (60 g) chopped good-quality white chocolate

    Preparation
    1. Cream butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Build up speed slowly so the mix doesn't fly everywhere, but don't be afraid to use high speed. If you don't go past medium speed, it won't get as light and fluffy. Mix in molasses. Add egg and beat just until combined.

    2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. With mixer on lowest speed, add dry ingredients in 3 or 4 batches to butter and sugar. Mix until not quite combined. You don't want to keep going because then you'll start the gluten development in the flour and get tough dough.

    3. Divide dough into 3 disks. Chill, wrapped in plastic, at least 1 hour.

    4. Meanwhile, make glaze: Put bittersweet chocolate in a large glass bowl with the butter. Melt in a microwave in 2 or 3 bursts of 30 seconds each, stirring after each. Stir in corn syrup. Let cool until it's body temperature and drizzles in a thick ribbon. (If it solidifies, microwave about 10 seconds and stir to liquefy.)

    5. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough disk to a 1/4-in. thickness. Using a snowflake-shaped cutter, cut out cookies firmly, dipping cutters in flour each time to keep them from sticking. Cut around the outside and work toward the center; you'll get more cookies that way. You can reroll scraps, but for a more tender cookie, blend them gently--don't mash them.

    6. Transfer cookies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper, setting them 1 in. apart, and chill 10 to 15 minutes. They'll hold their shape better and the edges will be a little sharper. Bake 8 to 12 minutes, rotating once, until just firm to the touch. Cool on racks.

    7. Decorate cookies: Put bittersweet and white chocolates separately into 2 medium metal bowls. Fill 2 medium saucepans with 1 in. water; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set bowls on pans; let chocolates melt until about half-melted. Stir each until smooth.

    8. Immediately pour each chocolate into a cornet (a small cone of parchment paper)* or resealable plastic bag with a tiny corner cut off. Decorating one cookie at a time, outline in dark chocolate.

    9. Fill a larger parchment-paper cone with chocolate glaze and use it to fill in cookie. (If you're short on time, you can skip the outlining, pour glaze into a bowl, and swirl the face of each cookie in glaze.)

    10. Decorating one cookie at a time, squiggle white chocolate onto snowflake, then draw the tip of a sharp knife or toothpick through squiggle. Or squeeze out thin curls. Each one's going to be a little different, but then again, so is every snowflake.

    *To make a parchment cornet, roll a triangle of parchment into a cone, starting at a long corner and rolling it over on itself; tape or staple edge. Fold up tip and set in a tall empty glass while you fill it with chocolate. Fold top over, then unfold tip and pipe (snip a larger hole if you need to).

    Make ahead: Dough, up to 1 week chilled or 1 month frozen; glazed cookies, up to 3 days, stored airtight in a single layer.


    High-altitude note: Add 2 tbsp. flour and take out 2 tbsp. each granulated and brown sugar; this keeps the cookies soft and thick.

    Note: Nutritional analysis is per cookie.

    Nutritional Information
    Amount per serving
    Calories: 156
    Calories from fat: 48%
    Protein: 1.8g
    Fat: 8.4g
    Saturated fat: 4.9g
    Carbohydrate: 20g
    Fiber: 0.8g
    Sodium: 75mg
    Cholesterol: 18mg

    Still more holiday cookie recipes