I divide my Christmas baking into a few different categories: there’s the baking I do for my husband’s clients so he can give out a few holiday treats, the baking I do for the kid’s school for bake sales or the last day of school, and the baking I do during the week before Christmas so we have a few goodies in the house in case anyone stops by.
I start with Christmas cake, move onto gingerbread, and then work my way to time consuming recipes like Yule log. During all this holiday baking, I always add in a tray of cookies because Christmas cookies are the one thing you always have to have on hand.
Another reason why I bake so many Christmas cookies? They’re fun. I love adding sprinkles, cutting them out, or trying new cookie recipes. Baking and decorating Christmas cookies feel like you’re creating tiny holiday crafts or edible art, and it’s a fun activity you can do with kids too.
Here are a few Christmas cookies I’ve been baking this year, and I consider these recipes to be the best out of all that I’ve tried. If you have a favourite Christmas cookie recipe you make every year, be sure to share in the comments.
Best Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups
What goes perfect with a hot cup of cocoa during the holidays? These Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups! These tiny bite sized cookies are cute to look at and even better to eat. Photo and recipe from delish.com.
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
10 oz. mini marshmallows
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chocolate-covered pretzels
Red, green, and white nonpareils
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a mini cupcake pan with cooking spray.
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add milk, egg, and vanilla and mix until combined.
In another bowl, whisk dry ingredients, then add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Dough will be thick. Make tablespoon balls and press into bottom of each mini muffin cup. Press down centers to make indentation. (You want each cup to be 3/4 full.)
Bake until edges look set but centers still look a little under-cooked, 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove cookie cups from oven and press marshmallows into centers. Return cookies to oven until marshmallows puff and melt, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cookies are cool, melt chocolate chips in microwave.
Break off pieces of chocolate-covered pretzels and use melted chocolate to stick them to sides of cookie cups. Let set.
Drizzle chocolate over the tops of marshmallows and garnish with sprinkles. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
My Grandma’s recipes are all on index cards with barely legible handwriting and missing ingredients, so a few years ago I went hunting online for recipes that were similar and that I could use to recreate my childhood favourites. This sugar cookie is the closest I could find to Grandma’s and it rolls out like a dream. Photo and recipe from allrecipes.com.
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Chocolaty Melting Snowmen
From Better Homes and Gardens, these melting snowman cookies are something I have to make every year. They’re cute, fun to make, and delicious when it’s time to eat.
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pound vanilla-flavored candy coating, coarsely chopped
20 bite-size chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Brown and orange sprinkles or other candies and/or tinted frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in the cocoa powder and as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
Shape dough into twenty 1 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are just firm. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Place cooled cookies on prepared baking sheet. In a medium microwave-safe bowl microwave candy coating on 50% power for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Spoon melted coating over each cookie to cover cookie and resemble melted snow. While coating is still tacky, add a peanut butter cup for a top hat and decorate with sprinkles or other candies to resemble snowman faces (If using frosting to make snowman faces, add it when the candy coating is dry.) Let stand until set.
Dough may be shaped into balls and then frozen until solid on parchment- or foil-lined cookie sheets. When frozen, transfer balls to an airtight container; cover. Store in the freezer. When ready to bake, arrange frozen balls on cookie sheets and bake as directed for 12 to 14 minutes.