A Holiday Cookie Recipe Round-Up

Get ready, bakers. The Simple Bites holiday cookie recipe round-up includes all of our current favorites and will have you feeling festive in no time.

psitting around the table on a recent snow day, I asked the kids what their favorite holiday cookies were. They didn’t have to think about it for long: Meringues. Shortbread. Gingerbread.

It’s no surprise that their preferred treats are all right here on the blog. These recipes have been part of our tradition for as long as we have been a family.

Baking together over the holidays has always been a big part of our family food culture ever since the kids were babies. Raise your hand if you remember the After School Gingerbread Project! Ah, the memories.

Gather ’round, bakers, grab a notebook and make your holiday baking list right now.

Our Top 6 Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

These are the cookies that the Simple Bites family wants to see in the cookie tin or as a lunchbox treat in December!

Our favorite holiday cookie recipes are simple with classic flavourings. They feature fresh ground spices and nuts instead of artificial flavouring, and plenty of natural sweeteners like maple and molasses.

These cookies may vary slightly from year to year, perhaps with an add-in of chopped candied ginger or a drizzle of dark chocolate, but these are the classics.

Each cookie is easy enough for the kids to make on their own, and they always turn out beautiful, thanks to frequent testing. What more could you ask for in a holiday baking project?

Molasses Rye Spice Snaps

Best enjoyed…with friends! So bake a batch to share.

These spice snaps top the list for a reason. For starters, they are a simple, stir-together cookie that yields delicious results in under 30 minutes. Cravings be gone!

We also love their crispy edges, chewy center and deeply spiced flavour. Molasses Rye Spice Snaps are everyone’s favorite holiday treat.

So? They bake up nice and flat, so make a terrific sandwich cookie. Try stuffing them with a homemade marshmallow filling, or a whipped mascarpone frosting.

Chocolate Swirl Meringue Cookies

Best enjoyed….as a sweet finish after a feast.

A close second favorite would be these delicate meringues. They are the perfect sweet finish to a rich holiday meal. Although my kids would say that they are good anytime!

Keep them plain cocoa, or swirl in chopped pistachios and dried fruit before dropping on the pan to bake. You can also dip them in chocolate, although they never last long enough around here for me to take that step.

These meringues are another simple cookie to bake with kids, and happen to be naturally gluten free. Keep a stash in the freezer for Cranberry Orange Eton Mess dessert or for topping this Cranberry Curd Tart.

Simple Shortbread: One Recipe, Four Cookies

Best enjoyed…any way you like.

The oldest cookie recipe on the blog is also the oldest in my personal repertoire. I’ve been turning a classic shortbread dough into festive cookies from as far back as I can remember. My father is British, so there was always shortbread over the holidays.

I got bored easily in the kitchen, so over the holidays, I turn the dough into chocolate-dipped diamonds, Sugar-Coated Snowballs, delicate Jam Thumbprints and Maple Glazed Buttons. The recipe really is endlessly customizable so get creative with your favorite holiday flavours.

I’ll forever be devoted to shortbread, and this is an essential recipe is a must-have for all bakers.

Rolled Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies

Best enjoyed….while setting up the tree or wrapping gifts.

Few Christmas cookies are as nostalgic as decorated rolled gingerbread. This is the first cookie we bake – starting in November – and they signal the start of the holiday season in the Simple Bites kitchen.

Over the weeks leading up to Christmas, we host cookie decorating parties, and string up gingerbread stars on our tree. We bake shapes for construction and build a gingerbread house or three.

Use my Gingerbread 101 Recipe, along with this Basic Royal Icing and you’re set for the holidays.

Butter Pecan Shortbread

Best enjoyed…with a cup of afternoon tea.

These are a melt in your mouth, extra special shortbread cut-out cookie. There’s classic shortbread, as seen above, and then there are Butter Pecan Shortbread, lightly spiced and maple-glazed, with ground pecans and a touch of cornmeal in the dough.

These cookies can be presented solo or as a sandwich cookie. I like to press them together with a little maple butter or maple frosting.

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Monster Cookies

Best enjoyed…on a winter hike or snowy walk.

For the month of December, we bake these fun drop cookies with red and green M&M’s.

Nutty and crunchy, soft and chewy, they are an impressively huge cookie, made even more fun with the addition of seasonal chocolate candy and salty pretzels.

This is a fool-proof recipe, so don’t hesitate to let the kiddos loose in the kitchen while you put your feet up.

These monster cookies are irresistible to the young crowd – which is ideal, as it leaves the shortbread on the cooke platter for me!

Bonus Favorite: The kids still love making Spritz Cookies with a cookie press. I personally don’t have the patience for it, but they bake them every year. We find Janice’s recipe for Sprinkle cookies that The Bake School is super delicious.

So there you have it; our collection of favorite holiday cookies! Which one will you bake first?

More Holiday Cookie Recipes!!

You all lion to bake and the holidays are the perfect time to try something a little more elaborate. Here are some of your favorite cookie creations from the Simple Bites archives. PS. We love them too!

Soft Maple Sugar Cookies

These pretty cookies are my own spin on a classic sugar cookie, which I always found to be a bit boring. The tender, maple-sweetened delights are cut into snowflake shapes, topped with a maple syrup glaze and dusted with sparkling sugar.

Cream cheese in the dough adds to the soft texture and helps to keep the cookies fresh for several days after baking. Who is ready to bust out the cookie cutters?

Christmas Stollen Madeleines with Preserved Lemon

Here’s a buttery, soft-spiced cake, studded with currants, slivers of almonds and a hint of candied orange peel. These irresistible cookies make an appearance on very special brunch tables, and even Christmas morning!

Giant Oatmeal Cookies

A classic for a reason. Pack these cookies with chocolate chips or raisins and bake them to share with friends.

Cinnamon Shortbread Bars

A cookie swap favorite! These decadent bars are my adaptation of the beloved shortbread and chocolate pairing—except there is no rolling and cutting, no tempering of the chocolate and positively no dipping.

Laced with spice, these bars typify what holiday baking should be: simple, sensational and completely irresistible.

Fudgy Chocolate Two Bite Brownies

Not just for summer picnics, these gluten-free, dairy-free treats are delicious all year long! They freeze very well, so you can make a batch or two in advance.

Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers

Perhaps the prettiest treat of all, these little cakes make a sweet addition to a brunch table.

Brown Sugar Molded Cookies

Here’s a cookie creation that’s a little different, really beautiful and very special for gifting. Readers come back year after year for this festive cookie recipe.

Peppermint Swirl Sugar Cookies

Candy-cane lovers will appreciate these festive layered cookies. They bake up soft and chewy and make a colorful addition to any cookie plate.

Pumpkin Spice Snaps

Here’s an old favorite from the archives! Make with whole wheat flour and freshly grated ginger, these cookies as so, so delicious! As I remember, they are even better on the second day, after the flavors have time to blend together. They also freeze very well, so make a double batch.

Which of these holiday cookies are your favorite and what will you try new this year?

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