In years past, I’ve shared my rather insane and challenging list of hopeful cookies to make it out of the kitchen.

Sometimes it happens, other times it doesn’t. Most of the time it does. Baking around the holidays is incredibly nostalgic for me. I’m of the psychotic breed of women who will listen to the same song 547 times one day just because of the wave of nostalgia it brings.

And I’m well aware that once I’m no longer a childless and petless chick, things like this may not always happen. But for now, I adore spending 1-2 days straight baking Christmas cookies in my kitchen, blasting music and pretending like Mother Lovett is screaming at me over her shoulder while running into things, attempting to feed me frozen fudge wrapped in dirty aluminum foil that she discovered in the freezer dated “1989,” while also frosting cookies with buttercream left in her fridge from the previous Easter.

These first four cookies below have her name written all over them.

Mother Lovett’s Thumbprint Cookies: pretty! colorful! not my favorite, but a staple around here.

Peanut Butter Blossoms: my all time favorite holiday cookie… except, uh, I take off the Kiss. Not a fan. Riddle me that.

Butterball Cookies: Mother Lovett loved these. My mom loves these. I could leave ’em or take ’em. But they are quick and easy. Done.

Orange Cookies: I think we all know where I stand when it comes to fruit for dessert, but orange cookies are an exception.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies: these are new to the list this year… one of my favorites from 2011.

Hot Cocoa Cookies: I need a few heavy-on-the-chocolate cookies for me. These work.

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies: the day before we make these, I often just google the best recipe for them. Then we decorate them like 4-year olds.

Brown Butter Chocolate Stuffed Toffee Chip Cookies: not sure if these will be the exact cookies, but I def need some brown butter on the tray.

Peppermint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies: chocolate + mint must, must, must always make the list!

Fluffy Snickerdoodles: after last year, there is no way I can not include these. Love.

Soft Gingersnap Cookies: probably my favorite non-chocolate cookie ever. I usually make 3-4 batches through the season.

Cookie Dough Truffles: fun and different… they make the plate look pretty.

Oreo Balls: a classic!

Red Velvet Cake Balls: Mr. How Sweet’s favorite… a red velvet cake recipe + cream cheese frosting then dipped in chocolate.

4 Layer Cookies and Cream Bark: this was a HUGE hit last year.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bark: think I’m going to add some crushed cookies to this!

Cake Batter Chocolate Bark: my favorite of all time… can’t pass it up.

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels & Oreos: I glam these up with tons of sprinkles and stuff – they are pretty and fun when added to a plate.


Where ever we go throughout the holiday season, a cookie tray follows. It’s fun. Only second to a bottle of booze. Trust me.

I also have 3-4 new recipes in the works that I’ll share with you in the next few days/weeks. Depending on my storage space and appetite, they will probably also make the list.

And every year I get the question, “but what about the gingerbread?!” Hate to break it to you folks, but I don’t care for gingerbread. It’s okay, but I don’t love it enough (and neither does anyone I know) to push something else off the list. Maria’s soft gingersnaps listed above are better than any gingerbread I’ve ever tasted. Also missing is the common shortbread cookie, which if I’m being honest… is just a little too boring for me. Come on. It’s me. You know I need to trash things up with tons of chocolate and peanut butter and over-Americanize everything I can get my hands on. This list is perrrrfect.

Now if you could just come live with me? Yes… all of you.

K… what treats are you baking this year? Spill it.

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130 Responses to “What Are You Baking for the Holiday Season?”

  1. #
    Molly — November 28, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    Chocolate crinkle cookies are a staple! Some people call them snowball cookies. and Mexican wedding cookies


  2. #
    Nicole — November 28, 2011 @ 7:19 pm

    They’re not cookies, but reindeer poo rice krispie squares! My mom makes them with the holiday rice krispies and either nesquik or reese peese cereal because they look like reindeer poo lol


  3. #
    Marty — November 28, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

    I’m making several different flavors of homemade biscotti this year. I decided I’d bake something I could send home with my guests that join me for Christmas dinner to have as a breakfast treat. Maybe I’ll throw a jar and some homemade hot chocolate mix? I’m still throwing ideas around.


  4. #
    Bev Weidner — November 28, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    I’ll probably stick with cheese dip.

    I’m no fun am I?


    Shut me up.


  5. #
    Maria — November 28, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

    So many fabulous things to bake. I better get started. I am so glad you love my gingersnap cookies. They are my favorite too:)


  6. #
    Carrie — November 28, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    I have a very long list of christmas cookies/candies I want to make…. if I do half I can die happy. My Pinterest acount is full of ideas…. I want to try the ALL.

    A few are……….
    -Chocolate Caramel Cashew Cookies
    -Marzipan Thum Prints (Not a fan of the thumprints… maybe with the added almond I’ll like them?)
    -Peanut Butter Blossoms (I think everyone HAS to make them)
    -Chocolate M&M (A kid fave)
    -Egg Nog Fudge
    -Maple Pecan Fudge
    -Sea Salted Caramels


  7. #
    Jill Fellman — November 28, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

    Hi Jessica!

    Oh my stars! I am not the only one! Christmas songs over and over and baking over a couple of days!!! Yes!! Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it (nor would I!!).

    Thank you for your list! Your ideas and recipe’s are always appreciated!!!!! (and LOVED by anyone I bake for!!)

    I also make whole wheat snickerdoodles and eggnog snickerdoodles too!! I just made some mint choc chip cookies and they are gone!!

    Happy Cookie Baking and Merry Christmas!!!


  8. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — November 28, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

    Definitely ginger snaps, probably the traditional cut out cookies, and my favorite Cooking Light recipe for macadamia nut butter cookies. To die for.


  9. #
    Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife — November 28, 2011 @ 7:35 pm

    I made these last night and they were super tasty –
    I think they’ll make the holiday list for sure!


  10. #
    Bethany @ More Fruit Please — November 28, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

    I’m sure I’ll be using this list as reference throughout the holiday season!

    Growing up, I wasn’t a fan of Peanut Butter Blossoms because of the Hershey’s kiss in them. It just made the whole cookie awkward to eat for me. Last year, I ended up subbing out caramel Hershey’s kisses instead and loved the result! They were so much easier to bite into and truthfully, who doesn’t like caramel?


  11. #
    Luv What You Do — November 28, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    Cookies for sure!
    But also tons of candies and bark. I love the circle pretzals with the hershey kiss and M&M combo and so does everyone I give them to!


  12. #
    Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen — November 28, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

    Ooooh, those gingersnap cookies are actually on my to bake list for this Christmas! Glad to hear a positive review of them. My go-to around Christmas are frosted sugar cookies (I just scoop the dough and add a blob of icing) and double chocolate cookies with Christmas m&ms.


  13. #
    Geny — November 28, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    Definitely gingersnaps, my favorite, only my favorite recipe is not so much snap, it is just a big soft chewy perfect cookie! And peppermint fudge, 7 layer bars (hubby loves these), sugar cookie cutouts with the kids, white choc dipped pretzels, probably at least one batch or ten of caramel popcorn….not sure what else!


  14. #
    Charlotte — November 28, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    This year at Thanksgiving I made your fluffy Snickerdoodles as “Kiss cookies” since I have developed a peanut butter allergy! They were great!


  15. #
    Megan — November 28, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

    As of now- Peppermint Blossoms and peanutbutter blossoms and the stuffed chocolate chip cookies for my dad

    I may try my hand at Russian Tea Cakes and crackle cookies

    and maybe perfect my homemade oreos with a peppermint oreo


  16. #
    megan — November 28, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

    Love your list and, when I get some of my flour off my face, I’m going to check each one out!! I am also a crazy baker…it’s theraputic, nostalgic and in some odd way, weight control…I definitely get more joy out of the baking and decorating than I do of the eating! How.ever. I do have quite a few favorites that I bake: Grandma’s Cut Out recipe and her Date Cookies, Candy Cane Snowballs, French Pistachio Buttercream (, Almond Toberlone cookies, Frosted Butterscotch Pillows, plus about 12 other cookies and 4 candy type confections (M&M pretzels, Toffee, Capn Crunch Balls (totally ridiculously easy and rich), and Dark/Milk Chocolate Coconut drops…my kids eat cereal and peanut butter out of the jar during baking season, but it’s all worth it to have all those cookies through Christmas :) So glad you put this list out…I love reading what other make…I sometimes fell alone in my baking obsession since, in many homes, it’s a dying art…Merry Baking Season Jess!!


    • megan — November 28th, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

      …the new cookies this year were Butterscotch Eggnog Stars, with a dough that almost sent me over the brink…killed me. Next I’ll do Irish Cream Sandwich cookies.


  17. #
    Geny — November 28, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

    Okay, I just updated my list to add your snickerdoodles (might “try” them tonight) and the hot cocoa cookies…thanks for all the great recipes!!


  18. #
    Jessica — November 28, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    I am not a baker. In fact, I hate baking. My one exception is your banana chocolate chip cookie…that’s the only cookie I need in my life. Period.


  19. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — November 28, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    I was just looking over my posts and archives…and YOURS!! wondering what I want to make Most. I mean, do I really need to make 12 recipes that make 2-3 dozen cookies, each? Probably not, but it’s fun :)

    I made Snickerdoodles recently. Not your recipe and they did not turn out puffy. I should probably just follow your recipe but I always feel compelled to re-invent the wheel. lol

    And Maria’s soft gingersnaps have been on my to-make list for a year. Same w/ her pumpkin version. Must get to work!


  20. #
    Josane W. — November 28, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

    Making Creamy Buttermilk Pralines, Fantasy Fudge, Pumpkin Fudge, Peanut Brittle, and Chocolate Babka all for a violet club Christmas luncheon this Saturday. I’m also making Cranberry Tea and Spicey Lemon Apple Cider for the members who come early to decorate the tables. I’m definitely an “over kill” type cook especially during the holidays.


  21. #
    Jen of My Tiny Oven — November 28, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

    My favourite part of Chrismtas is all the baking, I did butter tarts, mincemeat tarts and ginger krinkle cookies on the weekend! I still have shortbread, only at christmas brownies, sugar cookies, peanut butter balls, almond bark and hello dollie squares to do… and who knows what else, and that is the the beginning!
    Your list looks GOOD, I might need to add a few of those to mine!


  22. #
    Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn — November 28, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    Hmm, think you’ve got enough desserts on that list?


  23. #
    Jolene ( — November 28, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

    That is quite the list!! I have to start pulling my list together – you have given me many great ideas.


  24. #
    Kath — November 28, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    Boy, you really make a LOT of cookies, Jessica! And they all sound fantastic! Snickerdoodles is a new love of mine, too.

    I usually make a couple of kinds of cookies for Christmas, but the recipe I always makes is an oldie for the ’60s, Toffee Squares. They’re so easy, and so good. My mom made them every year, and I’ve continued. Santa always eats ALL of the ones we leave for him, too! ;)


  25. #
    Zesty Cook — November 28, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

    I know this sounds boring, but I’m a big fan of traditional sugar cookies for the holidays. Not only are they tasty, but it’s a fun family event to decorate them! That said, your ginger snap cookies do look delicious, so maybe we’ll add that to the dessert menu this year :)


  26. #
    Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile — November 28, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

    Can you make alllll of these for me? I’ll pay you. Haha. They all look amazing i’ll need to try some of those bark recipes, peppermint, and the gingersnap ones!


  27. #
    Maria @ Orchard Bloom — November 28, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

    I’m gearing up for some biscotti!


  28. #
    Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen — November 28, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

    Why are you not my neighbor? I look forward to buckeyes and my mom’s pecan thumbprints – she is so anti-fruit in her dessert that instead of filling the thumbprint with jam she uses a blob of red or green icing. This year I want to experiment a bit and do some sort of chocolate ginger cookie and find a way to mix orange and pomegranate.


  29. #
    Sarah@studiofood — November 28, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    Nooooo! I thought I had my Christmas baking all planned out. And now YOU have to come along and give me 50000 new ideas. This will require some serious reorganisation.


  30. #
    Lauren — November 28, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

    7 layer bars for sure….
    .truffles-both with and without Baileys.
    I’m also doing a rosemary shortbread cookie that my mom has conned me into making for all of her co-workers-I don’t typically like shortbread but these are outstanding.
    French macaroons with a maple butter cream.
    Poppyseed rolls-total classic in my house!
    And chocolate chip cookies to round out the bunch.


  31. #
    Sol — November 28, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

    Dark chocolate strawberry mascarpone cookies!


  32. #
    Kelsey — November 28, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    I’m most excited about my mom’s Cloud-Topped Peanut Butter Fudge, but I’m also excited to try and make caramel apple cider cookies. Mmmmm….


  33. #
    Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life — November 28, 2011 @ 9:22 pm

    I haven’t planned on what I’m going to bake this year. I’ll probably keep it toned down this year and just do a few batches of cookies. I love simple sugar cookies and ginger cookies the best during the holiday season. If I bake too much, it all ends up in the trash so I’m going to try and simplify this holiday!


  34. #
    allison @ thesundayflog — November 28, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

    oh let’s see. i love holiday baking. my mom makes anywhere from 20-30 different kinds of cookies each yea, and this year im contributing pumpkin chocolate chip and iced sugar cookies (no one really eats them…they are just to add pretty color to the trays haha). oh and im also making your chewy lemon cookies because i cant get them out of my mind!!!

    ps – i HATE with a fiery passion peanut butter blossoms. no clue why…


  35. #
    naomi — November 28, 2011 @ 9:36 pm

    Love this short list of cookies and more!


  36. #
    Sarah — November 28, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

    My mom’s gingerbread recipe is actually one of my favorite cookies. We decorate them with sprinkles and red hots and they stay super soft and amazing for several weeks! I’ll definitely be making those and peppermint candy cane cookies. Can’t wait to get started!


  37. #
    Lisa @ Dishes of Mrs. Fish — November 28, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

    My list usually is determined by the number of snow days I have before Christmas!
    Typically it includes:
    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
    Cake Batter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Chocolate Chip Cookie Treasures
    Dark Chocolate No Bakes
    Sprinkle Cookies

    My family has stopped buying gifts for each other, so I’m always looking for cookies to add to my list. Can’t wait to try some from this list!


  38. #
    SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen — November 28, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

    Your list is sure mouth-watering!

    You should try these shortbreads, though – Dark Chocolate Cherry. Oh, my!

    We also make my mom’s famous amaretto fudge .. it’s amazing.

    The other great gift-giving treat are mint oreo cookie drops. A great no-bake cookie, so easy to make, and wonderful to share.


  39. #
    Ashley — November 28, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

    thimble cookies always make an appearance at xmas family gatherings! they are delicious! its sort of like a shortbread cookie with jam in the middle and rolled in crushed walnuts. simply amazing, and i’ve become a complete addict.


  40. #
    mollie — November 28, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

    My mom and I are trading out out traditional weekend of holiday baking for a weekend up to mall of America in Minneapolis! I think ill be making a few things on my own tho. Prep balls and almond bark pretzels are essential!! I think ik gonna try some cake balls and your cake batter bark


    • mollie — November 28th, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

      Darn autocorrect. Meant oreo balls.


  41. #
    Bethany @ Accidental Intentions — November 28, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    My mom discovered? Invented? a vanilla bean sugar cookie recipe a few weeks ago, and it was officially deemed Good Enough to Send to the Relatives by all involved. Mmm. We also usually make bark, those pretzels with Hershey kisses in the middle, and a Dutch pastry called banket (aka THE BEST PART ABOTU BEING DUTCH).


  42. #
    Cait's Plate — November 28, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

    Gah!! I already have such a long cookie list and now I need to add all of these!


  43. #
    Cinnamon — November 28, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

    Like you, we always arrive places with some form of booze on hand, be it in a bottle, or baked in a cake. My favorite old time boozy cookie is the Bourbon Balls recipe that can be found in The Joy of Cooking cook book. (I’m equally sure you could google bourbon balls and find a recipe.) The secret to these is letting them sit for a day before you eat them so they get good and pickled. :)


    • Jessica — November 28th, 2011 @ 10:18 pm

      My aunt makes those! So good.


  44. #
    Caroline — November 28, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

    I always make my mom’s sugar cookie recipe and biscotti I started making about 4 years ago (going to try to tweak it this year to make it as close to the carmel macchiato biscotti from Starbucks as I can get it…love that stuff!) I am also going to attempt the tiramisu cake that was in the latest Southern Living for something different!


  45. #
    Michelle — November 28, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

    White chocolate cranberry cookies! I am NOT a baker by ANY means and people have started requesting them from me. Blows my mind!


  46. #
    Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) — November 28, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

    Brown butter chocolate stuffed toffee cookies?! I need those. Personally, I’m making (probably) Italian pizelles, biscotti, your hot cocoa cookies (thank you for that), and the stinkin’ pumpkin roll I didn’t have time to make for Thanksgiving. Please note there’s only going to be like 7 people max at this meal.


  47. #
    Jackie Grandy — November 28, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

    Those chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies look so good! I love how you photographed them with the mug of milk,

    I am not a gingerbread fan either, to bland. I am a chocolate girl, especially dark chocolate. I just made up a batch of sinful black forest cookies. They are made with dark chocolate & dark chocolate chips. Just make sure you have a large glass of milk around as they are rich.

    I’m also making dark chocolate bark with coconut, one with almonds and a dark chocolate peppermint bark. Maybe to much chocolate? Naaaaa!


  48. #
    Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — November 28, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

    Thank you!!!! This list is exactly what I wanted! I was getting so overwhelmed trying to think of alllll the cookies I want to make for Christmas and this list really has set some order in my mind. Bahahahaha.


    • Yammie @ Yammie's Noshery — November 28th, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

      P.s. speaking of chocolate covered oreos, do you ever get those white fudge oreos? For some retarded reason they’re seasonal. I think about them every day of my life.


  49. #
    Carolyn — November 28, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    Grandma Merchant choc chips cookies!!!


  50. #
    Carolyn — November 28, 2011 @ 10:32 pm

    Grandma Merchant choc chip cookies!!!


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