So. Last evening I sat in line, in my car, at the Starbucks drive-thru for 25 minutes (because I’m a lazy stereotype) to get a peppermint mocha that I would eventually only drink half of because I hate coffee. And all I could think about? Cookies.

It’s totally time for cooooooookies!

I’m a firm believer that you should never show up anywhere empty handed, and during the holidays homemade tins or trays of cookies are the biggest hit. Mother Lovett used to do it and even when her chocolate walnut fudge would be covered in her own fingerprints, people would still get excited. Sometimes we pair a little cookie tray with a bottle of wine or something, but wine these days is almost expected and occasionally overdone. (Note: I don’t think wine can ever be overdone, so if you come visit me please bring boatloads.)

But really, is there any other time of the year when it’s appropriate to show up on someone’s doorstep with a huge snowman plate covered in like fourteen different kinds of cookies? I think not. I mean, if someone did that to me in say, August, I’d be elated, but it just isn’t happening.

So I bake. Lots. I also find baking cookies for the holidays totally therapeutic. It’s not *work* for me, since I don’t have to make sure I do it in natural light then spend 35 minutes trying to set three cookies on top of each other which inevitably keep tumbling down and then take pictures like a freak to share with my invisible internet friends. No. Baking for holidays can be done in the early morning, late at night, in the rain and with no cameras allowed. I live for it. I blast Christmas music. I baked with Mother Lovett for years and I guess in a way, this is my tribute to her.

Below is what I plan on baking, or shall I say, what I desperately want to bake if I have the time. I’ve shared this list every year and I must say, last year I only got through a little more than half. I’m slightly ambitious. Oh well.

What are you baking? Tell me! Leave links! Share! Better yet, overshare! Use sentences with lots of exclamation points! I love some new (additional?) ideas.

[Clearly. It’s like I have all the time in the world on my hands or something. Oye. ]

brown butter oatmeal chunk cookies: not only will I make these, but I will make some traditional chocolate chips as well… with brown butter. Do it.

giant m&m cookies: my ALL TIME FAVORITE cookie recipe that is the base for every cookie I make now. add some red + green candies and you’re golden.

cake batter chocolate bark: so fun.

peanut butter drizzled chewy milk chocolate cookies: for the pb-chocolate lover in you.

soft gingersnap cookies: not a huge fan of gingerbread, but a huge fan of these. the last three years I’ve QUADRUPLED the recipe. I don’t love gingerbread, gingersnap or anything gingery, but I love these and so does everyone else. They are always a hit.

baklava: last year was my first year trying my hand at this and it’s shockingly somewhat simple. makes a ton.

fluffy snickerdoodles: another fave. forever.

snickerchip doodles: like snickerdoodles… on drugs.

perfect peanut butter blossoms: classssssic. I devour these first.

mocha coconut fudge: a cool twist on something traditionally plain.

butterball cookies: a Mother Lovett staple.

mother lovett’s orange cookies: ditto to the above.

holiday thumbprints: ditto again. sort of like a nostalgia thing.

chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies: similar to the first cookie above, but chewy.

oreo balls! so simple, such a staple. people freak.

chocolate fudge s’mores thumbprints: um, omg. I love these.

red velvet marshmallow thumbprints: those red velvet lover’s lose their mind over these.

gooey chocolate coconut truffles: the easiest thing, like, ever.

coconut oil chocolate chip cookies: hello coconut obsession

crazy confetti compost cookies: red + green sprinkles? sign me up.


Finally, remember when my friend Maria made a cookie cookbook? Well. She has a brand new holiday cookie book with 10 new recipes, and if you didn’t know, she is THEE cookie queen. Best cookie recipes ever. I think this book would make the coolest gift for a daughter or niece or little chick that loves to bake. Let’s just say that if I received this as a tween… I would’ve went nuts.

Uh. Yeah. So have I completely lost my mind? Of course. But we already knew that. Oh well.

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99 Responses to “What Are You Baking For The Holiday Season?”

  1. #
    Liz — November 24, 2012 @ 7:51 am

    I need to try more of your recipes, as highly evidenced by this list of scrumptious desserts.


  2. #
    Heather@SugarDish(Me) — November 24, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    This is sooooo wonderful!
    I find baking to be THE MOST therapeutic thing ever. Baking + wine = even better.
    I never ever show up empty handed- I hate that!! And now I will never have to. Thanks!


  3. #
    Heidi — November 24, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    You need to make these. It is my most requested treat. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Just make these. You won’t regret it and it’s super easy.


  4. #
    Jess — November 24, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    Ugh, I LOVE holiday baking SO MUCH! Cannot wait every year for this to come around! My absolute must haves are:

    Candy Cane Snowballs These are so good, topped with crushed candy canes on in the inside, and a drizzle of icing.

    Jam Thumbprint cookies These have a buttery, delicious base cookie, and I love picking new kinds of jam to try it with. Current favorite is probably apricot though (so classic).

    So Good Brownies I found this recipe in an issue of Southern Living one year and fell in love with it. I think its nice to cut up bite size chunks of brownie and add them to a cookie platter. Check out all the variations at the bottom!

    And finally, my hands down FAVORITE Christmas cookie:

    Orange Infused Snowball cookies So fresh tasting, these are snowball cookies with a hint of orange that are rolled in a mixture of granulated sugar and orange zest before baking. The sugar gives them that sparkly snow quality that I just love.


  5. #
    Kristin — November 24, 2012 @ 9:10 am

    I my favorites are a brown sugar frosted cookie with a pecan on top and a butterscotch slice-and-bake cookie that freezes in a log REALLY well and I can just pull out, slice the cookies, and bake fresh when I want/need them. They always get the most compliments and recipe requests when I give them away. This isn’t my website, but this is the recipe I use – it came out of an Everyday Good magazine.


    • Kristin — November 24th, 2012 @ 9:11 am

      Everyday FOOD – stupid auto-correct.


  6. #
    Rose — November 24, 2012 @ 9:33 am

    I made your fluffy snicker doodles for Hanukkah last year, and they were an unbelievable hit!! I plan on making them again, and maybe for my man’s fam Christmas.. his fam is Filled with seasoned bakers, so I’m always hesitant to bring anything, but I think your cookies could stand the test! Oh and the chewy oatmeal cookies are amazing.. I might do those too ;) Also, I made sugar cookie blossoms using the crunchy candy cane Hershey’s kisses (whites chocolate with crunchy peppermint pits omgsogood) that found on the Hershey’s website and they were also unreal.. higggghhhly recommend! Love the cookies round-up!!


  7. #
    Maria — November 24, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    YAY for COOKIES! I LOVE this time of year! Thanks for the shout out on the soft gingersnaps-they are the best and I am so glad you like them! And thanks for the cookbook love! The book goes on sale Monday-there will be a very special sale too for Cyber Monday! Yahoo!

    Here are a few of my favorites from our blog!
    Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies:
    Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies:
    Lime Coconut Snowballs:

    Happy Cookie Baking! Wish we could bake together! xoxo


  8. #
    Alicia Greenrabbit — November 24, 2012 @ 10:09 am

    Every 2 weekend of December , I go to a cookie swap! Lots of good food,wine and COOKIES! They change the rules every year as to what you can bring ,so I look through my collection of cookie books. I have one that is as old as me ,but has the best recipes. This year I want to make a filled cookie ,kinda like an Oreo ,but as if I was competing on Chopped with off the wall ingredients. Do you have any ideas?


    • Sara — November 24th, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

      Bon Appetit has an amazing recipe for German Chocolate whoopsie pies. They’re easy to make but the recipe doesn’t make a lot. But they.are.amazing. I had people who hate coconut eating them. I don’t have a link on my phone, but if you go to and search they’ll come up!


      • Alicia Greenrabbit — November 24th, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

        Ooh thank you. Those sound perfect.

  9. #
    Amy @ Croquet & Cocktails — November 24, 2012 @ 10:14 am

    I love baking at the holidays!!! So excited to start. My holiday list always includes: spritz cookies, cream cheese fudge, Chen mix, caramel heavenlies (dubbed “s’mores on crack” by my former students,) etc, etc, etc. I do have to tell you that because of you I browned butter for cookies. I made browned butter oatmeal dark chocolate chunk cookies. Yum. Decadent and amazing. I’ll be making more this week. :) I’m also going to try browned butter in my spritz cookies. You’ve created a monster. Thank you.


  10. #
    Kelly — November 24, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    You have NOT lost your mind… I start dreaming of cookies as soon as Thanksgiving hits. On my must-make list- my mom’s chocolate chip, cutout sugar cookies, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, gooey butter (which contain no actual butter!), biscotti, chocolate mint chip… oh the list goes on! My husband thinks I’m crazy for buying as much butter, margarine, flour, and sugar as I did last week- it was on such good sales that I had to stock up!!


  11. #
    the 3volution of j3nn — November 24, 2012 @ 10:17 am

    Yes, the baking bug has bitten me. I want to bake everything. Cookies, pies, cakes. Bake ALL the things!!


  12. #
    Heather @ Bake, Run, Live — November 24, 2012 @ 10:36 am

    I have my standard 12 kinds of cookies that I make every year for Christmas. Then, starting December 1st, I will be sharing 12 days of Christmas cookies…which are totally different then the 12 I will already be making! So yes- I LOVE making cookies!!!


  13. #
    Andrea B — November 24, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    Sesame coconut cookies…! Neopolitan cookies – three layers, all delish. Cherry chocolate kiss cookies. So pretty, sooooo good!


  14. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — November 24, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    Now you put me in the mood to make cookies! I told myself no cookies this holiday season and that was yesterday! Guess I’m making cookies today! Now to see what recipe of yours I can pick from. I’m think Mother Lovette’s Butter Balls! Enjoy your weekend!


  15. #
    Rebecca — November 24, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    yum, your list looks amazing! Baking is totally my therapy…plus, you know, there’s the whole EATING what you’ve baked, which is another kind of therapy. Ha. This is perfect timing, too, because I’ve spent the last two days arguing with my husband that Christmas season DOES begin the day after Thanksgiving, and it’s not my fault that Thanksgiving came early this year. Maybe some of these cookies will change his mind. =)


  16. #
    Jessica — November 24, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Jessica!!! We are *SO* on the same wavelength, because last night, I sat down and wrote my Christmas Cookie List, and List of Lucky Recipients!!!! Christmas Cookie Baking Season is THE BEST…!!!!!!!! :)!!! I agree with many of your choices, and also would throw in Pecan Tassies and MIllionaires Shortbread, people go LE CRAZY for em. Yay! So exCITEEEEEDDDD!!!!


  17. #
    Kath — November 24, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Boy, Jessica, you make a lot of fabulous-sounding cookies! We have a couple that are required around here.

    It would not be Christmas without Toffee Squares! They’ve been part of my family’s Christmas since the ’60s.

    The other favorite is a terrific sugar cookie, aka Million Dollar Cookies. Pure sugary goodness!

    Happy Holiday Baking ! :)


    • Leslie — November 25th, 2012 @ 10:44 am

      “It would not be Christmas without Toffee Squares!” This is the same in our family!!!


  18. #
    Leah Baker — November 24, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    I. Live. For. Christmas. Cookies.
    Seriously I bake a bunch of different ones, some new every year, and I love it. It IS therapeutic!!
    I’m making snowflake sugar cookies with almond royal icing! Gingerbread cookies with orange icing! I’m so excited to make your peanutbutter blossoms for the first time!! Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons mmm. And my favorite, white chocolate candy cane cookies. Basic cookie recipe with white chocolate chips and crushed up candy cane. It’s like candy and cookie all in one and so delicious.


  19. #
    Mandie @ Oh So Decadent — November 24, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    Never am I more excited for the Christmas season when everyone starts baking cookies. I will gladly bake all the cookies in the world and deliver them to you on a Santa tray!


  20. #
    MrsNumbles — November 24, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

    I love Christmas cookie baking! It takes me a good two months to narrow down which recipes to use, and I only make one or two repeats a year – finding new recipes is too much fun!

    This year it’s Carole Walter’s Chocolate Meringue Gondolas(the repeat), also her poppyseed thumbrints(I’ll be adding lemon zest to these just because).

    Then there are Annie’s Chocolate-dipped Coconut Shortbread:

    Cardamom and Lemon Stamped Cookies from the Hairy Bikers here in the UK:

    And my husband loving demanded a homemade version of Danish Butter Cookies, so I found this one(I can’t wait to see how these turn out):

    I’ll be bookmarking all of the recipes everyone shares – yay for new recipes!!


  21. #
    Karen — November 24, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    Bookmarking this! Love to bake for Christmas… One of my favorites are Mexican wedding cookies. So buttery and yummy :)


  22. #
    Mary B — November 24, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    Russian Tea Cakes (something like and and Melting Moments (something like are a must. Damn Melting Moments – can’t eat just one.


  23. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — November 24, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    Thanks for your holiday roundup and I can relate to baking and/or holiday baking or cooking that you do ‘just for you’ or just for the family vs. that which you know is going to be photographed and boy can I relate to the 35 mins of setup only to have it all fall down on top of itself part. Lol

    Love your list and what you plan to make – and also saw you contribute to Maria’s new book. Nice!


  24. #
    Ala — November 24, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

    Lovin’ the list and the holiday bliss! Just the three (okay, I started with one–then added another! And another! With exclamations!) that absolutely must be shared:

    Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars:

    Saltine Toffee Cookies:

    Butter Brickle Frozen Delight:

    These recipes rock. Your recipes rock. Excitement rocks. Holidays rock. This is just one rockin’ ambitious post, girl!


  25. #
    Kate Mullaney — November 24, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    I made chai snickerdoodles last night ( They turned out SO AMAZING and buttery….nom. :-) Perfect food for decorating the Christmas tree and listening to Christmas music!


  26. #
    Christie — November 24, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

    You’re the devil… and I LOVE YOU!

    I think I am going to make those chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies tonight. What is the top picture- the first recipe listed?


    • Jessica — November 24th, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

      the brown butter oatmeal cookies!


  27. #
    Fi Evans — November 24, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree, cooking for the holidays is so much fun. It’s the perfect excuse! I’m definitely going to try some of your recipes above I think first up it’ll be the giant m&m cookies and cake batter chocolate bark. But I also want to make Christmas pudding whoopie pies ( and reindeer and Christmas tree cupcakes. Oh I can hardly wait!


  28. #
    Untwisted — November 24, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    I LOVE Christmas baking season! Here are a few of my favorites:
    Split levels—chocolate, cream cheese, and almond. It takes all my strength not to eat it all by the spoonful before it’s assembled.
    Nanaimo bars (this year I’m on a mission to find the proper Canadian custard):
    Mexican Wedding cakes (Love them, even though I always seem to inhale a good amount of powdered sugar when eating)
    Christmas Stolen (not a cookie, but sweet and bready, and totally worth the effort):


  29. #
    Esther — November 24, 2012 @ 4:34 pm

    Which are the cookies in the top picture? The brown butter oatmeal chunk ones?


    • Jessica — November 24th, 2012 @ 7:44 pm



  30. #
    kim — November 24, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

    I love homemade cookies. I also believe cookies have no business being soft. Real cookies are crispy. Very few people agree with me but they all eat my cookies. I found this recipe last year and it was a huge hit with me! This is an adult cookie with pairs wonderfully with a glass of Merlot. I truly love the idea of adult cookies.


    • kim — November 24th, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

      cookie WHICH pairs wonderfully… I hate typos.


  31. #
    Ross @ TheFaceBaby — November 24, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

    SnickerCHIP doodles?!? If any cookie deserves to be on drugs, it’s the snickerdoodle, for sure.

    And Oreo balls … the best diet ruiners I’ve ever encountered.

    Do you ever make pizzelles? I found an adult pizzelle recipe (minus the anise) that sounds dangerously delicious. I’d be too afraid of Mo and Bubs getting accidentally shmammered to make them while I’m home, but maybe I’ll make a batch to keep out here in Cali:

    1 1/2 cups butter, softened
    1 cup margarine, softened
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 pound light brown sugar
    6 eggs, separated
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon whiskey, rum and vanilla
    9 to 10 cups flour


  32. #
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — November 24, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    I love holiday baking too. My salted dulce de leche macaroons are on top of my list this year!


  33. #
    Wallis — November 24, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

    i need a recipe for german chocolate cake! ideas??


  34. #
    Kelly — November 24, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

    As I sit here waiting for my first attempt at homemade Butterfingers to cool, I haven’t decided yet what I’m making (except snickerdoodles). But here’s a list of treats that are often on the list:


  35. #
    Sharon — November 24, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

    Do you have any tips for freezing cookies? I like to make a wide variety of cookies and I usually bake them, cool and then freezer in Ziploc bags. I was wondering if there is something better.


    • Jessica — November 24th, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

      haha I get this question every year and I’m going to give you my embarrassing answer because this is what my grandma did. I don’t have enough freezer space to store this amount og cookies, so I bake them and once they are cooled or set, layer them in between plastic wrap and foil then place them stacked in sealed large tupperware containers and keep them in the garage since I live in PA and it gets cold. It’s what we’ve always done and they stay perfect!

      But I think that your ziploc bag idea is probably the best way to go!


      • Amy — November 24th, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

        You shouldn’t be embarrassed. Everyone I know in Wisconsin stores in their garage or breezeway too.

  36. #
    Mariah — November 24, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

    I’ll definitely make my great gtreat aunt didi’s orange cookies, and my grandma’s caramels, along with some chocolate caramels from Joy of Cooking that taste like tootsie rolls. I’ll probably make truffles, or at least hot-chocolate-on-a-stick. And sugar cookie cutouts. And more caramels. Maybe even dip the caramels in chocolate. Maybe cake pops (red velvet – NOM!). That’s my short list ;)


  37. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — November 24, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    Oh boy. My brain is seriously overloading right now. YUMMMM!


  38. #
    Monica — November 24, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

    I am so happy it’s holiday (i.e., baking) time! I have some favorites I plan to make too. I love Martha Stewart’s chocolate gingerbread cookies – soft, chewy, fresh ginger, spicy but not too much and chocolate! For some reason, I only make it at Christmas. Also love Italian tri-color cookies (takes forever but utterly divine), crinkles, good old-fashioned sugar cookies, and making truffles and skillet toffee. I have a looong list of cookies and cakes I’d like to attempt but Christmas is such a time for favorites and tradition! Happy holidays to everyone! Enjoy those cookies!


  39. #
    Monica — November 24, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    Hi again Jessica – could you tell me what kind/brand of chocolate chunks you use for your cookies? Thank you!


  40. #
    luv what you do — November 24, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    That is an awesome list! I am already thinking about what I want to make and Oreo balls will make the list. My friend just found me Gingerbread Oreos and I think they would be perfect for that. I am also thinking that I have to make more of this cookie bark because it was addicting!


  41. #
    carmella — November 24, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

    an old italian recipe — anise dough swirled with cinnamon sugar. and the recipe makes enough so feed an army!


  42. #
    Amber — November 24, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

    I love Christmas baking! Not so much with my boys, although we do make the obligatory batch of ugly cut-out sugar cookies. I will definately be baking up soft gingerbread cookies for my husband, sugar cookies, Paula Deen’s lemon cooler cookies for me, some fudge, buckeyes, and probably some kind of magic cookie bar. Oh, and those magically delicous no bake chocolate cookies with the oatmeal in them – I can’t remember what they’re called Now that I’ve seen your list I’ll have to experiment with a couple of those too!


  43. #
    Tiffany W. — November 24, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

    Definitely s’mores thumbprints here! I’ve been dreaming of them since last year. Also classic butter cookies & chocolate chocolate chip cookies. That’s what’s decided so far, I know there will be more.


  44. #
    Amy — November 24, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

    You could just do a peppermint hot chocolate instead , no?


  45. #
    Katie — November 25, 2012 @ 12:15 am

    Pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing? Martha Stewart = Genius

    I made these recenly and needless to say, they were breakfast and lunch (could have been dinner, but it only makes about 6 dozen :P )


  46. #
    Woodycrest Toftrees — November 25, 2012 @ 12:56 am

    My sister recently got married and I was left with the daunting task of fullfilling a drunken promise at her engagement party to make cannolis for her wedding. As it turns out, she decided to have close to 300 people and chose the week before to remind me. So I whipped up a fake cannoli that went over huge at the reception, and now I’ve been drafted to recreate them for Christmas.

    I took my pizzelle recipe and rather than using the basic anis extract, substituted a mixture of vanilla and hazelnut extracts. As soon as the pizzelles came out of the iron, I wrapped them loosly around clothes pins wrapped in foil and let them cool. Once cool, I removed the clothes pins, dipped the ends in a sweet ganache, and filled them with icing.

    The icing was a homemade italian recipe (grandmas) that results in a fluffy whipped cream texture, to which I folded in Nutella- playing up on the chocolate hazelnut theme. A half-assed attempt that hit it big.


  47. #
    Jackie — November 25, 2012 @ 1:43 am

    What is pic #2?! My mouth is watering just looking at it!!


  48. #
    Hani Lutfi — November 25, 2012 @ 4:22 am

    This sounds amazing! I don’t celebrate Christmas but it definitely my favourite time of the year. All the sales and the food and the coffee. Christmas stuff :3


  49. #
    Cecilie — November 25, 2012 @ 6:25 am

    Last year my sister, my sister-in-law and I baked 12 different types of cookies. Most of them traditional Danish Christmas cookies with silly names like Finnish bread and Brown cookies


  50. #
    Debbie Cantales — November 25, 2012 @ 7:43 am

    My mom’s almond paste cookies are a must for my platter! Thanks for asking us to leave a comment and include a link. No one should be without this recipe :o)



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