SAVEUR’s favorite holiday cookie recipes.
Glazed Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
Dough studded with dried cranberries and a drizzle of sweet, cinnamon-spiced glaze take oatmeal cookies from ordinary to perfect.
Cut into Christmas trees, wreaths, snowflakes, snowmen, candy canes, and every other holiday design imaginable, these are classic holiday treats in the U.S. The cookies themselves are pure buttery comfort, but when decorated with royal icing, sprinkles, dragees, and sanding sugar, they’re elevated to cultural icons, beloved by children and grown-ups alike. Plus, they’re almost as much fun to make as they are to eat.
Swedish Dream Cookies
Called dream cookies because of their airy texture, these Swedish holiday treats are meant to dissolve in your mouth when you eat them. See this Recipe
Basler Brunsli (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies)
Almonds, sugar, and chocolate are ground fine and bound together with egg whites to create a satisfyingly chewy texture, while cinnamon and cloves impart an unmistakable flavor of old-fashioned Christmas cheer. See the recipe for (Chocolate-Almond Spice Cookies) »
Caramel Crumb Bars
These shortbread bars, with their extravagant double-layered topping—rich caramel and a crumbly butter streusel—are the perfect dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Krumkakes (Norwegian Wafer Cookies)
These Norwegian wafer cookies, eaten across Scandinavia during the Christmas season, are light and crisp and perfumed with cardamom. They’re made like waffles on a special griddle that imprints an intricate design, and then they’re rolled and filled with whipped cream. See the recipe for Krumkakes (Norwegian Wafer Cookies) »
Tozzetti (Anise, Almond, and Hazelnut Biscotti)
These Roman-style biscotti are a favorite of Nick Malgieri’s for their distinctive anise flavor and atypical baking method: the loose batter is poured onto a baking sheet and baked like a cake. The result is light biscotti with large chunks of almonds and hazelnuts.
Claudia Fleming shared this recipe with us. She likes to serve these wafer-thin cookies alongside fresh apples or pears.
The combination of buttery shortbread, pistachio, rum, and chocolate is unbeatable. –Ben Mims, Assistant Kitchen Director See this Recipe
Swedish Heirloom Cookies
We got this recipe from Amanda Hesser, cofounder of Food 52, who says: “This is a pretty common cookie recipe—my mother made them with walnuts, and when she had them, black walnuts, which were insanely good. They last for months and are hard to screw up—the two prerequisites for holiday cookies.”
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
A blend of white rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch makes a perfect gluten-free base for these sweet and spicy cookies that have long been a holiday favorite.
Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents)
Akin to Mexican wedding cookies and Greek kourabiedes, these Austrian vanilla crescents made with ground walnuts and showered in confectioners’ sugar are served throughout central Europe during the weeks leading up to Christmas. See the recipe for Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Crescents) »
Simple, sweet butter cookies have a near-universal appeal. This rich, buttery dough makes a perfect base for your toppings or decorations of choice. See the recipe for Butter Cookies »
Dredging these melt-in-your-mouth cookies twice–first while still warm and again after they’ve cooled–insures a generous covering of powdery sugar.
Molded Ginger Cookies (Speculaas)
A specialty of the Netherlands and Belgium, these are cousins of gingerbread, only lighter and more delicately spiced. They’re also showstoppers, thanks to the intricately carved wooden molds used to make them, which form the cookies into bas-relief images of characters and symbols from stories about Saint Nicholas, or Sinter-klaas, whose name day, December 6, kicks off the Christmas season in that part of the world.
Chocolate Mint Krinkles
These addictive chocolate-mint holiday cookies have a soft, devil’s food cake-like texture.
Oatmeal Lace Cookies
Light and crisp oatmeal cookies make a pleasant alternative to heavier treats. Dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt for a decadent, lacy crunch.
Pine Nut Cookies (Pignoli)
These chewy almond meringue cookies, speckled with pine nuts, are a favorite holiday cookie of former SAVEUR managing editor Greg Ferro. This recipe is based off one by cookbook author Nick Malgieri.
Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
An adaptation of Basque Christmas cookies, these crumbly harinados are made with ground up pistachios and a blend of gluten-free flours.
Iconic star-shaped Italian cookies from our book Best Cookies are infused with kirsch and cream to add richness and depth.
This recipe is from Food Editor Ben Mims, and was adapted from an old Southern Living recipe. The combination of salty nuts, sweet, buttery shortbread, and dark chocolate will have anyone hooked.
This recipe is perfect for making several dough logs at the beginning of the holiday season and freezing them; slice off and bake as needed for last minute guests, cookie exchanges, and hostess gifts.
Gingerbread cookies like these are popular in Sweden during the holidays and can be served plain or decorated with icing. This recipe comes from the 80-year-old Vete-Katten bakery in Stockholm.