As long as Rudolph’s nose is red and wintry wonderlands are white, the holidays and cookies will go hand in hand (or, preferably, in both hands). Each winter, we bake them, decorate them, swap them, and, of course, eat them. But if you’re looking to jazz up your dessert offerings this season, keep reading for the ultimate take on creating the most beautiful version of these treats. There is something for everyone and every event (and every baking level) — including a gingerbread house that will knock ugly sweaters off.

Millennial Pink Ornament Cookies
Gingerbread Cookies
Chocolate Cookies
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Millennial Pink Ornament Cookies

Just because you're new to the baking game, doesn't mean you can't wow in the cookie swap. Cut out these simple ornament shapes, and replace those standard reds and greens with of-the-moment millennial pink icing and decoration.

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

white compound chocolate or candy melts

pink oil-based food coloring

pink and white hard candy or candy canes (to crush)

pink or white ribbons/string

cookie cutters: ornaments

Instructions:

1. Bake basic sugar cookie recipe, and cool for 30 minutes.

2. Crush candy for decoration.

3. Dip cookies into various shades of melted pink chocolate. You can dip multiple layers to create an ombre effect.

4. Sprinkle with crushed candy.

5. Leave to dry completely.

6. Attach ribbons/string to cookies.


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Ready to step it up a bit? Grab a standard gingerbread-man cutter, and invert these guys to create reindeer — voila! Rudolph’s red nose gets a sleek upgrade thanks to melted candies.

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

royal icing colored with light brown, dark brown, and black food coloring (prepped beforehand)

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

hard red candy: Jolly Ranchers

cookie cutters: gingerbread-man cutter and small circle tip

Instructions:

1. Crush candies.

2. Roll out basic sugar cookie dough and cut out shapes using gingerbread man cutter.

3. Chill in freezer for 15 minutes.

4. Bake for approximately 10 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and fill nose holes with crushed hard candy.

6. Bake for an extra few minutes (until candy has melted).

7. Cool cookies for 30 minutes minimum.

8. Pipe on details.

9. Leave to dry completely.

NEXT LEVEL

Holiday Llama Sugar Cookies


Now things get a bit more challenging and a lot more adorable. Decked out in scarves, hats, and holiday decor, these almost too-cute-to-eat cookies will have you singing fa-la-la-la-llama.

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

royal icing

gel food coloring (red, green, tan, yellow, blue, black) — or small Christmas-light sprinkles, if available

Christmas-themed sprinkles (stars and holly)

piping tips (#24 Wilton tip)

cookie cutters: llama, mini triangle

Instructions:

1. Roll out basic sugar cookie dough and cut out shapes using llama cutter. For some of the cookies, cut out tiny holiday hats for your llamas.

2. Bake and cool for 30 minutes minimum.

3. Make and prepare royal icing, or prep your store-bought icing with all colors. Make sure your icing is a flooding consistency.

4. Ice the first layer (tan color).

5. Dry for 30 minutes.

6. Ice second layer (face white/lighter tan).

7. Dry for 30 minutes.

8. Ice third layers (red + green).

9. Dry for 30 minutes.

10. Add final icing details (face etc.) and additional sprinkle decorations.

11. Leave to dry completely.

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Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread is an absolute holiday must. No holiday cookie swap is complete without these golden-brown nibbles. But when it comes to this spicy cookie, gingerbread men and women are a little too ordinary; we prefer ours in the shape of pugly sweaters and mid-century bungalows.


COOKIE NEWBIE + A LITTLE TRICKY

Snuggly and Pugly Gingerbread Sweaters


Who says you can’t have your ugly sweater and eat it too? Start with these simply decorated sweaters to wow that picky cookie party crowd. Or, kick your sweater cookies up a notch by sketching out adorable furry icing friends, and attach them to the front of your sweater creations.

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

fondant: red, green, and white (used for the base)

royal icing: variety of colors/consistencies (used for animal decorations)

sweater cookie cutter

Instructions:

1. Make icing decorations.

2. Dry decorations overnight.

3. Cut out cookies using sweater cookie cutters and bake.

4. Cool for 30 minutes minimum.

5. Add fondant base layer.

6. Add sweater decoration (pipe on).

7. Dry decoration for 1-2 hours.

8. Add on pre-made royal icing decorations — stick on with royal icing.

9. Add final touches.

10. Leave to dry completely.

NEXT LEVEL

Palm Springs Gingerbread House


Sure, anyone can make the standard gingerbread house, but if you're looking for a real challenge, you'll love our Palm Springs variety. Mid-century design enthusiasts — and edible house aficionados — will salivate at this reimagined version of the classic gingerbread construction.

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

royal icing (stiff + flooding consistency)

fondant (various colors)

gel food coloring

cookies (pre-baked): cacti, pool, etc.

clear piping gel

compound white chocolate (or white candy melts)

oil-based green food coloring

pastel Jordan almonds

green sprinkles (for grass) — enough to fill base

white chocolate blocks (steps)

small chocolate pebbles (if possible) — can be replaced with crushed cookies for dirt/chocolate

green taffy candy (palm tree leaves)

long rolled wafer biscuit (palm tree)

foam core base (15 x 18 inches)

Instructions:

1. Make gingerbread dough.

2. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

3. Make pool and cactus cookie decorations.

4. Crush cookies for dirt.

5. Make pool toys from fondant and dry.

6. Preheat oven, and roll out dough.

7. Cut out cookies according to templated shapes and bake.

8. Cool cookies for 30 minutes minimum.

9. Make royal icing or prep store-bought royal icing with desired colors.

10. Construct gingerbread house onto board using royal icing as the mortar between the pieces.

11. Decorate house with fondant/royal icing.

12. Finish with surrounding decorations (pool, driveway, palm trees, plants, grass).

13. Leave to dry completely.

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Chocolate Cookies

You may not think of chocolate as one of the most traditional holiday flavors, but let's be real. We all know a chocoholic who appreciates some cocoa with their season's greetings. Whether you like your chocolate gooey, crunchy, or with a dash of mint, feast your eyes and tastebuds on these three options.

COOKIE NEWBIE

Pastel Chocolate Trees


When it comes to giving your tree-shaped Christmas cookies some added personality, you won't want to rely on the typical red and green icing. Instead, give your trees a chocolatey base and some pastel shades on top.

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

royal icing (pastels: Tiffany blue, pink, white)

snowflake and ball sprinkles

white sanding sugar

cookie cutters: Christmas trees

Instructions:

1. Make cookie dough, cut out using tree cutters, and bake.

2. Cool cookies for 30 minutes minimum.

3. Ice cookies using pink and blue colored royal icing.

4. Add white royal icing details, crushed candy, sanding sugar, sprinkles, and any additional decoration.

5. Leave to dry completely.

A LITTLE TRICKY

Peppermint Penguin Sandwich Cookies


If you've got an Oreo lover on your list of loved ones to treat, these adorable peppermint-filled penguins are perfect. Our DIY version pairs just as flawlessly with a glass of milk as the classic store-bought cookie.

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter

3 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

3 cups powdered sugar

red gel food coloring (optional)

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

royal icing (orange, black, red)

peppermint candy, red Skittles, mini marshmallows, mini red heart sprinkles

white and red fondant

water

cookie cutters: circle

Instructions:

1. Make dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven and roll out dough.

3. Cut out cookies, and freeze/chill for 15 minutes.

4. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

5. Cool cookies for 30 minutes minimum.

6. Make swirled peppermint filling.

7. Add frosting to cookies and sandwich them together.

8. Add white fondant belly to top of sandwich cookie.

9. Pipe on details of penguin’s face, bow tie, etc.

10. Leave to dry completely.

NEXT LEVEL

Hot Cocoa Cookie Cups


From hot chocolate to peppermint schnapps, the holiday season is filled with festive beverages. Add your favorite to these edible jiggers that have a chocolate coating to prevent them from getting too soggy before you can say, “Bottoms up!”

To decorate these cookies, you'll need:

candy canes (for the handles)

compound chocolate: white or milk chocolate

shortening or coconut oil (to thin the chocolate if necessary)

sprinkles in Christmas colors

white + black royal icing

pretzels

red M&Ms

whipped cream (optional)

shot glass mold, preferably metal ones

Instructions:

1. Make dough, roll it out, and cut it into a shape similar to the shot glass.

2. Prep the shot glass mold with non-stick cooking spray, and press dough into shot glass mold.

3. Preheat oven.

4. Chill dough in molds for 15 minutes.

5. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

6. Cool completely for 30 minutes minimum before you remove them from the shot glass mold.

7. Melt and thin chocolate, and add chocolate coating on inside of cookie cup. Leave to set.

8. Stick on candy cane handle and sprinkles around rim.

9. Extra decoration: Pipe on holiday designs, or transform your cup into Rudolph.

10. Fill with desired drink and top with whipped cream, marshmallows, cocoa, and more.

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