When you’re baking cookies for Christmas, it isn’t quite enough to do one batch of cookies. After all, if you’re going to bake only one day out of the year, it is probably for Christmas and you may as well go all out. A great cookie plate should have a variety of cookies that are all distinct in appearance, so your guests (and Santa) don’t need to ask what’s what and you won’t get bored after eating just a few.
Butter Cookies are perhaps the most classic Christmas cookies. They are delicious, not too sweet, and can be subject to a ridiculous number of variations. The easiest thing to do is roll the cookies into a log and slice-and-bake them into rounds, but you can also shape them with cookie cutters or press the dough through a cookie press for spritz cookies. A splash of almond extract, orange zest, toasted nuts or chocolate chips can really change the flavor of each batch.
Spicy, Chewy Molasses Cookies are some of the best gingersnap-type cookies I’ve tasted. As the name suggests, they are both spicy and chewy, full of holiday flavor and beautiful to look at on top of it. The cookies have a long ingredient list, not because they’re difficult to make, but because they include lots of spices. You’ll find ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and even black pepper in these. They also get an extra kick from a handful of candied ginger.
Swirled Holiday Snowball Cookies have a festive name and a festive look. They’re a variation on a traditional snowball cookie (also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies) which is a tender and nutty cookie. These are made with very finely chopped walnuts that lend an extra buttery flavor to these cookies, and a handful of red and green sprinkles gives them their holiday flare. White chocolate chips add some vanilla and extra sweetness to the cookies, too.
You have to have a cookie for chocolate lovers and Chocolate Truffle Cookies are one of the most indulgent recipes you can make. These simple cookies melt in your mouth with loads of chocolate flavor, similar to how a ganache chocolate truffle melts into your mouth. The cookies have chocolate chips in them for even more chocolate punch. Roll the cookies in powdered sugar for a seasonal look, or unsweetened cocoa powder if you really want to emphasize how similar to truffles they are.
And wrapping up the list are decorated cookies. This is more of a category because there are many types of cookies – including Soft Buttermilk Cookies and Gingerbread Men – that fall into this group and you can make any of them, but decorating cookies with royal icing and creating cookies that are festively dressed is probably the most fun you can have baking cookies. If you make up a bit batch of frosting, you can also get the whole family involved in the decorating, which is even better than just eating the cookies.