Giving a homemade gift is a great way to show the special people on your list just how much you care. We've rounded up three delicious Christmas cookie recipes that would look beautiful packaged together for an easy and thoughtful gift this holiday season. You can even save some for yourself!
SOFT GINGERBREAD COOKIES
Adapted from Elizabeth M. Prueitt’s Tartine
These gingerbread cookies are soft, spicy, thick, and cakey. They have a generous amount of ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. The original version of these cookies calls for black pepper, but I prefer these without it so I haven’t included it here. You could certainly add some in if you’d like some extra heat. The dough, after it has rested in the refrigerator overnight, is a dream to work with. It rolls out easily and holds shapes well. Note that these are thicker than most cookies, and be sure not to roll them too thin. The dough should be about 1/3 inch thick. The yield on these will vary depending on what cookie cutters you use. I used a gingerbread person cookie cutter about 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ (similar to this one) and got about 22 cookies out of it.
For the cookies
- 3 3/4 cups (525 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed is fine)
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (225 grams, 2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (155 grams) molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
For the glaze
- 1 cup (115 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and/or a few drops of orange oil
The day before you want to bake the cookies, make the dough. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on medium speed for about one minute. With the mixer on medium, slowly add the sugar and mix until smooth, pale, and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Add the molasses and corn syrup and beat on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
Add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing on low speed between additions until no streaks of dry flour remain.
The dough will be very soft. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the plastic wrap and flatten the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
About 20 minutes before you want to bake the cookies, remove the dough from the refrigerator to soften a little.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sprinkle flour over the counter, unwrap the dough, and place it on the floured work surface. Sprinkle some flour over the dough and over your rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/3 inch thick. Cut the cookies out with your cookie cutters and place them on the baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Re-roll the scraps and cut out more cookies until you’ve used all of the dough (no need to chill in between).
If desired, press designs into the cookies (such as faces and buttons) with a lollipop stick or toothpick.
Bake the cookies until they’ve darkened a little around the edges but are still soft in the center, about 7-15 minutes depending on the size of your cookie cutters. (Mine took about 9 minutes.)
While the cookies are baking, make the glaze. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and water (and vanilla extract or orange oil, if using) until smooth.
When the cookies are ready, remove them from the oven and place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze in an even layer over the tops of the cookies, being sure to cover the areas with designs well. Let the cookies cool completely until the glaze feels dry to the touch.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. (Freezing is not recommended–the glaze will turn watery.)
Yield: varies depending on your cookie cutters, yields about 22 gingerbread people about 3 1/2-inches tall and 2 1/2-inches wide
CHOCOLATE CRINKLE COOKIES
Recipe from Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- powdered sugar
Combine granulated sugar and oil in large bowl , add cocoa, beat until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to cocoa mixture, beating well.
Cover and refrigerate until dough is firm enough to handle, about 2-3 hours.
Heat oven 350 F. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on prepare cookie sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched lightly and tops are crackled. Cool slightly then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely!
RASPBERRY LINZER COOKIES
- 2/3 cup hazelnuts (3 oz)
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 12-oz jar seedless raspberry jam
- Special equipment: a 2- to 2 1/4-inch fluted round cookie cutter and assorted 1/2-inch shaped cookie cutters or aspic cutters
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Toast hazelnuts in a shallow baking pan until fragrant and skins begin to loosen, about 6 minutes. Rub nuts in a kitchen towel to remove any loose skins (some skins may not come off), then cool to room temperature.
Pulse nuts and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a food processor until nuts are finely ground.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Beat together butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a stand mixer (preferably fitted with paddle) or 6 minutes with a handheld. Add nut mixture and beat until combined well, about 1 minute. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
With floured hands, form dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a 5-inch disk. Chill disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 2 hours.
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
Roll out 1 disk of dough into an 11-inch round (1/8 inch thick) between 2 sheets of wax paper (keep remaining dough chilled). If dough becomes too soft to roll out, re-wrap in plastic and chill until firm. Cut out as many cookies as possible from dough with larger cookie cutter and transfer to 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging about 1 inch apart. Using smaller cutters, cut out centers from half of the cookies, reserving centers and re-rolling along with scraps (re-roll only once). Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 10 to 15 minutes total, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies from second disk.
Spread about 1 teaspoon jam on flat side of 1 solid cookie and sandwich jam with flat side of 1 windowed cookie. Sandwich remaining cookies in same manner.
Cooks' note: Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, chilled in an airtight container 2 weeks.