10 Creative Holiday Cookie Recipes

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Ready for some deliciously baked holiday treats, but tired of using the same old pre-packaged M&M cookie dough? Look no further! Her Campus has compiled a list of 10 new easy-to-bake holiday cookies! Get out your oven mitts and read on; you’ll almost be able to smell that warm, sugary goodness!

Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

What you need:

  • 1 (16.5 ounce) tube of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, separated into 1-cup portions
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • crushed candy canes or peppermint candies for decoration
  • 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, and a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop
  • 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper
  • mixing bowl
  • tablespoon

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat it to 350 degrees. In your mixing bowl, knead the cookie dough and 1/4 cup of flour together until smooth. Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter to cut circles out of the dough. Keep kneading out the scraps of dough and rolling it out until you’ve used all of it (you should be able to cut about 24!). Place your dough circles on one of the baking sheets and bake the cookies in the oven until they’re slightly golden around the edges (approx. 10 minutes). Let the cookies cool completely.

Set up a double boiler by placing a bowl with the cup of chocolate chips and the cream over a pan of simmering water. After the chocolate has melted, whisk in the peppermint extract and refrigerate the mixture for an hour.

Take the chocolate mixture out of the refrigerator and place about a tablespoon of the chocolate on half of the cookies. Use the remaining cookies to make sandwiches with the chocolate-topped cookies. Place the sandwiches on a baking sheet and freeze them until the chocolate filling has set (about 25 minutes).

Combine the remaining cup of chocolate chips and the vegetable oil in another bowl, set up another double boiler, and stir the mixture until smooth. Dip the top of each cookie sandwich in the melted chocolate and place on the baking sheet to set. Sprinkle the tops with your crushed candy canes and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

What you need:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • wax paper
  • small pot
  • teaspoon

In your small pot, combine the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute, and then add the peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. Use the teaspoon to dollop the mixture onto your wax paper. Wait until your cookies have cooled and hardened, and enjoy!

Cookie Dough Truffles with Sea Salt

What you need:

  • ready-made chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 2 (12-ounce) bags semisweet chocolate morsels
  • coarse sea salt
  • your preferred type of chocolate morsels (white, milk, etc.), melted
  • sprinkles
  • chopped nuts
  • cocoa powder
  • powdered sugar
  • toothpicks or wooden skewers
  • baking sheets lined with parchment paper
  • plastic wrap
  • teaspoon

Use your teaspoon to dish out large spoonfuls of the cookie dough and roll them into little balls. Arrange them up on your lined baking sheets. Cover the sheets with plastic wrap and let them set in the freezer for at least 2 hours (they can stay in there for up to 1 week). Set up a double boiler by placing a bowl of the semisweet chocolate morsels over a pan of simmering water and melt until smooth. Remove the baking sheet of truffles from the freezer and use the toothpicks/skewers to dip the dough into the chocolate. Place the coated balls on the parchment to set, removing the toothpick. Sprinkle the truffles with a little bit of sea salt and decorate them with your other chocolate morsels, chopped nuts, sprinkles, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so the chocolate can set. They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week!

“Forgotten Kiss” Meringues

What you need:

  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper
  • electric mixer
  • 2 teaspoons

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use the electric mixer to beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and continue to beat until fluffy (be careful not to over beat; make sure you stop mixing when the whites make fluffy peaks, otherwise the whites will fall). Add the sugar to the mixture slowly until half of it has been incorporated, then add the vanilla extract. Continue to beat the egg whites and add the rest of the sugar gradually. When all of the sugar has dissolved, gently fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Use the two teaspoons to push spoonfuls of the meringue back and forth from spoon to spoon in order to dollop the mixture onto your baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the oven and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies in the oven for at least 2 hours, or until they’re crisp and dry.

Dark Chocolate Chipotle Cookie

What you need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into softened 1-inch cubes
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1/2 cup for topping
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons crushed, dried chipotle peppers
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 pound high-quality bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 1/2 cups high-quality bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, plus 1/2 cup for topping
  • electric mixer
  • large bowl
  • ice cream scoop
  • baking sheets lined with parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Use the electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth, then add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of light brown sugar, 1/2 cocoa powder and chipotle peppers and mix at medium speed until fluffy (about 1 minute). Next, add the eggs, vanilla extract, and water to the bowl and beat until combined (about 30 seconds). Add the cooled melted chocolate and mix until even. Add the large bowl with the flour mixture; don’t forget to scrape the sides when necessary! Add the chocolate chips and mix briefly (about 5 seconds).

Refrigerate the dough until cool and fudge-like (not solid) for about 1 hour. Use your ice cream scoop to create even-sized cookies. Press the tops of the cookie dough balls into the 1/2 cup of topping sugar, and then top each one with 2 or 3 dark chocolate chips. Place each one on the baking sheets and bake in the oven for about 12 to 14 minutes. When you remove them from the oven, the cookies should be a little bit underdone. Let them cool, and enjoy!

Pillsbury’s® Chocolate Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies

What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Refrigerated Gingerbread Cookies
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons milk
  • small bowl
  • large bowl
  • electric mixer
  • baking sheets
  • cooling racks
  • tablespoon 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the 3 tablespoons of sugar in the small bowl and set aside. In your large bowl, break up the gingerbread cookie dough. Use your hands to knead in the cocoa until blended. Next, shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place them about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Wet the bottom of your glass cup slightly and dip into the 3 tablespoons of sugar. Using the bottom of the glass, press one of the cookies until flat on the baking sheet. Repeat this process on each cookie dough ball.

Bake the cookies for 6-9 minutes. Let them cool for 1 minute, and then remove the cookies and let them cool completely on the cooling racks for about 20 minutes.

In your electric mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and milk. Beat the ingredients on medium speed until fluffy. Use your tablespoon to spread 2 scoops of filling onto half of the cookies. Layer the remaining cookies on top of the ones with filling to make mini gingerbread sandwiches and enjoy!

Soft Pumpkin Cookie

What you need:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla
  • 1 (15 ounce) canned pumpkin, or pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 10 ounces of butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • electric mixer
  • separate mixing bowl
  • tablespoon
  • baking sheet (un-greased)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use the electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar. Next, add the egg, vanilla, canned pumpkin/pumpkin puree. In the separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the butterscotch chips and mix until incorporated. Use your tablespoon to portion the dough onto the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Anise Seed Cinnamon Cookies

What you need:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lard or shortening
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • electric mixer
  • baking sheets (lightly greased)
  • large mixing bowl
  • small mixing bowl
  • knife

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the small mixing bowl, combine the 2/3 cup of sugar, orange zest and sherry. Set aside so that the flavors are infused in the sugar. In the large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, anise seed and salt. Use the electric mixer to beat the lard/shortening until fluffy. Add the lard and infused sugar to the flour mixture and knead. Flour a flat surface and roll the dough until it’s about a 1/4 inch thick. Using your knife, cut the dough into rectangles and pinch one of the short sides to form little “toes” (these will spread apart while baking).

To make the topping, combine the cinnamon and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Brush the rectangle cookies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar topping. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until the edges are crispy and slightly golden.

Homemade Thin Mints

What you need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup milk (any kind)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • small mixing bowl
  • electric mixer
  • plastic wrap
  • baking sheet lined with parchment paper

It’s a homemade version of the Girl Scout classic! First, whisk flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt together in the small mixing bowl. In the bowl of the electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Set the mixer at a low speed and add the milk and vanilla and peppermint extracts (the mixture should look curdled). Slowly add the flour mixture until fully incorporated.

Shape the dough into two logs (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) and wrap them in plastic wrap to freeze for at least 1 to 2 hours until firm. While you’re waiting for the dough to set, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

After 1 to 2 hours, slice the dough into 1/4 inch-thick rounds and place them on the baking sheet. The cookies won’t spread too much, so you can put them close together! Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes until they’re firm at the edges. While you let the cookies cool, you can make the chocolate coating!

What you need:

  • 10-oz dark or semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • microwave safe bowl
  • fork
  • wax paper

In your microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Melt on high power, stirring every 45 to 60 seconds until smooth.

Place each cookie on your fork and dip them into the melted chocolate. Make sure you coat both sides! Transfer each to the wax paper and let set for 30 minutes.

Cinnamon-spiced Hot Chocolate Cookies

What you need:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Mexican cocoa powder (or substitute by adding 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Generous pinch ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup dulce de leche optional
  • 1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped, optional
  • medium-size bowl
  • small bowl
  • whisk
  • electric mixer
  • plastic wrap
  • baking sheets line with parchment paper
  • sharp knife
  • metal spatula

Using your whisk, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium-size bowl. In a small bowl, combine the light brown sugar and granulated sugar using your fingers to press out any lumps. Set aside.

Place the butter and margarine in the electric mixing bowl and beat until creamy. Add the sugar mixture, cinnamon, peppers, and vanilla and beat on high speed for 1 minute. Next, beat in the egg white until the mixture is completely smooth. Switch the mixer to the lowest speed and slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Take the dough out of the mixer and use your hands to form a neat log (about 9-10 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter), and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the log for at least 45 minutes.

While the dough is being chilled, position the over racks in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

When the dough is chilled, use your sharp knife to slice rounds that are about 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets and bake them for 12 to 14 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and use a metal spatula to loosen the cookies from the sheet. Let the cookies cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or be frozen for up to 2 months.

After they’ve cooled, drizzle the cookies with dulce de leche, sprinkle the chopped almonds on top, and enjoy!

 

Try out these recipes, collegiettes! You can bake these cookies for your friends’ parties, or decorate cute boxes and give them away as gifts! Either way, these small treats are sure to make a big impact this holiday season.

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About The Author

Lauren is a sophomore at Wellesley College majoring in Political Science and Theater Studies. She is originally from Princeton, New Jersey, and enjoys any ice cream flavor with the word "coffee" in it. When she is not writing for Her Campus or satiating her constant need to read fashion and health magazines, Lauren can be found watching the latest MARVEL film, reading restaurant reviews, dancing, singing, or expanding her itunes library. Lauren loves Russian literature, the Food Network, and Jennifer Aniston, and hopes to one day find a career that marries her passions for the entertainment, fashion, and journalism industries.

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