What’s Christmas without cookies?

A plate of warm Christmas cookies can help you bond with the neighbors, and taking a tray to the office is a sure way to win points with your co-workers. Christmas cookies can also be a fun part of frugal holiday gift-giving.

Every year, Kris and I assemble holiday gift bags to give to our friends. We fill these with candy and cards and candles and books and other small things we’ve gathered year-round. And we always include lots of home-made cookies.

This Sunday, Kris will spend all day in the kitchen with her sister Tiffany and friend Eila. They’ll be on a cookie-baking bonanza. They’ll use some classic recipes, of course, but this year they’ll also be making one of Kris’ new discoveries: the Oreo truffle. She’s already made two batches for friends and co-workers, and they’ve drawn rave reviews.

Because it’s the last weekend before Christmas — and because the video post I’d originally planned for today has run into technical difficulties — Kris has agreed to share five of her favorite Christmas cookie recipes. Yum.

Note: Cookies are inherently bad for your diet. Consume in moderation. Substitute organic, low-fat, or sugar-free ingredients as desired.


The first recipe makes a festive cookie:

Minty Chocolate Crinkles

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candies
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar


Combine oil, cooled chocolate and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in extracts. Add blended flour/salt/baking powder. Chill dough several hours or overnight.

Grind peppermint candies in coffee mill until reduced to a powder. Measure 1/4 cup peppermint candy powder and mix with powdered sugar in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Roll in the powdered mixture until well-coated. Place 2″ apart on a greased baking sheet and bake 10 minutes — they will look underbaked. Cool on tray for 2 minutes and remove to a wire rack. Makes 72.


The second recipe makes a frugal Christmas cookie:

Molasses Spice Cookies

  • 1-1/2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp EACH of baking soda, ground ginger, cloves and cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and molasses, blending well. Add dry ingredients and mix slowly to combine. Place spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet, about 2” apart. Bake 8-9 minutes. Makes 48.


The next Christmas cookie is a fancy cookie (er, candy):

Nut Brittle

  • 1 cup dry roasted salted peanuts
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp honey


Line a rimmed baking sheet with Silpat or buttered parchment paper (do not use wax paper!). In a heavy saucepan, mix all ingredients over medium-high heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it becomes a nice amber color and thickens — about 10 minutes. You will know you are done when you smell the first hint of burnt sugar, so pay attention!

Quickly pour onto the baking sheet and spread to cover. Cool for 4 minutes and then score the brittle with a pizza cutter or sharp knife into about 36 pieces. Once it has cooled completely, snap along scored marks.

Note: Good with other varieties of nuts, but be sure to include some peanuts.

Options: Add 1/2 tsp espresso powder for a coffee brittle (with hazelnuts). Scatter chocolate chips over warm brittle; press in or spread when melted.


The fourth recipe features a family-friendly Christmas cookie:

Chocolate Marshmallow Sandwiches

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 24 large marshmallows
  • sugar for rolling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in corn syrup, egg, and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture. Beat at low speed, scraping down bowl. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Place 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow dish. Form tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack.

On a paper plate, invert one cookie, top with a marshmallow and microwave for 12 seconds (or until marshmallow is hot). Immediately press another cookie, flat side down, to form a sandwich. Makes 24.


And the final Christmas cookie recipe makes a fun cookie — the afore-mentioned Oreo truffle. These are pure evil:

Oreo Truffles

  • 18 ounces Oreo cookies
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 14 ounces chocolate candy coating
  • sprinkles, nuts, white chocolate


Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Crush cookies in a food processor until fine. Dice cream cheese and add to food processor. Process until no streaks of cream cheese are visible. Transfer to a bowl and chill 45 minutes.

Make small balls using a cookie dough scoop and place on baking sheet. Chill 15 minutes. Melt the chocolate (microwave or double boiler). Dip chilled candy balls into chocolate coating and return to the sheet. Chill until set, then store in the fridge in an airtight container. Makes 30.


One of these days, I really will compile a GRS cookbook. (Maybe Trent and I could join forces.) I’d love to share the favorites from our kitchen. (Well, it’s mostly Kris’ kitchen, of course. I’m mainly just there to chop onions and make clam chowder.)

Until then, what are your favorite Christmas cookie (and candy) recipes? Do you have any special traditions that go with the baking — or the sharing? Are any of your Christmas cookies especially frugal? Share your tips below!

(And don’t forget to leave out a plate of cookies for Santa!)

Photo by Ana Branca.

33 Replies to “Five Festive Christmas Cookies to Share with Family and Friends”

  1. Mrs. Money says:

    YUM!! The Oreo truffles sound amazing! I think I’ll make those tonight! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Lisa says:

    Several years ago a friend shared with me her recipe for molasses cookies. I’ve made them many times since, and every time they draw rave reviews. I usually keep all of the ingredients on hand so it’s a great recipe for when you need to whip up a dessert at the last minute (or when you’re craving a cookie fix).

  3. Nancy L. says:

    I’d like to insist that cookies are not inherently bad for your diet, as they bring happiness, and we all know a happy mental state is better for your health overall. It’s just an *excess* of cookies that causes problems. 😉

    At least that’s what I tell myself while I’m in the midst of my cookie baking frenzy! 😀

  4. Sam says:

    I’m a big fan of the cookie bake, something that I’ve done with my girlfriends for the last 5 years. Eveyone gets together at one home and they bring enough cookie dough for a dozen cookies x number of participants (i.e. 6 girlfriends means enough dough for 6 dozen cookies). You arrive with cookie dough already made, then you bake cookies for the next couple of hours and the hostess normally supplies mimosas and other holiday beverages. At the end of the cookie bake eveyone leaves with 6 dozen cookies, one dozen of each kind, which they use for holiday gifts, etc.

  5. Chickybeth says:

    I would love a GRS cookbook! (I also think you should write a book about gardening.)

    My favorite Christmas cookies are almond press cookies. The press is a pain and it is a lot of work, so I only make them once a year, but it is so worth it! I can’t wait to make them this weekend.

    Sharing Christmas cookie recipes is a great idea because everyone has their own traditions. Part of the fun of the holidays is visiting people and sampling their homemade traditions. I think traditions are inherently frugal because if you know what you will be doing every year, you can plan ahead and save money all year.

  6. George says:

    Great ideas. I never thought about baking, but come to think of it, it sounds like fun. Nothing tastes quite like fresh baked cookies!

  7. Donna says:

    Okay, JD, I think we all know cookies at most times of the year are bad for you BUT not at the holidays. Why else would Santa eat them at every house every Christmas eve?

    BTW, I’ve got to make those OREO truffles and those molasses ones sounds like the ones my mom used to make. Thanks for sharing. It’s like a little holiday gift from you and Kris.

  8. lostAnnfound says:

    I saw the Oreo Truffles at Kraft Foods website and have wanted to give them a go. Looking forward to trying them out!

    Favorite cookie for the holidays is Bird’s Nest Cookies, which I do not make; one of my friends does these for the holiday & they are absolutely my favorite! Almond cookie with little egg-shaped confection on the top. YUM!

  9. Lesley says:

    In our house, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without shortbread cookies! The other kind that get made no matter what is some type of cutout cookie, usually sugar cookies but gingerbread would be OK too. They’re great for families with small kids, as the kids can help with the cookie cutters and decorating. And both types of cookies are reasonably frugal to boot! It’s been a big thrill for my kids to share their personally decorated cookies with family and friends as gifts, because they feel so very proud of their handiwork.

  10. T.J. Mahaffey says:

    The OREO truffles are fantastic! I’ve been making them for a few years now. Just crazy-good.

  11. Little House says:

    Thanks for the recipes. This year I am also giving homemade gifts to friends and co-workers. I’m making drinks in mason jars, like mocha mix and Tang Tea. But, next year, if I have time, I’d love to make cookies and include them in gift baskets. These will be a great addition to my drinks!

  12. John Paul says:

    Man you had me at oreo truffle..lol

    Great recipes, TY

  13. Amy says:

    I used to make these amazing banana nut cookies with chocolate chunks in them. I still dream of those but haven’t had time to make any lately. Maybe I will this year…

  14. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    You wrote this post just for me, didn’t you? 🙂 I love Christmas cookies and haven’t had them in a couple years. Now I’m modestly indulging.

    One of my new favorites so far is the Chocolate Peppermint Drop:

    1 cup all purpose flour
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used Oikos)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies (I used Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses)

    Preheat oven to 350F.
    -Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
    -In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave at a low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and both sugars, then stir in yogurt and vanilla extract. Working in two or three additions, stir in the flour and mix until just combined. Add in the crushed candy. (At this point, I put on rubber gloves and started squishing it all together.)
    -Roll dough into 1-inch balls and drop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press down slightly to flatten.
    -Bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes or until set and slightly firm at the edges. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Makes about 2 dozen.

    I’m going to be trying this one throughout the year, omitting the peppermint in favor of other variations of chocolate or butterscotch chips, nuts, and/or dried fruits like cranberries.

  15. Samantha says:

    I’m a newbie at baking holiday gifts. Definitely harder than I thought. I burned a batch the other night. The suggestion of having a baking party is a really good idea for us newbies. Thanks.

  16. Sara A. says:

    Fantasy Fudge

    3 cups sugar
    3/4 cup butter or margarine
    1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup) (Do not use sweetened condensed milk.)
    2 cups chocolate chips
    1 jar (7 oz.) Marshmallow Creme
    1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
    1 tsp. vanilla
    LINE 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

    ADD chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted. Add walnuts and vanilla; mix well.

    POUR immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

    Pecan Crescent Cookies


    * 1 cup butter, room temperature
    * confectioners’ sugar
    * 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    * 1 3/4 cups sifted flour
    * 3/4 cup chopped pecans
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt

    Cream butter; gradually beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, the flour, pecans, and salt. Blend well. Chill. Shape dough into crescents, using about 1/2 tablespoons for each cookie. Place cookies on baking sheets and bake at 300° for 18 to 20 minutes.

    Combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Roll warm cookies in confectioners’ sugar mixture.
    Makes about 5 to 6 dozen pecan crescent cookies.

  17. KS says:

    Ok, am I the only one that prefers to give out savory things at the holiday? Chili-rosemary nuts (coat raw nuts with melted butter mixed with salt, chili powder, and crumbled rosemary, toss with raw nuts, toast on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, cool), small loaves of bread…

  18. David/Yourfinances101 says:

    I recently found a great recipe for carrot cake cookies as well. You turn the cake recipe into a cookie recipe.

    Then you sandwich the cookies around cream cheese icing.


  19. FinanciallySmart says:

    Don’t have a Christmas cookie recipe but Sweet Potato pudding Jamaican style is what I enjoyed during this time of the year. Season Greetings to you and your family.

  20. SMC says:

    Try the oreo truffles with oreo mint cookies instead of the plain ones.

    Also, we have a nutmeg sugar cookie recipe that goes back 3 generations and a Pan de Polvo recipe that dates to 4-5 generations back. It’s taken me years to get the Pan de Polvo correct because there is no recipe. I give some to the ‘greats’ and see if I have the mix right and adjust accordingly.

  21. John DeFlumeri Jr says:

    Food is the universal gift of sharing.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  22. Michele says:

    These all sound delicious- might have to add them to my repertoire, although I do prefer savory things as gifts, too ,like KS. Here’s my favorite cookie:
    Angel Cloud Cookies
    Whip 3 egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then add 1/2 cup sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Add 1 bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and blend gently. Drop spoonfuls of cookie mix on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes or so in a 300 degree oven. Turn off the oven and let them stay in the oven with the door closed for about 2 hours.

  23. Libby says:

    The orea truffles are really yummy – but a pain to make. I had a hard time with the chocolate – couldnt find what the recipe called for so I got chocolate chips and melted them. If you go this route, make sure to use vegetable oil to make it softer NOT butter – this just makes the chocolate hard and unworkable. All around yummy though.

  24. stonalino says:

    We call the annual cookie baking “CookieFest” in our family. With the addition of kids, nieces and a nephew, it’s changed a bit over the years, but it’s still a day to make cookies, be together, and have fun!

    It’s my favorite part of the holidays. To me, the holidays don’t start until CookieFest morning!

    So happy to see that I’m not alone. 🙂

  25. Karen Datko says:

    OMG, I had my first Oreo truffle the other day. They are indescribably delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe, J.D., so everyone else can experience this slice of heaven.

  26. Doctor Stock says:

    Yum Yum… I’ll give these a try on my days off next week!

  27. Alison Wiley says:

    Like KS and Michele, I’m a fan of savory, but largely because savory doesn’t trigger overeating for me the way that cookies do. Looks to me like JD and others have got us nicely supplied with top-notch recipes, so I’ll offer something different: tips on not gaining weight over the holidays, from my experience as a weight-reduction counselor http://www.diamondcutlife.org/top-ten-tips-for-not-overeating-over-the-holidays/
    Hope they’re helpful.

  28. Hausfrau says:

    Just finishing up my last batch of the Molasses Cookies, and they are fabulous! Thank you for the recipe! I’m not certain any will make it out of my kitchen to other people, but maybe a few will escape my clutches.

  29. Kristen says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Was feeling a little bah humbug this season and seeing some new recipes inspired me to get more in the spirit of things. I bought all the ingredients for the oreo truffles and the marshmallow sandwich. Now, let’s hope I can sustain the inspiration long enough to actually make them! Fingers are crossed.

  30. Ann says:

    Really, J.D., a warning sign on cookie recipes? “Consume in moderation”?!

    I’m surprised you warned about wrecking your diet but didn’t put a disclaimer about nut allergies for the brittle. (Warning: This nut brittle contains nuts. Do not make if you are allergic.)

    Or a warning about eggs for the vegans. (Warning: Some people are morally opposed to consuming eggs. Do not make this recipe if you are so opposed.)

  31. Matt says:

    Cloves aren’t frugal. Leave out the cloves, and maybe increase the cinnamon a little if you want to be frugal. If you have nutmeg or allspice on hand, you could use some of that.

    Organic ingredients aren’t any healthier if you just use organic butter and sugar. Sugar-free sweeteners are probably worse for you than real sugar, and completely go against eating organic.

  32. Gerry says:

    I make whipped short bread, they just melt in your mouth…..

    1/2 pound butter, softened
    1/2 cup icing sugaar
    1 1/2 cups flour

    combine all three ingredients in a bowl, mix with an electric mixer, on high for approx 15 min, until light and fluffy, HAS TO BE FLUFFY! mix longer if needed
    drop by spoon ful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. bake at 300F for 8-10 minutes, or until edges turn a golden brown, remove from oven, cool and enjoy

    for christmas i add 1 tsp peppermint extract mmmmmmmmm

  33. Catherine says:

    I just made the Oreo Truffles and my Oreo loving husband approved, he said they tasted like uber-Oreos! They were super easy to make, the chocolate bark took a while to get all of them coated but they turned out pretty with sprinkles on top. Thanks for sharing a delicious recipe!

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