I love baking. Honestly, I love baking more than I love cooking. Sometimes, I bake cookies for dinner, because I’m an adult and you’re not the boss of me. I don’t enjoy the pressure of preparing the main dish, but I love the satisfaction of capping off someone’s meal with something sweet. So you can imagine how excited I am for the holidays, aka that special time of year cookies and desserts appear as if from nowhere! Just thinking of candy colored sprinkles and dusted confectioners’ sugar makes my mouth water.
And you’ll be needing that perfect recipe, because it’s almost time to bake cookies for Santa. I scoured my favorite blogs and even included a family favorite to find the 10 best cookie recipes for the big guy in red. There will be all-purpose flour. There will be bread flour. There will even be almond flour, because I’m inclusive of all flours, dear readers. Regular baker or not, I think you’ll find these recipes accessible and easy to follow, yet still deliciously impressive. No hidden double boilers in this list!
I’m definitely not a professional food photographer, but I literally made all of these cookies for you guys to see how wonderfully easy and delicious they are. I might not win a blue ribbon for presentation (click through to the original blog for nicer photos), but they all pass the taste test with flying colors! So grab your room temperature, unsalted butter and let’s get baking for Santa.
Fun fact about this article: I was on a juice cleanse the weekend I baked these recipes. If you ever want to play a cruel joke on yourself, agree to bake 10 different kinds of cookies, order a juice cleanse, then not realize that 2+2=4. The cookies were baked and photographed on a Saturday and Sunday, then enjoyed and assessed on a Monday. So as you read along, keep that in the back of your mind and chuckle at my inability to plan ahead.
Yes, yes, yes to anything sweet with a little sea salt. These made my apartment smell like Christmas, and you can bet I’ll be making them again with hopes of attracting jolly ol’ St. Nick to my chimney.
Shortbread is a classic cookie, and I’m sure one of Santa’s favorites. This recipe adds a modern twist by adding fresh rosemary. This is another recipe that made my apartment smell like Christmas. Sweet, buttery Christmas.
It’s been a long night, and Santa could probably use an adult beverage. To avoid drinking and flying, help him put one back in the form of a cookie.
I don’t know if Santa is gluten free, but these days, you can never be too cautious.
Guys, I kind of dropped the ball with these. Already exhausted from baking nine different recipes, I refrigerated the dough and saved these for the next day. And the next day. And the next. Until, what did we learn? If you want to bake Spicy Gingerbread Cookies, don’t put it off more than the suggested few days. Regardless, I’ve made them before, and they’re perfect. These are not your average gingerbread cookies: they’re darker, spicier and more delicious. They’ll give Santa a much-needed break from the same old gingerbread he’s getting at every other house.
If you’re a chocolate lover, these are for you. I did a double take when the ingredients list didn’t have flour, because it’s usually a big selling point when something is flourless, and thus included in the dessert title. Either way, Santa will appreciate how delicious they are.
When I asked my dad for the family’s secret Nighty Nights recipe, he told me to go find it myself in The Joy of Baking. I was a little crestfallen, because I assumed the magic of my favorite family recipe was, indeed, original. Regardless of where it came from, it’s one of my favorite holiday traditions. The best part is leaving them in the oven overnight, waking up in the morning and ta-da! You have cookies! Maybe your mom will let you have one for breakfast! Since they’re an overnight cookie, plan to make them at least a day in advance for Santa. Or, give yourself enough time to let them sit in the oven and cool (but overnight is obviously more fun, hence the family recipe name).
Holy kitchen sink, Batman! These suckers have it all. I “met” Jessica through The Listserve email lottery (if you’re not a member, remedy that now). She sent me and thousands of others her favorite cookie recipe, and when I started compiling recipes, I knew I had to include it. It has everything from chocolate chips to coconut to a great story—what’s not to love about that, Santa? Jessica created a cooking video so you could see how she brings these cookies to life.
These cookies are the definition of melt in your mouth. Even days later they still retained their post-juice cleanse moistness, so it’s safe to say they’ll hold up for Santa just fine. It’s amazing what big flavor you can get with such few ingredients.
Maybe you’re not much of a baker. Maybe you don’t have an oven (anything is possible in Manhattan, my friends). Maybe you just want a damn cookie, now. Maybe you know Santa’s in a hurry and you want to make him a single serving. Such recipes exist! This is my favorite, and it’s foolproof. Also, check out my t-rex mug. #brag
If you tried any of these recipes, drop me a line and let me know how you liked it! And, of course, let me know how Santa liked it. Did I miss something good? Does your nana make the best macaroons? Please share your favorite recipes with me, too. I’m always looking for a new favorite.
Happy holidays, Gigglers! I hope your celebrations are sweet. And remember, a little sea salt never hurt anybody.
All images taken with love by me!