Delicious Dozen

We asked our Facebook fans for their best-loved christmas cookies. Winners from our archives—plus a modern take on each.


By JULIE MILTENBERGER
Photos by TINA RUPP
Classic

Meltaways

November 1, 1998

MAKES | 4½ dozen PREP | 15 minutes REFRIGERATE | 1 to 2 hours BAKE | at 325° for 20 minutes


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely ground pecans
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. In a bowl, beat butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla.

2. On low speed, beat in flour and pecans. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

3. Heat oven to 325°. Pinch of pieces of dough in rounded teaspoonfuls. Roll into logs, taper ends and bend into crescents. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

4. Bake at 325° for 19 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.

5. Remove cookies to a wire rack. Sprinkle with a heavy layer of confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely. Sprinkle again with confectioners’ sugar.


Per Cookie: 77 CAL; 5g FAT (2g SAT); 1g PRO; 8g CARB; 0g FIBER; 1mg SODIUM; 9mg CHOL


Twist

Pepita Snowballs

Swap pepitas for the pecans.

MAKES | 2½ dozen cookies PREP | 20 minutes BAKE | at 350° for 10 minutes, then 15 minutes per batch


  • 1 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350°. Spread pepitas onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, until toasted.

Combine 1 cup of the flour and the toasted pepitas in a food processor; pulse until pepitas are finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in remaining 1 cup flour, the salt and cardamom, if using.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter, ¾ cup of the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low; slowly add flour-nut mixture, beating just until combined.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls between your palms and place 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. Transfer cookies to racks and let cool slightly, about 4 minutes.

4. Place remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Working with 4 cookies at a time, roll in sugar, coating well. Transfer to a rack, let cool completely and roll again in sugar.


Per Cookie: 105 CAL; 7g FAT (3 g SAT); 2g PRO; 10g CARB; 0g FIBER; 43mg SODIUM; 11mg CHOL

Classic

America’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 1995

MAKES | 4 dozen PREP | 25 minutes BAKE | at 375° for 12 minutes


  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg (12 oz) semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1½ cups chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 375°. Lightly coat baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, stir flour, baking soda and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and creamy, 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until blended.

4. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Stir in chocolate pieces and walnuts. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until golden. Cool baking sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.


Per Cookie: 135 CAL; 9g FAT (4 g SAT); 2g PRO; 15g CARB; 0g FIBER; 50mg SODIUM; 15mg CHOL


Twist

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

Add white chocolate chips and popped quinoa.

MAKES | 3½ dozen cookies PREP | 20 minutes COOK | 3 minutes BAKE | at 375° for 15 minutes per batch


  • ½ cup dry quinoa
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 bag (10 or 11.5 oz) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 bag (10 or 11.5 oz) white baking chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat oven to 375°. Heat a 2- to 3-quart sauté pan over medium heat. Add quinoa.

2. Cook, stirring constantly, until quinoa pops, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and popped quinoa. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low, beat in vanilla. Spoon flour mixture into bowl and beat on low just until combined. With a wooden spoon, stir in both kinds of chips and the walnuts. Drop dough onto baking sheets by large spoonfuls (about 3 tbsp) 2 inches apart. Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Per Cookie: 196 CAL; 11g FAT (6 g SAT); 3g PRO; 24g CARB; 1g FIBER; 64mg SODIUM; 22mg CHOL


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Classic

Basic Sugar Cookies

December 2008

MAKES | 3 dozen PREP | 15 minutes REFRIGERATE | at least 4 hours BAKE | at 350° for 12 minutes


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • Frosting and nonpareils, for decorating

1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed, beat in flour mixture until just combined. Divide dough in half and form each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

3. Heat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk to ¼-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch tree-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden around edges. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Repeat with remaining half of dough. Gather scraps and refrigerate. Re-roll and cut into additional trees. Bake and cool as above. Decorate with Frosting (see Peppermint Mittens, below) and nonpareils. When dry, cookies may be stored in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.


Per Cookie: 60 CAL; 3g FAT (2g SAT); 1g PRO; 8g CARB; 0g FIBER; 16 mg SODIUM; 13mg CHOL


Twist

Peppermint Mittens

Crushed peppermints are mixed right into the dough.

MAKES | 2 dozen cookies PREP | 15 minutes REFRIGERATE | Overnight BAKE | at 350° for 11 minutes per batch


COOKIES

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup finely crushed starlight mint candies (about 22)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg

FROSTING

  • 1 box (16 oz) confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 tbsp warm water
  • Food coloring, sparkling sugar or nonpareils, for decorating

1. Cookies. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter, crushed candies and sugar until blended. Beat in egg. On low speed, beat in flour mixture. Gather dough with your hands and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight.

2. Heat oven to 350°. Let dough stand 10 minutes at room temperature. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll out one disk to ⅛- to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out mittens with cookie cutter. Transfer to prepared sheets. Re-roll scraps, cutting as many mittens as possible. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; repeat with all dough.

3. Frosting. In a bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and water. Beat until smooth. If desired, transfer ¼ cup of the frosting into each of 2 bowls. Tint to desired colors.

4. Spread a scant 2 tsp frosting onto each cookie. Top with sparkling sugar or nonpareils, or decorate with colored frosting. Let dry completely before stacking cookies.


Per Serving: 172 CAL; 4g FAT (2 g SAT); 1g PRO; 33g CARB; 0g FIBER; 38mg SODIUM; 19mg CHOL


Classic

Peanut Blossoms

Family Circle Holiday Cakes and Cookies, December 2000

MAKES | 5 dozen PREP | 15 minutes BAKE | at 375° for 12 minutes


  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup solid vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 60 Hershey’s milk chocolate Kisses, unwrapped

1. Heat oven to 375°. Combine flour, ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, shortening, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and egg. Beat at low speed until dough is stiff.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately top each cookie with a Kiss, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edges. Remove from baking sheets to racks to cool.


Per Cookie: 80 CAL; 4g FAT (2g SAT); 1g PRO; 9g CARB; 0g FIBER; 47 mg SODIUM; 5mg CHOL


Twist

SunButter Blossoms

Swap sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter; switch to dark chocolate Kisses.

MAKES | 3½ dozen cookies PREP | 15 minutes BAKE | at 375° for 10 minutes per batch


  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup SunButter (sunflower seed spread)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 42 dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

1. Heat oven to 375°. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine ½ cup of the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, butter and SunButter. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. On low speed, beat in vanilla, followed by flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl.

3. Place remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, roll in sugar and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately press a Kiss into each cookie. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.


Per Cookie: 96 CAL; 5g FAT (2g SAT); 1g PRO; 12g CARB; 1g FIBER; 59mg SODIUM; 10mg CHOL


Classic

Festive Wreaths

November 29, 2006

MAKES | 6½ dozen PREP | 10 minutes BAKE | at 350° for 10 minutes


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • Green liquid food coloring
  • Red candy “berries” or edible confetti, for decorating

1. Heat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg and salt until fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, beat in flour until smooth. Tint pale green with food coloring.

2. Spoon dough into a cookie press fitted with a standard wreath disc, following manufacturer’s directions. Press out wreaths, about 1 inch apart, onto large baking sheets. If using, press in candy “berries” before baking.

3. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly puffed and set. Transfer cookies directly to racks to cool.


Per Cookie: 44 CAL; 2g FAT (1 g SAT); 0g PRO; 5g CARB; 0g FIBER; 9mg SODIUM; 9mg CHOL


Twist

Salted Caramel Spritz

Melt soft caramels into dough; add sea salt to dough and sprinkle on top of finished cookies.

MAKES | 7 dozen cookies PREP | 15 minutes BAKE | at 350° for 10 minutes per batch


COOKIES

  • ¾ cup Kraft soft caramels, unwrapped (18 caramels)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cookie press, fitted with a snowflake disc (such as Oxo)

GLAZE

  • ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp half-and-half
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

1. Cookies. Heat oven to 350°. Combine caramels and half-and-half in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and salt, then cooled but still fluid caramel mixture. On low speed, mix in flour. Add some dough to cookie press. Press cookies out onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, until set and just beginning to brown around bottom. Transfer to wire racks to cool and repeat with remaining dough.

3. Glaze. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and half-and-half. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Place wire rack with cookies over a baking sheet. Drizzle with glaze and sprinkle with salt. Let cookies dry until glaze is set before stacking or storing.


Per Serving: 57 CAL; 3g FAT (2g SAT); 1g PRO; 8 g CARB; 0g FIBER; 31mg SODIUM; 9 mg CHOL


Classic

Gingerbread Cookies

November 29, 2009

MAKES | 2½ dozen PREP | 20 minutes REFRIGERATE | 2 hours BAKE | at 350° for 13 minutes


  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup original molasses
  • Royal Icing (optional; recipe below)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, then molasses. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture. Divide dough in half, wrap and chill for 2 hours.

3. Heat oven to 350°. On a well-floured surface, roll half of dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut into shapes with assortedsize gingerbread cookie cutters; transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Re-roll scraps and cut. Repeat with rest of dough.

4. Bake at 350° for 13 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool. Decorate with Royal Icing, if using.


Per Cookie: 134 CAL; 3g FAT (2g SAT); 2g PRO; 25g CARB; 0g FIBER; 62mg SODIUM; 15mg CHOL


Twist

Maple Gingerbread Cookies

Swap in maple syrup for the molasses.

MAKES | 4½ dozen 3-inch cookies PREP | 15 minutes REFRIGERATE | at least 3 hours BAKE | at 375° for 10 minutes per batch


COOKIES

  • ½ cup solid vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp maple flavoring
  • Red M&M’s minis

ROYAL ICING

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp powdered egg whites

1. Cookies. In a large bowl, beat shortening, sugar and maple syrup on medium-high until well combined. On low, beat in egg and vinegar until blended.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until incorporated. Stir in maple flavoring. If mixture is very soft, mix in a few extra tablespoons flour. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten. Wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

3. Heat oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Remove ¼ of the dough from refrigerator; rewrap the rest. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough (it will be soft) to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out gingerbread men shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets with a metal spatula, re-rolling scraps. Continue with remaining dough, lining each baking sheet with new parchment. Bake cookies at 375° for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheet pans for 3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Royal Icing. In a bowl, beat confectioners’ sugar, powdered egg whites and 3 tbsp water until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a pastry bag with a writing tip. Outline cookies and pipe on dots of frosting; add M&M’s minis as buttons. Let dry.


Per Serving: 75 CAL; 2g FAT (0g SAT); 1g PRO; 13g CARB; 0g FIBER; 43mg SODIUM; 4mg CHOL