Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year, aka the period in which we don't quite know what day it is but eat cookies for every meal! If you feel like joining in on the fun of having your whole home smell like sugar (or were invited to one of those cookie swap parties and have no clue what to bring), you've come to the right place. It should also be acknowledged that you don't need to be a regular on the Food Network to be a superstar holiday cookie baker.
Cookies also make great homemade, cheap gifts for your pals. And because each type of cookie has its own vibe (some have gooey, melty centers, while others are crisp and just taste like something an adult eats), kinda like your BFFs, you can tailor said cookie delivery to each type of friend you have. Those who love mess and are constantly up on the latest drama in the group chat will particularly enjoy the crumbly, powdered sugary masterpiece you bestow upon them. Other friends might be a little more low-key—you can never go wrong with some sweet sugar cookie trees.
Pour yourself some mulled wine and turn your oven notch to 350, because we're about to embark on these holiday cookie recipes for every kind of friend in your life.
Frosted sugar cookies
Like the friend who always texts to make sure you got home, these, too, are pure of heart. If you're a little rusty in the kitchen, this is your moment. You can bust out the break-and-bake and still make these look festive.
1 tube break-and-bake sugar cookie mix 1 can vanilla frosting
1 tube green food coloring
1 bottle sprinkles
1. Break the dough into little nuggets, and use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten them out.
2. Use a cookie cutter (a knife and a little imagination are also acceptable) to turn the blobs into smol trees.
3. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.
4. While you wait for the cookies to cool, mix the frosting with a few drops of green food coloring. Spread it across each tree in your tiny forest before dumping on as many sprinkles as you desire.
The BFF who keeps tabs on your frenemies (so you don’t have to) will appreciate the messiest of treats. These are an absolute holiday classic, too. Just remember that these need to hang out in your fridge overnight!
2 soft sticks salted butter
⅔ cup white sugar
2 cups flour
¼ cup pecans, smashed
¼ cup almonds, also smashed
½ cup walnuts, obviously smashed
1 heaping bowl powdered sugar
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until smooth.
2. Mix in your flour and (many) nuts before covering the bowl with plastic wrap and sticking it in the fridge. Let it chill overnight for #science reasons.
3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Shape the dough into 1-inch(ish) round balls. Bake for 12 minutes and let cool.
4. Dunk each ball into a bowl filled with an obscene amount of powdered sugar. Voilà, you now have snowballs!
Peppermint bark brownies
For the pal who lets you use their Starbucks rewards points—because this’ll taste freaking great with their go-to Gingerbread Latte. And a lil treat for you too: This recipe involves candy cane smashing, so you can let out that pre-holiday stress.
1 box Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix ¼ cup water
⅓ cup vegetable oil
½ to ¾ cup crushed candy canes, depending on your level of festivity
1 tub vanilla frosting
1. Bake the brownie mix using the instructions on the box. Once done, set aside and let it cool.
2. Stick the candy canes in a ziplock baggie and smash to the beat of DMX’s “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” until they’re sufficiently pulverized.
3. Generously spread the frosting on top of the brownies. When you think you’re done, go back and add more.
4. Sprinkle on the crushed candy canes. Slice and serve up the corner piece first as a thank-you.
Peanut butter cookies
Similar to the friend who’s helping you move next month, this guy is dependable year-round but *especially* great this season. Luckily, this recipe only requires a cup of PB, which leaves the rest of the jar for you to eat with a spoon.
2 sticks salted butter, softened
1 cup creamy PB (or crunchy, if that’s how you really feel)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup coconut palm sugar
2½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1. Use a hand mixer or A LOT of muscle to beat the butter, PB, and sugars together. Add your eggs and mix until you get one big glob.
2. In another bowl (stay with me), whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and its friend baking powder before dumping the whole thing into the buttery goop you made earlier. Stir.
3. Pop your dough in the fridge for an hour—for best results, people!
4. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet, and smoosh with a fork for those pretty lil patterns. Bake at 375 degrees until they begin to brown.
For the ride-or-die who makes all the plans, the adult of the Adult Desserts™ is the move. These may look fancy, but wait for it...
Get thee to a baked-goods aisle.
1. Throw a bunch of bagged biscotti into your cart.
2. Get in the checkout line, wait your turn, and pay for them.
3. Gift wrap. This friend is definitely not expecting (nor would they want) you to do any more work than that.