If you’re going to or hosting a cookie exchange this year, you’re going to need to have a range of recipes to choose from. You want impressive sweets that don’t take forever to make, can be frozen or made-ahead, are holiday-themed and contain loads of butter (or chocolate or peppermint or ginger!). With these cookies, you’ll find at least one that fits your personal holiday cookie exchange must-have. From flourless chocolate cookies for the gluten-free to soft gingerbread to classic thumbprints with a modern twist, there’s plenty to put on the “nice” list here. Pass these recipes around or leave it to luck; as long as mountains of cookies are involved, you’re on your way to an epic exchange.
Do the right thing and encourage your cookie exchangers to dunk these Italian cookies into their morning coffee tomorrow – or Irish cream tonight.
Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies
These slice-and-bake cookies with a dazzling design are easy to make at home. The festive swirls mix the classic combination of chocolate, vanilla and peppermint for a treat that’ll stand out in the cookie tin.
Crackle Ginger Cookies
Instead of the fuss of rolling gingerbread dough, make these spicy ginger crinkle cookies dusted with decorative sugar instead. Because of the molasses in the dough, you can make them a couple of days in advance and they’re still be as chewy as freshly baked.
Get the recipe for Crackle Ginger Cookies
Chocolate Slice Cookies
Chocolate slice cookies are a cookie tin necessity and receive a bit of festive flare from a snowfall of powdered sugar. Easy to make and to eat.
Cake Mix Holiday Cookies
For something completely outside of the box, look inside one. These cookies are a combination of cake mix and cream cheese, adding a bit of kitschy retro flare to your exchange this year.
Hot Chocolate Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
Marshmallow-topped hot chocolate and cookie in one. The winter pantry staple, hot chocolate mix, is used to create a sweet, fudgy cookie base before being filled with a squishy marshmallow. These cookie tin treasures will go fast, but you can make extra dough and stash it in the freezer for last-minute gifting or personal cookie cravings.
It’s not a cookie exchange without buttery, rich, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookies. This classic recipe uses a cookie press, but you can roll them into balls and mark with a tines of a fork if you don’t own one.
Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Shortbread Cookies
Gluten-Free Choco-Cherry Crunchy Meringue Cookies
Crunchy, light-as-air meringues invoke memories of snowball fights. Without any flour or butter, they’re a great choice for cookie exchangers with food allergies.
Pie Thumbprint Cookies
Always a hit at cookie exchanges, thumbprint cookies, with their homey, handmade feel, get an elegant twist with pie fillings. Surprise your pals with lemon curd, pecan pie or peanut butter-chocolate thumbprints. Anything goes with this versatile recipe.
Neapolitan Holiday Cookies
Bake up something different this year. Neapolitan cookies are a cosmopolitan holiday treat and cookie conversation starter. Colourful layers are sandwiched with preserves and topped with chocolate – it doesn’t get much better than that.
Chocolate Vanilla Sandwich Cookies
This classic sandwich cookie recipe is highly adaptable. Add holiday flare by adding peppermint to the vanilla filling, then drizzle the assembled cookies with white chocolate and scatter over crushed candy canes.
Far easier and more popular than actual fruitcake, these buttery slices glisten like stained glass windows in a cookie tin. They’ll be no re-gifting of these gems.
Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies
Every member of the cookie exchange needs a cookie to go with their ugly Christmas sweater. Set up a table where guests can paint their own. All “mistakes” are edible.
This twist on the classic sugar cookie has a crunchy exterior but with a chewy and tender middle, with a hint of spice.
Almond Linzer Cookies
Shortbread cookies sandwiched together with blueberry jam and dusted with icing sugar, these teardrop-shaped cookies are eye-catching, beautiful, and truly delicious!
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
These chocolate-y cookies are rolled in icing sugar, creating a snow-dusted effect.