Xueci Cheng

Food Editor at Kitchen Stories

instagram.com/scharf.xueci/

This December at Kitchen Stories is all about feel-good festive food! No matter what you’re celebrating or with whom, our December recipes have something for every one and for every occasion. Best of all, they’re fun and unfussy, so you can focus on winding down for the year. Stay tuned throughout the month by bookmarking this article, where we’ll collect all our recipes and articles. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for even more. Happy December!

It’s finally cookie season: The time of year when we’re just about constantly surrounded by the irresistible, comforting smell of melted butter. It’s a season that elicits excitement from adults and kids alike. We’ve talked in the past about our love for chocolate chip cookies, but holiday cookies are the focus now and, this year, we thought we’d go back to basics and focus on old-fashioned icebox (or slice and bake) cookies. These cookies require just a few steps: make the dough, form it into a log, chill or freeze it, slice it, and bake!

For me, a person with limited baking talent, these are the perfect prep-ahead cookies for a laid-back holiday; you don’t need fancy equipment and the dough can stay frozen for up to a month (or according to Mark Bittman in his book How to Bake Everything, they can be frozen pretty much indefinitely). Any time you want them, all you have to do is preheat your oven, reach into your freezer, and the cookies will be ready in the blink of an eye.

You can use your favorite basic sugar cookie recipe as the base for your slice and bakes or this recipe from our archive:

Sablés (French butter cookies)

Sablés (French butter cookies)

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Inspiring ways to flavor your slice and bake cookies

Once you have the basic cookie dough prepared, divide the dough (or go for one big batch) and mix in a wild array of additions. Here’s some inspiration on our favorite ways to spruce up the plain dough:

Dried or candied fruits: dried fruits (like raisins, apricots, or cranberries), candied ginger, candied orange or lemon
Nuts: pistachios, peanuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, or a full superfood mix like in these breakfast cookies 
Spice and tea: chai spice, black tea, matcha powder, pumpkin spice, espresso 
Other ideas: fresh citrus zest, crushed pretzels, peanut butter, tahini or miso paste, shredded coconut, herbs (like rosemary or thyme)

5 festive holiday cookies we’re loving right now

Among the many cookie enthusiasts on our team, I asked (or maybe more like convinced) some of them to share their favorite version of a holiday cookie, so here they are!

My matcha cookies are a great manifestation of a running joke among the Asian community: The highest praise we could give for any dessert is that “It’s not too sweet.” In this recipe, matcha green tea powder gives a lovely green color and a slight bitterness to balance out the sweetness of sugar and chocolate.

Matcha green tea white chocolate cookies

Matcha green tea white chocolate cookies

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Devan’s chocolate cookies are decorated with the christmas color palette—can you spot the red from dried cranberries and the green from pistachios?

Festive chocolate slice and bake cookies

Festive chocolate slice and bake cookies

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Vanessa’s Italian mandorlini recipe is an ode to her obsession with Italian cuisine. The combination of marzipan, amaretto, and lemon zest gives the cookies a delicate and unique taste profile. Plus, they’re extremely easy to make.

Mandorlini (Italian almond cookies)

Mandorlini (Italian almond cookies)

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Jost’s cookie recipe truly highlights the in-season orange, with orange flavor living not only in the dough (through zest), but also in the sugar icing that uses up the juice.

Orange pistachio cookies

Orange pistachio cookies

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Andreas’s cookies are inspired by Zimtwaffeln from his hometown Saarland. Instead of a waffle shape, they are in pinwheel form. They're easier, but equally tasty.

Cinnamon swirl christmas cookies

Cinnamon swirl christmas cookies

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Never enough cookies!

If you want more ideas for holiday cookies, check out these articles:
The Best-Ever, Only-Recipe-You'll-Ever-Need: Chocolate Chip Cookies
How This Community Member Turned a Rice Pudding Tradition Into Delicious Cookies
The Best From Our Community: Christmas Cookies
How to Make Perfect Snickerdoodle Cookies
Christmas Cookies That Are Accidentally Gluten-Free and 100% Delicious

And even more cookie recipes can be found here!

What’s your favorite holiday cookie? Let us know in the comments or upload your own recipe to share with our global community!

More delicious ideas for you