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Must-try holiday cookies

This holiday season, try expanding your cookie collection with a simple cookie dough that’s the base for four (and who knows how many more!) incredibly different cookies. For the gourmands to the chocolate lovers, this quick mix has your holidays covered!

Christmas cookies

The dough itself is undeniably simple: 2 cups unsalted butter and 4 cups flour. It can’t get any easier. Cream the two ingredients together and you are ready to get this cookie parade on the road. Divide the dough evenly between four bowls and you’re ready to add the special ingredients!

If you are hunkering down to try all four cookies and are worried about having four doughs and only one oven, never fear! The thin chocolate mints dough needs to refrigerate for one hour, and the almond sandies for three. By the time you are done with one cookie dough, they’ll be ready to go. Or better yet, leave them in the fridge or freezer to make another day!

Blue Fig Thumbprints

blue fig thumbprints

Makes 4 dozen cookies

For the gourmet and those not too big on sweets, these cookies are a real treat. A blue cheese shortbread topped with a teaspoon of fig jam is a unique contribution to the cookie world. Not a big fan of blue cheese? You can do the same with grated cheddar cheese and raspberry jam, Brie and strawberry and the list goes on and on. The sky is the limit with the artful combinations you can create. Imagine how fantastic these cookies would be as a sweet and savory appetizer to go with your pre-dinner cocktails!

1/4 cookie dough base

Dough add-ins:

  • 4 ounces blue cheese (or cheese of your choice)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fig jam (or jam of your choice)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place dough base, blue cheese and a few grinds of black pepper in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Mix until the dough forms a ball.
  3. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/8-inch thick with a floured rolling pin. Cut 1-inch rounds out of the dough and transfer to the baking sheet.
  4. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the top of each cookie. Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of fig preserves into each thumbprint.
  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the fig jam is bubbling and the cookie edges are light golden brown on the bottom.
  6. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet to cool for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Thin Chocolate Mints

thin chocolate mint cookies

Makes 4 dozen cookies

You’ll get rave reviews for this classic treat. A thin, crisp chocolate cookie covered in creme de menthe chocolate is nothing short of heavenly, and it’s no surprise… they taste even better when frozen! Why not skip the after-dinner mints and give each guest a special party favor tin filled with mint cookies.

1/4 base dough

Dough add-ins:

  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup flour (if needed)

For the chocolate coating:

  • 1 (10 ounce) bag creme de menthe baking chips or Andes chocolate mints
  • 1/2 cup butter


  1. Put base dough in a large mixing bowl. Measure out and mix in all remaining ingredients.
  2. Shape the dough into a 1-inch wide log. If dough appears too soft, mix in a small amount of additional flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, until dough is very firm.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Slice dough into rounds no more than 1/4-inch thick and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Prick each cookie with the tines of a fork.
  6. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until cookies are firm at the edges. Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before dipping in chocolate.
  7. Place butter into a small saucepan. On lowest heat setting, allow to melt. Add in chocolate baking pieces. Stir continuously until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
  8. Dunk each cookie fully in the melted chocolate. Remove from the chocolate by scooping the cookie up with a fork. Tap the fork slightly on the edge of the pan, allowing excess chocolate to drip off the cookie. Transfer to a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Add sprinkles if desired. Put full cookie sheets in the fridge to set the chocolate.
  9. Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it smooth and easy to dip into.

Almond Sandies

almond sandies

Makes 3 to 4 dozen cookies

Pecan or hazelnut Sandies are divine, but who can resist the yummy amaretto flavor of almonds? If using almond flour, the consistency of the cookie will be so smooth you’d never guess they contained nuts! These bite-sized treats would also make a unique contribution to any cookie exchange!

1/4 cookie dough base

Dough add-ins:

  • 3 ounces ground almonds or almond flour
  • 2 ounces powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Using an electric mixer, combine dough base and all add-ins. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least three hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper to 1/4-inch thick. Using cookie cutters or knives, cut cookies into desired shapes.
  5. Place them one inch apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake until pale golden all over, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.



Makes 4 dozen cookies

Snickerdoodles may be a tried-and-true holiday favorite, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spice them up… literally! Cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, cloves, powdered vanilla and chai in any combination create a standout cookie!

1/4 cookie base

Dough add-ins:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup flour (if needed)

For rolling:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons total of cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, cloves, powdered vanilla or chai


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the dough base with the egg and powdered sugar. Add in the cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly. If dough appears too soft, mix in a small amount of additional flour.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and spices for rolling.
  5. Shape teaspoons of dough into rounded balls. Roll in the spiced sugar mixture.
  6. Place two inches apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for eight to 10 minutes.

More on holiday entertaining

Holiday cocktail party: Food and entertaining ideas
Holiday dinner: Food and entertaining ideas
Holiday Pinterest decor: Our favorite budget crafts that look expensive

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