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Holiday Cookie Recipes to Make and Share

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How to package and decorate a pretty holiday cookies gift box, and the best cookies to make and share!

Photo showing a white cookie tin filled with holiday cookies in assorted flavors, with a red ribbon and paper snowflakes on the surface.

Whether or not your family baking traditions involve epic baking sessions, elaborate decorative icings or something more straightforward, making homemade cookies and packaging them as gifts is literally one of the sweetest ways to share the holiday love.

My favorite Christmas cookies to make are simple sugar cookies and drop cookies. In other words the ones that are homey, simple and not too fussy.

Read on to get the most popular holiday cookie recipes from Familystyle Food, plus ideas for packaging up the goodies for giving!

The best cookies for gift-giving:

  • Choose cookies that aren’t too delicate.
  • Variety in shape, size and texture is ideal.
  • Include a few different cookies to mix things up.

Try making two, three or more different kinds:

  • Crunchy and sturdy: Biscotti, shortbread or gingerbread.
  • Dense and chewy — Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar cookies.
  • Bar cookies — Brownies, blondies, fudge, nut bars.

How to pack cookies for holiday gifts

Pile a bunch of cookies in a box and hand them off with a bow on top — it’s not exactly rocket science.

The Best Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes

However, the secret to transforming an otherwise humble package of baked goods into something memorable all comes down to presentation.

Even adding a handwritten tag to a plain brown paper bag of homemade cookies adds a touch that comes straight from the heart.

  • Choose a sturdy container like a covered tin or plain heavy cardboard. I love this wooden box, with a sliding top and compartments for each cookie stack. It can be used over and over, and it’s sturdy enough for transporting your creations without crushing or crumbling them.
  • Line the container with parchment or wax paper. If you can find festive food-friendly tissue paper, use it for wrapping stacks of cookies.
  • For shipping the cookies, cut out a sheet of bubble wrap to fit into the bottom of the container, adding more between layers.
  • Use large muffin or cupcake liners or other dividers like pieces of cardboard to organize the cookies.
  • Fill spaces in between the cookies with crinkled gift basket paper, crumpled foil or tissue.

Decorating cookie boxes or bags

Make your gift package some holiday flair by embellishing it with a few inexpensive items, easily found in stationary or craft stores.

  • Fabric ribbons and rustic jute twine
  • Plain gift tags or labels to write on
  • Tissue paper (if you’re wrapping cookies directly in tissue, use food-safe paper)
  • Kraft paper and bags
  • If your container has a lid, tie a ribbon around it and add a gift tag attached with a piece of twine or colorful string.
  • For containers without a lid, securely wrap in plastic or cellophane before adding a ribbon.

Easy cookie recipes for making and sharing

If you’re looking for recipes that are easy to make and perfect for gifting, here’s a sample of the cookies I used in my holiday cookie box:

Rosemary Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

Pretty, easy to make lemon-scented glazed cookies made with Italian polenta (or cornmeal), fresh rosemary and pine nuts.

Photo of three lemon sugar cookies on a napkin, topped with lemon glaze, pine nuts and rosemary leaves.

Rustic Almond Jam Cookies

Fuss-free, tender jam-filled cookies made with a buttery toasted almond dough.

Photo of a sliced log of apricot jam-filled cookies, with a small dish of jam and spoon next to them.

Double Dark Chocolate Biscotti

Easy to make chocolate biscotti cookies dipped in dark chocolate. These crunchy cookies are perfect for gift-giving or a coffee break treat!

Photo of chocolate biscotti on a plate.

Hazelnut and Cocoa Snowballs

The classic nutty, crumbly snowball cookie, updated with toasted hazelnuts and cocoa powder.

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Easy Holiday Cookies: Rosemary Lemon Polenta Cookies

Karen Tedesco
An easy, holiday favorite cookie! These easy to make scoop-and-bake cornmeal cookies are scented with the seductive combination of rosemary and lemon. You'll love their delicious rustic texture and tender crumb.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Inactive Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 27 mins
Course Desserts
Cuisine cookies
Servings 36 cookies

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons (150 g) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (180 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract, optional
  • 1 ½ cups (210 g) all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (120 g) coarse ground cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup pinenuts, plus extra for garnish

Glaze:

  • 1 cup (100 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Instructions 

  • Beat the butter and sugar in a standing mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes on medium high speed. Add the lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Stir in the lemon extract, if using.
  • Mix the flour, cornmeal, rosemary, baking powder and salt in a bowl until blended together.
  • Add the dry mixture to the butter on low speed in 2 parts, just until the dough comes together. Stir in the pine nuts. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour or two, until the dough is firm and scoopable.
  • Heat the oven to 325 (160 C) degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized balls (I like to use a cookie scoop) so they come out even) and arrange on the cookie sheets about 2-inches apart.
  • Bake 12 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and slightly golden on the edges. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar, cream, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Spread some glaze on each cookie. Put a few rosemary leaves and a pine nut on the top.

Notes

The unglazed cookies can be frozen up to a month. Once glazed, keep them at room temperature 3 – 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 94mg | Sugar: 7g
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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3 Comments

  1. It’s hard to share them how delicious they look 😉 Love it!

  2. Your post is really inspiring me to bake! I even wish I had a cookie swap to go to! XO