PEOPLE Food's Top 20 Holiday Cookies
INA GARTEN'S CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT COOKIES
If you need a hit this season, look no further than the Barefoot Contessa's combination of shortbread, roasted hazelnuts and chocolate. Really, could you ever go wrong with Nutella in a cookie sandwich? We think not.
SMITTEN KITCHEN'S BROWNIE ROLL-OUT COOKIES
Though Smitten Kitchen blogger (and author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) Deb Perelman grew up eating these cookies only at Hanukkah, she decided as a grown-up that she could eat them any month of the year. But, for that special time, these brownies masquerading as cookies make a perfect holiday gift.
MELISSA D'ARABIAN'S ROSEMARY-CHOCOLATE CHIP SHORTBREAD
Is the thought of a savory-sweet treat blowing your mind? Wait until you taste this shortbread, which comes together in under 30 minutes. "I like cookies that aren't half-day project," D'Arabian says, "especially around the busy holiday season." We'll second that!
ERIC RIPERT'S COCONUT COOKIES
Celebrity chef Eric Ripert was inspired by one of his favorite places in the world, Puerto Rico, when he came up with this recipe. "I love the sweetness of this cookie," he says. "It has a good texture and really carries the subtle flavor and scent of the coconut."
DOWNTOWN COOKIE CO.'S FRUIT CAKE COOKIES
When the weather outside is frightful and it's December on the calendar, it can only mean one thing: It's National Fruit Cake Month! New York City's Downtown Cookie Company has taken on the challenge of improving that derided holiday dessert, blessing us with this fabulous fruit cake cookie. Don't feel like making your own? Order a box of the shop's holiday flavors instead.
TRISHA YEARWOOD'S ICED SUGAR COOKIES
Make them into snowmen, snowflakes or even snow mobiles! "These iced sugar cookies are the perfect Christmas cookie because you can decorate them any way you want for the holidays," Yearwood says. "I use lots of different colored frosting and red and green sprinkles."
LIDIA BASTIANICH'S RAINBOW COOKIES
It's no wonder these Italian favorites are popular around this time of year – after all, it wouldn't be Christmas without a little green and red. If you like impressive visual presentation, cake-like texture and lots of almond flavor, this cookie will be a sure thing.
HEDY GOLDSMITH'S JUNK IN DA TRUNK COOKIES
Pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith calls this her career-defining cookie. Butterscotch, malted milk balls and salted pretzels are just some of the delicious parts of this jam-packed dough, which results in an "always gooey, salty and amazing" treat.
MEXICAN WEDDING COOKIES
Denise Gee, author of Sweet on Texas: Loveable Confections from the Lone Star State, calls these pastries "powdered baked clouds that melt marvelously on the tongue." Their name belies their tradition: these Tex-Mex favorites are usually served around Christmas.
CRANBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE BISCOTTI
Here's a four-fork winner of a recipe created by a home cook and rated by readers of Epicurious, which put out The Epicurious Cookbook this year. The dried fruit gives these biscotti a chewy-crisp texture that add just the right touch of sweetness of any holiday occasion.
SHORTBREAD WITH CHOCOLATE & CANDIED WALNUTS
Shortcut alert! Instead of making your own candied nuts, save some time and buy them pre-made – we won't tell. Present small bites of these indulgent shortbread treats on a pretty platter with a bowl of berries, and you've got a party in no time.
SMITTEN KITCHEN'S WHOLE LEMON BARS
Holiday cookies got you feeling indulgent, and not in a good way? Cut through some of that buttery richness with Deb Perelman's bright lemony squares, which, like their name suggests, use every part of the fruit.