Inspired by the holiday cookie trays of my childhood, here’s a round-up of the 21 best holiday cookies you should consider for your holiday cookie exchange or when putting together a cookie tray for all the season’s gatherings!
For the past few years, I’ve led the charge organizing a holiday cookie exchange at my office. And if I’m being honest, part of the reason I do so is a bit self-serving.
I love to bake and am always looking for a reason to do so. But I also love to taste a ton of cookies and treats, and on the day of the holiday cookie exchange, it’s the one time a year that I eat myself into a cookie-fueled sugar coma.
As we’re nearing the holiday season, I’ve rounded my favorite cookies recipes, creating my ideal cookie tray in preparation for your holiday cookie exchange. These recipes are a combination of cookies my Mom used to make for me while growing up as well as a few new favorites that I’ve thrown in!
Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration in these cookie recipes if you’re participating in a holiday cookie exchange or putting together a cookie tray of your own to share at holiday gatherings.
21 Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipes
Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars I love these bars because they’re sweet, crunchy and full of chocolate, nuts and a graham cracker base!
Mexican Wedding Cookies It’s like these were made for holiday cookie plates, they look like little snowballs!
Chocolate Andes Mint Cookies These have a chewy, brownie-like center that make them ridiculously addicting. I love to freeze these and eat them straight from the freezer.
Classic Cutout Cookies This recipe links to my Valentine’s Day cookie post but the recipe is one I use every season. I love this classic cutout cookie recipe because it requires NO CHILL TIME. Which in my opinion, is super important during the holidays because when you want cookies, you don’t want to wait for 2-hours for the dough to chill out.
Peanut Butter Blossoms but please make these with the Brach’s Chocolate Stars rather than a Hershey Kiss. I promise you, the stars are SO much better for these cookies. They’re easier to eat and you’re able to get a taste of chocolate in every bite.
Ginger Cookies What’s the holidays without some ginger? These have candied ginger throughout and they’re great for dunking.
White Chocolate Raspberry Bars Is there anything better than a shortbread bar with raspberry and white chocolate chunks? These are so good you can eat them for breakfast. Or, try a spin-off of these bars with my Raspberry Coffee Cake
Toffee Bar Cookies If you love Heath Bars, these Toffee Bar Cookies are made for you! With a shortbread base, a layer of chocolate and toffee bits they’re heaven!
Peppermint Mocha Cookies These are always a favorite because they’re so festive! Chocolate cookies that have been dipped in white chocolate and rolled in candy canes.
Crinkle Cookies Another chewy, chocolate cookie that looks as if it’s been dusted with snow!
Mocha Chocolate Drop Cookies Chocolate with a slight hint of coffee. You’ll want to eat these while drinking your coffee Christmas morning and opening gifts!
And since you can’t have a cookie tray without a few other sweet nibbly bites, here are a few other treats that you should consider making.
I find these additions are great for filling the blank crevices that piles of cookies sometimes leave or make a great addition sprinkled around the border of the tray. Plus, incorporating some non-cookie treats ensure there’s something for everyone when you bring your cookie tray to share!
Buckeyes This may be foreign to you as I think buckeyes may be a Northeastern dessert. But if you love peanut butter and chocolate these are for you! They’re like a big ball of peanut butter (similar to what you’d find in Reese’s pumpkins at Halloween) that have been dipped into chocolate. It’s splendidly delicious.
Chocolate Fudge My Mom used to make this fudge recipe with marshmallow fluff and it’s amazing. Pretty much a no-fail fudge recipe. It’s a silky, smooth, sweet fudge!
Caramel Popcorn Don’t be intimidated here, it’s worth the effort. My mom incorporated nuts into her recipe and it’s perfect for munching.
Spiced Nuts Remember those nuts you get at carnivals or country fairs? You can make them at home and they’re oh so easy.
Peppermint Bark This is perfect when you’re in a pinch. It’s as simple as melting chocolate and sprinkling it with crushed candy canes!
What Trash Are you familiar with this? My Mom’s friend is known for making this every year. My favorite part is picking out the pieces of Chex Mix that fully covered in white chocolate…and the M&M’s of course. You can make a bit more festive by using red and green M&M’s!