5 Amazing Holiday Cookie Recipes Created by a Master Chef Finalist

Updated 12/14/17

If you're hoping to exercise some portion control this holiday season, you may want to reconsider. In fact, you probably won't even have a choice in the matter. Once you lay eyes on these holiday cookies, you'll have to plant yourself right under the metaphorical mistletoe and kiss all self-restraint goodbye. Since this is the best time of year to cozy up and do fun indoor activities with your loved ones, it's also a good time to say yes to sweets. And what could be better than a holiday cookie bakeathon or cookie-decorating party?

We can think of countless iterations of baking events that would be perfect. Invite your friends over for a boozy baking party, treat the neighborhood kids and their parents to a special afternoon, follow Cher's tip to always have cookies baking in the oven to make a romantic date of it with your with your significant other, or hold a charitable bake sale. We could keep going, but we're guessing you want to get to the good part by now. To leave the hard part up to the pros, we decided to highlight our favorite recipes from MasterChef finalist Hannah Miles's cookbook, Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats.

Take a look below and then choose your favorite holiday cookies to make yourself. Enjoy!

Christmas Kisses

Chritmas Cookies
Steve Painter

Yield: 24 cookies

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened
5 tbsp. soft dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
24 Hershey's candy cane–flavored kisses, or similar chocolates
Red and white sugar sprinkles (optional)
24-hole mini-muffin pan, well greased
2-inch round fluted cutter

Directions:

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Sift in the flour and whisk in until you have a soft dough. Wrap in cling film/plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 24 circles of dough. Press the circles gently into the holes of the mini-muffin pan.

Reroll the dough and cut out again as needed. Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookie dough is golden and crisp. The dough will puff up slightly but will keep an indent in the center.

Remove the cookies from the pan. They should pop out easily, but you can use a teaspoon to slide them out if they are stuck. Place on a cooking rack and, while the cookies are still warm, unwrap the Hershey's kisses and place one in the indent of each cookie. Sprinkle with the sugar sprinkles if you wish. Leave to cool.

Carrots for Rudolph

Christmas Cookie Recipes
Steve Painter

Yield: 16 cookies

Ingredients for the cookies:

5 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp. milk

Directions for cookies:

Whisk together the caster/granulated sugar and butter until soft and creamy. Add the flour and milk and mix to a soft dough.

Wrap the dough in cling film/plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 16 carrot shapes using a cookie cutter. If you do not have a carrot cutter, cut a template out of cardboard and then cut round the template on the dough using a sharp knife.

Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, taking care toward the end of cooking as you do not want the cookies to turn brown.

Leave on the baking sheet to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Ingredients for decoration:

7 oz. white chocolate
Orange and green food coloring gel
Carrot cookie cutter
Large baking sheet, greased and lined
2 piping/pastry bags fitted with small round nozzles/ tips

Directions for decoration:

Break the white chocolate into pieces and put it in a heatproof bowl. Rest the bowl over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate is melted, then remove it from the heat and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Colour 2/3 of the white chocolate orange and 1/3 green.

Iced Mitten Cookies

Holiday Cookies
Steve Painter

Yield: 10 cookies

Ingredients for cookies:

1/3 cup soft dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 heaped tbsp. cream cheese
1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Directions for cookies:

Whisk together the brown sugar and butter until soft and creamy. Add the cream cheese and flour and mix to a soft dough. Wrap the dough in cling film/plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough thinly to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 10 mitten cookie shapes. Carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cookies turn light golden brown.

As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, use the round icing nozzle/tip to stamp out a hole in each cookie to thread the string/twine through. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Ingredients for decoration:

1 1/2 cups royal icing/confectioners' sugar, sifted
4 to 5 tbsp. soft shredded coconut
Mitten-shaped cookie cutter (optional)
1 large baking sheet, greased and lined
1 piping/pastry bag with a small round nozzles/tip
Decorative string/twine

Directions for decoration:

Place 1/3 of the icing/confectioners' sugar in a bowl and mix with a few teaspoons of cold water to make a stiff, thick icing. Spoon the icing into a piping/pastry bag and pipe a line as close to the edge of the cookie as possible. Leave the outline to dry for a few minutes before flooding the cookies. To do this mix the remaining icing/confectioners' sugar with a few tablespoons of water to make a runny icing. Spread enough icing onto the cookie so that it looks generously covered but not so much that it overflows, and keep it away from the edges.

Use a round-bladed knife to guide the icing so that it floods any gaps. While the icing is still wet, sprinkle the coconut across the bottom of each mitten to resemble a fluffy cuff. Leave to set completely.

Gingerbread Vienesse Sandwiches

Holiday Cookie Recipes
Steve Painter

Yield: 14 cookies

Ingredients for cookies:

1/2 sticks butter, softened
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup gingerbread syrup
1 tsp. gingerbread spice mix or ground cinnamon

Directions for cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and icing/confectioners' sugar. The butter must be very soft. Otherwise, the dough will be difficult to pipe. Add the flour, syrup, and spice, and whisk until you have a smooth, soft dough.

Spoon the dough into one of the piping/pastry bags and pipe 28 rosettes or swirls of the dough onto the baking sheets. The cookies will spread, so make sure that you leave gaps between them.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Watch carefully toward the end of cooking as they can turn dark brown quickly. Leave the cookies to cool on a cooling rack. I do this by lifting the baking parchment sheet carefully onto a cooling rack

Ingredients for filling:

2 cups icing/confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 stick butter, softened
1 oz. cream cheese
1 tbsp. gingerbread syrup
2 baking sheets, lined with baking parchment
2 piping/pastry bags fitted with large star nozzles/tips

Directions for filling:

For the filling, whisk together the icing/confectioners' sugar, butter, cream cheese, and syrup until light and creamy. Spoon into the second piping/pastry bag and chill in the refrigerator until the icing becomes firm.

Bring the icing to room temperature, then pipe a swirl of icing onto the flat side of half of the cookies, then sandwich them together with the uniced cookies. Place in cake cases to serve and dust with a little icing/confectioners' sugar.

Meringue Snowman Cookies

Holiday Dessert Recipes
Steve Painter

Yield: 14 cookies

Ingredients for meringue:

1 egg white
5 tbsp. granulated sugar

Directions for meringue:

Preheat the oven to the lowest possible setting, about 260°F.

Begin by making the snowmen. Whisk the egg white to stiff peaks. Add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking constantly until the meringue is smooth and glossy. Spoon the meringue into the piping/pastry bag fitted with the large round nozzle/tip.

Pipe 14 circles of meringue about 1 inch in diameter on one of the baking sheets. On top of each of these, pipe a smaller ball for the snowman's body and then 1/3 slightly smaller one on top for the head.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the meringue is crisp. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Ingredients for cookies:

1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 oz. Lotus Biscoff spread or peanut butter
11/4 cups self-rising flour
31/2 oz. white chocolate chips

Directions for cookies:

Increase the oven temperature to 350°F.

Whisk together the butter, sugar, and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add the biscuit spread and whisk in. Sift in the flour and whisk in, along with the white chocolate chips.

Place 14 spoonfuls of the dough on the second baking sheet a small distance apart.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Ingredients for decoration:

5 oz. white chocolate, melted
3 tbsp. confectioners' sugar, sifted
Orange and black food coloring gel
Piping/pastry bag, fitted with a large round nozzle/tip
2 large baking sheets, lined with silicon mats or baking parchment
Toothpicks

Directions for decoration:

Spoon a little of the melted white chocolate over each of the cookies and place a meringue snowman in the center of each.

Hannah Miles Cute Christmas Cookies $13
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What are your favorite cookies to bake for the holidays? Share your traditions with us in the comments. And for more holiday cookie recipes, shop Miles's full collection here.

Recipes excerpted from Cute Christmas Cookies: Adorable and Delicious Festive Treats. This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

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