The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies

The 12 Days of Christmas Cookies

Vicky Wasik

Nothing says Christmas quite like baking. Whether you’re making an assortment to send to friends and family or keeping them all to yourself (we won’t tell anyone!), there’s no shortage of recipes to choose from. This year, we put together a list of festive cookies for you to try your hand at, starting with incredibly easy ones and increasing in difficulty as the days go on. The level of complexity in baking is a bit subjective: It can refer to the skill and technique required, the number and type of ingredients to source, or even the time needed to achieve a finished product. (Sometimes the hardest part is really just waiting for your treats to cool before enjoying them). Are you up for the challenge? Check out the recipes below.

Lacy Brown Butter and Ricotta Cookies

Vicky Wasik

These lacy, rich cookies are crisp around the edges and chewy in the center. If you already have toasted sugar on hand, just mix it with melted butter, flavor that mixture with a vanilla bean pod, combine with your dry ingredients, then portion the dough before baking.

Easy One-Bowl Oatmeal Cookies


Thick and chewy with crispy edges and butterscotch-y middles, these oatmeal cookies come together in one bowl—just mix, drop, and bake.

Gingerbread Cookies

Photographs: Vicky Wasik. Video: Serious Eats Team

These easy, homemade gingerbread cookies come together fast because there’s no need to chill the dough before rolling. Once baked, make a batch of royal icing and dye it different colors to decorate.

Homemade Biscoff (Belgian Speculoos Cookies)

Vicky Wasik

Crispy, rich, and aromatic with floral Ceylon cinnamon and the deeply caramelized sweetness of well toasted Belgian-style brown sugar. Aside from rolling the dough and cutting it into rectangular shapes, this recipe is as easy as they come.

Vegan Chocolate-Covered Digestive Biscuits

A vegan chocolate-covered digestive biscuit
Vicky Wasik

Like graham crackers, digestive biscuits get their distinctive flavor and tenderness from a portion of whole wheat flour worked into the dough. Their crunchy texture and grainy flavor are perfectly offset by a thick layer of your favorite vegan chocolate.

The Food Lab’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
J. Kenji López-Alt

Level up classic chocolate chip cookies with brown butter and chopped chocolate. You’ll need to refrigerate the dough overnight for this one—but we promise the cookies are worth the wait!

Almond Biscotti With Anise

Vicky Wasik

These crunchy twice-baked Italian cookies are as classic as they are simple to make. Finishing them off with a dip of chocolate is optional but highly recommended.

Alfajores Con Cajeta (Vanilla Shortbread With Goat’s-Milk Toffee)

Stack of alfajore cookies
Vicky Wasik

The combination of sticky toffee sauce and buttery shortbread can’t be beat. This recipe requires having cajeta casera on hand.

Raspberry-Almond Rugelach

Emily Dryden

Orange zest in the dough of this rugelach zings in contrast with a jammy, almond-studded filling. You can either choose to slice the dough or roll them into mini crescent rolls.

Chocolate-Covered Caramel-Filled Shortbread Cookies (a.k.a. Homemade Twix)


High-quality dark chocolate, buttery homemade caramel, and crisp, flavor-packed shortbread come together to make these better than Twix.

Homemade Oreo Cookies

Vicky Wasik

These homemade Oreo cookies are as dark and intense as the original, with a hint of bitterness to balance the sweet vanilla filling. Reach for an embossed rolling pin to give the wafers a decorative look before baking and sandwiching them with the filling.

Homemade Fig Newtons

homemade fig newtons

As Nabisco likes to remind us, Fig Newtons aren’t just cookies: they’re fruit and cake. This homemade version pairs a no-cook fig preserve with a soft dough inspired by yellow cake.