Deciding what types of holiday cookies to make can honestly be stressful. I mean, the amount of choices are just overwhelming. And as a fellow student suffering through finals, I don’t want to add to your stress.

So I’m not going to give you another recipe. No, I want to make your life simple. I’ll let you choose for yourself from the seemingly billions of recipes already out there, and I’ll show you that these added ingredients can kick any holiday cookie recipe up a notch — without any added stress.

Add Bacon


Photo by Christin Urso

Salt is an important ingredient in any cookie, but adding some homemade bacon bits to your cookies amps up more than just the salt. It adds a smoky umami flavor that pairs well with the sweetness of a cookie, and the added crunch is a textural bonus. To make your own, try out this bacon chocolate chip cookie recipe.

#SpoonTip: If you really want to kick it up, replace some of the butter with bacon fat.

Add Potato Chips


Photo by Julia Murphy

If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or have a personal vendetta against bacon, then you can achieve a similar affect by adding crushed potato chips to your cookie.

Potato chips have the added benefit of coming in multiple flavors (including some questionable ones), so you can choose the one that best fits your preferences and choice of cookie.

Add Cream Cheese


Photo by Daniel Schuleman

If you like hard cookies, then this isn’t for you. However, if you’re actually sane, then try replacing half the butter in your recipe with cream cheese. Not only does this make your cookie softer, but it adds a unique depth of flavor.

Plus, cream cheese has less fat than butter, so you’re basically being healthy.

Add Egg Whites


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Look at me being oh-so-healthy. If you take a sugar filled cookie and roll it in egg whites, you’re at least adding protein right? Plus, rolling your cookies in egg whites helps toppings, like nuts, stick to the outside.

If you’re not nuts for nuts (it’s like cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but worse), then roll your cookies in egg whites whipped to soft peaks, then roll them in the topping of your choice, like cinnamon sugar. This gives the cookies a thin, puffy shell that adds a flavorful (nut-free) crunch.

Add Chocolate


Gif by Isabelle Smith

You know how when you make cookies, you never use the whole bag of chocolate chips and eat the rest of it? Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, dipping your cookies in melted chocolate is a great way to use left over chocolate.

Not only does a chocolate-coating add an extra decorative element to your cookies, but it also provides an extra satisfying layer of chocolate that chips just can’t provide.

If you’re looking for something simple, try these cheesecake cookie sandwiches.

Add a Stick


Photo courtesy of Julie Van Rosendaal from

Bake a cookie with some sort of skewer or stick like this. If you also want to add chocolate, just let the cookies cool, then submerge them fully in melted chocolate, shake to remove the extra liquid, and let cool in an upright position until the chocolate hardens.

Add Brown Butter


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If you haven’t jumped on the brown butter bandwagon, then your hipster-ness is officially getting in the way of you experiencing life.

It is basically butter’s version of caramel: an already good ingredient slightly burnt to perfection, which gives it a rich, nutty flavor (you can read a more technical description and even learn how to make it here).

You can substitute equal amounts of brown butter for regular butter in any cookie recipe you want. If it calls for room temperature butter, simply let the brown butter cool until it solidifies.