My friends and I decided to take our Christmas party to the next level this year. Instead of frosted Christmas cookies with colorful presents or reindeers drawn on top we baked homemade, grandma-style holiday cookies. Making four different kinds of cookies in one apartment kitchen the night before the party had its struggles, but it ended up being so worth it.

Stella Celentano

Ranking our Cookies

Our variety of holiday cookies included white chocolate dipped peppermint chocolate, M&M, iced gingerbread oatmeal, and s’mores cookies. The rankings were pretty unanimous, however they did not match people's expectations. The s’mores cookies were the most anticipated before the party but others rose above once the tasting began. 

The iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies on the other hand got a lot of side eyes when originally suggested. While all of these cookies are worth making, our official rankings are, tied for first: white chocolate dipped peppermint chocolate and iced gingerbread oatmeal, third: M&M, and fourth: s’mores.

What Didn't Work

I'm only providing the recipes for our winning holiday cookies because I believe there are better recipes for the other two than the ones we used. We decided to make M&M cookies for the less adventurous dessert indulgers. The recipe was originally for M&M and chocolate chip cookies, but we decided to leave out the chocolate chips, which ended up being a mistake. These cookies turned out a little bland and some even thought they “weren’t sweet enough.” The s’mores cookies came out thin and hard. The way the marshmallows cooked in them crisped up in an unenjoyable way and the graham cracker pieces made the rest of the cookie feel dry.

Stella Celentano
Stella Celentano

The white chocolate dipped peppermint chocolate cookies have become a holiday staple for me. This was my fourth time making them and they hit the spot every time. They are very rich and chewy but so delicious and very pretty to give as gifts to friends and neighbors. This recipe comes from Cooking Classy.

White Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

  • Prep Time:35 mins
  • Cook Time:8 mins
  • Total Time:43 mins
  • Servings:32
  • Easy


  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 16 oz. white chocolate
  • 1/4 cup crushed peppermint bits
Stella Celentano
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

  • Step 2

    In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds.

  • Step 3

    In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined.

    Stella Celentano
  • Step 4

    Mix in eggs one at a time then blend in vanilla extract and peppermint extract.

  • Step 5

    With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until combined.

  • Step 6

    Scoop dough out by a rounded tablespoon (about 25 grams each) and shape into balls (I chilled my dough in the fridge first because it was a little sticky). Space on cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

  • Step 7

    Bake one sheet at a time in preheated oven about 8 minutes (cookies should appear slightly under-baked).

  • Step 8

    Let cool on baking sheet several minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container to fully cool.

  • Step 9

    Once cookies are cool, melt white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on 50% power in 30 second increments, stirring between intervals until melted and smooth. Dip the cookies in the white chocolate, add some crushed peppermint candy for flare, and enjoy!

Contrary to the majority, the iced gingerbread oatmeal cookies were the ones I was most looking forward to. These soft, crumbly cookies were much better than the smooth hard gingerbread you might be used to. This recipe comes from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Iced Gingerbread Oatmeal Cookies

  • Prep Time:45 mins
  • Cook Time:13 mins
  • Total Time:58 mins
  • Servings:30
  • Medium


  • 2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 unsulphured or dark molasses
  • 1 and 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1.5-2 tbs milk
Stella Celentano
  • Step 1

    Pulse the oats in a food processor 10-12 times until you have a variety of texture– chopped oats with some oat flour.

  • Step 2

    In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.

  • Step 3

    Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be very thick and a little sticky. Cover and chill the dough for 30-45 minutes in the refrigerator (and up to 4 days). If chilling for longer than a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before scooping and baking because the dough will be quite hard.

  • Step 4

    Scoop cookie dough, about 1.5 tablespoons of dough per cookie, and place 3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides.

  • Step 5

    Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

  • Step 6

    Make the icing: Combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon of milk in a medium bowl. Use a fork to whisk until combined. It will be impossible to fully combine because this isn’t enough liquid. Add only enough extra milk to make a very very thick icing. I only add about one more tablespoon of milk. Whisk in a very small pinch of ground cinnamon and ginger. Lightly dip the tops of the cookies into the icing or lightly drizzle icing on top. Feel free to dust/sprinkle more ground cinnamon on top of the icing for garnish!

I hope you use these holiday cookie recipes to share the Christmas spirit with your friends and family. Winter break is also the perfect time to practice and perfect your cookie recipes, so I would love to hear the unique recipes you create!