Best-Loved Cookies and Bars
Cookies, brownies, and bars are always crowd-pleasers—and great handmade gifts for friends and family during the holidays or for other special occasions. We love cookie recipes with a special Southern twist: Red Velvet Thumbprints, Cornmeal Thumbprints with Tomato Jam, Tea Cakes, and Swoon Pies (our take on Moon Pies). But, we crave classics like chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, or white chocolate chip cookies just as much. Get really creative—not to mention decadent—with brownie and bar recipes like Pecan Pie Bars, Bayou Brownies, Mudslide Brownies, Death by Caramel Bars, and Kitchen Sink Brownies (which have a little of everything but the sink in them). During the holidays, try our cookie, bar, and brownie spins on favorite holiday flavors: Glazed Fruitcake Bars, Layered Eggnog Blondies, Coconut Snowballs, Chocolate Peppermint Crackle, and Pecan Pralines. With so many recipes to choose from, you can fill your cookie jar year-round. Keep ice cream in the freezer, and you’ll always have an easy answer when somebody asks, “What’s for dessert?”
Deep-Dish Skillet Cookies
Recipe: Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
Recipe: Pecan Praline Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
Recipe: Strawbeyy Shortcake Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
Recipe: Grasshopper Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
Recipe: Hummingbird Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
Recipe: Mississippi Mud Deep-Dish Skillet Cookie
You will want to make sure you save room for this decadent skillet dessert. Start with our classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, and then get creative with fun, flavorful mix-ins. There's something for everyone here; from a gooey, chewy classic chocolate chip to a surprising hummingbird cake-inspired treat. We reccomend serving with vanilla ice cream.
Ginger Shortbread Cookies with Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe: Ginger Shortbread Cookies with Lemon-Cream Cheese Frosting
These simple and delicious cookies only have six ingredients, so they are easy to bake. The cream cheese frosting adds a dollop of rich deliciousness to every mouthful. Making the frosting is easy too—just mix together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. It will have just the right amount of sweet and bite. Be sure to let the cookies cool before you cover them with frosting. To dress these cookies up a little more, and to add extra flavor to these lemony shortbread treats, top them with some crystallized ginger and lemon zest.
Pecan Pie Bars
Recipe: Pecan Pie Bars
You will be amazed by how easy it is to get the taste of pecans in a bite-sized bar with this homemade wonder. Get some ready for school since they work well in a lunchbox. You'll also love the fact that these take just 20 minutes to prepare. Heavy cream and butter make this bar taste great—full and rich. But the pecans are the stars. These bars are packed full of toasted nuts, and everything is held together with dark brown sugar. You'll feel like you're having a slice of pecan pie with every bite—until you remember you're devouring a grab-and-go treat.
Chewy Peanut Bars
Recipe: Chewy Peanut Bars
We weren't exactly excited to test our old microwave column recipes again, but these chocolate-peanut blondies truly surprised us. You'll like their combination of sticky-sweet peanut butter and rich, gooey chocolate. But what you'll love is the crunch of peanuts, first from the salty sensations on top, then from the surprise in the center. Once this has cooled, and been cut into squares, your guests won't know whether you've whipped it up in the microwave or baked it up in the oven, so take advantage of that often-overlooked kitchen appliance and make this tasty treat. When it comes out perfectly, you can surprise everyone too.
Recipe: Raspberry "Rhubars"
Tangy rhubarb and sweet raspberries mingle in a portable, make-ahead dessert. This recipe may not be the easiest, but it is worth the effort. From the moment that you first taste how all the ingredients come together: the crust, full of toasted almonds; the filling, a scrumptious blend of rhubarb and raspberries—including one container of raspberries that get boiled down and another of whole raspberries that you stir in; and a cream cheese batter. These bake to an incredible bar that chills to a grab-and-go sensation. These are a "chill before eating" dessert, though we know it may be difficult to wait.
Chewy Ginger Cookies
Recipe: Chewy Ginger Cookies
Peeled and finely grated fresh ginger—and black pepper—give this classic cookie a kick. Prep tip: Swirl a liquid measuring cup with a thin coat of vegetable oil before measuring molasses for the most accurate (and least sticky) result. These cookies are also as beautiful as they are tasty: cover them with some gold sanding sugar and you'll feel like you are devouring delicious edible jewels. One reviewer loved this so much it may replace their favorite gingersnap cookie. They said, "I wanted to try something different. I am glad I did. These are delicious." We know you'll find them delicious too.
Glazed Fruitcake Bars
Recipe: Glazed Fruitcake Bars
These dense, chewy fruitcake bars are a fresh version of the kind passed around at holiday parties. This recipe will have people you know asking for fruitcake. We love raisins and dried cherries in this recipe, but you can use your favorite combinations of dried fruits. This recipe is also packed full of walnuts for a nutty, toasty flavor. Finally, one of our favorite classic Southern beverages makes an appearance—bourbon mixed with butter makes a delicious glaze that gets drizzled over the top. Cut this into squares and your family and friends will be lining up for seconds.
5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
Recipe: 5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
This recipe really is what it says. It really does have five ingredients, and it makes a classic sugar cookie. You can put this cookie together quickly—it rests for 15 minutes after you roll it out, gets baked for 8 to 10 minutes, and cools for 30 minutes more. In under an hour you're ready to eat these fantastic sweet treats. The hardest part will be waiting while the glaze and decorations dry. But since you want these cookies to be beautiful, take the extra time to make them look as wonderful as they taste. They make gorgeous, homemade holiday gifts. When glazing, use a shallow bowl that will accommodate the entire cookie.
Layered Eggnog Blondies
Recipe: Layered Eggnog Blondies
These treats have a split personality: think of Layered Eggnog Blondies as 1 part blondie, and 1 part eggnog cheesecake. The sum of the two is delicious. The eggnog cheesecake filling will have you thinking that this cookie can be the perfect holiday treat, so you could plan ahead and make a double batch. You'll love the flavors of ground nutmeg and cinnamon. These are simply delectable with a big dollop of fresh whipped cream right on top. Layered Eggnog Blondies keep well, so you can refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to one week.
Jana's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe: Jana's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Do as Jana Kramer does: Tie on an apron, put on a Patsy Cline record, and whip up some of these chewy cookies. Ground oats and chopped pecans give them great texture, and a grated milk chocolate bar gives the chocolate morsels an extraordinary boost. Readers absolutely love this cookie. One described these as "great cookies," while another enthused, "This recipe is a keeper!" We certainly think so. It really is the grated milk chocolate bar that kicks this up to maximum decadence level because it mixes so well with the semisweet chocolate morsels. Savor every sweet bite.
Recipe: Coconut Snowballs
Everything about this cookie feels like winter, from the flakes of shredded coconut to the melted white chocolate. And they aren't called snowballs for nothing, but the only place you'll want to throw these is into your mouth. You can prepare this dough in advance, and chill it for up to five days. If the melted white chocolate is too firm after it is heated, stir in about 1/4 tsp. coconut oil. Garnish these with some shaved coconut and you will have some gorgeous holiday cookies to share with family and friends.
Caramel-Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Recipe: Caramel-Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
The recipe for these Caramel-Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars is from the kitchen of Jennifer McHenry of bakeorbreak.com. As Jennifer explains, "Growing up in Mississippi, baking was a way of life. If someone you love is a fan of chocolate and caramel, these are a quick, easy way to create a little happiness." And we definitely agree these bars are little grab-and-go bites of happiness. They are packed full of milk chocolate morsels and melted caramel. These bars are filled with sweet and sticky delights. Bite into one and you will want another.
Belgian Spice Cookies
Recipe: Belgian Spice Cookies
These cookies begin with five simple ingredients. Put them together, chill the dough, then slice the cookies and get ready to bake. They will come out of the oven crisp and fragrant wonders. If you would like to create a lacy design on these cookies (also known as Speculoos), place a stencil or doily over the cooled cookies before dusting each one with powdered sugar. These make a beautiful addition to any holiday table, and look great when you are entertaining guests. Keep an eye out for stencils or doilies with designs or patterns you would like to use.
Recipe: Lemon Meltaways
Think of these as being a tart twist on the traditional Mexican wedding cookie. You'll use just a tad less than two sticks of butter to make these delicate little gems. Our readers love these cookies, in part because they are so easy to make, but most of all because they taste great. They come out of the oven light and crispy, and only get better once they are covered in a generous dusting of powdered sugar. You may need to go ahead and plan to double—or triple—the recipe because these cookies are so good they won't last long.
Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies with Tomato Jam
Recipe: Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies with Tomato Jam
Cornmeal may not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when you imagine making a deliciously sweet cookie, but this take on the traditional thumbprint cookie shows you just how it is done. Filled with tomato jam, these cookies are both sweet and savory. And, what is better is that when refrigerated this dough keeps for days, or if you prefer you can bake these cookies in advance because they freeze well. Either way, the combination of cornmeal, sugar, and lemon zest turns into something simply amazing. This cookie gets the thumbprint of approval.
Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies
Recipe: Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies
It only takes a tiny bit of peppermint extract to bring the perfect minty taste to these crunchy crackle cookies. You'll love how rich and chocolaty they are thanks to the chopped, unsweetened baking bars, as well as some unsweetened cocoa. For the best "crackle" effect, you may want to reroll the balls of cookie dough in the powdered sugar just before baking to cover any exposed spots. Cool these Chocolate-Peppermint Crackle Cookies completely on a wire rack before digging in—if you can manage to wait that long! These will smell so good straight out of the oven that may be a little difficult.
Recipe: Swoon Pies Recipe
These are called swoon pies because you will swoon with delight from the moment you first smell them until you devour your last bite. Our twist on Moon Pies has is sandwiched between two tender graham cookies with their distinctive crunch. It is stuffed full of homemade marshmallow filling rich with the taste of vanilla, then dusted with special toppings. Finally, we dip half of it in chocolate—because a little chocolate certainly goes a long way! Crust these with your choice of chopped roasted salted pecans, chopped crystallized ginger, or sea salt. And yes, these still pair well with an RC Cola.
See More: Christmas Cookie Recipes
Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Recipe: Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Part of what makes these cookies so great is their signature chunks of dark chocolate. They are what give these cookies their name. They're also packed full of toasted oats, so you'll love their distinctive flavor. And, for an even chewier texture, you can substitute ½ cup of hazelnut or almond flour for ½ cup of all-purpose flour.
But what really pushes these delights over the edge is one of the final steps in the recipe: "press remaining chocolate into cookies." This happens right after the warm delights come out of the oven. You're supposed to wait 15 minutes for the cookies to cool completely after that. Good luck.
Nutty Chocolate Thumbprints
Recipe: Nutty Chocolate Thumbprints
These chocolate treats begin with a mixture of cocoa and peanut butter, and then get topped with the rich creaminess of a chocolate-peanut butter filling. The filling is made with bittersweet chocolate, bringing a dark, chocolaty goodness to each creamy center. Even if you haven't decorated cookies before, you'll find filling these Dark Chocolate Thumbprints is a breeze. Easily pipe the filling using a zip-top plastic bag. One reader described these cookies as "yummy" and said they didn't have any left over. So, if the proof is in the eating, these cookies are obviously delicious.
Chunky Chocolate Gobs
Recipe: Chunky Chocolate Gobs
This recipe for ultra-chocolate cookies is, hands down, one of the best cookie recipes ever to come through our Test Kitchens. It is hard to comprehend literally how much chocolate gets packed in. From the cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, to the Mounds bars, to the semisweet chocolate morsels, these cookies are simply a chocolate-lover's delight. What's better than a recipe that tells you to add an ingredient until you've reached the "desired amount"? So pack these cookies full of those semisweet chocolate morsels and get ready to enjoy some Chunky Chocolate Gobs. They're a lip-smacking delight!
Shortbread Cookie Sampler
If you love shortbread cookies—or just know someone who does—this Shortbread Cookie Sampler is the perfect sweet treat box for you. Buttery bites make for well-received packages, and these bites are incredible. We've included Chocolate-Peppermint Bars, Bourbon-Pecan Snowflakes, Cinnamon-Orange Squares, Sweet Potato-Marshmallow Sandwich Cookies, Key Lime Stars, and Cherry-Chocolate Thumbprints. So whether you prefer your shortbread sweet, tart, especially Southern, or spicy, there is a cookie for you here. This will be a box you won't be able to wait to open. If you would like to make this box yourself, we used a 9- × 6-inch box and inserted individual white treat boxes as dividers.
Gingerbread Men Cookies
Recipe: Gingerbread Men Cookies
Cooking Video: How To Make Gingerbread Men
Variety is the spice of life, and we love making these spiced Gingerbread Men Cookies in a fun variety of sizes. These delicious treats are a favorite holiday tradition. It is very easy to involve the little ones in your family in getting these together in the kitchen by letting them decorate the cookies. They'll love what they can create with the Royal Icing, or with the Buttermilk Frosting. Assorted candies and decorator sugar cookies will also keep them enthralled as they create their gingerbread men holiday fun. Everyone will leave the kitchen with a sweet treat—and a smile.
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bourbon Ganache
Recipe: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies with Bourbon Ganache
Of course these chocolate chip cookies would be decadent enough on their own, but sandwich some Bourbon Ganache between them and this treat gets elevated to new heights. The Bourbon Ganache is rich with whipping cream, semisweet chocolate morsels, and butter, and smoky-sweet with the flavors of that Southern staple drink: bourbon. Once this ganache is ready to go, it gives new meaning to the phrase "spreading it on thick" because you will want to cover every inch of these chocolate chip cookies with this creamy delight. Good thing this recipe includes the cookies because otherwise we'd be tempted to simply eat the Bourbon Ganache with a spoon.
Recipe: Lemon-Almond Bars
This recipe starts with a lightly browned crust, and just gets better from there. Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest bring the perfect tart bite to the filling, while fresh ginger adds the right amount of spice. Then, for added aromas, and for flavors and a crisp crunch, sliced almonds get spread on top—then these bars get baked a little more. When they emerge from the oven, they smell simply incredible. An hour later, you can cut them into bars, and enjoy these bite-sized delights. For quick cleanup and easy serving, line the bottom and sides of the pan with foil before adding the dough.
Red Velvet Thumbprints
Recipe: Red Velvet Thumbprints
White chocolate frosting and red food coloring combine to make the classic red velvet cake. We’ve taken that great combination and created the perfect handheld version: Red Velvet Thumbprints. These are filled with a rich concoction of cream cheese and white chocolate morsels, and then, to push it over the edge, you can top each cookie with even more white chocolate morsels. There is no need to use a pastry bag to fill these cookies. Just transfer the frosting to a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and snip the corner. These will look beautiful, and they will taste even better.
Candy Bar-Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe: Candy Bar-Peanut Butter Cookies
If you like peanut butter and chocolate, you'll love these gooey cookies. It mixes creamy peanut butter with candy bars to amp up the deliciousness level in these candy-bar cookies. What's even better is that a lot of the chocolate and peanut combination comes from using a candy bar. That means this recipe has all the makings of an easy kitchen classic. Our decadent recipe features three-dozen chocolate-covered caramel-peanut nougat bars. Yes, that is correct, 36 little candy bars are covered in dough, then baked to perfection. This is a simple delight. So don't decide if you prefer chocolate or peanut butter—enjoy them both in every single bite.
Recipe: Pecan Sandies
This is a very simple, classic cookie that only uses five ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your kitchen. Toasted pecans work wonderfully well in this cookie. They add a delicious nutty flavor and a beautiful fragrance to these easy-to-make delights. If you prefer to try another flavor for your sandies, that is certainly something that this recipe is designed to allow—instead of pecans, feel free to try almonds or your favorite nut instead. However you crack it, these crisp cookies fresh out of the oven will be sweet every single bite.
Recipe: Almond Snowballs
Because these cookies are called Almond Snowballs you may only think of them in a particular season, but these can be sweet treats any time. If you do plan to make them during the holidays, they will fit the spirit of the season well. Then, these fragrant, nutty cookies are finished with a coating of powdered sugar for a delicious winter dessert. Be sure to allow them to cool completely before rolling them in the powdered sugar. And be careful with every mouthful—although the more of a mess you make, the more you're enjoying your Almond Snowballs.
Recipe: Pecan Pralines
You will love this cookie from the moment you speak its name. And what could be more Southern than pecans, except maybe making sure they are in the perfect pralines? The key to these is making sure to keep your eye on the heat—the temperature, that is. Making pralines is all about warming everything up, then cooling it down just right. For twists on the traditional, you can add chocolate, instant coffee granules, or even bourbon to this to create even more unique pralines. Whether you prefer the classic recipe, or want to put your best praline foot forward, everyone who has a bite will go nuts for these!
Tips: Perfect Pralines
Chocolate Crinkle Candy Surprise Cookies
The surprise here is that these cookies are baked around a caramel-candy center. Every single ball contains a chewy caramel delight inside, creating the perfect warm, gooey middle. Topping them with sugar adds that extra little touch that makes these Chocolate Crinkle Candy Surprise Cookies special. It is very important to you’re your eyes on these so they cook just right. As Megan Porta of pipandebby.com explains, "Be careful not to overbake these cookies. Ten minutes is the sweet spot for most ovens." Cool them eight minutes, sprinkle them with some powdered sugar, and they're ready to eat.
Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies
You'll be a cookie-lover from the minute you taste these. Dark brown sugar adds a surprising richness to this cookie dough, while the semisweet chocolate morsels are the perfect chocolate chips for this cookie. What is even better is that you are in control of how this cookie comes out of the oven. You can bake each batch 8 minutes if you love soft and gooey cookies, or up to 14 minutes for crisp results. Or, using this as your basic dough, you can improvise. If you prefer dark chocolate morsels, use them instead. With a few quick changes, these can become Oatmeal-Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies instead. However you dollop them out on to your baking sheet, you will agree that these are the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Chocolate Chunk-Mocha Cookies
Recipe: Chocolate Chunk-Mocha Cookies
Quite simply, these are some of our readers' favorite cookies. It consistently receives five-star reviews and stories of how they have been looking for this recipe for years—and how delicious this cookie is! Fabulously rich Chocolate Chunk-Mocha Cookies are simple enough for the most novice of bakers. They are filled with semisweet chocolate chunks, which make them a decadent delight. And it seems like they cook in almost no time. After the cookies cool completely, spread them with Mocha Frosting. This five-ingredient frosting is a smooth delight of coffee and cocoa. You'll love how bold its flavors are.
Smoky Mountain Snowcaps
Recipe: Smoky Mountain Snowcaps
Reminiscent of the white-dusted mountain peaks of the Snowy Mountains, these cookies, with white chocolate and a sprinkling of powdered sugar, are as sweet as snowfall on a school day in the South. They are simple to prepare and it only takes a few minutes to put them together. Toasted walnuts give them a bold flavor and a nice crunch, while nutmeg adds in a touch of spice. They're ready to keep give you warm feelings on a cool winter day. Snowy Mountain Snowcaps may look like snow, but they taste like mouthfuls of sunshine. These cookies are great to make ahead because they freeze well. Enjoy them all season long.
Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe: Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe gets rave reviews from our readers, who love how simple it is to get great flavors from such a small list of ingredients. You probably already have everything you need to put a batch of these together sitting on your pantry shelf. So if you want a great-tasting chocolate chip cookie recipe that is also gluten-free, this is the perfect dessert. It takes no time to stir together the peanut butter, sugar, egg, and dry ingredients, before adding in those semisweet chocolate morsels. And don't even give a second thought to the flour—these Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies are perfect as they are.
Mississippi Mud Cookies
Recipe: Mississippi Mud Cookies
You might take a ride all the way down the mighty Mississippi just to get a taste of these fabulous Mississippi Mud Cookies. Rich chocolate and ooey-gooey marshmallows give these cookies their savory sweetness. When cooked to perfection, the cookie bakes to a delicate crispness while the marshmallows emerge from the oven a golden, toasted brown that turns into a mouthful of magic. All this gets an extra boost from our favorite Southern nut—the pecan—that has been toasted to golden, fragrant, richness. Usually mud is something you get stuck in, but with these cookies you'll just want to get stuck into eating the whole batch.
Rolling these basic sugar cookies in a cinnamon-sugar mixture adds just enough spice and a bit of color. Lyda Jones Burnette, the former Test Kitchen director at Southern Living, borrowed this recipe from one of her favorite spice stores—Penzeys. She shows us how to take this simple recipe and make it a sweet-and-spicy delight that practically melts in your mouth. Cinnamon gets mixed into the dough, and then the dough gets rolled in a sugar-and-cinnamon mixture, making it doubly spicy, but with not too much bite. And to clarify a possible misunderstanding—this cookie doesn’t include any chocolate, caramel, and peanut bars of any type. It only has cinnamon and sugar perfection.
Recipe: Oatmeal-Toffee Cookies
These cookies start with the heartiness of uncooked oats, the crunch of chopped pecans, and the sticky sweetness of buttery—all of which add their own special and delicious flavor to these chewy wonders. This recipe makes four-dozen cookies, so you will have plenty on-hand for family, friends, and guests. These are easy-bake cookies—they bake in about ten minutes—so you can get a batch going in the kitchen whenever the mood strikes you. The oats make the cookies perfectly sweet, meaning that they are just right. Quite simply, one reviewer said these were a "very tasty cookie." We agree.
Crunchy Frostbite Cookies
Recipe: Crunchy Frostbite Cookies
You'll probably want a whole plate of these to ward off frostbite: think of them as what you have when your day doesn't include any chance of going out in the snow. Instead, in this recipe, just a touch of peppermint extract adds the perfect amount of frosty flavor to the white chocolate icing, creating a melt-in-your-mouth favorite. The "frost" here comes from dipping one side of these crunchy creations in a white chocolate frosting. When the topping hardens, it creates a cookie that looks as beautiful as it tastes. You'd better settle in next to the fire with a plate of these and warm up.
Peanut Butter-Toffee Turtle Cookies
Recipe: Peanut Butter-Toffee Turtle Cookies
These turtle cookies have every indulgent flavor we could pack in a recipe: chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and toffee. They also have chopped peanuts, which are certainly delicious whether you consider them decadent or not. Once the Peanut Butter-Toffee Turtle Cookies come out of the oven, they get topped with a caramel mixture, and then melted chocolate gets drizzled on top. It is seriously a symphony of sticky-sweet goodness. Given that one reviewer described these as "the best cookies I've ever had," you only have to ask one question: is it okay to begin baking the batch while you're still reading the recipe? You are, aren't you?
Crispy Praline Cookies
Recipe: Crispy Praline Cookies
In Louisiana it’s “prah·leen.” In Georgia it’s “pray·leen.” No matter how you pronounce it, these crunchy, nutty cookies are sure to please. What's even more surprising is that no one knew this was an alternative spelling for delicious. Or delectable. This praline cookie recipe only has six ingredients: flour, brown sugar, an egg, pecans, butter, and vanilla extract. It also works wonders when you don't have time to wait over the stovetop for your boiled sugar to drop to the perfect temperature. You can even add in chocolate chips for Crispy Praline-Chocolate Chip Cookies. That becomes a twist on two classics, which only makes both the originals even more incredible. How do you pronounce yum?
Sparkling Ginger Stars
Recipe: Sparkling Ginger Stars
People come together during the holidays to make these Sparkling Ginger Stars. A heavy sugar crust and the peppery bite of fresh ginger make these gingerbread cookies scrumptious. Be sure your spices are fresh; it will make a big difference to how these delicious cookies taste. Then, decorate these brightly colored wonders. In the words of the Southern Living Test Kitchen, sprinkle these heavily with sparkling sugar. There's no reason not to really lay this beautiful decoration on thick and let these stars come out to shine. These are done when these Sparkling Ginger Stars are just slightly darker around the edges. Let these baked beauties sparkle.
Recipe: Chocolate-Orange Swirls
Freshly grated orange rind accentuates the orange flavor in these memorable cookies. These are incredible slice-and-bake cookies, made by combining a layer of orange-flavored dough with a layer of chocolate dough, then rolling the two together. The swirl pattern is simply eye-catching. And it tastes even better than it looks! If you prefer a different flavor, you can substitute drained minced maraschino cherries for the orange rind and orange extract. Another kitchen tip is to cut the dough rolls with dental floss—it makes slicing the dough easier. These will turn out both artistic and artisanal however you slice it.
Chewy Coffee-Toffee Shortbread
Recipe: Chewy Coffee-Toffee Shortbread
This surprisingly simple recipe creates an incredible dessert. Toffee bits give golden shortbread its slightly chewy texture, while a tablespoon of instant espresso powder adds in an extra little bit of boldness, as well as that instantly recognizable coffee taste. This is a light and delicious cookie that is particularly nice when dipped in a cup of coffee. If you'd prefer yours to have the characteristic shortbread crispness and crunch, that's okay too. Eat a few of these in the morning as a snack, or serve them after dinner for just the right amount of late-night delight.
Recipe: Tea Cakes
Whether the tea is for two, or just for you, you will love the taste of these Tea Cakes. Even though they're called cakes, tea cakes are actually easy-to-make—and easier to eat—old-fashioned cookies made with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and vanilla. Think of these as the perfect cookie to pair with afternoon tea, or one you could just as easily enjoy with a glass of lemonade. So brew a pot of Earl Gray, or your favorite blend, and bake a batch of Tea Cakes. Then settle in for a delightful, relaxing, afternoon.
Date Pinwheel Cookies
Recipe: Date Pinwheel Cookies
These Date Pinwheel Cookies are a delicious slice-and-bake cookie. Sweet chopped dates and crunchy walnuts are rolled in cookie dough, and then sliced into pinwheels. What results is a simple and tasty cookie. Because these freeze well, you can make these ahead, or just serve them warm right out of the oven. Your family and friends will turn on a dime and head right for the kitchen as soon as they get a whiff of these baking in the oven. In the words of one reviewer, "This was what I have been looking for!!! They are fabulous!!!" We love these Date Pinwheel Cookies too, and we couldn’t agree more.
Recipe: Linzer Cookies
These are a twist on Austria’s linzer torte. The tart has a nutty crust, a preserve filling, and lattice top―these cookies have a fitting Southern lineage because it adds in toasted chopped pecans. You get all the goodness of the traditional torte, plus the added flavor of the pecans. They bring in a delicate nuttiness, and add just a little fragrance to the hints of ground cloves and ground cinnamon. There's that suggestion of tart freshness from the lemon rind as well. All these flavors are subtle, but you will love them. Topped with powdered sugar, these Linzer Cookies bring a little sweet crunch to every single bite.
Lemon-Basil Butter Cookies
Recipe: Lemon-Basil Butter Cookies
Lemon-Basil Butter Cookies are easy to make and they bring an incredibly fresh flavor to any gathering. These sugar-sprinkled cookies incorporate a trace of lemony-flavored basil and are perfect for tea parties and special holiday gifts. Garnish a platter of them with fresh basil sprigs, unless you’d rather keep your guests guessing about the “secret” ingredient. If you prefer the taste of fresh basil, without the lemon, you can substitute plain fresh basil leaves for the lemon-basil ones. Either way, this herb makes the mix of sweet and savory delicious. It is like having a bite of summer in a cookie.
Dark Chocolate-Espresso Shortbread
Recipe: Dark Chocolate-Espresso Shortbread
These wedge-shaped cookies bring great tastes and exciting visual interest to any entertaining or holiday table. Filled with the flavors of coffee, cocoa, and chocolate, these Dark Chocolate-Espresso Shortbread cookies are an indulgent delight. Having the edges tipped with both unsweetened chocolate and white chocolate enhances the coffee flavor in these incredible cookies, and brings in just a little touch of sweetness. Think of this like grabbing a slice of pie—it is perfecting in a hand-held bite. One reviewer said half the batch disappeared before they could even be dipped, so they must be delicious!
Double Chocolate Chunk-Peanut Cookies
Recipe: Double Chocolate Chunk-Peanut Cookies
These cookies take the idea of crunchy-chocolaty cookies to the next level. Chunky peanut butter and dry-roasted peanuts make these chocolate cookies irresistible. Then, a dash of cinnamon gives them an unexpected flavor. Finally, it is the rich and full taste of chocolate chunks that makes these cookies amazing! Just think of chocolate chunks as grown-up chocolate chips. These cookies are easy to make, and the balls of dough bake into nice round shapes. They are just perfect for your next cookie swap. Of course, you may find them so tasty that you might keep them for yourself. If you're tempted, just make a double batch.
Chocolate Wedding Cookies
Recipe: Chocolate Wedding Cookies
Wedding cookies are a classic: light, sweet, and delicious. In this recipe, powdered sugar blended with cocoa dusts these cookies, bringing a novel flavor twist to an old favorite. And don't just think of these as wedding cookies—bake these treats for any special occasion. You'll love the nutty taste of the pecans, as well as their aroma as they bake. This time, roll the cookies in the powdered sugar while they're still warm, then resist the temptation—if you can—to try a few while they cool.
Peanut Blossom Cookies
Recipe: Peanut Blossom Cookies
With only six flavorful ingredients, these easy, delicious cookies are ready for the oven in only 10 minutes. The most difficult part of this recipe will be unwrapping the chocolate kisses—especially since you may be tempted to eat some as you go. Once everything is ready, putting it together happens quickly. Then, sit back and get ready to put the kisses in the centers right when the cookies come out of the oven. The second most difficult part of this Peanut Blossom Cookies recipe is simply waiting for the cookies to cool. Afterwards, the eating, and the enjoyment, are a given.
Recipe: Pecan Crescents
A cup of toasted pecan halves, and five additional ingredients, are all it takes to bake some fantastic treats. These nutty Pecan Crescents are a lot like traditional wedding cookies. Let your kids help roll the dough into logs and bend them into shape. One reviewer said simply "these cookies melt in your mouth." The combination of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and flour, certainly mixes with pecans to create a light and delicious delight. This recipe makes about five-dozen cookies, and someone's sweet tooth will welcome every last one.
Easiest Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe
Recipe: Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies
If our Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies had any fewer ingredients you would literally be standing at your counter eating peanut butter out of a jar with a spoon. Still, you will impress your guests with these simple, 4-ingredient peanut butter cookies. It is also incredibly easy to remember because you need one of everything: one cup of peanut butter; one cup of sugar; one egg; and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Now bake! In fifteen minutes or so they are ready to go. Serve them warm from the oven with a tall glass of cold milk. And, if you want to mix it up a little, you can add in your favorite chocolate morsels, chopped peanuts, or other delicious ingredient.
Watch: Our Easiest (Ever!) Peanut Butter Cookies
Biscotti With Lavender and Orange
Recipe: Biscotti With Lavender and Orange
Biscotti are traditionally Italian almond cookies. What is special about them is that they are baked twice: first whole, when the dough is shaped into a log; then, once it is sliced into cookies, it is baked again. In this delicious recipe, fresh lavender, combined with freshly grated orange rind, gives these crunchy cookies an aromatic appeal that’s better than any bakery fare. This combination blends well with the delicate taste of toasted almonds and the light flavor of vanilla. You will love the fresh crunch of these Biscotti with Lavender and Orange. Twice baked it is.
Pecan Bourbon Balls
This recipe brings together two classic tastes of the South. But at the holidays, the question becomes, "Who spiked the cookies?" Hardly a Christmas can pass in the South without these traditional ball-shaped, bourbon-flavored pecan cookies ending up on a dessert bar or in a gift box. And nor should it, for these two distinctive flavors combine to bring the true warmth and smokiness of the season together to be tempered by the sweet sensation of sugar. Together, this is a sweetness to be savored, and this is definitely a pairing to be wished for.
Classic Sugar Cookies
Recipe: Classic Sugar Cookies
This recipe creates cookies look beautiful and taste delicious. To transform these from everyday to elegant, cut this dough into a variety of your favorite shapes. Then, glaze them. The dippable glaze will transform the cookies into works of art almost too pretty to eat. But eat them you will, because although they appear enticing, they taste incredible, and once you have your first bite of these sweet delights it may just be difficult to stop. These are simple, classic cookies for a reason. Here, in this six-ingredient recipe, plus glaze, less truly is more.
Recipe: Butter-Mint Shortbread
This simple shortbread cookie recipe bakes to a delicate golden brown. With only five ingredients to put together before this cookie is ready to go into the oven, it is one of our favorite easy-bake recipes. Once it comes out of the oven, the final ingredient is sprinkled on. Beneath its light dusting of powdered sugar is a crisp cookie with a fresh surprise. A dash of mint extract gives these buttery shortbread cookies an extra zing. Serve them with hot mint tea or a tall glass of sweet tea and a slice of fresh lemon.
Recipe: Molasses-Spice Crinkles
Southerners sure love molasses. Boil down some sugar cane or sugar beet juice, take out the sugar, and what you've got left over is molasses. It is thick, brown, and sticky, and, if you are from the South, you know it is delicious. So, put some together with ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground allspice, and you have the beginnings of a pretty incredible cookie. Roll the dough in sparkling sugar before you put it in the oven since you need just the perfect amount of sweetness. First, you'll be enticed by the incredible aroma. Then, the taste of these will amaze you. Molasses may be a mystery when you begin, but once you've baked a batch of these Molasses-Spice Crinkles, you'll love it just as much as Southerners do.
Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
Recipe: Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
Fresh rosemary adds a fragrant quality to these delicate cookies. And because the herb traditionally represents remembrance, a batch of these treats is ideal as a thank-you or birthday gift. Fresh out of the oven these cookies get a light dusting of granulated sugar. This gives the cookies a sweet refrain that works well with the earthiness of the minced fresh rosemary. This recipe makes about 18 cookies, so you may want to double it. Serve these with a hot cup of your favorite tea or atop a cool scoop of sherbet.
Recipe: Brownie Cookies
Chopped pecans and semisweet chocolate morsels are two of the ingredients that make this cookie as rich and decadent as it is. You'll love how these scrumptious double-chocolate cookies are similar in taste and texture to your favorite thick and fudgy brownies. These will smell just like brownies as well, so be prepared when people start to wander into the kitchen to check your oven for delicious treats! Reviewers rave about these cookies. "If you're looking for a chewy chocolate cookie that is guaranteed to turn out well, then bake these," one enthused.