Winter 2020 is here- it’s not coming, it’s here! And with cold weather forcing more people indoors, what better to do than bake?! In the spirit of being stuck inside this holiday season, I’ve compiled baker’s dozen* of our favorite holiday cookie recipes to help you get through those quarantine holiday blues.
Whether you’re looking for healthier options, or just for something new to try while stuck inside, all these are guaranteed to get you into the holiday spirit. So, let’s run through our ultimate guide go-to holiday goodies straight through to our featured recipe: Salted Mocha Biscotti!
*pun intended, yes the jokes are that bad around here
Healthier Holiday Cookie Classics
It’s been years since I’ve eaten traditional gingerbread, but that doesn’t mean you need to give it up. These cuties are autoimmune-protocol-friendly, perfect for those with allergens or working on healing.
All in all, this recipe is almost identical to the original, spiced cut-out cookie, without all the sugar, grains, eggs, and dairy. Who can resist the opportunity to form cookie dough into cute, Christmas-themed characters? Making these gingerbread men are sure to fill your entire home with Christmas cheer- quarantine and all!
The bad news is that this is not a quick-and-easy cookie. There are going to be ingredients you probably don’t have in your cabinet or ingredients you might not want to use. We experimented a lot with this recipe, and it is definitely a process.
The awesome news is that this recipe is a blast to play around with. These were classically made by my grandmother to hand out to everyone she knew. It’s a recipe friends and family still ask us to make, since she handed down her recipe. We created this version so that we could still enjoy a family classic. Plus, kids love rolling it out into swirls or braids to form cute candy cane shapes.
These may be the most fun cookies ever! Warning: they’re a little labor-intensive, so you’ll want to set aside an afternoon for this project. Perfect for a snow day!
The recipe is versatile, and portions are easily swapped out, making it perfect for anyone with allergies or sensitivities.
My kids always have a blast making them. I’m positive you and your family will love the cute, little, melted creations you end up with!
Now these cookies by Noelle of Coconuts and Kettlebells are something to get excited about! Because they use almond flour, they are a completely paleo-friendly and grain-free alternative to the classic holiday favorite.
Noelle’s recipe uses four simple, whole ingredients to make soft-and-crispy cookies with just the right amount of sweetness.
They are perfect for rolling out and cutting into shapes for decorating too, making this a great activity for the whole family!
Our Usual Holiday Cookies Faves
If you’re from the south, you probably already know this recipe as Graham Cracker Toffee or Christmas Crack – but I was surprised to hear so many of you have not heard of it!
The recipe uses only 4 ingredients, so we suggest using the highest quality for maximum flavor: butter, sugar, pecans, and cracker of choice.
This one works really well for gluten-free. Lucky for us, they’re SUPER EASY, too – 10 minutes, no baking, and everyone will love them!
We have tried a lot of cowboy cookies and these from GFreeFoodie are hands down the best. They are packed with so much yum and are super versatile. I love how flexible the recipe is to sub out which ingredients you’d like – we’ve tried pecan, cranberry & orange, white chocolate macadamia, chocolate walnut, and her classic recipe pictured.
These cookies are soft, chewy, and filled with almost every goodie imaginable: oats, pecans, chocolate chunks, and even coconut. They’re also BIG, which, frankly, is an important factor to consider.
Despite being a holiday favorite of ours, they really are a year-round cookie and a great healthy comfort food whenever you’re looking to slide in healthier options. Oats are a favorite for your gut microbiome, we get sprouted glycophate- and gluten-free ones from Costco that work great here!
From the genius of Venessa of Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind, these replicas of Starbuck’s famous bars are everything. I’ve actually never had the original since I’ve been GF for over 10 years, but there’s no way their franchised version could be this good.
We had these first a few years ago at a grain-free cookie exchange and could not believe how incredible they were. We’ve gone on to have these almost every year. They’re worth the multiple steps, and let me do you a solid and suggest you double the cream cheese frosting recipe.
Not quite like hot sauce, but you’ll still wanna put that ish on everything!
What We’re Excited to Try these Holiday Cookies
You can’t go wrong with a buttery-soft Snickerdoodle. That crispy outside, chewy inside, and cinnamon goodness is always a crowd-pleaser. We’ve made quite a few recipes, but this one from Danielle Walker looks legit and is definitely on our list!
This gluten-free and egg-free alternative is amazing for anyone with allergies or sensitivities!
The recipe uses extra cinnamon and maple sugar – which sounds delish! Definitely a must-try!
A sister to the snickerdoodle, and one of my favorite holiday cookies, are chewy molasses cookies. I want a hard sugar crunch on the outside and a gooey center. Something about the ginger and molasses says holidays to me.
While we have a grain-free version on the blog from long ago, I’ve yet to find a perfect gluten-free recreation. But these look promising!
The Bojon Gourmet is new to me, but I scoured dozens of recipes online looking for whose photos and process resembled the classic recipe. I can’t wait to try these to see how they turn out!
I grew up loving these as “7 Layer Bars” but they truly do sound like magic: gooey, crunchy, buttery, delicious. With GF graham crackers and coconut milk sweetened condensed milk now available to buy if you don’t want to make your own, these are simple to make and an all-around crowd-pleaser to boot!
What makes Magic Cookies Bars unique is how versatile they are. If you don’t like coconut, or someone can’t eat nuts, just swap it out for something else.
You can even add extra layers of ingredients if you want. There’s so much room to play around! I’d start with the classic tho – I’m of the mind that you don’t need to change something that isn’t broken.
Has there ever been a match better than chocolate and peanut butter?? Plus, the combo is always sure to be a holiday cookie favorite.
I haven’t had a single recipe from Fed and Fit that wasn’t perfection. So I love the idea that in lieu of the traditional Hersey’s Kiss, you can try a dark chocolate swirl or even a peanut butter cup.
These blossoms are soft and chewy, sweet and salty, AND (best of all) gluten-free!
Raspberry Thumbprints are another Christmastime staple, and Texan Erin looks likes like she’s slayed a grain-free, dairy-free alternative.
You can do this recipe the traditional raspberry way or change it up with lemon curd or whatever your favorite jam is, if you’re looking to try something different. With almond flour I’m a big fan of orange marmalade (perfect for as a movie snack for Paddington Bear).
They’re a very hands-on* cookie, so if you’re looking for activities to do with the kids, why not give this holiday cookie recipe a try!
*hence, the name
And Now For Our Featured Recipe!
- 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flower
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 1 1/2 tbs ground coffee
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup cold lard or butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup fresh Medjool dates, pit removed and chopped
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- In a bowl, sift the almond flour, cocoa, arrowroot powder, ground coffee, salt, and baking soda together. Set the mixture aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream together the lard, egg, maple syrup, and chopped dates using an electric mixer on medium-high.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix on a low setting until just combined. Do not over-beat, or the dough consistency will change.
- Fold in the chocolate chips, and fully combine them in the batter.
- Form 2 12x1-inch logs on a parchment-lined banking sheet.
- Bake the logs at 350*F for 25 minutes.
- Remove the logs from the oven (do not remove from the baking sheet), and let them cool for at least 1 hour or until the chocolate chips are no longer soft and melty.
- Slice the cooled logs on the bias to the preferred width of the biscotti. We recommend 3/4-1-inch slices. The logs should make about 2 dozen biscotti using this size.
- Once cut, place the biscotti sliced side up (doesn't matter which side) on a baking sheet, and bake them at 300*F for 15 minutes until almost crispy. They will harden slightly after cooling.
- Serve the biscotti at room temperature with coffee or tea. Store in an airtight container for a few days. Then, chill or freeze the biscotti to keep them fresh longer.
You can sub any sort of fillings, the base works great for whatever are your favorite flavors.
So there you have it- the ultimate list of our favorite must-haves and must-try holiday cookie recipes, plus our recipe for Salted Mocha Biscotti! Have you tried any of these recipes? I’d love to hear what you thought! And, of course, have yourself a very merry holiday season, from my family to yours!
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