Santa isn’t the only one who looks forward to cookie season.


We bake a lot of sweets during the holidays, but few baking projects feel quite as festive as pulling out a pan of cookies from the oven this time of year. To inspire your own batch baking, we’ve rounded up some beloved holiday treats: crinkle cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, thumbprint cookies, gingerbread cookies, sugar cookies and, the ol’ faithful, chocolate chip cookies.


If you’re planning to decorate sugar cookies this year, we have two recipes, one for a buttercream frosting that’s easy to pipe and another for a corn syrup-based glaze that hardens as it dries.


I’ve also included a recipe for peanut clusters, which aren’t exactly a cookie but would be a welcome treat in any cookie tin, as well as a window cookie that looks like a star and is filled with lemon curd.


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


This is the first baked goodie that I converted to gluten-free. As I learned more and became more accomplished as a gluten-free baker, I always went back to my chocolate chip cookie and revised it. Over the years, it has been adapted 14 times! I feel really confident that this is my best version ever. If you have an allergy to almond meal, replace it with 1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour. Store the cookies in an airtight container for five days at room temperature. The dough can also be portioned and frozen for baking at a moment’s notice. The baking time does not change for baking from frozen cookie dough.


— Jeffrey Larsen


3/4 cup potato starch


1 cup gluten-free oat flour


3/4 cup sorghum flour


1/2 cup almond meal, pecan meal, sunflower meal or hazelnut meal (see note above)


1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


1 teaspoon xanthan gum


1 teaspoon fine salt


1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar


3/4 cup clarified butter or coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled


2 eggs, room temperature, or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce


1 tablespoon vanilla extract


2 to 2 1/4 cups chocolate chips


1/2 cup chopped unsalted pecans, walnuts or sunflower seeds (optional)


Gluten-free nonstick spray


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the potato starch, oat flour, sorghum flour, almond meal, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the brown sugar and clarified butter on medium speed. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until fluffy and light in color, 1 to 2 minutes.


Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix on low speed until well incorporated. On very low speed, mix in the chocolate chips and the pecans (if using).


Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours or up to 5 days. This step is important, so the dry ingredients have a chance to absorb all the moisture, which keeps the cookies from spreading too much when baked.


When you’re ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a baking sheet with gluten-free nonstick spray or line it with parchment paper.


With a 1-ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, portion out the dough and roll it into 1-inch balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart, and slightly flatten each ball with the palm of your hand.


Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer them with a metal spatula to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Makes 30 to 40 cookies.


— From "Gluten-Free Baking at Home: 102 Foolproof Recipes for Delicious Breads, Cakes, Cookies, and More" by Jeffrey Larsen (Ten Speed Press, $30)


Jammy Almond Thumbprints


Small fingers make the best thumbprints, so enlist the young ones in the house or use your pinky. This is a great way to use up the last bit of several different kinds of jams you might have hanging around in your fridge.


— Addie Broyles


1 1/2 cups almond flour


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature


1/2 cup granulated sugar


1 large egg


1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 teaspoon pure almond extract


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


1/2 cup turbinado sugar


1 cup fruit preserves, such as raspberry jam, apricot jam or orange marmalade


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the almond flour on it in an even layer. Toast, stirring often, until the flour is lightly golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and set the almond flour aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees and position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, then add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 1 minute. In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spread turbinado sugar on a plate or in a bowl. Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough and roll it into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the turbinado sugar (you may need to press slightly to get the sugar to adhere) and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.


Gently press an indentation into the top of each ball with your finger. (Try to make the indentation deeper than it is wide, as the opening will expand during baking — you may want to use your pinky finger!) Fill each indentation with a small spoonful of preserves.


Bake the cookies, switching the pans from top to bottom rack once halfway through, until the cookies are golden around the edges, 15 to 17 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Makes about 36 cookies.


— From "MasterChef Junior Bakes: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Bakers: A Baking Book" (Clarkson Potter, $19.99)


Chewy, Gooey Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Soft in the center, crunchy on the outside — an oatmeal cookie doesn’t get much better than this. I like to load them up with plump raisins, which helps keep their moist-and-chewy goodness. This recipe also works well using other dried fruits, so go ahead and experiment if you’re in the mood to try something a little different.


— Gemma Stafford


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened


1/3 cup granulated sugar


1/2 cup dark brown sugar


1 large egg


1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)


1 1/2 tablespoons honey


1 cup all-purpose flour


1/2 teaspoon salt


1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1/2 teaspoon baking soda


1 cup raisins


1 cup rolled oats


Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.


In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with a wooden spoon until soft and light in color.


Add the egg, vanilla and honey and mix until combined. Stir in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Fold in the raisins and oats.


Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out heaping tablespoons of the dough, roll them into balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheets (you should end up with roughly 28 cookies). Leave some space between the cookies, as they’ll spread during baking.


Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden brown. When you see that gorgeous crackle on top, they are done. Err on the side of undercooked, and they will be perfect. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 28 cookies.


— From "Bigger Bolder Baking: A Fearless Approach to Baking Anytime, Anywhere" by Gemma Stafford (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30)


Brown-Butter Crinkle Cookies


These little cookies have a nutty undercurrent of brown butter. Their artfully crinkled surfaces are the result of rolling the dough in two kinds of sugar before baking. Granulated sugar helps the powdered sugar cling to the surface. As the cooking bake and spread, their surface cracks, creating a zigzag of sugar and dough.


— Editors of Martha Stewart Living


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter


2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


3/4 teaspoon baking powder


1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


3/4 teaspoon coarse salt


1 cup granulated sugar


1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar


2 large eggs


1 teaspoon vanilla extract


3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high. When it boils, reduce heat to medium; simmer until foamy. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan, until foam subsides, butter turns golden brown with a nutty aroma, and milk solids separate into brown specks that sink to bottom, 2 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat; transfer to a large heatproof bowl and let cool 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and the brown sugar into brown butter until combined, then stir in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until a dough forms. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in 2 separate bowls. Scoop 1 tablespoon dough and roll into a ball; roll in granulated sugar, then coat with powdered sugar (do not shake off excess). Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining dough and sugars.


Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies spread slightly, crackle, and are set at edges, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to racks; let cool completely. (Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature in a single layer up to 2 days.) Makes 3 dozen cookies.


— From "Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection: 100+ Recipes to Take Your Sweet Treats to the Next Level: A Baking Book" by Editors of Martha Stewart Living (Clarkson Potter, $26)


Santa’s Treat


On Christmas Eve, make a treat for Santa by setting out these cookies on a holiday-themed plate with a cup of milk. You’ll need four pastry bags and two different sizes of tips, either paired with a couple or one for each bag. You’ll also need a 2 1/2-inch square cookie cutter.


— Jenny Keller


For the cookies:


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling


2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder


1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature


1 cup sugar


1 large egg


2 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the frosting:


1 batch buttercream icing (recipe below), divided and dyed as follows:


1/2 cup black


1/4 cup white


1/4 cup yellow


About 5 cups red


Into a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat butter and sugar for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.


Turn the mixer speed to low and carefully add the flour mixture a little at a time, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl. Once all the flour has been incorporated, the dough should form a ball around the mixing attachment and feel soft but not sticky.


Wrap the dough ball in a piece of plastic wrap and press down to form a 1-inch-thick disk. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before rolling or store for up to 7 days tightly wrapped.


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured flat work surface to about 1/4-inch thickness, using additional flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Use cookie cutters to create desired shapes, and carefully transfer with a cookie spatula to a nonstick baking sheet, placing the cookies about 3/4-inch apart.


Bake one sheet at a time in the middle of the oven until puffy, about 7 to 8 minutes. Allow the cookies to rest for 2 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the gathered scraps and remaining disk until all the dough has been used.


Make sure the cookies cool completely before decorating. When ready to decorate, fit one pastry bag with the #47 decorating tip and fill with black icing. Fit the remaining pastry bags with the #4 decorating tips. Fill one with white icing, one with yellow icing and one with red icing.


Using the red icing, pipe an outline around the outer edge of the cookie and fill with horizontal lines. Using the black icing, pipe Santa’s black belt across the center of the cookie. Using the yellow icing, pipe a square on the middle of the belt to create a belt buckle. Using the white icing, make two dots above the belt and two dots below the belt to resemble buttons. Makes about 24 cookies.


— From "Cookie Class: 120 Irresistible Decorating Ideas for Any Occasion" by Jenny Keller (Harper Design, $24.99)


Buttercream Frosting


This basic buttercream frosting works for a variety of purposes. Depending on which dessert you’re making, this buttercream recipe may be tweaked. Add cocoa powder for a chocolate frosting or drop in some peppermint or lemon extract to pump up the flavor. If you live in a warm climate, it’s a good idea to use half the milk added to the buttercream recipe so the icing is firmer. It’s very fluffy and melts easily in warm weather.


— Jenny Keller


1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine


1 cup vegetable shortening


2 pounds powdered sugar


2 teaspoons vanilla extract


3 tablespoons whole milk


Combine the margarine or butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer; using a paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.


Add half of the powdered sugar and continue beating on low speed for an additional 2 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla and milk, and beat until the frosting is creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add any food coloring at this time, if using, and beat on low speed until light and fluffy. Use immediately or store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to 30 days. Makes 6 cups.


— From "Cookie Class: 120 Irresistible Decorating Ideas for Any Occasion" by Jenny Keller (Harper Design, $24.99)


Cookie Glaze


This cookie glaze is an alternative to buttercream, and it’s a good choice if you’re looking for something that sprinkles will stick to. You can make it thick enough to pipe by adding less milk. Feel free to substitute 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract or 1 teaspoon maple syrup instead of the vanilla extract for a different flavor.


— Addie Broyles


2 1/4 cups powdered sugar


2 tablespoons light corn syrup


1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 to 2 tablespoons milk


Gel food coloring (optional)


In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and corn syrup. Measure your flavor extract of choice and add it to the bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of milk and then mix everything together with a fork.


If the glaze is too thick, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. The glaze should feel like a very thick syrup. Add a drop or two of food coloring, if you’d like, and stir it in. This glaze is runny but thick. It is best for spooning onto your cookies. It will dry smooth and firm once completely set. Makes enough glaze for 24 cookies.


— From "The Ultimate Kids’ Baking Book: 60 Easy and Fun Dessert Recipes for Every Holiday, Birthday, Milestone and More" by Tiffany Dahle (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)


Lemon Stars


You’ll need a star-shaped cookie cutter for this eye-catching window cookie. The turmeric adds a little more punch to the yellow color of the filling, while the egg yolks and ground almonds fortify the cookie dough.


— Addie Broyles


For the lemon curd:


Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon


1/2 cup raw cane sugar


1 egg


4 tablespoons butter, softened


1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric


For the dough:


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter


Generous 1/2 cup raw cane sugar


3 egg yolks


1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra


1 1/2 cups blanched ground almonds


Pinch of salt


For decorating:


Powdered sugar


For the lemon curd, put all the ingredients into a small saucepan and mix well. Warm up on a low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. To check whether the curd is ready, dip a wooden spoon in and blow. If a wavelike pattern forms that is reminiscent of a rose, remove the pan from the stove. While the curd is cooling, it will further thicken, taking on a spreadable consistency. Fill into a sterilized jar and allow to cool.


For the dough, cream the butter and sugar together. Blend in the egg yolks and the vanilla extract, then add the flour, almonds and salt. Work everything into a smooth dough, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.


Heat the oven to 340 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to a thickness of about 1/8 inch and press out stars, then make a hole in the middle of half of the cookies. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake for about 10 minutes until golden. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Spread lemon curd on the biscuits without a hole, and place a cookie with a hole on each of them. Dust with icing sugar and store in a tin. Makes about 25.


— From "Let It Snow: 24 Recipes for Festive Sweet Treats" by Agnes Prus (Hardie Grant Books, $11.99)


Gingerbread


These gingerbread people fill the shop with a delicious aroma every December. To get the most detail when you’re decorating them, use a piping bag fitted with a very small tip.


— Jean Hwang Carrant


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature


1 cup granulated sugar


7 ounces (about 1/2 cups) molasses


1 egg


4 cups all-purpose flour


1 teaspoon baking soda


1 teaspoon salt


1 tablespoon cocoa powder


1 tablespoon ground ginger


2 teaspoons ground cloves


2 teaspoons cinnamon


For the glaze:


1 egg white


4 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1/2 tablespoon lemon juice


Cream the butter, sugar and molasses until well blended. Incorporate the egg, then the rest of the ingredients. Divide the dough into 3 portions and wrap in cling film (plastic wrap). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each ball of dough to a thickness of 3 millimeters. Cut out the cookies with a pastry cutter and arrange on baking sheets.


Bake for 10 minutes. Leave the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then allow to cool on a rack. For the glaze, mix the ingredients with 3 tablespoons water. The mixture should be smooth and not lumpy, and neither too runny nor too thick. Add a little water or icing sugar as needed. Put the glaze in a piping bag with a 2- to 3-millimeter nozzle. Decorate the gingerbread men to bring them to life! Makes 60 to 70 cookies.


— From "Cookie Love" by Jean Hwang Carrant (Hardie Grant Books, $11.99)


Jaggery Caramel Peanut Clusters


A modern take of mithai, roasted peanuts mixed with buttery jaggery caramel and dipped in chocolate. Jaggery is a form of brown sugar that is similar to Mexican piloncillo. You can find it in a powdered form at Indian grocery stores, or you can use brown sugar in its place.


— Hetal Vasavada


1/4 cup light corn syrup


1/2 cup granulated sugar


1/2 cup jaggery powder (or brown sugar)


3/4 cup heavy cream


1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened


1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


1 1/4 cup roasted unsalted peanuts


3/4 cup milk chocolate morsels or almond bark


1 tablespoon flaky sea salt


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add corn syrup, granulated sugar and jaggery powder or brown sugar. Cook until the sugars dissolve, about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and butter and mix well. Cook over medium heat until the caramel is 250 degrees; this will take about 20 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in peanuts and salt. Let the peanut caramel cool for 8 minutes. Take two tablespoon-sized dollops of the peanut caramel and drop onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Place each dollop about 2 inches apart. Let the caramel cool completely.


Add milk chocolate morsels or almond bark into a microwavable bowl and microwave in 15-second increments, stirring between each increment until the chocolate is all melted, about 2 minutes. Alternatively, if you don't have a microwave, set up a bain-marie by bringing a small pot of water to a boil and placing a small bowl on top of the pot, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Add chocolate or almond bark to the bowl and stir until melted, about 3 minutes. Remove the chocolate from the heat.


Use a fork to dip each peanut cluster into the melted chocolate and tap off the excess chocolate. Place each chocolate-coated candy back onto the parchment sheet and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Once all the caramel peanut clusters are coated in chocolate, place the baking tray in the fridge for 15 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Makes 16 clusters.


— From "Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More, Inspired by the Flavors of India" by Hetal Vasavada (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)