Whether you’re a whiz in the kitchen, or think of the oven as a place to store your shoes, the holidays provide the perfect opportunity to get your baking game on. First of all, it’s fun! You can really go to town with sprinkles, food coloring and holiday cookie cutter shapes. Second, it gives you a chance to shut out all the holiday stress and enjoy one of the simpler pleasures of the season — that and you get to rediscover your inner child when the holidays were more about making brilliant garlands out of construction paper, glitter and glue.
Here is what I propose: tee up the hot cocoa or maybe a nice glass of frizzante, put on some festive tunes and your dorkiest holiday apron, preheat the oven (after taking out your shoes) and get baking!
And if you need a little help, these great cookie cookbooks are a good place to start…
Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season
Beautifully photographed, this book is packed with 50 recipes from professional baker Elisabet Der Nederlanden. With meringue kisses, apple cider caramels, smoked almond cacao brittle and gingerbread place card cookies—the hardest part will be deciding where to begin.
The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cookies: The Ultimate Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Treats
This cookbook is all about melt-in-your-mouth holiday confections — decadent caramel cheesecake bars and chunky hazelnut meringues and classics like vanilla bean tuiles and great grahams. Author Alice Medrich is the winner of five James Beard Foundation Awards, so you’re in good hands.
Favorite Cookies: More than 40 Recipes for Iconic Treats
From the test kitchen of Williams-Sonoma, this book is a compendium of cookie classics. A great introduction for baking novices, it includes step-by-step photography and instructions on how to roll out dough, cut cookie shapes and decorate with flair.
Gingerbread Wonderland: 30 Magical Houses, Cookies and Cakes
A celebration of all things gingerbread, this gorgeous cookbook by Mima Sinclair is brimming with recipes and tips for making cookies as well as gingerbread families and their gingerbread streets, a chocolate bird house and an edible star wreath.
Betty Crocker Christmas Cookies
This cookbook by Betty Crocker has it all: 100 recipes with full nutrition information included, helpful decorating tips, and a nice selection of gluten free options and recipes especially suited for kids.
Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust, Designs and Techniques for Creative Cookie Occasions
Want to go pro? This guide to the art of cookie making by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer is for you. Find dozens of techniques from rolling and cutting, to flooding and piping, to making shapes and icing shades. After this, it might be time to open an Etsy cookie store.
Good Housekeeping The Great Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook: 60 Large-Batch Recipes to Bake and Share
Need to whip up a big batch of cookies to bring to the office holiday party or to your kid’s school winter festival? This is your cookbook. It features of 60 favorite Christmas cookie recipes from around the world — each configured to make batches of at least eight dozen cookies. That’s a lot of sugar.
Cookie Advent Cookbook
This gorgeous Advent cookbook features 24 festive recipes for global Christmas treats as well as the classics. The cover of the book invites readers to lift an ornament flap to find the cookie of the day.
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