How to Make 12 Different Christmas Cookies Without Going Insane

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Want to serve several different Christmas Cookies this year? No problem. Here are some tips for you to blitz through the process and keep your sanity.

array of chocolate cookies on trays

Don’t you love the tradition of Christmas Cookies? There are so many memories attached to cookies. Whether it’s a memory of baking them with your gramma or mom or decorating them with your siblings, most of us have some sweet recollection of cookies, especially at the holidays.

Can you stop at eating just one?

I mean, really, think of all the cookies that are special to Christmas that you rarely enjoy the other 11 months out of the year. How can you choose? How can you limit yourself? Should you even try?

Wouldn’t it be fun to have them all congregated in one place? I think so.

Serving a variety of different Christmas cookies at one time can be a tricky feat. I mean, do you have to spend a week baking? Will your kitchen be a blizzard of snow and sugar when you’re done?

Or worse, who has the willpower to resist eating all that “wide variety of different Christmas cookies at one time” before Christmas?!

This is where your freezer and some savvy strategies come in handy to make things a little easier for you at the holidays! There are several techniques to bulk-batching cookies and freezing them that can help you this month.

You can have 12 different Christmas Cookies this year and not go insane. Here’s how:

How to Make 12 Different Christmas Cookies Without Going Insane

cookie dough in food processor

Use a food processor or stand mixer.

By using a small kitchen appliance like a food processor or stand mixer, you can quickly prepare many batches of dough in quick succession.

In fact, start with the plainest cookie dough (like sugar) and work your way up to the chocolate and then the peppermint. Since these cookies most likely all start with butter, sugar, and flour, you don’t need to wash the bowl between each batch.

Yes, really. This is totally safe. Provided that you’re mixing things in a short amount of time, food safety is not be a problem. Food is good for two hours at room temperature, so plan to whip out all the dough within that time frame.

If you’d rather wash the bowl in between batches, feel free to do so. You’ll still save time by using a machine and by mixing many batches of dough in quick succession.

As each batch of dough is prepared, wrap it in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and stash it in the refrigerator. By performing all your like tasks together, mixing, forming, and baking, you’ll save time and energy.

Make and freeze bulk cookie dough.

Once you have your doughs prepared, you can just freeze them “as is” until a day that you want fresh baked cookies. Just thaw the dough overnight and it should be ready to shape and bake the next day.

If you freeze the dough in round logs, you won’t have to wait more than an hour. You can have slice and bake cookies in a jiffy.

cookie dough balls on a lined tray for freezing

Make and freeze individual cookie dough balls.

Another option is to freeze the dough in “ready to bake” dough balls. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Arrange the dough balls on the lined tray and freeze them until firm.

Once the cookie balls are frozen, transfer them to a ziptop freezer bag and return them to the freezer. Now, you’ve got an extra step already taken care of. Just bake them off when you have time — or whenever you want the aroma of freshly baked cookies to spread throughout your house.

Bake and freeze the cookies.

This is probably the easiest — and my favorite — way to make many different Christmas Cookies at one time. Prepare the doughs and then shape and bake in quick succession.

Rather than doing all 12 varieties at one time, divide your work into 3 or 4 cookie baking sessions.

Layer the cooled cookies between layers of waxed or parchment paper in large, airtight containers. Baked cookies should be good in the freezer for at least a month if wrapped properly.

Be sure to store like with like: storing soft cookies with crunchy cookies will change their textures. Peppermint stored with anything else will overtake the other flavors.

When you want to assemble different Christmas cookies on trays, pull your boxes out of the freezer and place a few cookies on each tray. They thaw in a matter of minutes, and you’ll have a great gift or dessert without a lot of last minute prep work.

This also gives you a breather and a chance to spend some time making your presentation a little prettier.

Tackle your baking in stages.

However you decide to prep your dough, consider holding three or four baking sessions — unless you want to bake all day.

Some years, I just plan to bake a batch of cookies every day for a couple weeks. It doesn’t take more than an hour each day, and I build a sweet little stockpile without much hassle.

Bake Some Different Christmas Cookies this Year:

Wondering what’s going on our cookie platters this year? Here are some of our family’s favorites, listed in the order that you should prepare them so as to avoid washing the mixer:

Snowball Cookies – we make them nut-free and egg-free. Make these first to retain their freedom from those allergens. Package them separately if you’ll be serving to folks who are allergic to nuts and eggs.

Lemon-Ginger Bars – I took an old favorite and added crystallized ginger. So very delicious! Do not let the dough cool. Make sure you’ve got the filling ready to go right away else you’ll have weepy bars. Ask me how I know.

Jesus Cookies — a regular Christmas tradition for at least 16 years! Try Smitten Kitchen’s tip for not messing with dough chilling here. Brilliant!

Oatmeal Thumbprint Cookies with Cassis Jam – Love these with different jams, too. Again, I made these nut-free, but you can swap chopped nuts for the oats if you’d like the more classic thumbprint.

Pepita Cookie Bars – You can also makes these with your favorite nuts if you like. My great-grandmother Josephine Pellowski made them with walnuts. Don’t tell my mom that I revealed the old family recipe. 😉

Gingerbread Crinkles – an easy alternative to cut-out cookies, these are super simple to form and bake.

Cranberry Christmas Cookies – perfection! Adapted from the classic children’s book, these cookies are addictive!

Double Chocolate Magic Bars — 7 Layer Bars with Oreos! So good. Can’t stop eating them. They are even good fresh from the freezer!

Salted Double Chocolate Toffee Cookies – seriously the best chocolate cookie ever. You probably won’t want to share them with anyone else.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Biscotti – My husband’s favorite for dipping into coffee. He likes to dip things in his coffee. If you’re a dipper, you’ll love these.

Peppermint Brownie Bites – so easy and delicious! No pan to wash or crumbs to scrape from the brownie knife. Make these (and the Chocolate Minty Melts) at the end so peppermint doesn’t invade everything you’re making.

Chocolate Minty Melts – A yearly must-make, these were an accident that has turned into a family tradition.

What are YOUR favorite Christmas cookies?

Just for kicks, here’s the old video I made of my cookie baking, circa 2010.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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Comments

  1. I’ve never understood the whole, making several different kinds of cookie thing. I stick to one at a time! Great tips though for the inspired! Thanks!

  2. Oh man, I want cookies NOW!

    I shared my recipe for sufganiyot – Israeli jelly donuts eaten traditionally on Hanukkah. Not exactly a cookie, but I hope it’s close enough ;).

  3. Hey Jess, check out the “Sablés sans oeufs”. I thought that they could substitute for Sugar Cookies for FishChick since they don’t have eggs. They taste a bit similar. They are soft out of the oven, get crunchy as they cool, but get soft again when they’re stored.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Janel, cute pic of Lu! We made about half the cookies without egg, but we’ll have to try this one next time since Mom’s recipe does have an egg, I think.

  4. cwaltz says:

    Ack, I don’t have a food processor or a stand mixer. I guess I’ll pick out a cookie a week to tackle with Peanut Butter and Jelly and maybe enlist my teen daughter for a ta da type cookie some time before the holidays(she loves to bake so while she’ll appreaciate the easy peasy stuff I think she also would like something more “grown up.”)

    4 batches of cookies should give us enough variety. If I start on Friday and challenge myself to making a batch each Friday we should be good to go.

    By the way for those who celebrate Hanukkah, Happy Hanukkah(their celebration just started)!

  5. I am making plans for my big cookie baking session. I should have started it earlier, but this season really did sneak up on me.

    Thanks for the link-up.

  6. cherie says:

    I have just started the baking-go-round – yesterday I did about 10 dozen chocolate crinkle dough balls – half are flash freezing – when I’m more awake I’ll bag them and freeze the half that spent the night in the fridge.
    Today is molasses cookies I think . . . I love my freezers!

  7. Fantastic tips! I really enjoyed your post. And those lemon ginger bars looks so yummy – I’ve bookmarked the recipe. Thank you for hosting.

  8. I just made Chocolate Bon-Bon’s with my Mother-in-Law over Thanksgiving! They are so addicting! I can’t wait to make more and they are so easy! They also don’t have eggs in them.

  9. That’s really the only way to do it!

  10. Ha! I had to laugh when I looked at your photos — you and I have the SAME food processor AND mixer :)))

  11. My favorite would have to be chocolate chip cookies.
    We are planning a girls day of cooking making.. (my mom, sister and myself) I am sure the kids will be in there too!
    I really want to try my hand at rugula (sp?) My grandma tried to make it for me once, and it ended up in the garbage! (and this is a lady that at any time when i was younger could go into her house and she would have at all time at least 6 different types of cookies!)

  12. are you planning to share your recipe for the choc kiss cookies? The standard one is with the pbutter cookie but with nut allergies, I’d love an alternative!

  13. I love sharing cookie/square recipes! The #1 cookie/bar in our house are Kokanee circles. You use a cookie cutter to make them into nice cookie size treats. This recipe is made with whole natural ingredients.

  14. Jessika says:

    So easy and so good!
    Coconut Macaroons (Ina Garten Recipe)
    (Oven @ 325)
    14 oz Sweetened shredded coconut
    14 oz Sweetened condensed milk
    1t. vanilla
    2 xlg or 3 regular egg whites. Must be left out and at room temperature before using.
    1/4 t. salt
    Mix coconut and can of milk. Add vanilla and mix.
    Whip egg whites and salt unitl firm peaks are formed.
    Fold egg whites into coconut mixture.
    Put parchment on sheet pans (must have parchment as they are sticky even on a no-stick pan).
    Scoop with small ice cream scoop or use two teaspoons.
    Bake 25-30 minutes until golden (watch carefully the first time you make them as every oven is different).

  15. You have quite a round-up here. I can have some fun. I love baking. Thanks for doing this.

  16. Thanks for letting us link up. I am so excited about the cookie ideas! I need to get our caroling gifts ready!!!

  17. Chocolate chip, of course! Also, Rice Krispie treats, my husband’s favorite Christmas cookies (his grandma’s recipe), and does fudge count? Because that looks like fudge on the platter. If so, peanut butter fudge for the hubs, and chocolate for me!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      @Amy, yes, it’s a new-to-us fudge recipe. I used to always make fudge with marshmellow creme, but that has egg whites in it.

  18. Ooooh I can’t wait to look around at these recipes – thanks for hosting this!

    You know what, it never occured to me that I don’t *have* to wash the bowl after every batch! Genius! Every time saving step counts – I’ll be sure to keep it in mind when I marathon bake this weekend!

    • @Mrs. Jen B, That is a time saver, but due to cross-contamination concerns, they may not be safe for a food allergic friend. This practice is a big reason we don’t buy bakery items from a bakery. Just something to think about…

  19. Kelley says:

    Thanks to all for sharing such great recipes. This is the first year I feel inspired to do our own cookie baking. With a mother and a MIL that make about 20 different kinds between them, we get our fair share of cookies but I want to start my own traditions with my children. This is a great place to start for ideas. I can’t wait until FishMama reveals her recipes!!

  20. Suzanne R says:

    Jessica –
    I always worry about freezing a baked cookie. Do they taste the same when they thaw? I’m tired of marathon baking 2 days before Christmas so everything’s “fresh”.

  21. Love this idea! Giving it a try this season!!

  22. I’m planning for Christmas and came across your blog. Oh man! I love all your ideas, especially this one. Several years ago I spent a day baking different kinds of cookies to give away. I’m not doing that again, not that it wasn’t fun I was just exhausted because I was working a lot of overtime. This is such a smart way to have a variety.

  23. Cutout iced sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, peanut butter blossoms, ginger snaps, and chocolate chip cookies are our family favorites. We tend to make more candies at Christmas than cookies – fudge, peppermint bark, chocolate covered peanut clusters, puppy chow, and Bavarian mints.

  24. Do you deliver? 😀

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