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Articles / The Ultimate Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap

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The Ultimate Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap

Published December 11, 2023

We’ve got some. You’ve got some. Let’s share.

Photo: Holly Haines

Imagine if a whole bunch of us from the Bittman Project got together — say in a football stadium, you know, for Mark’s sake — and shared our favorite cookies. It would be in early December, a light snow falling, sparkling in the multi-colored lights. (No Superdome for us!) We would all be bundled up in puffer coats and wacky hats, sipping ​hot toddies​ around multiple bonfires, nibbling on thousands of cookies. A person can dream, can’t they?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, here are six tastes to kick off our first cookie recipe swap — just until we can figure out how to make the football stadium thing work.

  • Sparkly Coconut Snowballs
  • Vegan PB&J Bars
  • Holly Haines’s Oatmeal Cherry Pecan Cookies
  • Crumby Fruitcake Cookies
  • Fig Bittmans
  • Chocolate-Dipped Hazelnut Biscotti

The idea is to post one of your favorite cookie recipes in the comments and see how many we can share for our own holiday gifts and gatherings. Let’s get this party started!

Photo: Kerri Conan

Easiest. Cookies. Ever. That’s what Mark says about his macaroon recipe—which essentially this is, only they’re shaped in small balls and rolled lightly in demerara sugar for wintertime merrymaking. These cookies are also quite versatile: Use up to five cups coconut for something lighter and chewier, or replace some or all of the coconut with nuts (see the variation.)

Photo: Kerri Conan

Like all good peanut butter cookies, these dairy- and egg-free versions are super peanutty, with just the right balance of chew to crunch — all in a fudge-like bar. A jam glaze is festive for the holidays, or any time you want a spin on peanut butter and jelly. Or try scattering the tops with small bits of chopped chocolate or roasted peanuts before baking.

Photo: Holly Haines

I’ve made this cookie no less than 10 times in last two weeks, and let me tell you how it’s the oatmeal cookie of my dreams — crispy edges; chewy centers; a nice hint of spice from the cinnamon and a surprise hit of cardamom that makes you say “oh, what’s that?”; lots of dried cherries because why choose raisins when cherries are right there; and candied pecans for crunchy moments.

Photo: Kerri Conan

Between the vats of stuffing and the holiday charcuterie boards, you’re likely to have bits and pieces of leftover good bread these days. Sock them away in the freezer for these cookies. They’re less polarizing and 100 times easier than fruitcake, only with the same vibe. (Still scrunching up your nose? Use chopped chocolate or dried fruit instead of the glazed holiday fruit.)

Photo: Burcu Avsar and Zach DeSart

You won’t believe how much better these are than the packaged versions most of us have eaten all of our lives. The fig filling is so simple but has an irresistibly caramel-like texture, and the pop of citrus is not only surprising but exciting.

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Baked twice for incredible crunch, long-lasting flavor, and ideal dunking. Hazelnuts (also known as filberts) have a dark skin that is a little bitter. Peeling them completely is a royal pain, so try to find them already blanched (or peeled). If you can’t, toast them first, then roll them around in a towel to rub off what you can without too much hassle. Other nuts to try in biscotti: peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or pecans.