40 Festive Christmas Treats

Have the Merriest, Sweetest Holiday Yet

Christmas light cookies recipe

​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

The holidays bring with them lots of opportunities for delicious baked goods. From bars to cookies, cakes and candy, these festive treats will dress up any bake sale, cookie exchange, or other get-together. Add a few to your repertoire to satisfy your sweet tooth all season long.

  • 01 of 40

    Peppermint Bark

    Peppermint bark

    The Spruce

    It doesn’t get much more classic holiday than peppermint bark and you don’t need anything fancy to make it.—just high-quality dark chocolate, white chocolate, and crushed candy cane pieces will do the trick. If you don’t want to temper the chocolate, use untempered. Know that if you do, you should store the bark in the fridge since it will soften otherwise.

  • 02 of 40

    Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies

    decorated christmas sweater cookies
    The Spruce

    If you have an Ugly Christmas Sweater party to attend this season, you need to bring these adorable sweater-shaped cookies. Start with a delicious sugar cookie base, then dress them up with with icing, candy pieces, fondant, or other decorations to make them as cute as they are delicious.

  • 03 of 40

    Sugar Cone Christmas Trees

    sugar-cone-christmas-trees-4768049-10

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    These sugar cone Christmas trees make an excellent activity for kids because there's no raw ingredients or hot stoves involved. They also do double duty as decorations and desserts, so make them ahead to dress up the table and and then enjoy them after the meal ends.

  • 04 of 40

    Gingerbread with Lemon Glaze

    Gingerbread with lemon glaze

    The Spruce

    When you don’t have time to shape individual cookies or need a pan of something seasonal to bring to a get-together, this warming spiced gingerbread hits the spot. A tart lemon glaze will contrast the molasses, ginger, and clove flavors of the cake and the whole thing tastes very appropriate for the holiday.

    Continue to 5 of 40 below.
  • 05 of 40

    Christmas Tree Pretzel Rods

    Christmas tree pretzel rods

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck 

    For a unique tree-shaped holiday treat, try these Christmas pretzel trees that look much more complicated that they actually are. Just grab some pretzel rods, green candy melts, and some candy “ornaments” and you have everything you need. The kids can help with this fun creation, too.

  • 06 of 40

    Raspberry Red Velvet Bundt Cake

    Raspberry Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

     Elaine Lemm

    Even though it comes out rosy and beautiful, this red velvet cake isn't at all difficult to make. A lemony cream cheese glaze contrasts wonderfully with the sweet chocolate cake and a raspberry ribbon kicks it up a notch. Best of all, it takes just 20 minutes to put together and then just about an hour to bake. It also freezes well, so you can make it ahead.

  • 07 of 40

    Classic Gingerbread Men

    Classic Gingerbread Cookies

    Claire Cohen

     

    Everyone will want to get their hands one of these gingerbread men after you whip up a batch. With spiced gingerbread and sweet icing smiles, they can become as simple or complicated as you like. Set out a selection of toppings to let the kids help or leave them plain for an easier treat. Using dark molasses will result in a stronger flavor, while light molasses will keep them less bitter.

  • 08 of 40

    Austrian Linzer Cookies

    linzer cookies on marble
    Claire Cohen

    These beautiful Linzer cookies look impressive on a platter and taste great alongside a cup of tea or coffee. Tender shortbread get sandwiched around your choice of jam or preserves then dusted with powdered sugar for a sweet note. You will need special cut-outs to make these cookies, but they’re well worth the investment.

    Continue to 9 of 40 below.
  • 09 of 40

    Fruit Pizza Christmas Wreath

    Fruit Cookie Christmas Wreath

    Anita Schecter 

    Rather than making a bunch of smaller cookies, try baking up one large one instead. This pretty wreath cookie uses a buttery shortbread for the base, so it doesn't spread much during baking. Slather it with a sweetened cream cheese frosting and decorate with your favorite fruits. Peach or apple slices, blueberries, and strawberries all work well. Garnish with fresh mint leaves for a pretty presentation.

  • 10 of 40

    Christmas Light Cookies

    Christmas light cookies recipe

    ​The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    For those who really deck the halls during the holidays, don’t leave the cookie platter bare. These Christmas lights cookies make a unique addition to the tray, and the simple shape and store-bought frosting means they come together in a snap. Use mini M&Ms for the lights; the regular size ones will overwhelm the cookies.

  • 11 of 40

    Keto Sugar Cookies

    keto sugar cookies
    Leah Maroney

    Just because you follow a keto diet doesn't mean you have to miss the holiday dessert fun. These sugar cookies have the crumbly texture and sweet taste you love without all the extra carbs. They hold their shape well too, so they make a great cutout option. Because they're delicate when hot, remember to give them plenty of time to cool before decorating.

  • 12 of 40

    Elf on the Shelf Cookies

    Elf on the Shelf Mini Cookies

    Leah Maroney

     

    Make these mini cookies for your Elf on the Shelf to celebrate the holiday season. They take only five minutes to bake and you can customize them to suit your tastes. Shape them like tiny gingerbread men or leave them as small rounds, and use either gingerbread, chocolate-chip cookie dough, or even shortbread. The only limit is your imagination.

    Continue to 13 of 40 below.
  • 13 of 40

    Red Velvet Crinkles

    red velvet crinkle cookies
    Diana Rattray

    You may know red velvet cake and chocolate crinkles, but put the two together and you have a truly awesome holiday cookie. They have the traditional look of traditional crinkles, nut with the decadent sweetness of red velvet cake—and they look gorgeous on a cookie plate. Bake up a batch for Valentine’s Day, once New Year’s has passed.

  • 14 of 40

    Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

    red velvet sandwich cookies
    Elaine Lemm

    One part whoopie pie, one part red velvet cake, and two parts delicious, these festive sandwich cookies will definitely please any sweets-loving crowd. They don’t take too much time to make but also don’t keep particularly well, so serve them shortly after baking for best results. Don’t worry—they won’t last long once your guests get a taste.

  • 15 of 40

    Ribbon Cookies with Candied Cherries

    ribbon cookies with cherries and pecans
    Diana Rattray

    Because they have two flavors and brightly colored candied cherries, these beautiful cookies make a perfect festive treat. They will please both butter and chocolate fans, plus the cherries give them a bright pop and a sweet note that offsets the rich cookie perfectly. They also freeze well, so feel free to make them ahead.

  • 16 of 40

    Christmas Tree Brownies

    Christmas Tree Brownies

    Anita Schecter

    Easy to put together and just plain delicious, brownies make a wonderful treat any time. Shaping them into Christmas trees by adding a pretzel trunk, sprinkles, and frosting garlands make them even more fun and festive. Once you try this simple recipe, you will never buy a boxed mix again.

    Continue to 17 of 40 below.
  • 17 of 40

    Christmas Cupcakes

    Christmas cupcake recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

    When you need something a little different to contribute to the Christmas sweets table, try these lovely individual-sized fruitcakes. With all the taste of the classic gifting loaf but in a single serving package, they make perfect gifts and additions to the dessert table, bake sale, or cookie exchange. Dust them with powdered sugar or frost any way you like.

  • 18 of 40

    Molasses Cookies

    Molasses Cookies

     Kristina Vanni

    Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, and clove combine with sticky, syrupy molasses and brown sugar for classic cookies that will make your house smell amazing. Roll them in turbinado for best results. Granulated also works if you can't find the coarser kind. They make great gifts, especially for those who enjoy sweets but prefer something other than chocolate.

  • 19 of 40

    Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

    peppermint-bark-cheesecake-4768866-18

     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    Adding peppermint bark to luscious, velvety cheesecake and layering it all on top of a chocolate cookie crust creates a lovely holiday dessert. Try finishing it with a little fresh homemade whipped cream for an even more decadent treat. Use store-bought peppermint bark or homemade—both work just as well.

  • 20 of 40

    Cranberry Bread

    Cranberry Bread

    Kristina Vanni 

    This pretty cranberry-studded bread has a sweet and tart flavor thanks to tangy cranberries, zippy lemon zest, and chopped pecans. It tastes wonderful for brunch, as an afternoon snack, or a light dessert. Use either fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe.

    Continue to 21 of 40 below.
  • 21 of 40

    Pressed Butter Cookies

    Cookie Press Butter Cookies

    Claire Cohen

     

    These colorful shaped cookies often appear on store-bought trays, but you can make them at home easily enough. Because they rely on butter for the bulk of their flavor, use a high-quality unsalted brand for best results. Dust them with colored sugar for a pretty presentation.

  • 22 of 40

    Christmas Cupcake Wreath

    Cupcake Wreath
    (c) 2016 Elizabeth LaBau

    This wreath of cupcakes makes a gorgeous dessert table centerpiece and you can eat the whole thing! It has bright green frosting leaves, edible candy berries, and adorable almond-covered pine cones. Use any flavor of cupcake base you like or a variety for a truly showstopping sweet.

  • 23 of 40

    Easy Thumbprint Cookies

    Jam thumbprint cookies

    Claire Cohen

    Just six ingredients and about half an hour stand between you and these easy thumbprint cookies. Fill them with your favorite berry-flavored jam for a festive look or mix it up for a more varied treat. Use the best jam you can find, since the cookies have few ingredients and will really show off the flavors.

  • 24 of 40

    Vegan Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

    vegan oatmeal cookies with spices and dried cranberries
    The Spruce

    If you avoid animal products and want a cookie with a little nutrition, these pretty cranberry-studded vegan oatmeal cranberry cookies will do the trick. They come out nice and hearty and require no egg replacements so they make a great starter recipe for those new to vegan baking. Make a big batch, because these will go fast.

    Continue to 25 of 40 below.
  • 25 of 40

    Low-Fat Christmas Sugar Cookies

    low fat sugar cookies with decorations
    Claire Cohen

    With about half the fat of your average sugar cookies recipe, you can enjoy these low-fat holiday treats without blowing your diet. Top them with sprinkles, sanding sugar, or colored glaze or enlist the kids to help you decorate them for a fun weekend activity.

  • 26 of 40

    White Chocolate Truffles

    White Chocolate Citrus Truffles photo
    (c) 2011 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    White chocolate truffles look like little snowballs and make a silky smooth addition to any holiday dessert plate. And because white chocolate has such a lovely neutral flavor, they lend themselves to customization. Try adding different flavors or colors to the chocolate, rolling them in cocoa powder, or dipping them in other chocolates for a fun flare.

  • 27 of 40

    Crispy Sand Tart Cookies

    sand tarts
    The Spruce

    Dust these sand tart cookies with a combination of colored sugar and cinnamon for a slightly more festive twist on the standard. For extra nutty flare, add an almond to the center of each before baking. You can cut them into holiday shapes if you like or leave them round. Whatever you do, roll them nice and thin for the right texture.

  • 28 of 40

    British Stained Glass Cookies

    stained glass cookies on a cooling rack
    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    These stained glass cookies mimic the intricate windows in cathedrals throughout Europe and traditionally get placed on holiday trees as decoration. Despite their beautiful appearance, they don’t take as much work to make as you think. The kids will like crushing up the candies and cutting out the shapes.

    Continue to 29 of 40 below.
  • 29 of 40

    Peppermint Swirl Fudge

    Peppermint Swirl Fudge

     Elizabeth LaBau

    For that Christmassy candy cane taste, try this easy make-ahead peppermint swirl fudge. It has an assertive minty flavor and a fun red-and-white swirl color that make a great gift or party sweet. Put it together up to two weeks ahead, for a fun present or just to save yourself some time come the holiday rush.

  • 30 of 40

    Mexican Tea Cakes

    Mexican tea cakes

     Claire Cohen

    No holiday sweets table is complete without Mexican tea cakes, also called Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cakes, or snowballs. Whatever you name them, these crumbly, sweet little cookies taste like shortbread, but don’t spread while baking and make fun and easy additions to any celebration. You can add nuts or leave them out, depending on your preference.

  • 31 of 40

    Mint Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

    Mint chocolate chip meringue

     Claire Cohen

    Shatteringly crisp, mint-accented meringue cookies just say “holidays.” Try adding a little green food coloring to give them that festive flare, or leave them plain and garnish the platter with a few sprigs of holly or mint leaves to point to their fresh, seasonal flavors.

  • 32 of 40

    Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

    soft sugar cookies with sour cream
    Diana Rattray

    For one of the most versatile cookies around, try these soft sour cream sugar cookies. The cream gives them a hearty, slightly less sweet flavor and a crumbly texture that comes out buttery and perfect for frosting and decorating. Just whip up some royal icing, set out some sprinkles, and let the kids go to town. Decrease the vanilla extract and add a little nutmeg, for variation.

    Continue to 33 of 40 below.
  • 33 of 40

    Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

    Hot cocoa cupcakes
    Photo Credit: Allyson Kramer

    These vegan hot cocoa cupcakes taste just like sipping on a steaming mug of peppermint hot chocolate, no cup or cooling time required. And they use no animal products, so even those who follow a vegan diet can indulge. Dress them in seasonal cupcake wrappers for festive flare.

  • 34 of 40

    Easy Macarons

    Easy Macarons

    The Spruce

    Many of us purchase boxes of macarons to give out at holiday time, but you don’t need to shell out with this easy recipe. Follow these steps for perfect macarons every time, and once you master the technique, mix up the flavors and colors for a festive treat that you can make for every occasion.

  • 35 of 40

    German Cinnamon Stars

    Glass bowl of cinnamon stars and cinnamon sticks
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Cinnamon and almond come together for a sweet traditional taste in these star-shaped German cookies. They aren’t complicated to make, but do require some specialized European ingredients so you might have to get online or try a speciality store for some of the requirements. It’ll all be worth it, once you give them a try.

  • 36 of 40

    Neapolitan Holiday Struffoli

    struffolli-balls
    Getty Images

    Often either shaped into a wreath or piled high into a Christmas tree shape, Neapolitan struffoli make a lovely holiday treat. These little balls of fried dough either get dusted with powdered sugar or covered with festive colored sprinkles for the perfect ending to a Christmas dinner. Try them yourself for a show-stopping dessert everyone will adore.

    Continue to 37 of 40 below.
  • 37 of 40

    Gingersnap Cookies

    Gingersnap Cookies

     Kristina Vanni

    Gingersnap cookies have an assertive, slightly spicy flavor that just tastes like the holidays. Very easy to roll and bake, these cookies make a lovely gift for even less experienced bakers. Store them in a tightly-covered container so they keep for enjoying later.

  • 38 of 40

    Candy Cane Cookies

    Candy Cane Cookies

    Margaret Vincent-Stocksy United

     

    Few things feel more festive on a cookie platter than the classic candy cane. These twisted cookies come out looking just like the classic shape and taste just like the candy. Try using several different colors of food dye to make differently hued cookies, for a more interesting plate.

  • 39 of 40

    Oven-Free Cookie Dough Pops

    cookie dough pops decorated
    Diana Rattray

    Try these no-bake cookie dough pops for a fun and festive treat that are endlessly versatile. And because the cookie dough uses no eggs, you can eat it right from the bowl. Coat them with white, dark, or milk chocolate and then decorate with sprinkles, chopped nuts, colored sugar, or even small candy pieces. They make a great centerpiece for a dessert table or a fun contribution to a bake sale.

  • 40 of 40

    Christmas Tree Treats

    Christmas Rice Crispy Treats
    Stephanie Gallagher

    These holiday rice crispy treats make a great holiday craft for the kids. Shape the treats into triangles, then get out sprinkles, candy-coated pieces, and other decorations to create snacks worthy of the class party. Candy canes make great trunks and since they don’t need to bake or cool nearly as long as cookies, making them quick and easy.