Holiday Cookbook

Emma Brady-Wright, Editor

December 1, 2018

The Holidays are just around the corner and that means cozy winter nights by the fire, festive music, decorating the house and the overall holiday spirit that’s in all our hearts. But one thing that remains constant throughout most holidays is the food. Well, rather the baking in this case. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh cookies baking, ready to be frosted into some classic holiday shapes. So, here are 5 baking recipes that you can make to get into the holiday spirit! (Difficulty level is based on beginners).


Hanukkah Sufganiyot ( Source: Martha Stewart )

Difficulty Level: 4/5

These delicious delicacies are essentially jelly donuts, and they symbolize the miracle of burning the oil lamps for 8 days in the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It doesn’t matter what kind of jam you put in the donuts, pick your favorite! Raspberry is just the example used in this recipe. Recipe makes 20.


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups vegetable oil, plus more for bowl
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam


  1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, nutmeg, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a sticky dough forms. On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 8 minutes (add more flour, if necessary). place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. 
  3. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or drinking glass, cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise for 15 minutes.
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 40 seconds. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on the other side, another 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in sugar.
  6. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #4 tips with jam. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Fit the pastry tip into a hole, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Snowman Sugar Cookies (Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction )

Difficulty Level: 3/5

Simple and cute sugar cookies that will bring a little wintery fun into your baking! Prep time takes two hours, cook time takes 12 minutes, recipe makes 24 cookies.



  • 2 and ¼ cups of (280g) all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
  • ½ a teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ a teaspoon of salt
  • ¾ cup (1 and ½ sticks; 180g) of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: ¼ a teaspoon of almond extract (yields an outstanding flavor!)
  • 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
  • 6 to 8 Tablespoons room temperature water
  • Black, orange, and red food coloring 


  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour until it is a better consistency for rolling.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the non stick silicone mat) to about 1/4-inch thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
  5. Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
  6. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a snowman cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with the 2nd dough piece.
  7. Arrange cookies on baking sheets 3 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. I like to decorate cookies directly on baking sheets so I can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help set the icing. So place the cooled cookies back on baking sheets.
  8. Make the icing: Watch the video of the icing above so you get an idea of what the final consistency should be. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat all of the icing ingredients together on high speed for 5 minutes. (I always start with 6-7 Tablespoons and usually need to add 8. On particularly dry days, up to 9-10!) When lifting the whisk up off the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 10-15 seconds. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. If it’s too thin, add a little more sifted confectioners’ sugar.
  9. You’ll need 3 small bowls: one for red icing, one for black icing, and one for orange icing. Spoon 1/4 cup of icing into each bowl. The rest of the icing will remain white. Stir red food coloring into 1 bowl until you reach your desired shade. Stir black food coloring into another bowl until you reach your desired shade. (I find that black always dries darker so stop adding coloring when you reach a dark gray.) Finally, stir orange food coloring into the last bowl until you reach your desired shade. Spoon icings into piping bags.
  10. Decorate: You can watch the video of me decorating the cookies in the beginning of this blog post. Using round icing tip #5, outline and flood the snowmen with white. (Leave room for the black hat!) Allow to set. I put the baking sheet in the refrigerator to speed it up. Using this same piping tip, pipe the scarf with red icing on top of the white icing. Using round icing tip #1, pipe the hat, eyes, and buttons with black icing. Using this same piping tip, pipe the nose with orange icing. Icing will completely set in about 2 hours at room temperature.
  11. Decorated or plain cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Christmas Gooey Butter Cookies ( Source: Yummly )

Difficulty Level: 1/5

Festive and delicious cookies that are great for sharing with friends and family! Takes a total of 60 minutes, the recipe makes 36. 



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles (divided)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (confectioner’s)


  1. Cream together the butter and the cream cheese. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat just until combined. Beat in the cake mix until well blended. Stir in ¼ cup of the sprinkles. 
  2. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of dough and roll into a 1-inch ball. Sprinkle the ball with sprinkles then roll in the confectioner’s sugar until completely covered. Place about 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes then allow to sit on the sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tip: Some reviews of the recipe said that the baking time left the cookies underdone a bit and they recommended letting the cookies bake for another 5 minutes if needed!


Chocolate Mint Cookies ( Source: Butter With a Side of Bread )

Difficulty Level: 2/5

If you’re looking for something a little more cool to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further than these mint chocolate cookies! Prep time takes 15 minutes, cook time takes 25 minutes, makes 48 cookies.



  • 1 cup butter softened (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp mint extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10-15 drops green food coloring
  • 2 cups melting chocolate*
  • festive sprinkles


  1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in mint extract and coloring.
  2. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until it forms a dough.
  3. Divide the dough in half. On a sheet of wax paper, form each half into an 8-inch log. Chill the logs, wrapped in the wax paper, for at least 2 hours or overnight. (If you’re pressed for time, 30 minutes in the freezer works well too!) I always aim for round logs and end up with more oval shape. It works!
  4. Heat the oven to 300°F.
  5. Cut the logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices with a sharp knife.
  6. Arrange the slices 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake the cookies on the top rack of the oven for 22-26 minutes.
  8. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Heat chocolate in the microwave for 1 minute, Stir gently and continue heating in 15 second increments until smooth.
  9. If you want to use the best tasting, easiest chocolate to work with ever, visit! Their dipping & coating chocolate is my favorite!
  10. Dip 3/4 of the cookie into chocolate into chocolate. Set on wax paper and add holiday sprinkles. Do not remove until cool and set.

*You can use chocolate chips + 1 tsp coconut oil or shortening mixed in in place of melting chocolate.


Apple Pie Rugelach ( Source Good Housekeeping )

Difficulty Level: 3/5

If you’re looking for something a little more tart for the holiday season look no further than this apple pie rugelach! Prep time takes 1 hour and 30 minutes, makes 64.



  • 1 cup of Butter (no substitutions)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 4 oz. of dried apples
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup of apple jelly
  • Confectioners’ sugar


  1. Prepare dough: In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and cream cheese until creamy, scraping bowl occasionally. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour and salt just until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare filling: In a medium bowl, combine apples, walnuts, and brown sugar.
  3. Prepare Spice Sugar: In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Sprinkle work surface with 2 tablespoons Spice Sugar. Place 1 disk dough on top of sugar; turn over to coat both sides. Roll dough into 10-inch round, turning round over a few times and sprinkling dough with 2 more tablespoons Spice Sugar to coat both sides.
  6. Spread top of round with 3 tablespoons jelly, then sprinkle with 1/2 cup filling, leaving 1/2-inch border around the edge. With a knife, cut dough into 16 equal wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge jelly-roll fashion. Place rugelach, 1 inch apart, on the prepared cookie sheet, point side down.
  7. Bake rugelach 30 to 33 minutes or until dough is browned and cooked through. Immediately transfer to the wire rack to cool.
  8. Repeat with remaining dough, Spice Sugar, jelly, and filling. Store cookies in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 3 months. Dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve.