Cookie Week 2020


At least around here, holiday baking is the best kind of baking. December is an excuse to try all the new cookie recipes I’ve been bookmarking, and the holidays make a perfect excuse for pawning off excess on friends gifting baked goods.

So. Welcome to five days of saccharine madness.

If you want to bake along, here’s what you can expect next week, plus shopping lists (which I haven’t converted to metric yet) if you want to follow along:

Pecan Pie Sandwich Cookies: NYT Cooking

Honestly, these sound so good that I actually might not make any tweaks – high praise coming from someone practically incapable of following the recipe as written.

You’ll need:

  • 325 grams pecan halves
  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 340 grams (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 40 grams powdered sugar
  • 295 grams brown sugar (the recipe calls for light brown – I will probably use dark)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ea egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 80 grams dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

Gingerbread Cookies: Gimme Some Oven

These look pretty classic( except for the orange zest), but I’m thinking of upping the ginger factor by swapping some or all of the brown sugar for ginger sugar – and maybe adding some minced candied ginger. Also, I’ve included the ingredients for royal icing in the list below, but without quantities. To be honest, I never measure when I make it – just go until the consistency feels right.

You’ll need:

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ea egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses (unsulfured if you can find it)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ea orange, small
  • powdered sugar
  • egg whites, or reconstituted meringue powder.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies: KCET, courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated

These are some of Jackson’s favorites, so I couldn’t not include them. It’s taking a lot of willpower to resist the urge to add peppermint to these…

You’ll need:

  • 5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer dutch process, but it shouldn’t matter here)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 1/2 ounces brown sugar
  • 3 ea eggs
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces powdered sugar

Peppermint Crunch Marshmallows: King Arthur Baking Co.

I adore homemade marshmallows – they’re much less work than you’d think, and they taste NOTHING like their bagged counterparts. Also, you best believe I’m dipping these bad boys in chocolate. I’m also planning on adding a decorative swirl to the top – so add red food dye to your list!

You’ll need:

  • 21 grams (3 packets) unflavored granulated gelatin
  • 298 grams granulated sugar
  • 312 grams light corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 78 grams peppermint crunch or crushed hard peppermint candies, plus more for topping
  • powdered sugar for coating

Butter Spritz Cookies: Bon Appetit

I’ve been dying to use my cookie press for years, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. I know spritz cookies are all about that melt-in-your-mouth butter taste, but I might grind some lemon zest into the sugar, just to keep things interesting.

You’ll need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 ea egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies: Bon Appetit

Although I love and trust Claire Saffitz, this is probably the recipe I will deviate from the most – pistachio paste is expensive, and I personally think every good cookie box needs a jammy fruit moment. So I’ll be filling these with my favorite black raspberry jam. I may also mix more nuts into the cookie dough – we’ll see.

You’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup raw pistachios
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup honey

I’m going to convert this post to a page at some point next week and add it permanently to the main menu so I can reference it for cookie weeks in years to come – I wouldn’t want to repeat myself too much! I’ll also be linking my write-ups as I go, so I can remember the changes I made – plus anything that went wrong or I would do differently next time.

What are your holiday baking staples? Are there holiday cookies you simply can’t live without? Do you have any recipes you think I should bookmark for next year? Let me know in the comments below – I can always use more cookie inspiration.


  • It’s a cold, rainy morning here in mid-MO. I’ve reviewed your cookie list and am now reminiscing about favorite cookies from Christmases gone by. My Mom always made Russian tea cake cookies that were shaped like crescent moons – loved those! Coming from German heritage, my Mom always made lebkuchen cookies. I have tried to like these, but am not a fan… maybe I was switched at the hospital?

    We made more candies as treats; fudge, Martha Washington candy, chocolate covered mints, chocolate covered cherries, divinity (not my favorite), butterscotch haystacks, peanut clusters. Basically, if you stood still in the kitchen too long you were liable to get dipped in chocolate. There were 8 kids, plus Mom & Dad, in a small house so my Mom would hide cookies & candy everywhere. You might open an oatmeal box & find it filled with fudge!

    Thank you for sharing your cookie list, Jessi. I’m sure Jackson will enjoy sampling everything. You can send any extras our way! Happy baking!

    • Oh! I love those crescent moon cookies too – although I’ve always known them as Mexican wedding cookies. I wonder what the difference is. Maybe it’s the kind of nuts you use?

      Also that sounds ideal. Fudge is one of my favorites (I always went straight for the fudge on the dessert tables during the Christmas Eve potlucks at church growing up). I always forget I can make it myself – or perhaps it’s just my brain saving me from myself!

By Jessi Spell

Jessi Spell

A culinary degree and two years of professional experience has not stopped Jessi from making stupid mistakes – she just makes them more efficiently. She habitually reads cookbooks before bed, loses track of time on Wikipedia, and yells at cooking shows like dads watching football. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jackson, five plants, and more cookbooks than a 600 square foot studio should hold.


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