With colder temperatures outside, time spent in a warm kitchen is more than welcome this time of the year. If you can imagine bopping around the kitchen with holiday tunes playing in the background, then I think you’ll especially like this list of recipes. (Bonus points if your spatula doubles as a microphone.)   
In this collection, you’ll find everything from cheesy bread for a cold winter night to dinner party appetizers — plus breakfast treats, nostalgic recipes, and more. 
Baked scones cut into squares on various plates. Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
These rosemary-scented cornmeal scones feature layers of fruity fig jam tucked inside.

1) Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones  

Layered with thick fig jam (or the fruit preserve of your choice) for a bit of texture and sweetness, these scones are excellent to prepare and freeze so you’re ready for any last-minute guests or a simple laid-back breakfast. Sprinkle them with sparkling sugar before baking for added sweetness and crunch.

Get the recipe: Layered Fig and Rosemary Cornmeal Scones 

Shop the recipe: Sparkling Sugar

Baked cookies laying in rows on a blue background. Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Deliciously almond-flavored gems.

2) Almond Cloud Cookies  

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting the King Arthur Bakery & Café, you might have had the experience of tasting one of these beloved cookies. The outside has a thin, shell-like surface that cracks to reveal a chewy, moist almond-flavored center. If you like the flavor of marzipan, you’ll love these cookies. (And though you can’t tell by the name, they’re also gluten-free!) 

Get the recipe: Almond Cloud Cookies 

Shop the recipe: Almond Flour and Almond Extract 

Baked loaf of babka sitting on a cooling rack. Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Trade in traditional chocolate for this sweet and tart loaf.

3) Cranberry-Orange Babka  

I am a huge fan of babka, and this festive cranberry-orange variation has my heart. Beautifully twisted and filled with swirls of tart-sweet cranberry, it’s a must-bake for breakfast — and, if you bake it in a Bakeable Paper Loaf Pan, it’s excellent for gifting. Drizzle on a simple glaze for an even more impressive presentation. 

Get the recipe: Cranberry-Orange Babka

Shop the recipe: Bakeable Paper Loaf Pan 

Rainbow Cookies Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
An eye-catching addition to your holiday cookie plate.

4) Italian Rainbow Cookies 

I’m a firm believer that the best cookies are actually cake. In these “cookies,” ultra-thin layers of almond-scented cake are held together by sweet apricot jam and finished with a chocolate glaze. And if you’re looking for more holiday cookie inspiration, we have dozens more recipes to choose from

Get the recipe: Italian Rainbow Cookies  

Shop the recipe: Almond Flour and Semisweet Chocolate Wafers

Make this recipe alongside Erin Jeanne McDowell in our latest YouTube video. 

5) Faux-Laminated Maple Brioche Buns

Skip the fussy lamination of croissants and opt for these maple sugar-laden brioche buns for a more laid-back holiday breakfast. The shortcut laminating process, which involves folding the dough after applying melted butter, creates buns with an irresistible pull-apart texture. 

Get the recipe: Faux-Laminated Maple Brioche Buns 

Shop the recipe: Maple Sugar and Bread Flour

Braided Christmas Bread (Hefekranz) Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
This gorgeous, wreath-like bread will complete your holiday breakfast table.

6) Braided Christmas Bread (Hefekranz)  

This gorgeous bread is a Christmastime classic that spans across Europe. The sweet, yeasted dough is accented with zippy lemon zest and golden raisins, though it’s easily adaptable to your favorite dried fruits. 

Get the recipe: Braided Christmas Bread (Hefekranz)  

Shop the recipe: Baker’s Special Dry Milk

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Half the battle of decorating holiday cookies is finding the right recipe. Look no further!

7) Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies 

Reverse creaming isn’t just for cakes; the mixing technique also makes exceptionally tender cookies. This cookie dough rolls out easily and holds its shape in the oven — perfect for an array of holiday cookie cutters and gorgeous frosted designs.

Get the recipe: Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies 

Shop the recipe: Christmas Cheer Cookie Cutters and Plant-Based Food Colors

Rosemary-Scented Baked Brie Bread Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Cheese and warm bread are holiday meal non-negotiables. 

8) Rosemary-Scented Baked Brie Bread  

This bread will (quite literally) be the star of your appetizer table. If you’re a fan of Brie wrapped in a blanket of pastry, you’ll love this upgrade: a pull-apart, rosemary-scented bread that can be dipped directly into a puddle of melty cheese. 

Get the recipe: Rosemary-Scented Baked Brie Bread 

Shop the recipe: Bread Flour

Latke Focaccia Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Your wildest mash-up dream come true. 

9) Latke Focaccia  

This mashup focaccia is a fun, modern addition to your Hanukkah table, but don’t let that be the only occasion for which you make this masterpiece. It’s a carb lover’s dream: Frozen shredded hashbrowns are added to a pan, then topped with plush focaccia dough and a final garnish of more potatoes, which form a brown, crispy crust on the bread. Once it’s baked, turn the bread out of the pan to reveal its delightful giant latke-like appearance.

Get the recipe: Latke Focaccia 

Shop the recipe: Bread Flour

Rugelach Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Thankfully this recipe makes 3 dozen cookies — because you can't just eat one. 

10) Rugelach  

It’s hard to choose a favorite rugelach filling — from chocolate to apricot to cinnamon — but luckily, our recipe includes all of those options. The flaky, buttery dough is enriched with both cream cheese and sour cream, which are the perfect foil to an array of sweet fillings.

Get the recipe: Rugelach  

Shop the recipe: Sparkling Sugar

Yule Log Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Warning: This is a holiday centerpiece that may upstage what's for dinner. 

11) Yule Log (Classic Bûche de Noël) 

Another Christmastime mainstay, this Yule Log is a fun project bake for quieter days at home. It’s as good as it looks, too: Fluffy chocolate sponge cake envelopes sweetened mascarpone cream, and rich chocolate frosting gilds the lily. Don’t worry about shaping the perfect Swiss roll — any cracks can be covered

Get the recipe: Yule Log (Classic Bûche de Noël) 

Shop the recipe: Dutch-Process Cocoa and Vanilla Extract 

Peppermint Bark Cookies Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Is there anything more festive than peppermint and chocolate?

12) Peppermint Bark Cookies  

Peppermint bark meets cookies in these delightful slice-and-bake treats. These cookies have all the elements of the candy you know and love: minty flavor, crunchy texture, and plenty of chocolate — both white and dark. If you don’t have peppermint chips, you can simply crush up a few peppermint candies to use instead. 

Get the recipe: Peppermint Bark Cookies 

Shop this recipe: Slice-and-Bake Cookie Dough Keeper Set and Peppermint Oil 

Olive Oil Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts) Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Make this sufganiyot recipe your new yearly tradition. 

13) Olive Oil Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts)  

Is there anything better than a freshly fried doughnut? What if we told you there’s no kneading or stand mixer required either? Once fried, these airy doughnuts are filled with raspberry jam, then dusted with a final coating of sugar and orange zest. If you’ve never made sufganiyot at home, this is the year to try. And if you’re looking for a reliable, go-to recipe, this is it. 

Get the recipe: Olive Oil Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts)  

Shop the recipe: Vanilla Bean Paste and SAF Red Instant Yeast 

Glazed Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Need an easy, crowd-pleasing holiday dessert? Try this cake

14) Glazed Chocolate Gingerbread Cake 

This no-fuss holiday cake delivers on all fronts. The cake itself strikes the perfect balance between deeply chocolatey and warmly spiced, and, best of all, the dairy-free batter is mixed by hand and comes together in a mere 15 minutes.

Get the recipe: Glazed Chocolate Gingerbread Cake 

Shop the recipe: Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate Onyx Wafers and Gingerbread Spice 

Salty-Sweet Sablés Photography by Rick Holbrook; Food Styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Yes, your cookie platter needs a savory option!

15) Salty-Sweet Sablés  

Take a classic French butter cookie, but add Parmesan and roll it in a crunchy panko coating — that’s the salty-sweet promise this recipe delivers These savory cookies would fit right in on a charcuterie board but could also be a nice change of pace in a holiday cookie swap. 

Get the recipe: Salty-Sweet Sablés 

Shop the recipe: Herbes de Provence and Slice-and-Bake Cookie Dough Keeper Set 

Chocolate-Hazelnut Stollen Rick Holbrook
Stollen's long shelf life makes it an excellent contender for gifts sent by mail. 

16) Chocolate-Hazelnut Stollen 

If you’re not a fan of traditional stollen, this modern version may convert you. Swapping the classic dried fruit and spices for chocolate and hazelnut gives this stollen a deeper, richer taste reminiscent of Nutella. Though stollen is designed to last for several months, it’s so good it may not make it that long.  

Get the recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Stollen 

Shop the recipe: Dutch-Process Cocoa and Snow White Non-Melting Topping Sugar 

Looking for more recipes to bake in December? Check out our Holiday Breads feature and collection of 40 classic holiday and Christmas cookie recipes.

Cover photo by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne.

Additional contributions from Laura Scaduto. 

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Peppermint Bark Cookies
Peppermint Bark Cookies
3 hrs
22 medium (2 1/2") cookies
Filed Under: Recipes
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The Author

About Tatiana Bautista

Tatiana Bautista is a writer, editor, and avid home baker and cook. She grew up on Long Island, New York, where her family helped instill a lifelong love of food through homestyle Toisanese dishes and weekly outings for dim sum. From a young age, she’s had an interest in baking thanks to her aunt, w...
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