At the Table

Christmas Cookies and Cakes We Love

By: Hannah Lee Leidy

We’re in a baking spirit here at TLP. Visions of towering croquembouche, crisp biscotti, crinkle cookies, and swirly brioche are dancing through our heads. We’re taking advantage of our free moments to bake sweet gifts for neighbors, friends, and family; prepare for the holiday cookie swap, and help our little ones make treats for Santa. Care to join us? From Moravian cookies and fruit cakes to gingerbread and truffles, we love making and sharing these Christmas cookies, cakes, and confections.


Super Ginger Molasses Cookies

This wildly popular recipe has stolen readers’ hearts since appearing in our 2016 winter issue. The soft, tender spice cookies from baker Ashley Arrington were inspired by the bold, spicy flavors her Jamaican grandmother’s ginger beer.

Chocolate and Peppermint Shortbread People

Fun to make with kids, this recipe keeps the decorating easy with dippable chocolate and a candy cane garnish.

Cowboy Christmas Cookies

These cookies have a bit of everything going on: chew from oats and coconut, crunch from hazelnuts and chocolate chunks, fruitiness from dried cherries, spice from candied ginger, and crisp, golden edges. Feel free to riff on the mix ins with what you have on hand, such as white chocolate, pistachios, or dried apricots!

Frosted Sugarbird Cookies

“It really does not matter how poorly these cookies are decorated, because they taste so good. Almond extract is the key to the terrific flavor. Let kids decorate and make a mess, and these treats will still disappear,” says chef Elizabeth Chambers, of Bird Bakery in San Antonio.

Cardamom Butter Cookies

Cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice set these easy-to-make cookies apart from plain shortbreads and spritzes. Finish them with a quick, powdered sugar glaze for a touch of sweetness.

Gingerbread Biscotti

Switch it up from the usual gingerbread men with these elegant biscotti. Perfect for dunking into coffee, tea, or milk, these Christmas cookies get partially dipped into and drizzled with chocolate to balance the bold flavors of ginger and molasses.


Peninsula Grill’s Ultimate Coconut Cake

By far the most popular recipe on our site, the Peninsula Grill’s coveted coconut cake stacks twelve layers of sponge and cream. Let this be the showstopper on your holiday dessert table.

Nina Compton’s Caribbean Black Fruit Cake

In the English-speaking Caribbean, the black fruit cake is as necessary to Christmas as cookies are in the States. Black cakes take their form after the boozy, Christmas puddings and cakes the British introduced during the colonial era.

Chai Cheesecake

This cheesecake is for those who are sick of sugar but feel pressured to make something. Topped with Bartlett pears and walnuts, fresh, winter flavors shine in this spiced cheesecake.

Christmas Cake

Swap your traditional dense fruitcake in favor of this spongey, rum-infused recipe from chef Maneet Chauhan of Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville. Inspired by the Christmas cakes Chauhan made in her native India, this cake gets brushed with rum every day for a couple of weeks after making.

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