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Sweeten the Season: 5 Must-Make Christmas Cookies

’Tis the season for baking cookies! If you’re looking for some new treats to try, keep reading. The recipes that follow are guaranteed to spread holiday cheer.

Gingerbread Cookies

Recipe by Go West Baking and Events, 916-708-6264,, @gowestbakingandevents

Gingerbread Cookies


3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
½ cup molasses

For the icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 ½ tbsp. milk
⅛ tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high for 2 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add the egg and molasses and beat on medium until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. (The dough will be quite thick.)

Divide the dough into thirds, form each third into a ball, flatten, and wrap with plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Place one of the thirds of dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough until it’s ¼-inch thick. Cut the dough using cookie cutters and transfer the cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes until slightly crisp but not darker in color. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Whisk the icing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until the mixture is smooth. The mixture should slowly drip, but not run, when poured from a spoon. If it’s too runny, add a little more sugar; if it’s too thick, add a little more milk.

Spoon the icing into a piping bag or a plastic squeeze bottle and pipe onto the cookies. (You can also use a thick plastic bag with one corner of the bag cut off.)

chef Brandy West


Go West Baking and Events is a “bake-to-order” pâtisserie that uses local, fresh, real ingredients in their scratch-made, uniquely designed desserts for all occasions. Owner and chef Brandy West was also a finalist in Food Network’s ‘Cake Wars.’

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Recipe by Sweetz By Veez, 323-394-2013,,

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature but not melted
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp. Mexican vanilla extract (standard vanilla works, too)

For the icing
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp. meringue powder
10 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Food coloring
 *Available at most grocery stores or online.

Make the icing. Mix powdered sugar and meringue powder in a standing mixer using the paddle attachment on low. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, while mixing on low. Once fully combined add vanilla and turn up the speed to medium. Mix until icing becomes thick (about 3 minutes). Store in an airtight container to avoid the icing from getting hard. Add food coloring of your choice.

Make the cookies. In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt with a whisk; set aside. In a standing mixer, combine butter, sugar, and agave nectar with the paddle attachment on medium until creamed together and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (You may also use a hand mixer but be sure not to overmix.) Add egg and vanilla extract; mix until fully combined and fluffy. Add dry ingredients to the bowl one cup at a time on low. Your dough is ready once it pulls away from the bowl. Roll dough between parchment paper and allow to chill for 1-2 hours before baking.

Preheat oven to 375F. Prepare cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat. Pour a little Cinnadust on a small plate. Cut your cookies out and cover with Cinnadust before placing on your cookie sheet. Continue this process until your sheet is full. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until you see a slight browning on the bottom of the cookies. Cool cookies before decorating.

Yvette Ramirez; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Yvette Ramirez started her cookie business after she moved to the area—simply to make friends and meet new people. Currently, she specializes in custom-decorated cookies but is slowly branching out to cakes and other treats. What’s more, she makes a conscious effort to shop small and support local as often as possible.

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

Recipe by Cookie Drop Co., 916-671-0061,, @cookiedropco

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


1 cup salted butter, softened
½ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. peppermint extract
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup crushed peppermint candy

½ cup milk, dark, or white chocolate
½ cup crushed peppermint candy

Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and oil together, then add powdered sugar and peppermint extract. Mix until smooth, then add in the flour and salt. Mix until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Then add in the crushed peppermint candy and mix until incorporated evenly. Scoop into 2 tablespoon balls and place 2 inches apart on your cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly with your fingers. Bake for 7-9 minutes until edges start to turn light golden brown. When cookies come out of the oven, use a wide mouth canning jar ring to carefully round the edges by moving in a circular motion around each cookie. Once the cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second increments until smooth, stirring each time. Drizzle melted chocolate over your cookies and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.

Elizabeth Rivers; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Cookie Drop Co.—a cottage bakery based in Folsom—was started by Elizabeth Rivers in 2020. Now, she and her husband, Scott, operate it together, releasing new and creative cookie flavors each week that are delivered right to customers’ doorsteps.


Recipe by Jojo’s Bakery, 530-558-9062,, @jojos_bakery_90

Snickerdoodles; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 ¾ cup flour
1 ½ tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture
1/4 cup sugar
1 ½-2 tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, then add sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Add dry ingredients until combined, being careful not to overmix. In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Refrigerate dough for 15-20 minutes or 10 minutes in freezer till firm. Roll into small balls, then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture until coated well. Put rolled balls back in fridge or freezer. Depending how firm dough is (firmer dough will result in taller cookies), bake for 9-11 minutes (for firmer dough, cook for about 14 minutes). Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing from the pan and cooling on wire rack.

Joellene Vakulich; Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group


Jojo's Bakery is owned and operated by Shingle Springs resident Joellene Vakulich who has turned her passion for baking into a profession. Her commercial location in Placerville is opening soon and will offer mouthwatering desserts—cookies, cakes, cupcakes, parfaits, etc.—and even dog and horse treats.

Comfort Cookies

Recipe by California Flour, 530-497-0772,, @californiaflour

Comfort Cookies


1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. water
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a cookie sheet with butter, not parchment. Cream butter and sugars together for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add all remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and mix until no flour shows. Once combined, mix in the entire bag of chocolate chips. Using a 3-tablespoon ice cream scoop, scoop 6 cookies onto your prepared cookie sheet (or roll into balls a little bit bigger than a golf ball). Bake 14 minutes; halfway through, rotate pans front to back, top to bottom, and tap on oven rack to flatten cookies. When cookies are golden brown, tap the cookie sheet again on the oven rack and then let cool on a wire rack.

Jessica Tanger


El Dorado County native Jessica Tanger, owner of California Flour, first opened her in-home bakery in the heart of San Francisco. She’s since returned home to Placerville where she primarily uses organic ingredients to create unique and custom wedding cakes, desserts, and breads. Buy her baked goods at the El Dorado County Certified Farmers’ Market from May-October or pre-order them online and on Instagram (@californiaflour).


Photo courtesy of Go West Baking and Events. California Flour photos courtesy of Jessica Tanger. Other photos by Taylor Gillespie.

Photos by Taylor Gillespie © and wholly owned by Style Media Group—please don’t steal our copyrighted photos. For more information about our editorial photos, please click here to contact us <<LINK TO