best holiday cookies

Every year around this time, I say the same thing…

This year, I’m going to find the holiday cookie that is dramatic and delicious, one that will elicit oooohs and ahhhhhs from kids and grown-ups alike.” I save posts on Instagram, and I dog-ear the latest holiday baking book. But then, of course, I usually end up going back to my old standby, a basic sugar cookie that my daughters make with their grandmother every year. They are perfect, always, but I’m pretty sure that is because a healthy tablespoon of sentimentality is baked right into the dough.

But last year, after months of quarantine, when the tradition of dropping off boxes of holiday cookies on doorsteps kicked into a higher gear, I somehow rose to the occasion to put together this assembly above (Zebra Cookies, Toasted Almond Snowball Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies and Peppermint Bark). It was lots of work, but ultimately a success — especially because it gave me an excuse to say hi to loved ones.

So, now I’d love to ask: What’s your holiday cookie showstopper? What do you make year after year? Or what new bar, ball, sable, bark or drop do you plan to make this season?

P.S. Toby’s cookies that blew everyone away and 10 wonderful holiday rituals.

(Homepage photo by Alex Lau for Bon Appetit; food styling by Susan Spungen, prop styling by Kalen Kaminski. Photos in post by Jenny Rosenstrach.)