Cookies don't have to be limited to being the cherry on top of a holiday get-together: when they're really good, they can be a gift, too. Cookies make great hostess gifts, party favors, and thank you gifts (and last-minute gifts!) all season long. And when given in a Stasher bag they become a great way to start your friends and family on the plastic-free movement. Win-win.
Cookie addicts, unite: here are nine holiday cookie recipes that will make you the star of your next cookie exchange— including paleo, vegan, and gluten-free options for all to enjoy!
Paleo Vegan Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Gluten free, grain free, vegan, and stuffed with delicious raspberry jam, these cookies are sure to please everyone at your exchange. Not to mention they are only seven ingredients! Catch the recipe via Fresh Erica.
Pistachio Crusted Chewy Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies
I am a chocolate person all the way, while my partner always goes for fruit-based desserts. Here’s a winner that would please us both: cranberries and chocolate! These cookies even feature garbanzo bean flour, which is an added protein boost, and also serves as some good trivia for your exchange. Find the recipe on Nutrition Stripped.
Mint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Mint is a classic flavor for the holiday season (candy canes, anyone?!), so this cookie will fit right in. You can even add crushed up candy cane to it for a more festive element! Bake up the recipe on Downshiftology.
One Bowl Vegan Sugar Cookies
Yes, you can make these buttery cookies 100% plant-based, and in one bowl too! Sugar cookies are a classic, and you can get creative with your decor as well. You can find the Minimalist Baker’s recipe here.
Gluten-Free Vegan Chai Sugar Cookies
Chai spices are warming and cozy for the holiday season, so why not add them to cookies? Bakerita has a recipe that does just that— and they happen to be vegan and gluten free (I can testify her recipes never taste it, though!). Her recipe, in all of its coziness, can be found here.
Gluten-Free Rugelach with Cranberry Jam and Chocolate
Feeling ambitious? Get creative and wow your friends at your cookie exchange! These cranberry and chocolate rugelach look divine, and though they may take a bit of time and effort to make, you may be the most popular at your holiday party. Grab the recipe at The Bojon Gourmet.
Bien Cuit's Salted Chocolate Buckwheat Cookies
I haven’t yet tried these but my friend shared that she was “literally obsessed with these,” and I can see why. Buckwheat has a distinctive nutty taste, and paired with chocolate and salt these are sure to be a unique crowd pleaser. The recipe is via Bon Appetit.
Gluten-Free Vegan Cardamom Sugar Cookies
I am obsessed with cardamom, so adding it to a cookie sounds pretty wonderful and holiday-season inspired to me! You could also decorate these with frosting or a glaze, or use cookie cutters to make them extra festive. You can find the recipe at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Sandwiches
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a gingerbread recipe, but this time, let’s switch it up! These raw vegan cookie sandwiches are filled with a cashew buttercream making them both a classic and something new and different at your cookie exchange. Enjoy the recipe over on Wu Haus.