Cookie season is here, when it’s no longer too hot to turn on the oven, and when we’re practicing our best bakes in hopes of impressing at all the holiday cookie parties to come. The cookie can be humble, like the simple sugar cookies plus mix-ins that we make when we have leftover candy laying around, or snickerdoodles and their many variations. Or cookies can be a whole ordeal, like project-worthy linzer cookies that call for some helping hands. Whatever your cookie preferences, these are the recipes that Eater editors turn to time and time again, because life is always better with a fresh batch of cookies.
Michelle Lopez, Hummingbird High
I adore Hummingbird High recipe developer Michelle Lopez’s cookbook, Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule, which includes a wide range of snickerdoodle variations. Thinking beyond the cinnamon sugar in terms of snickerdoodle coating is such a simple, smart way to do something fun with what’s probably my favorite type of cookie. Her base snickerdoodle formula is so strong — chewy and soft, with set edges and the right amount of lift from the cream of tartar — but this specific recipe also uses a splash of rose water in the batter, which both keeps them moist and adds a beautiful floral note. Lopez finishes the cookies with a strawberry sugar made from freeze-dried strawberries, which is great, but you can also get playful and swap out the freeze-dried strawberries for raspberries and/or sumac, another tip I got from her book. — Brooke Jackson-Glidden, editor of Eater Portland
Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen
I have maybe four happy memories of the early days of pandemic lockdown, and three of them involve Deb Perelman’s chocolate peanut butter cup cookies. I found them at the perfect time, meaning just after the initial horror had started to fade but before the general despair took hold, and boy, am I glad I did. These are cookies that know how to lift a mood. This is in large part because they are more or less a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, the most perfect candy known to humankind. They’re also very easy to make. You just mix together some peanut butter, powdered sugar, and salt into little balls, then chill them in the freezer while you make the chocolate cookie dough that you then shape around them. The dough also contains peanut butter, because there can never be enough peanut butter in a peanut butter cookie. After you roll the dough in a little sugar, you bake the cookies for what doesn’t seem like enough time but is the perfect amount of time because you wind up with little tuffets that are soft on the outside, gooey on the inside, and so good that they induce a pharmaceutical-grade state of bliss. You will probably want to eat at least three at a time, and I recommend that you do. — Rebecca Flint Marx, home editor
Farideh Sadeghin, Saveur
One thing I like about getting older is my increasing ability to see a trend and think, I’ll sit this one out: checkerboard-everything home interiors, the return of ballet flats, and, to bring it back to food, those thin, “pan-banging” chocolate chip cookies that everyone seems to make now. Despite the popularity of rippled, crispy cookies, my cookie tastes have always leaned cakier — more in line with Levain than with Tate’s. Since the former served as the inspiration for this chocolate chip recipe, it’s no surprise that it hits the exact notes I’m looking for: a thick, cakey cookie that’s gooey in the center and dotted with puddles of chocolate. It’s the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I reach for now, baking trends be damned. This recipe freezes well, too: Scoop your dough into balls, freeze them on a baking sheet, and then transfer them into a freezer bag. — Bettina Makalintal, senior reporter at Eater.com
Deb Perelman, Bon Appétit
Linzers are persnickety, what with rolling the dough, cutting shapes, and prepping fillings. These pretzel caramel numbers are no exception, requiring bakers to also wedge a cutting board in their freezer and arrange cookie segments on cooling caramel. But they’re also very gratifying for the work. I first made them as part of an assorted holiday cookie tin, which was a mistake, both because the linzers require enough work to count as a standalone project and because they outshined every other cookie in the box. They’re salty and sweet, snappy and chewy. They deserve to shine on their own, and they make a great group activity. A food processor, a microwave, and enough room to spread out make the task a lot easier. — Nick Mancall-Bitell, travel editor
Eric Kim, NYT Cooking
I have an M&M bar recipe that I’ve been loyal to for several years, but something still made me try Eric Kim’s M&M cookies recipe. It’s become a surprise hit — I’ve made these cookies for everything from snacking to camping to entertaining, and people can’t seem to get enough of them. They’re soft and well balanced and couldn’t be much easier to make. I shouldn’t have been surprised that Kim wouldn’t let me down: His gochujang caramel cookies were a big hit for Christmas last year, and these have a similar perfect chewiness. Subbing this recipe for my old favorite M&M bars also means I don’t have to run out and get shortening, which I use only for that recipe, anytime I make them. — Missy Frederick, cities director
Kate Davis, Bon Appétit
To me, chocolate chip cookies are like movies. Everyone has a favorite that they’re always willing to revisit, but no one tends to agree on which one is best. My go-to is the rich, salty-sweet rom-com that is Kate Davis’s brown butter chocolate chip cookies, which are speckled with cameos of Toblerone fragments crushed into little toffee-studded geodes. The recipe doesn’t linger in the saccharine, though: If you’re not into the flat, cavity-inducing rom-coms, this isn’t just filler with a great PR team. Instead, hefty chunks of flaky kosher salt and that deeply nutty, toasty butter bring out the complexity and intrigue that keeps any creation from feeling bland or half-baked.
And even if you find that the recipe doesn’t meet every single one of your personal tastes, it’s adaptable enough to accommodate whatever add-ins or substitutions you may need to make. No Toblerone? Skip it! Not enough milk chocolate? Add dark chocolate, pretzels, or nuts! Whatever you want from the experience, this cookie can provide, and it’s always ripe for a remake. — Jesse Sparks, senior editor
Rick Martinez, Food52
Few things capture the feeling of stepping out of the cold and into a loved one’s home like Rick Martinez’s recipe for chocolate-covered marranitos, pig-shaped cookies that are infused with velvety molasses, grated piloncillo, allspice, and warming ground chile de árbol, then topped in melted dark chocolate.
The cookies are straightforward to prepare, relying on three of the most sacred baking steps: simply mixing the dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, and then combining wet and dry. From there, the dough gets a little bit of time to hydrate, and then you’re ready to roll it and bake. In case the recipe still feels a bit too intimidating, Martinez has a video walkthrough that I may or may not rewatch every time I remake these little piggies. In many ways, they’re an emphatic celebration of cookies’ underappreciated abilities to highlight the depth and richness of ingredients that often get forced into a supporting role (looking at you, unapologetically complex chocolate, molasses, and piloncillo). Plus, they offer an activity for family and friends of all ages: decoration!
Whether you’re the host or the guest offering these treats, everyone lucky enough to get one will want to stay a while. — JS