2020 ByWater Staff Holiday Cookie Recipes

This year we participated in a staff cookie exchange, below you will find some of our amazing recipes! We love baking around the holidays and we hope some of these recipes may be a sweet treat for you.

Mr. Redfelt's Gingerbread, Donna

Mr. Redfelt was my first grade teacher. We made these cookies in class, and I've made them ever since, including flour all over the kitchen and misshapen gingerbread figures just like first grade!
If you like soft gingerbread, roll the dough thick, if you prefer crispy gingerbread, roll it thin.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup melted shortening/oil
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour


Mix in order listed. Chill dough at least one hour before rolling out on a lightly floured surface and cutting. Keep the dough cold for best results when handling.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes (325 for non-stick or dark pans). Cool completely before decorating with icing. Or, add sprinkles, etc before baking.

All About That (Cookie) Base, Kal

I love how easy these cookies are- no chilling- no mixer- just an easy base to make whatever cookies you'd like! I love these cookies because anything goes! You can throw any topping you want in- nuts, chocolate chips, candy bars, other cookies, etc.- I chose rainbow sprinkles and oreos.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of softened butter aka 2 sticks
  • 1 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Whatever toppings you'd like!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In one bowl: mix flour, baking soda, and salt

In another bowl: mix sugar and softened butter; mix until creamy; then add maple syrup (or vanilla extract) and egg one at a time until smooth

Add dry ingredients gradually until dough forms.

Mix in your toppings.

Put 1 inch balls on cookie sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Oreo Truffle Balls, Kelly

I went all chocolate recipes this year - hopefully, you like chocolate!


  • 1 package regular Oreos
  • 1 (8 ounce) block of cream cheese, softened


In a food processor, mix Oreos until they become crumbs. Add cream cheese in chunks and process until you have a dough. Roll into balls and place on a baking sheet. Set in the freezer or refrigerator to harden for 1-2 hours.

Once Oreo balls are set, dip in melted chocolate – chocolate, peanut butter, white chocolate, etc. Add any decoration on top.

Store in the freezer and serve cold.

Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Shortbread, Kelly


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup raw cane sugar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt divided
  • 4 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream (35%)


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9-inch (2.5 L) square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add flour, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt, and stir until evenly combined. Press the shortbread into the bottom of the prepared pan and use the bottom of a glass to ensure it is firmly packed.

Bake for 23 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Cool in the pan on a rack.

Chop chocolate and place in a medium heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, warm cream with a pinch of salt over medium heat until it just begins to form steam and boil. Pour hot cream over the chopped chocolate and stir gently with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache set for about 10 minutes to thicken slightly.

Spoon the ganache onto the cooled cinnamon shortbread base and spread evenly with the spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and chill the bars for at least 4 hours or overnight. Loosen the sides of the shortbread with a sharp knife. Using the sides of parchment paper, lift the slab out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 32 squares.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Kelly


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup mild-flavored oil (such as vegetable oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, for coating the cookies


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the granulated sugar and oil. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla, beating on medium-low speed until combined. Then gradually fold in the flour mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until combined.

Form the dough into a large ball, and place it on a large sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic around it so that it is sealed tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 24 hours) until the dough is chilled completely through.

Once you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Fill a small bowl with the powdered sugar.

Remove and unwrap the dough. Then form the dough into 1-inch round balls. Dip each dough ball in the powdered sugar until it is completely covered on all sides, and then place them least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. Then remove the baking sheet from the oven, and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack, and let them cool until they reach room temperature.

Cranberry Orange Pecan Cookies, Jess B


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon ground
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pecans chopped


In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on med-high until pale and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes).

Add egg and beat on high for 1 minute. Add vanilla and orange zest.

Turn mixer to low and add flour mixture, mix until combined.

Add oats, cranberries, and pecans. Mix until just combined.

Chill dough in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.

Using a small cookie scoop, place cookies on baking sheet 2" apart. I did 11 cookies per sheet. Press cookies down slightly if desired (I didn't).

Bake for 10 mins or until edges are lightly browned but center is still soft and unset.

Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Best Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Cookies, Jessie Z

Made these with one batch with chocolate chips and the other batch with cranberries. This recipe is from this blog.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup mix-ins (optional) chocolate chips, raisins, cinnamon chips, etc.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Place softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat until combined.

Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light (about 30-60 seconds).

Add dry ingredient mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.

Add oatmeal and beat on low speed until combined.

Add mix ins (if desired) and stir until evenly distributed in the dough.

Use a 1 ½ to 2 TBS cookie scoop to measure out the dough.

Roll the dough into a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used.

Gently and very slightly press down tops of cookies until they are flat.

Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until the top is just set.

Let sit on the baking pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti, Addie

This recipe is from this blog.


  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add butter and brown sugar to a mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed 1 minute.

Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined, about 1 minute.

Add flour, baking powder and salt, mix until well combined.

Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Shape into 2 10" x 2" logs and place on a lined or greased baking sheet.

Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool 30 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Slice logs into about 1/2 inch slices and place on cookie sheet. Each log will make about 18-20 slices. Bake 15 minutes. Flip slices over and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Salted Choc Chunk Cookies, Addie

This recipe is from this blog.


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup salted butter - at room temperature, 1 stick
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg - at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract - or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (more or less - to your tastes)
  • sea salt flakes (for sprinkling)


Add flour and baking soda to a mixing bowl and whisk for 15 seconds to incorporate and make them fluffy.

To the bowl of a stand mixer, add softened butter and both sugars. Beat with paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, until mixture is smooth and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla, beat on LOW speed until combined.

Add flour, half the mixture at a time, beating on LOW speed until JUST combined after each addition. Don't overmix, or your cookies won't be soft and tender.

Add chocolate chips and stir together with a wooden spoon.

Cover bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes.

minutes before you want to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Use a large cookie scoop (or a 1/4 cup filled about 2/3 of the way), scoop round balls of dough onto parchment paper about 2 inches apart. I baked 6 cookies per sheet.

Press a couple chocolate chips into the tops of the balls of dough, and bake about 10-12 minutes, or until edges are lightly golden brown and tops of cookies look a little underdone. (mine took 11 minutes).

Sprinkle top of baked cookies with some sea salt flakes.

Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Alfajores, Addie

This recipe is from this blog.


  • 1- 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1- 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ½ cup (50 g) almond flour or meal
  • 2¼ cups (288 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (76 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1½ cups (125 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp. (or more) any color plant-based food-coloring powder
  • 1 Tbsp. (or more) second color plant-based food-coloring powder
  • Luster dust (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, dusting with more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking, to about ⅛" thick. Punch out shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters and transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1" apart. Pat scraps into a 1"-thick disk, wrap with plastic, and chill 10 minutes if soft.

Bake a sheet of cookies, rotating halfway through, until edges are lightly browned, 7–9 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Bake remaining sheet of cookies. Line baking sheets with fresh sheets of parchment paper and repeat process with remaining disk of dough.

Divide coconut evenly among 3 bowls. Add 1 Tbsp. food-coloring powder (sift if needed) to a bowl of coconut and toss until coconut is coated; add more powder if a more intense color is desired. Repeat with remaining food-coloring powder and another bowl of coconut. Leave 1 bowl of coconut white. If using, add some luster dust to all 3 bowls and toss to combine.

Turn half of the cookies over to expose flat side; spread 1 tsp. dulce de leche over (this will be the inside of the sandwiches); set aside.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. honey in a small bowl in the microwave just until warm (you want it to be loose), then stir in 2 tsp. warm water. Working one at a time, lightly brush honey over the top of remaining cookies (the ones that have not been filled with dulce de leche). Immediately dip tops into a bowl of coconut; press additional coconut onto cookie to cover any bald spots. Close up cookie sandwiches, coconut side up.

Do Ahead: Dulce de leche can be made 1 month ahead; place in an airtight container and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before using. Dough can be made 3 days ahead; keep chilled. Cookies can be baked (but not assembled) 2 days ahead; store airtight at room temperature.

Happy Holidays!

That's all, we hope you enjoyed some of these recipes from our staff cookie swap!

Read more by Kalleen Marquise

Tags holiday, cookies, recipes