Whether you’ve been invited to a Latino Christmas Cookie Exchange Party or you’re at a loss as to what to give your neighbors or co-workers for Christmas or in need of a creative project to keep your kids occupied, we’ve got the perfect holiday cookie recipes. From classic and basic to cookies traditionally made across Latin America, cookies are just the right addition to a festive celebration. For me, just like there is no Thanksgiving without turkey and leftovers, there is no Christmas season without homemade, fresh-baked cookies. Happy baking!

2 dozen

This is a great, easy and delicious recipe to prepare with kids. You can have them help you mixing and whisking, putting the sandwiches together and adding the last touches with coconut flakes and powdered sugar.

For the Cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter (a good quality one, such as Pulgrá) at room temperature
1/2 cup fine sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for dusting or unsweetened coconut flakes

For the Filling:
1 can condensed milk or already made Dulce de Leche

1. If you are making the filling, prepare it first to allow it to cool. Simmer the unopened can of condensed milk in a pot, covered, for 2 hours; allow to cool completely before opening.
2. Preheat oven at 325ºF.
3. Use an electric mixer to blend the butter and sugar for 2 minutes on medium-high using the paddle attachment. Reduce speed, and add flour, salt and vanilla extract.
4. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours and roll out and cut into round shapes. (Cookies should be about 1/ 4–inch thick.)
5. Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes, or until just lightly browned. 6. Set aside to cool.
7. Once cool, spread one cookie bottom with the dulce de leche and top with another cookie.
8. Sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar or sprinkle sides with coconut flakes.

Note: You can also cover them with semisweet chocolate.


Makes: about 4 dozen

Nothing like irresistible and classic-buttery cookies to give as gifts to your neighbors, boss or co-workers.

2 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (a good quality one, such as Pulgrá), softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Coarse sugar, or sugar crystals, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. Mix dry ingredients. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, whisk together butter and sugar until creamy.
3. Beat in egg and vanilla.
4. Reduce speed and add flour until just combined — do not over do it.
5. Form dough into a long log, wrap in plastic wrap, and let chill until firm for at least 4 hours.
6. Cut log into 1/4-inch slices (or thinner) and place in 2 large ungreased baking sheets, arranging them 1-inch apart. (Don’t let the rest of the log sit outside, or it will be unmanageable. Refrigerate it until needed.)
7. Sprinkle cookies with coarse sugar. Bake until edges are golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Cool on sheets. Transfer to racks, make more cookies with the remaining though.


Makes: 4 dozen balls

This is of my most addictive sweet treats ever—and it’s perfect for family members, co-workers or friends who are watching their sugar intake. Eat Guilt Free: no sugar added, rich in antioxidants and fiber.

16 ounces pitted dates, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Pinch of sea salt
2 cups Rice Crispies, optional

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix dates, butter, sugar and water. Cook for 10-5 minutes or until all thickens to paste.
2. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. (If you are using Rice Crispies, add now and mix well.)
3. Let cool to handle and roll into small balls.
4. Roll balls in coconut flakes or powdered sugar.
5. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes: over 3 dozen cookies

No matter when you choose to enjoy them, these cookies would add the perfect kick to your holiday celebration! Enjoy them Christmas morning with hot apple cider or on Christmas night with eggnog.

2-ounces unsweetened chocolate
2-ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter, softened room temperature
1/2 Tbsp. instant espresso coffee, not granulated
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, unbleached, sifted
1/2 tsp. clove
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp. cayenne (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. In a double broiler, melt chocolate and add butter. Mix to combine using a wooden spatula and add coffee.
3. In a large electric bowl using the paddle attachment, whisk eggs and add sugar until combined.
4. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients with spices.
5. Add flour to eggs. Reduce speed and add chocolate. Mix until combined.
6. Form dough into a long log, cut into desired thickness (1/8-1/4-inch) and roll each piece into powdered sugar.
7. Place in ungreased baking sheet, 1-inch apart, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until edges look golden brown.
8. Let cool completely on sheets before enjoying. Place in airtight container only when cooled.

Makes: about 30 cookies

Brutti Ma Buoni are one of my favorite cookies! So simple to make, so ugly, yet so yummy-licious! And by the way, they are loaded with protein. Serve with hot cocoa, Amaretto, Grand Manier or your favorite liquor. (For you, not the kids.)

4 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose-unbleached flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon amaretto
4 oranges, zested
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup chopped almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Butter a cookie sheet and dust it with some flour.
3. Place whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip to soft peak.
Add the sugar steadily and beat for 2 minutes.
5. Stop the machine and add the flour, vanilla, amaretto, zest, and cocoa powder. Mix for 1 minute and stop the machine.
Stir in the nuts quickly and place 2-inch drops of the cookie dough on cookie sheet 1-inch apart.
Bake 30 minutes until crisp. Remove and allow to cool.