There’s an art to building the ideal holiday cookie tin. For the ultimate homemade gift box, you’ll need to balance flavors, colors and textures — all while making sure the cookies stay fresh and don’t break in transit. Here are our tips for pulling it off, plus recipes to fill your tin. Happy holidays!
To please everyone, you’ll need a mix of cookies with chocolate, fruit flavors, nuts and spice. Focus on flavors representative of the season: warm spices like ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg; chopped hazelnuts and pecans; and dried or preserved fruits.
First things first: each cookie needs to be sturdy enough to hold its shape in a tin, so avoid any gooey bars or sticky frostings. From there, choose a mix of delicate butter-based cookies (such as our Mexican Wedding Cookies), crunchy biscotti, and thick, chewy squares or bars.
Some cookies lend themselves to pops of colors, such as jam-filled cookies or any topped with icing, sprinkles or sanding sugar. For those that don’t, like shortbread or chocolate cookies, you can add your own colorful flourishes with festive red and white twine and holiday-themed cupcake liners. Just stack or bundle the cookies together, tie in knots or bows or arrange in the liners.
Tip: If your tin is too big or deep for the number of cookies you want to place in it, line the bottom with crinkled sheets of tissue paper or filler.
- Mexican Wedding Cookies: These crumbly, buttery cookies are filled with ground almonds and rolled in powdered sugar after baking.
- Blackberry-Pecan Thumbprints: When these pecan cookies are baked, the jam becomes firm and chewy and the nuts turn toasty — feel free to substitute your favorite flavor of jam.
- Chocolate-Cherry-Almond Biscotti: Chocolate and cherries are a great combination, and these biscotti are perfect for a tin; they taste even better a day or two after they’re baked.
- Crunchy Toffee Triangles: Chewy and moist on the inside, these indulgent bars get crunch from toffee pieces mixed into the dough and a generous sprinkling of almonds on top.
- Crisp Chocolate Bites: These extra chocolaty cookies are easy to make, and a topping of powdered sugar makes a pretty presentation.
- Gingerbread Cookies: These traditional cookies are a must for any holiday cookie tin, full of warm spices and decorated with personal touches.
- Hazelnut Biscotti: These crisp, delicious biscotti are dotted with toasted hazelnuts. Make miniature version to fit better inside your tin.