10 Festive Holiday Mocktails to Sip All Season Long

We’re now in an age when, thankfully, the options for non-alcoholic beverages span more than simply a glass of club soda with a squeeze of lemon or lime. While changing tastes over the past few years have brought hard seltzer, hard kombucha, and yes, even hard water, into the limelight, there’s been a simultaneous shift toward the rise of brands making delicious, refreshing, and beautifully packaged zero-alcohol drinks. And running parallel to this, thankfully, holiday mocktail recipes abound.

10 Holiday Mocktail Recipes to Celebrate the Season

Call it fatigue from the Covid-era, booze-heavy virtual happy hours, or perhaps an increase in the sober-curious among us—or any of the other many reasons we might turn down a drink. Whatever the cause, we’re wanting more from the now-trendy mocktail. To help keep your creativity flowing, we’ve found the best holiday mocktail recipes that are fruity, fizzy, and meant to be shared with family and friends. Cue the Hallmark Christmas movie vibes. Forget the hangover.

Minty Pomegranate Punch

Why We Love It: Pomegranates are the fleeting, ever-elusive ingredient that we try to use as much as we can between now and the end of December—and this recipe does the ruby-red fruit justice. Muddling the pomegranate seeds with the blueberries and mint leaves balances out their tart flavor, giving just enough sweetness to make this taste like the best take on a non-boozy mojito you’ve ever had.

Hero Ingredient: The bunch of fresh mint leaves lends a lingering coolness to offset the fruit-forward flavor of this colorful drink.

Salty Dog Mocktail

Salty Dog Mocktail

Why We Love It: Technically, Camille developed this as a cocktail recipe. But because she knows we all like a little variety in our lives, she also included a mocktail twist—and it couldn’t be easier. Grapefruit serves as the base of this drink, and on its own gives such a delicious, juicy flavor. Because of that, all you have to do is swap in some lime juice to replace the vodka or gin and add a little more grapefruit sparkling water. The recipe in its entirety calls for just three simple steps.

Hero Ingredient: I love a little garnish for added color and flavor. A rosemary sprig is perfectly festive without going overboard.

Minty Green Kombucha Smash Mocktail

Minty Green Kombucha Smash Mocktail

Why We Love It: If you’re looking for holiday mocktail recipes that pack significant health benefits as well, this is the one to make. The foundation of this recipe is a slightly-sweet green juice that you can make in large batches. What’s more, you don’t even need a juicer to make this—simply pull out your Vitamix, blend your ingredients, and push the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Friendly reminder that you don’t need to wait until January to start practicing the habits that help you feel your best.

Hero Ingredient: Spinach is the base of many a green juice, and while you can’t taste it here thanks to the addition of plenty of other just-sweet-enough ingredients, it gives the juice its beautiful bright green color (not to mention plenty of fiber and antioxidants).

Peppermint Espresso Mocktini

Peppermint Espresso Mocktini from Olivia Noceda

Why We Love It: We couldn’t call this the definitive list of holiday mocktail recipes without including a Christmas-favorite flavor. When the mood calls for a drink that’s cool and creamy (and you’re told that the eggnog contains rum), here’s what you need. Pretty, pepperminty, and just as deliciously indulgent as any Christmas cookie you can find, this drink epitomizes holiday fun.

Hero Ingredient: Crushed candy canes on the rim add texture and just enough festive flair.

Rosemary Pom Spritzer from Pinch of Yum

Why We Love It: If you’ve ever thought that mocktails are a second-rate substitute for the “real deal,” this recipe will have you changing your tune. Rasy to prep and fit for a crowd, this recipe checks off all of our boxes. You can make the drink in individual glasses for a small get-together with friends or mix up an entire pitcher if your plans involve a few more guests. Either way, everyone will be asking how you did it.

Hero Ingredient: Pomegranate juice gives this drink its distinctive color and flavor. Be sure to taste before going all in on the rosemary simple syrup.

Sparkling Grapefruit Mocktail

Sparkling Grapefruit Mocktail from The Grumpy Olive

Why We Love It: Grapefruits are such a stunning, but often overlooked, seasonal treat. That’s why, come the holidays, I’m looking to incorporate them into everything I eat—my favorite holiday mocktail recipes included. If you can, opt for fresh grapefruit juice. It makes all the difference.

Hero Ingredient: A slice of grapefruit as garnish confirms: this mocktail is deliciously puckery.

Sparkling Apple Cider Mocktail

Sparkling Apple Cider Mocktail from What’s Gaby Cooking

Why We Love It: If you’ve been led to believe that apple cider belongs solely in the fall, this holiday mocktail is here to convince you otherwise. It’s bright, sparkly, and goes way beyond nursing your glass of Martinelli’s. Trust me.

Hero Ingredient: Pomegranate arils add a welcome bit of tang to this sweet mocktail.

Festive Sangria Mocktail

Festive Sangria Mocktail from Little Spice Jar

Why We Love It: Sangria has the unfortunate, albeit sometimes deserved status of being named the drink of choice at many college parties. This booze-free, grown-up version adds a good amount of sophistication with a mixed medley of sliced seasonal fruits and pomegranate arils. The result is a stunning sangria that, when served with a splash of sparkling water, is celebratory enough for any party.

Hero Ingredient: Pomegranate juice is my favorite mixer. Not only for its vibrant and complex flavor but also the beautifully deep hue it lends this mocktail.

1 Minute Christmas Mimosa Mocktails

1 Minute Christmas Mimosa Mocktails from The Mindful Mocktail

Why We Love It: Sign me up for any drink that takes a minute or less to mix up. I love this less-is-more approach, especially when it comes to hosting a crowd. Two ingredients, a gorgeous color, and simple garnishes that seal the deal. This might be my ideal holiday mocktail.

Hero Ingredient: With only two ingredients to choose from, I’ll give this recipe a tie. Non-alcoholic sparkling wine and cranberry are a perfect pairing.

Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail

Cranberry Kombucha Mocktail from Get Inspired Everyday

Why We Love It: We’re low-key obsessed with this drink’s impressive color. It packs all of our favorite hues and flavors that we expect from the holiday season and even weaves in a vibrant hit of orange thanks to the garnish. Too pretty to drink? Take a picture, add to your Insta story, and sip away.

Hero Ingredient: ICYMI, kombucha isn’t just for height-of-summer poolside hangs. You can use any flavor in this recipe and the result will satisfy your craving for something bubbly. Full of probiotics that are good for your gut, this drink’s base of kombucha makes it so you’ll still feel virtuous even while going up for a second glass.

This post was last updated on November 16, 2021.

Exactly What to Wear for Every Holiday Gathering This Season

The holidays have been here for a minute, and if you aren’t already in the midst of festive mayhem, then I’m sure it’s about to sneak up on you. (Like, tomorrow!) Between the parties, planning, and all the presents to buy, our plates are full. And with all the activity comes a packed social calendar. Sure, it’s a lot to manage, but I’m not going to lie—after a few years of engaging solely online, I’m more than a little excited to get dressed up. Thankfully, with a solid capsule wardrobe of heavy-hitting winter basics, your cold-weather mood board is well within reach.

The Best Cozy and Elegant Winter Basics

Our winter basics are those you continue to go back to on a seasonal basis. And sure, in a world of “core” after “core” trend, the idea of finding a timeless piece can feel like a needle-in-a-haystack situation. But don’t worry, no matter the occasion you’re dressing for, these winter basics have you covered.

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Winter basics getting coffee.

Every holiday season merits a weekend day full of catching on your holiday gifting list and connecting with friends over a cuppa. For these festive occasions, the focus is on comfort while still incorporating pieces into your ensemble that guarantee compliments. A tailored blazer, cozy but flattering pant, and statement accessories complete the formula. It’s easygoing while still garnering a solid spot on your feed.

The Blazer

The trick to selecting a timeless blazer is opting for one that moves with the seasons. Your best bet is to go for structure, but with enough give that you can layer dresses, sweaters, and the like underneath. It’s the easiest, chicest addition to any closet.

The Tailored Pant

IYKYK: Quince’s ultra-stretch ponte pant is a study in blending comfort with style. And because the brand is known for offering quality pieces at an accessible price, you’re welcome to select as many colors as you’d like (the burgundy and olive are my other two faves). But as far as pants that do everything for you—nothing beats Cartolina’s Hallie Pant. I’m wearing the “saddle” colorway above, and I can say with certainty: I’ve never loved a pant more. The high rise and elongating slim leg is beyond flattering—and yes, they do feel like yoga pants. (Tip: these run big, you’ll want to size down.) Your wardrobe of winter basics isn’t complete without them.

The Understated Statement Necklace

It’s a paradox, but true—we all need a necklace that completes the outfit while subtly making its presence known. I’m wearing the Banana Republic cubic zirconia piece above and love its classic, just-sparkly-enough appeal. Or, create a little more interest in your arsenal of winter basics by opting for a layered piece that still seamlessly ties in with whatever you have on.

The Statement Bag

‘Tis the season for top-handled bags. Mini, but mighty, these statement bags don’t simply make space for the essentials, but also offer a pop of interest for any look. When I’m not pairing my favorite Melie Bianco Cici bag with this exact blazer + pant + necklace formula, I love making it the grounding piece of a monochrome white or black fit. Streamlined and chic.

Camille Styles winter basics.

What to Wear: The Casual Family Gathering

The key to dressing for family hangs is to go for an elevated comfy look. You don’t want to look like you didn’t try, but you also want to be comfortable enough to roll up your sleeves in the kitchen, play on the floor with little ones, and have something flexible enough to win at a competitive game of charades. Consider these your go-to options for an effortlessly cool look.

The Chunky Sweater 

If you have a curvy body type, my recommendation would be to go with a cropped option to define your waistline or to pair it with a high-waisted pant while doing a casual front tuck. This lets you show off your shape even while adding a little volume from the chunky knit. 

The Perfect Jeans

When it comes to finding the perfect jeans, trust that with a higher price tag comes everything you’re looking for: comfort, quality, and a beyond-flattering look. The good news is that you don’t need anything more than a few go-to pairs for endless outfit combinations. I love a high-waisted bootcut in a darker wash for a universally perfect fit. Again, I’m giving you classic pieces that will never go out of style, so you can feel good about investing in your favorite.

The Cozy Slide

These Jenni Kayne mules went viral for a reason. They’re the perfect laid-back but still elevated alternative to a classic heel. With the pointed heel and elongated shape, they’re flattering for anyone and pair perfectly with every outfit. Cozy slides are a simple way to upgrade your cozy-casual Christmas outfit. Or, if you really want to lean into the coziness this season, the UGG Tazz slipper is a no-brainer.

What to Wear: Christmas Eve at Home

The Cardigan

If you run hot and can’t commit to a sweater indoors, cardigans are a solid solution. Layer it with a silk tank top or over a—yep, you guessed it!—slip dress. You can also roll with it and commit with only a bra underneath. Either way, a cardigan is a win-win. Go with a longer cardigan if you want to keep it comfy, or try a cropped style to show off or create the look of curves.

The Silk Skirt

If you’re not yet sold on the silk dress, give the silk skirt a try. It’s an easy yet comfortable way to elevate your look at home without sacrificing comfort. It comes in a plethora of lengths, but my go-to is the mini. I like to pull out the mini for a night out and keep it classy with a slightly longer hemline for dinner with the family. It looks good with a chunky boot or delicate heel, too. You can keep a slip skirt in your rotation all year, but it’ll be a standout during the holidays.

The Hair Bow

Even Pinterest predicted it—bows are everywhere. They’re the perfect holiday accessory, and the good news is that you’ll be able to keep yours pinned tight throughout the next year. I have The Kate Bow in both black and cream. It’s the perfect Gossip Girl moment to literally tie together any outfit. (The collection of hair accessories was made in collaboration with NYC-based entrepreneur Kira Jones—seriously, her winter basics styling is iconic.)

What to Wear: Festive Holiday Parties

When it comes to holiday parties, there are a few materials and textures that will instantly put you in the mood to celebrate. I love the impact of velvet-everything. It goes beyond monochromatic and creates an instant, luxurious appeal. Make a statement in a pants-and-blazer combo or go classic in a midi dress. No matter how you incorporate it into your holiday dressing, you’re sure to look put together in velvet. 

Velvet Everything

Nothing says the holidays quite like velvet—it can instantly dress up any outfit. One of my favorite velvet pairings is with satin or silk. The juxtaposition of the two fabrics creates such a luxurious vibe. Accessories are always an easy way to add some velvet to your wardrobe, too.

A Fur Topper

Go luxe on luxe with velvet and faux fur—or keep things *relatively* simple by making it your outfit’s go-to statement piece. However you choose to style your faux fur coat, there’s no denying: the material is everywhere this season. And thankfully, there are now plenty of options for beautiful styles at accessible prices.

Metallic Accessories

All that glitters isn’t just gold—it’s also silver, rose gold, and champagne. In a world of metallics, you will always shine. With metallics, I like to follow the rule that less is more. They can be intense in a good way, so use them sparingly.

What to Wear: A Cozy Holiday Morning

For me, holiday mornings are all about keeping it comfortable. I’m talking soft pajamas, warm robes, and elevated loungewear. Whether you’re the matching pajama kind of family or you like to lean more luxe, you can always come back to these pieces. One thing is for sure: you’re bound to create special memories to look back on all while being extra cozy. This lets you focus on what matters most: the magic and joy of your family. 

The Winter-White Set

Don’t get me wrong, I love matching sets in all colors and prints (particularly if you’re coordinating with the fam on Christmas Day). But nothing says classic quite like a winter-white set. Whoever called white after Labor Day a fashion faux-pas certainly never encountered the captivating impact of a luminous sweater-and-pants (or skirt!) pairing. Bonus: The look is elevated enough to take out of the house—but you’ll still feel like you’re wearing pajamas.

Of course, nothing completes a Christmas-at-home ensemble quite like the coziest socks or slippers. Thankfully, brands that do basics to a tee like SKIMS understand that just because we’re prioritizing comfort doesn’t mean we don’t also want to look cute. With the options below, both are 100% possible.

This article was last updated on December 2, 2022.

7 Ways to Have an Anti-Hustle Holiday Season

The holidays are in full swing, and many of the conversations I’m having with friends are focused on racing to the end-of-the-year finish line—or the big changes they want to make once the new year hits. The overall tone is stressful and distracted from the present moment. I’ve been there—stretched so thin during the holidays with social and work commitments that I end up on the edge of burnout by January 1. But this year, I’m making a promise to myself: it’s time to have an anti-hustle holiday.

What exactly is that, you may ask? An anti-hustle holiday is one that goes against the many societal pressures we feel this time of year. The need to have a perfectly-decorated home, attend every party, and have a stream of freshly-baked holiday cookies emerging from the oven at all times. I’m choosing to say “no” to what doesn’t resonate—in turn, creating space for all the holiday magic I want to soak up.

How to Have an Anti-Hustle Holiday

Because IYKYK: when we experience holiday burnout, we quickly lose any momentum we had for our New Year’s goals. Then, before we know it: work and life pick back up, and we’re back on the hamster wheel once again.

So this year, let’s do it different. Rather than overcommitting during the holidays and focusing on everything we need to shift or change in 2024, it’s time to shift the focus. Instead, I’m thinking about how I want to feel in the last couple of weeks of the year: present, calm, and well-rested. I’m stepping into the season with this goal of an anti-hustle holiday guiding my way. To inspire your own merry and bright December, here’s everything I’m NOT going to do before the end of 2023.

1. Not Overcommitting to Dinners

I’m the worst offender here. The second November and December arrive, my festive brain kicks into overdrive. I want to get dressed up and spend all my time with friends and family. But before I know it, I have 3-4 dinners or social events lined up each week and I’m exhausted by mid-December.

This year, I’m committing to one ladies’ night of board games and a potluck in December. That gives everyone the opportunity to gather altogether and not have to plan one-off hangs. 

Brewing chai tea anti-hustle holiday.

2. Not Drinking During the Week

The party invites have been coming in hot since Halloween wrapped. While I won’t be saying yes to every single event, I would like to support my nearest and dearest if even for an hour. And as much as I love a glass of bubbles and a cheese tray while I’m dressed to the 9’s, I’m pumping the breaks and limiting my alcohol intake so I can feel fresh and rested. With the exception of a holiday dinner with my family, I’m cutting alcohol during the week. I always feel so better when I put some guardrails on my intake. (Psst… to still partake in the fun, these are our favorite non-alcoholic drinks.)

3. Not Leaving Myself off the Gift List

Otherwise said: I’m treating myself, because I had a YEAR. (We all did.) I traveled more than ever, experienced loss, health scares, and so many things in between. You know I believe in the importance of self-care, and for me that comes in the form of movement, therapy, rest, and plenty of laughter. But this year, I’m gifting myself a staycation and enjoying time alone to relax, have a great meal, and soak up a full spa day. I’m intentionally scheduling this before family arrives and I go into host-mode. There’s nothing that helps me feel more present and relaxed than an evening to myself.

Cinnamon rolls.

4. Not Going to Earn My Meals

I’m sure our resident nutritionist, Edie, would co-sign on this one. This isn’t so much a new move for me as it as a reminder that I don’t have to. I exercise because it makes me feel good and I want to be nimble, flexible, and strong throughout my lifetime. (Not because I’m going to have pumpkin pie one day of the year.) I hope to start my holidays the same way I enjoy starting every day—with a nice walk around the lake with my partner and or family by my side. 

I’ve been so present to the notion that we will never get the time back that is right in front of us. My family is coming to town and given I only see them given times a year, all my attention is going straight to them—not watching how other families are spending their time on social media. If you need help doing your own holiday social media detox, we share tips for spending time off your phone here.

Christmas decorated living room.

6. Not Scrambling to Have the Perfectly Decorated or Clean Place

Day 1 of hosting guests means my place is absolutely immaculate and clean. But as the week goes on and everyone lives in my place, it gets a bit disheveled. Rather than stress and constantly vacuum, sweep, and scrub, I’m just going to let it be “cleanish.” Or if I’m really stressed, I’ll hire a cleaning crew.

Rather than focus on the perfect tree with the perfect decor, I’m doing the bare minimum. And here’s the truth: I’m more than happy to spend my attention and time elsewhere.

7. Not Finding the Perfect Party Dress or Outfit

Truthfully, this is going to be so hard for me. I love showing up to an event with a brand-new outfit, but all I have to do is walk into my closet for that same feeling. I’m mindful of consumerism, especially during the holidays, and truly feel better when I invest in experiences vs. things. I’d rather not spend hours online finding the perfect one only to wear it twice and never again. A bit of a behavior shift, but the theme this holiday season is ease. (And if you’re looking for inspiration from the pieces you already own, just do a closet clean-out. It’ll completely change how you see your wardrobe.)

The Best Christmas Cookie Recipes to Make This Holiday Season

There are few things in the world more evocative of holiday memories than the scent of cookies baking in the oven. For me, the aromas of Mexican wedding cookies (or, “sand tarts,” as my grandmother called them) and sugar cookies cut in reindeer or ornament shapes are like Christmas bottled up in a scent. The big question? Whether to stick with the old favorites or give some new, more adventurous flavors a whirl. The answer, of course, is to do both. And don’t worry, because our roundup of the best Christmas cookie recipes is sure to include just the one you’re craving. Keep scrolling for all the recipes you’ll ever need—this holiday and beyond.

Psst… If you’re craving more creative cookie recipes, we have just the thing! The Camille Styles team partnered with the best food bloggers and recipe developers to create our free Holiday Cookie Guide: 10 Exclusive Recipes From Your Favorite Bakers. This guide includes 10 exclusive recipes, tips for how to host your own cookie swap, and movie pairings for the perfect cozy night in. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Snowball Cookies

Why We Love It: These treats are Christmas cookie gold. Chocolate and peppermint is a pairing I look forward to enjoying every holiday season, and a batch of these satisfies the seasonal craving. These feature a molten chocolate center and a double dose of peppermint flavor. Cancel all my plans—I’m staying in tonight and baking these.

Hero Ingredient: A chocolate baking disc tucked into each cookie is the secret to the ooey-gooey lava goodness.

Chocolate Orange Linzer Shortbread Cookies

Why We Love It: Chocolatey, buttery, and oh-so-beautiful, these cookies roll all the wholesome parts of the holidays into one delicious bite. While most Linzer cookies use jam for the filling, these make stunning use of an orange-infused chocolate ganache. They’ll pretty up any cookie plate they’re a part of.

Hero Ingredient: Chocolate and orange is a dream cookie combo. Using the citrus zest in both the dough and the ganache makes it happen.

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Why We Love It: Raise your hand if you could eat pumpkin cookies all throughout the year. (Me!) Sure, pumpkin is most associated with October, but I love its sweet, warming flavor well into the holidays. If I found these beyond-chewy, chocolate chip-laced delights in a holiday cookie box, you can bet I’d be a happy eater.

Hero Ingredient: Chocolate chip cookies—yes, even those that feature pumpkin as their primary flavor—benefit from a little sprinkle of sea salt. It’s key to giving them a boost of

Orange Cranberry, Pistachio, and Cardamom White Chocolate Slice and Bake Cookies

Why We Love It: I love slice-and-bake cookies because 1) they’re absolutely delish and 2) they’re a breeze to make ahead of time and bake whenever you’re in need of a fresh cookie. Simply mix your dough together, roll it into wax paper, and store in the freezer until you’re ready to, well, slice and bake. This particular recipe makes the most of this easy method and brings tons of festivity and flavor to the final result. They’re creative, whimsical, and totally drool-worthy.

Hero Ingredient: The drizzled white chocolate is exactly what you need to send these cookies over the top.

Chocolate Bourbon Biscuits

Why We Love It: There’s nothing more nostalgic than a sandwich cookie, but these biscuits are a step up from your expected Oreo affair. The shortbread dough keeps these cookies soft and chewy and espresso powder brings out the chocolatey flavor. All you need is your favorite tea for dipping.

Hero Ingredient: I can’t think of a more perfect filling for these cookies than chocolate hazelnut spread.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Why We Love It: These cookies agree: there’s nothing more comforting than sipping a mug of warm cocoa on a cold winter day. Get ready to transform your hot chocolate craving.

Hero Ingredient: Peppermint hot cocoa mix is the no-fail solution to ensuring that these cookies taste just like your favorite wintertime drink.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Why We Love It: The key to perfecting these cookies’ soft, almost cake-like texture is baking them in a muffin tin. Call them a cookie, call them a brownie, call them a brookie (actually, don’t do that)—but regardless of your chosen moniker, these treats are sure to delight. If you want a chocolate cookie that’s fudgy and full of frosting, this is the one to bake.

Hero Ingredient: Ferrero rocher chocolates as an added topping delivers just the right amount of decadence that I’m craving this time of year.

Chai Chocolate Dipped Christmas Cookies

Why We Love It: I love my chai sweet and spicy, and these cookies have the nuanced flavor down pat. They do the classic sugar cookie justice by creating slightly crisp edges and a soft, tender middle. The chai spices combined with the added orange zest keep the dough from leaning too sweet. And when you add sprinkles and dip it in chocolate, you’ve got a Christmas cookie recipe for the books.

Hero Ingredient: I can’t choose between all the spice options—they bring a little something special to each bite.

Chewy Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Cinnamon Glaze

Why We Love It: Sure, these don’t necessarily scream Christmas, but truthfully, I crave a little pumpkin all throughout the colder months. If you can’t stand a dry cookie and crave a melt-in-your-mouth texture, these deliver. I like them best straight from the oven (with the warm, pumpkin aroma still in the air) and I can’t get enough of the sweet cinnamon glaze. These deserve a spot in your Christmas cookie recipe book.

Hero Ingredient: Pumpkin pie spice. Need I say more?

Pistachio Truffles

Why We Love It: Truffles are the simple, elegant, and tasty best friend of any jam-packed holiday schedule. I’m talking six ingredients and a few hands-free hours spent setting in the freezer. You can make these (vegan!) truffles with absolute ease.

Hero Ingredient: It’s all about the toppings. Roll your truffles in coconut or toasted pistachios. Either option gives you a perfectly crunchy complement to your truffles’ creamy center.

Buttered Rum Shortbread Cookies from Hummingbird High

Why We Love It: Four words sealed the deal for me on these holiday cookies: marbled buttered rum glaze. I’m sure you had the idea when you took in that picture, but these cookies aren’t just aesthetic. With a cup of butter in the dough itself (these are shortbread, after all) plus four tablespoons in the glaze, these are sure to be a favorite amongst all your cookie testers. As far as the best Christmas cookie recipes, this one features a relatively short ingredients list—making the journey from mixing bowl to mouth all the more streamlined.

Hero Ingredient: It’s a toss-up between the butter and the rum. Paired together, they’re unstoppable.

Soft Gingerbread Latte Cookies with Brown Butter Icing from Half Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: Tieghan Gerard (the baking genius behind Half Baked Harvest) has a knack for ensuring that everything emerging from her kitchen is a delicious delight. But these gingerbread latte cookies? They’re my absolute fave. I love the spicy-sweet flavor they have going on, plus the soft and chewy texture makes them all the more comforting. And with that brown butter icing to boot, these holiday cookies are in a category unto themselves.

Hero Ingredient: Espresso powder is key for giving these cookies’ their distinguished latte flavor.

Dreamy Soft Vegan Coconut Meltaway Cookies from Sincerely Tori

Why We Love It: Whether you’re a year-round fan of coconut or just crave a bit of its tropical flavor in the dead of winter, you can count on these cookies to satisfy you when a Piña Colada craving hits. With a soft shortbread base and a coconut flavor that doesn’t taste artificial or overwhelming, you’ve got everything you need to win at the game of holiday baking.

Hero Ingredient: Coconut oil, coconut cream, and coconut extract make these cookies a true holiday delight. Not much more needs to be said.

Vegan & Grain-Free Ginger Molasses Softies from The First Mess

Why We Love It: For anyone who’s vegan or gluten-free but still wants to enjoy the cookie season, here’s the dough you need to whip up. If you thought paleo ginger cookies sounded more like a paradox than a delicious reality, get ready for these appropriately-named treats to blow your mind.

Hero Ingredient: Dates are the secret to making these cookies free of refined sweeteners while still tasting like a treat. Honestly too, because the dough isn’t saturated with sugar, the other ingredients are given the opportunity to let their flavors shine.

White Christmas Sugar Cookies from Julie Blanner

Why We Love It: Hot take: “White Christmas” was actually written about these cookies. I’ve been dreaming about their simple and incredibly satisfying taste since I had them this time last year. A sort of sugar cookie-shortbread hybrid, these combine the best of everything you could ever want in your cookie.

Hero Ingredient: If you’ve ever wondered why your favorite cookie recipes call for cream of tartar, here’s your answer: Cream of tartar acts as a leavening agent and helps keep the sugar in your cookies from crystallizing, so they’ll bake evenly and be devoured by everyone.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles from So Much Food

Why We Love It: Every holiday party seems to involve a debate over whether eggnog is delicious or… not. While I’m in the camp that loves sipping on a cup come December 1st (or, admittedly, earlier), I know it’s not for everyone. What is? These cookies. Mimicking the flavor of eggnog (nutmeg! rum!) and rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, there’s really no argument that these cookies are downright delicious.

Hero Ingredient: 1/3 cup of eggnog gets added to the cookie dough, just to be sure these taste like the real deal.

Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies from Hummingbird Thyme

Why We Love It: There’s nothing that evokes the essence of Christmas more than the scent of ginger wafting through the air. Sinking my teeth into one of these streusel-topped cookies is buttery bliss at its best.

Hero Ingredient: Crystallized ginger bumps up the heat while also providing a little extra texture to these already deliciously-soft cookies.

Soft and Chewy White Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies from Ahead of Thyme

Why We Love It: When white chocolate meets cranberries, the result is pure cookie magic. Adding walnuts into the mix offers just enough crunch while also providing a bit of nuttiness that’s welcome in any box of holiday cookies.

Hero Ingredient: Why the additional egg yolk, you may ask? Including an extra egg yolk creates a fudgier cookie. Dense, tender, and rich—a roundup of the best adjectives you can associate with a cookie.

Slice-And-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Hummingbird High

Why We Love It: This recipe requires a little added context to understand the full scope of its Christmas cookie superiority. Full title? Any Time You Need ‘Em Slice-And-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies. Because here’s the thing: I always need cookies, and I always need cookies available to bake at the ready. If that’s true for you too, make these.

Hero Ingredient: Bittersweet chocolate, you can really do no wrong.

The Santa Clause Cookies from Half-Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: Tieghan Gerard set out on a mission to make sugar cookies that taste good, and honestly, that can be a bit harder than it might initially sound. She’s clearly succeeded with this recipe. The ingredients list features hazelnut liqueur, lots of vanilla, and brown sugar to give a complex flavor and melt-in-your-mouth bite.

Hero Ingredient: Keep the creamy vanilla bean glaze coming, please.

Easy Vegan Macaroons from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: These macaroons don’t disappoint. I love any and every Minimalist Baker recipe for their ability to combine just a few ingredients and create a result that captures everything I could ever want in something sweet. 

Hero Ingredient: Let me introduce you to the magic of aquafaba. If you’re unfamiliar with the go-to vegan ingredient, know that you’ll soon start saving every last drop from your can of chickpeas. An amazing egg replacement, it beautifully binds the ingredients here for the chewiest cookie of your life.

Mexican Wedding Cookies from Love & Lemons

Why We Love It: In my household, these are a Christmas cookie classic. I love that they simultaneously melt and crunch in your mouth, giving off their signature puff of powdered sugar. For me, these epitomize the holiday season. Not just because they look like snow themselves, but because every bite is a study in edible comfort.

Hero Ingredient: Almond extract deserves its spot in the sun. It’s fruity, nutty, and oh-so delish. I consider it an essential in every pantry.

Chocolate Cherry Almond Biscotti from My Baking Addiction

Why We Love It: The only way to improve upon a morning cup of coffee is by sipping your brew alongside a crispy, crunchy slice of biscotti. The only way to improve upon biscotti? A hearty handful of dried tart cherries and chocolate chips mixed into the dough. 

Hero Ingredient: It’s more a fact than an opinion: Every biscotti gets better with chopped almonds.

Salted Caramel Turtle Thumbprint Cookies from Cooking Classy

Why We Love It: ‘Tis the season for thumbprints of all sorts. While some recipes opt for the classic jam filling, these get a bit more indulgent with a salted caramel center. Trust me, they might look fancy, but the preparation really couldn’t be simpler.

Hero Ingredient: Is there a more perfect pairing of flavors than salted caramel? While it’s a toss-up between the two for who gets to be named this recipe’s standout ingredient, I’m happy to settle on giving the combination the trophy. 

Chocolate-Dipped Crisp Peanut Butter Cookies from Joy the Baker

Why We Love It: These cookies’ classic cross-hatched pattern lets you know immediately that you’re about to bite into peanut buttery goodness. What’s unexpected though, but nonetheless easy to embrace, is the dip they take in a bowl of melted chocolate. Golden and endlessly comforting, as peanut butter cookies should always be.

Hero Ingredient: A good peanut butter is always an essential part of any peanut butter cookie. I’m not opposed to choosing one that’s made with slightly salted and roasted peanuts for an added depth of flavor.

Cranberry Bliss Cookies from Gimme Some Oven

Why We Love It: Inspired by the favorite Starbucks pastry, these cookies brilliantly blend tart and sweet. While clearly a dessert, I definitely wouldn’t consider them out of place alongside my morning beverage. Breakfast is served.

Hero Ingredient: The frosting’s cream cheese base gives just the right amount of tang, making it so you can have two (or more) without getting a sugar-induced headache.

Autumn Brittle from Adventures in Cooking

Why We Love It: This brittle puts the best parts of your favorite granola front and center while binding them with honey for sweetness and an irresistible crunch. With almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and plenty more wholesome ingredients, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to consider this brittle a relatively-healthy indulgence.

Hero Ingredient: Pumpkin seeds not only add texture but also bring forth a little bit of festive color that’s eye-catching and elegant.

Chocolate Swirled Meringue Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Why We Love It: The presentation of these cookies is everything. Melted chocolate is mixed into a meringue base, creating a stunning swirl of black and white. And can we talk about those cute Christmas sprinkles?

Hero Ingredient: You might be wondering about the cream of tartar—I was, too. Turns out, they help your egg whites hold onto air, keeping these meringues soft, crispy, and sky-high

Olive Oil & Sea Salt Brownie Cookies from Butterlust

Why We Love It: All the deliciousness of your favorite brownie in the form of a cookie? This recipe delivers. They’re unique in their rich and complex flavor, and they’re all the proof you need that the limit for chocolatey goodness doesn’t exist.

Hero Ingredient: Hesitant to use olive oil in your baking? These cookies are your invitation to dive in. Instead of being savory, the cookies retain their fudgy, chocolatey sweetness. Plus, opting for olive oil instead of butter ensures your cookies will stay moist for days. Just make sure you’re using high-quality olive oil and skip anything you wouldn’t want to taste in your cookie.

Snowballs from In the Little Red House

Why We Love It: Nope, these are not the Hostess Snoballs found next to the register at many gas station convenience stores. Instead, these offer a buttery bite with a satisfying dusting of snow-white powdered sugar. The recipe has it right—these truly are Santa’s favorite cookies.

Hero Ingredient: Again, they’re not snowballs without the snow. A dip in powdered sugar makes that happen.

French Butter Cookies from Owl Baking

Why We Love It: In France, these cookies are traditionally known as sablés. They’re a round shortbread cookie that while sounding simple is nothing short of revelatory. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at French baking but are intimidated by the thought of pastry, these cookies are an easy way to get started.

Hero Ingredient: If you can find a vanilla bean, amazing. If not, you can still capture these cookies’ almost caramelly flavor with vanilla bean paste. In a pinch, vanilla extract can work as well.

Gingerbread Donut Cookies from Studio DIY

Why We Love It: These are just about the cutest cookies I’ve ever seen. If you need a break from the many expected gingerbread men that make their appearance around this time of year, here’s a quick solve. 

Hero Ingredient: All the best things are inspired by doughnuts. Sure, they’d still look like the breakfast favorite without the sprinkles, but do you really want to pass up the opportunity for a little added pizzazz? Answer: You definitely don’t. 

Swiss Walnut Christmas Cookies from Eat, Little Bird

Why We Love It: Fun fact: Läckerli, the Swiss name for these biscuits, comes from the German word lecker, which translates to “delicious.” And it totally makes sense—hazelnuts and walnuts are blitzed in the food processor and create a sticky dough when mixed with the sugar and egg whites. Drizzling a little glaze on top never hurt anyone.

Hero Ingredient: The frosting is flavored with a tiny bit of Kirsch for a pronounced cherry flavor that adds just enough sweetness to these otherwise wholesome cookies.

This post was originally published on December 1, 2020, and has since been updated.

7 Self-Care Tips That Every Parent Should Adopt This Holiday Season

We’ve survived the spooky season only to be catapulted into the official start of the holidays. And if I’m being honest, I already feel on the edge of burnout. Maybe it’s the first cold of the season or the multiple Thanksgivings we attended (not to mention all the holiday travel details still left to coordinate). In any case, I’m reminded that to make it to the end of the year without losing my cool, I need to implement some personal self-care. I imagine there are plenty of other parents feeling the same way, so I’m her with 7 self-care tips for parents heading into the holiday season.

Featured image from our interview with Ariel Kaye by Teal Thomsen.

7 Self-Care Tips for Parents During the Holiday Season

While self-care practices are important all throughout the year, it’s the piling on of parties, plans, and presents to be bought and wrapped that can wear us down during the holidays. What’s more, as parents of little ones, it’s up to us to make the season magical. That means a lot of effort goes into decking the halls and playing Santa. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I get it. And that’s where these self-care tips for parents come in handy.

Ahead, I’m sharing not only my ideas to carve out some peace and quiet, but also why these practices are essential—plus tips for incorporating them into your life. Let’s make it happen.

Prioritize Your Needs

One of the best self-care tips for parents I can give you is to prioritize your needs over anyone else’s. And no, it’s not selfish! Prioritizing your needs ensures you have the energy and emotional well-being to care for your family effectively.

If there is anything on your list that doesn’t bring you joy, consider removing it.

Make a list of your needs and schedule time for self-care activities. Communicate your needs with your partner, friends, and family. And be sure to ask for support when you need it. If there is anything on your list that doesn’t bring you joy, consider removing it. I mean it: allow yourself to do less!

Set Realistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations can lead to stress and disappointment. Realistic expectations can help you maintain a sense of balance. Reflect on past holiday seasons and set achievable goals. Be open to reevaluating things that may have felt stressful in years past. Practice flexibility and be open to adjustments as needed. Is attending a seven-course meal with toddlers doable? Do you want to mail and address one hundred holiday cards? Check in with yourself and ask how realistic this is. And be honest: are you taking on too much?

Image by Belathée Photography

Practice Mindfulness

It’s all too easy to get swept up in the busyness of the holidays, putting ourselves on auto-pilot as we power through everything we need to do. This year, I challenge you to practice mindfulness before diving into it all. Mindfulness techniques can reduce stress, improve focus, and help you stay present in the moment.

Set aside a few minutes each day for mindfulness exercises. Create a vision board or visualize how you want to feel during the holidays: peaceful, present, and loved by family and friends. When you can give yourself the time to focus on what truly matters, it’s easier to let go of anything that isn’t serving you.

Less Screen Time, More Real Connections

Reducing screen time promotes face-to-face interactions and healthier family bonding. Set screen time limits for both yourself and your children. Use the extra time for quality family activities or relaxation. Social media often presents a polished highlight reel for most people. During the holidays, this effect can be even more pronounced, with everyone posting pictures of perfect trees, family photos, or matching pajama sets.

For some of us, the pressure to do it all can feel overwhelming and disheartening. If social media is making you feel inadequate, consider taking a break. (We dive into the importance and step-by-step details of taking a holiday social media detox.) Remember, comparison is the thief of joy. Instead, reach out to friends and family who understand your challenges and values. They can provide emotional support and connection through calls, texts, or video chats.

Image by Emma Bassill

Stay Active

Regular exercise is a potent stress reliever and mood enhancer, yet it often gets pushed aside, especially when we have guests in town or when our kids are home from school.  Instead, continue your fitness routine or explore creative ways to stay active, like family walks, dance parties, or holiday-themed workouts.

Did you know that exercising may reduce your bad mental health days by 40%?  In my family, we are big fans of healthy competition, from pickleball matches to relay races involving the entire family, which can help reduce everyone’s stress levels. There’s also nothing wrong with carving out some alone time to stick to your exercise routine. Modeling self-care for your children will only help reinforce the importance of it for themselves. Get started with our favorite workouts.

Practice Good Sleep Habits

I’ll be the first to admit that I often stay up late during the holidays to get things done while my kids are sleeping. While checking off items on my to-do list in silence can be enjoyable, it can lead to rough mornings and long days. Add holiday parties that keep you out late and occasional holiday alcohol consumption, and you might find yourself navigating the holidays with a sleep deficit.

Lack of sleep is no joke. Anxiety and sleep deprivation have been proven to go hand-in-hand. Self-care starts with good sleep habits. Make sure you’re getting a full eight hours of rest. Consider limiting your alcohol intake to ensure sound sleep, and don’t forget the power of a 20-minute power nap. If you struggle to fall asleep, try implementing some healthy sleep habits.

Make Space for Emotions

While some of us feel like it’s the happiest time of the year, others may feel sad or depressed during the holidays. Regardless of which emotions the holidays evoke, it’s important to make time to reflect on and embrace them as they come up. This can involve a gratitude practice or picking up the phone to share your feelings with someone. If you find yourself feeling lonely during the holidays, make a plan to get yourself out of the house and into the community. There are numerous opportunities to get involved during this time of year.

The Takeaway

By understanding the importance of these self-care practices and integrating them into your daily routine, you can navigate the holiday season more smoothly and savor the precious moments with your family. I hope you can incorporate these self-care tips for parents into your life and make the most of your time with family! Happy holiday season, everyone!

‘Tis the Season to Unplug—Why a Social Media Detox Should Be Your New Holiday Tradition

In a world where (over)sharing is synonymous with caring, the idea of a social media sabbatical might seem counterintuitive. Especially as sparkly decor, romantic engagements, and pregnancy announcements fill your scroll. But maybe, these are the very same reasons to protect your peace. Hear us out: what if the secret to unlocking yuletide magic lies in disconnecting from the virtual world? This year, keep it merry and bright via a holiday social media detox.

With your well-being in mind, we’re making a compelling case to step back from screens. And good news! It’s not forever. Instead, ring in 2024 with a temporary digital hiatus. Follow our guide as we share realistic tips and creative ways to savor those special moments—without the pressure to post.

image above by Riley Reed

‘Tis the season for joy. Yet many of us find ourselves weighed down by—and tethered to—the incessant need to scroll. FOMO is real. From festive gatherings and seasonal traditions, to a tray of homemade ginger molasses cookies, an Instagram post (or three) is a no-brainer. We get it. But if you need a little more JOMO in your life, consider logging off to light up. We promise it’s not as daunting as it sounds. With that, here’s our gentle nudge to capture this season’s beauty without online validation.

Reclaim True Presence

Like a good cup of coffee, the case for a holiday social media detox is strong. It’s rooted in reclaiming peace of mind. It’s about feeling unburdened by your platform’s performance (personal or business). Ultimately, a tech timeout is an invitation—a call to answer the true magic of the holidays. Rather than doomscroll, we can be fully present. And that’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Why detox during the holidays?

IYKYK: the holidays are a digital frenzy. Documenting every festive moment is the norm. And while photos last forever, curating the ideal holiday feed—on Instagram, TikTok, or elsewhere—is stressful. The solution? A social media detox. It allows for a much-needed breather, freeing you from the addiction to virtual validation. Of course, get as snap-happy as you want! But consider other ways to display your memories. Spoiler alert: scrapbooking called, and it wants you to take on a new wintertime hobby.

Ultimately, a tech timeout is an invitation—a call to answer the true magic of the holidays.

How to Detox Successfully

Embarking on a virtual detox requires a thoughtful approach. Whether you’re a seasoned unplugger—or this is your first rodeo—follow our step-by-step guide.

1. Set intentions

Start by setting clear intentions for your detox period. Whether it’s a few days or the entirety of the holiday season, define your boundaries. For preemptive reprieve, communicate them to your online circles:

Hi! I’ll be taking a break from Instagram for the month of December. In the spirit of peace and presence, I encourage you to do the same! See you in 2024.”

This preemptive step prevents feelings of guilt, allowing you to fully commit to the detox experience.

2. Use built-in tools

Next, consider using your device’s built-in tools to limit your social media usage. Set daily time limits or schedule periods of downtime to reduce the temptation to mindlessly scroll.

3. Remove social media apps

Additionally, consider removing social media apps from your home screen to create a physical barrier between you and the digital world. Otherwise, temporarily delete them.

4. Get an accountability partner

Last but not least, ask a friend or family member to do it with you. Accountability is key. You can motivate one another to keep trucking along. (Although soon enough, you likely won’t miss it!)

With your newfound freedom, what’s next? Almost immediately, you’ll discover a wealth of opportunities to make the most of the holiday season. Reconnect with long-lost hobbies, immerse yourself in a captivating book, take a staycation, clock hours in nature, or hop on the road. If it calls to you, volunteer at a local soup kitchen or bake goodies for your neighbors. Get crafty with your kids! Ultimately, engaging in satisfying, fulfilling activities is two-fold: they enhance your holiday experience and contribute to a sense of personal well-being.

Spend Time With Loved Ones

Moreover, use this time to deepen your connections with close friends. Plan activities that foster genuine interactions—board games, holiday baking sessions, or a cozy movie night. Everyone loves a good pizza party, too. The absence of social media distractions allows for more meaningful conversations and shared experiences, creating cherished memories for years to come.

Capturing the Holiday Spirit, Offline

For most of us, the fear of missing out is unnerving. In fact, it’s often the driving factor to share every holiday moment online. Fortunately, there are alternative ways to preserve the magic of the season. For example, consider creating a holiday journal to document your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. This tactile and personal approach allows for reflection and provides a tangible keepsake to revisit in the years to come.

Rather than post to your feed, explore photography with the intention of creating physical photo albums. And to take it one step further, try a disposal camera or polaroids (not your phone)! Print your favorite holiday snapshots and compile them into a scrapbook. This way, you can relive the moments without the pressure of online likes and comments. Plus, your family can enjoy them for generations—a truly intimate and meaningful experience.

Unwrap the Gift of a Digital Detox

To bring this full circle: a holiday social media detox offers a chance to rediscover the true essence of the season. By stepping away from the virtual spotlight, you open yourself up to authentic connections, meaningful experiences, and the genuine joy that the holidays bring. So, this year, consider unwrapping the gift of a digital detox. Savoring the magic of the holidays—in a way that transcends the screen.

Embrace the Joy—50 Holiday Rituals to Romanticize the Season

There are countless ways to spend the holiday season. You can soak up the coziness indoors, marathoning all the holiday movies back to back. Or perhaps you’re a Christmas cookie connoisseur and love baking the weekends away. And of course, if you live somewhere that gets snowy and cold, there’s no better time of year for an outdoor adventure.

Whatever your plans, we can all agree: the holidays are best when the stress is low and there’s enough space in your schedule to appreciate it all. We’re committed to making this a season full of magic, and our 2023 holiday rituals will help get you there. Because we get it—the busyness has a way of catching up to us. And it can be so tempting to let our productive days slip into the holidays as well. But take this list as permission to put your mind at ease and make time for all the things that spark the most joy. (Sledding, hot cocoa, and taking naps, included.)

2023 Holiday Rituals to Spark Joy This Season

With our 2023 holiday rituals to guide you, it’s our hope that you can make this year sparkle and shine in all the special and heartwarming ways. Let these ideas guide your own list of intentions, and get ready to make the most of your holidays.

Week 1 (November 6-12)

1. Plan your Thanksgiving menu (or potluck contribution).

2. Light a candle and romanticize your journal session. Practice gratitude with one of these prompts.

3. Make mulled wine, glögg, or hot apple cider in the Crock-Pot. Your house will smell amazing.

4. Bake pumpkin bread. Double the recipe and give one to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker just because.

5. Work on your holiday gift list. Write down ideas for each person on your list and tap our holiday gift guides for fresh ideas.

6. Plan your festive outfits. Look at the calendar and think about any occasions where you may want to put in some effort—parties, photos, Thanksgiving dinner, the ugly sweater office party…

7. Do a closet cleanout and donate clothes you haven’t worn in a year. If you have kids, go through toys and donate any they’ve outgrown. Now is the perfect time to free up space before you buy a single thing or bring any gifts into the house.

Week 2 (November 13-19)

8. Warm up a cup of homemade chai.

9. Have a holiday crafting day. Scroll Pinterest for ideas or get inspired with our favorite holiday DIYs.

10. Go shopping for a special new ornament for the tree. Our family tradition is that each person gets one new ornament a year, and it’s a great way to look back and remember past Christmases.

11. Choose a theme or color palette for your holiday gift wrap, then go ahead and buy it. Store it somewhere with scissors and tape so you’re ready for stress-free wrapping.

12. Give back: The season is brightest when we make it bright for someone else, so think about how you want to give this year. One of our favorites? Find a wishlist for a children’s organization and “adopt” one to gift.

13. Treat yourself to a pair of cozy socks or slippers to wear all winter.

14. Make plans with an old friend you haven’t seen in ages.

Week 3 (November 20-26)

15. Shop for classic Christmas books and bring them to a local donation drive for kids to enjoy.

16. Visit a small business and purchase gifts for friends and loved ones.

17. DIY a wreath for your front door. This is all the inspo you need.

18. Thanksgiving. Go on a gratitude walk—leave your phone at home. As you walk, mentally list out your current gratitudes. Reflect on the joy they each bring into your life.

19. Make paper snowflakes and use double-sided tape to display on your windows.

20. Order holiday gifts. Most retailers have sales the entire week of Thanksgiving now, so avoid the pressure of doing it all on Cyber Monday.

21. Call a faraway friend or relative to tell them how thankful you are for them.

Week 4 (November 27-December 3)

22. Spread some good cheer—leave a nice tip for your barista.

23. Find a new red lipstick that flatters your skin tone. Here’s how to keep it in place for holiday parties.

24. Close the laptop and shop for at least one gift in person.

25. Start an advent calendar—here’s a list of fun 2023 calendars.

26. Visit a holiday market in your city—shop for ornaments, drink hot cocoa, and enjoy the Christmas cheer!

27. Make a whole night out of decorating the Christmas tree. Turn on music, make hot cocoa, and savor the process.

28. Curate a playlist of your favorite holiday songs. Here’s a great place to start.

Week 5 (December 4-10)

29. Set aside an afternoon for holiday baking. Download the Holiday Cookie Guide and bake up a recipe (or two). You could also prep the dough and freeze for later.

30. Turn on your favorite holiday album and do at least one cleaning task you’ve been putting off.

31. Set up a cozy wrapping station and start wrapping gifts, even if it’s just one per night.

32. First Day of Hanukkah. Make a festive meal. We’re craving everything on this list.

33. Buy or DIY a few appreciation gifts for teachers, postal deliverers, housekeepers, your hair stylist, etc.

34. Recreate your favorite Starbucks holiday drinks at home. Invite friends over and vote for the best—Gingerbread Latte or Peppermint Mocha?

35. Scroll through last month’s camera roll. Revisit your best memories and delete any duplicates or screenshots.

Week 6 (December 11-17)

36. Remove one thing from your calendar and opt for a holiday movie night at home instead.

37. Light a candle and make a grocery list for next week’s holiday dishes.

38. Go on a stroll or a drive to look at holiday lights.

39. Read The Polar Express.

40. Have a holiday self-care night at home. Get tips to help you design the perfect relaxing evening.

41. Go through old holiday photos, then text your faves to family and friends you shared those memories with.

42. If you have extra holiday cookie dough, bake it off and deliver it to the neighbors.

Week 7 (December 18-24)

43. Let your playful side out and channel your childlike wonder. Watch a movie you loved as a kid or play a game.

44. Make peppermint bark or our favorite—winter wonderland white chocolate bark. It’s the perfect snack for all your Christmas week activities.

45. Make a wintry simmer pot. Slowly simmer cranberries, orange slices, cloves, cinnamon sticks and whatever else you want to scent your home in a stovetop pot.

46. Find an unexpected act of kindness you can do with those you interact with in daily life. It’ll make a major difference this season, for yourself and for the recipient.

47. Recruit your friends or family for a pajama day—holiday movies and treats required.

48. Put out treats for Santa and his reindeer.

49. Buy some fresh evergreen and lay it down the center of your table for an easy, festive garland.

50. Christmas Day. Celebrate the holiday with loved ones. Hug and hold them close. If you’re spending Christmas away from family and friends, call and send texts to tell them you’re thinking of them.

It’s Soup Season! Celebrate with 26 Easy Soup Recipes That Use 10 Ingredients or Less

There’s a quote that always comes to mind when I think about soup. And—cringe—I likely read it on an aqua blue, chevron-laden, circa 2014 Pinterest post. “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” But despite its drawbacks, this idea holds stock because a good soup doesn’t require exact measurements per se. Instead, all you need is a big pot, a small collection of ingredients, and a no-recipe recipe that comes from the soul. But, of course, easy soup recipes are welcome in any kitchen.

With the easy soup recipes that follow, a “dash of this here” and a “sprinkle of that there” are encouraged. Going by instinct only means you’re invested in the cause, which makes the entire process that much more rewarding. I’d consider this soup diatribe the perfect introduction to easy soup recipes that make fall cooking just as enjoyable as the season itself.

Featured image by Suruchi Avasthi.

Why Easy Soup Recipes Are Perfect for Fall

Fall is the time for a lot of things. The weather cools down, autumn-hued décor bursts out of hibernation, and the cooking gets cozy. Our favorite comfort food meals make a comeback and the holidays are just around the corner. Fall is full of a lot of joy and enjoyment. So, why not reflect that in the meals we prepare? That’s where easy soup recipes enter the picture.

These soups are made with about ten ingredients or less. Plus, most of them use pantry staples and/or produce drawer lingerers. And though these soups are made with minimal ingredients, they still deliver maximum flavor.

When you’re making these easy soup recipes, you’ll notice that the majority of them utilize the soup trifecta method: sauté, simmer, and savor. (The occasional “blend” makes an appearance as well.) The point is, they couldn’t be easier to make nor easier to enjoy. It’s time to serve yourself a generous dose of goodness. From there, simply sit back and soak in the fall season as it blossoms around you.

25 Easy Soup Recipes To Savor The Fall Season With

Vegetarian Lentil Chili

Why We Love It: Strangely—or perhaps not so—I’ve found myself in the middle of many an argument about chili’s place within the soup category. Personally, I rope soups and stews all together in the same breath. If it’s cozy, comforting, and requires a spoon, it merits the moniker. Not only is this lentil chili definitely a soup that’s perfect for fall, but it might just be my favorite chili recipe yet. Meatless, but still hearty and packing just the right amount of spice? I want this in my weekly fall dinner rotation.

Hero Ingredient: Cocoa powder is a must in my pot of chili. It adds an edge of sweetness to round out this dish’s spicier components.

Tortellini Soup

Why We Love It: Pasta and cozy soup—how much better could it get? I love using cheese tortellini to make this soup ultra simple. Sprinkle this hearty bowl with parmesan cheese and you’re on your way to the ultimate bowl of happiness.

Hero Ingredient: Roasted red peppers bring the best flavor to this pasta-soup mashup.

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Why We Love It: If you’re a die-hard fan of the Olive Garden version, you’re in luck. This Zuppa Toscana soup is an elevated take that will transport your taste buds to Italy without leaving the kitchen.

Hero Ingredient: Mild or hot Italian sausage—take your pick!

Why We Love It: Hearty meatless mains can be hard to come by, but this stew definitely earns a spot on the list. With carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, chickpeas, and tomatoes, there’s no shortage of veggie-fueled goodness. Everything is sautéed with a fragrant combination of spices for a one-pot dinner that’s just as delicious as it is easy. Plus, like the other easy soup recipes on this list, this stew fares well in the freezer for a comforting fall dinner at the drop of a hat.

Hero Ingredient: Cumin, turmeric, ginger, and red pepper flakes are the spices in question. They’re the small but mighty heroes of this dish. Warming, comforting, and a little hot, they’re toasted until fragrant to fully extract each one’s flavor profile.

Why We Love It: With only four ingredients, you won’t believe just how flavorful this roasted winter squash soup is. The squash is roasted until caramelized, which brings a depth of flavor to the soup that’s only reinforced by the warming spices shining throughout. Brooklyn Delhi Simmer Sauce is the secret to success. All you have to do is combine it with the pureed squash and coconut milk and simmer away until the flavors are melded. This recipe is also naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, letting serve it at a gathering with little to no worry about dietary restrictions.

Hero Ingredient: The toppings here are stellar. Add what you like, but some suggestions are toasted pumpkin/sunflower seeds for a bite of crunch, fresh herbs to keep things lively, and Greek yogurt for a cooling touch of creaminess.

Why We Love It: Fall weather giving you a case of the sniffles? Or a case of the chills? We’ve got a cure for that, and it’s this easy Mexican Chicken and Rice Soup. It takes eight ingredients and requires minimal hands-on time, so you can enjoy the tried-and-true “throw everything in the pot for a few hours and come back to a complete meal” process. It’s perfect for easy weeknight dinners, leftovers, and even gatherings. Enjoy it solo or gather your troops and ladle up lots of bowls to be savored by all.

Hero Ingredient: The bone-in chicken in this soup literally cooks itself, letting you skip the extra elbow grease. The chicken poaching on the bone flavors the broth in a way you’d normally only get with homemade chicken stock. Can I get a win-win?

Why We Love It: This tortilla soup recipe is the be-all and end-all of tortilla soups. (I don’t say that lightly.) It really is the easiest recipe, using only ten ingredients and 30 minutes of hands-on time to create a whole so much greater than the sum of its parts. If you have leftovers or need a delivery for a sick friend/family member, this recipe is your saving grace. As Camille shares, “this is truly the chicken tortilla soup that keeps on giving.” We couldn’t agree more.

Hero Ingredient: Don’t skimp on the spices. The recipe calls for a chopped jalapeño plus cumin and coriander that round out the flavor profile to perfection. Couple that with sautéed onion, celery, and carrot, and you’ve got a delicious taco in soup form.

Why We Love It: With the arrival of fall cooking comes lots of indulgences. But when you’ve had one too many pumpkin spice cookies, this soup is the reset your body craves. It’s full of anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric and ginger. And despite being completely vegan, it’s creamy and rich. Everything you could crave during the colder months.

Hero Ingredient: Since every ingredient is so key, we’ll go with a hero method here. This soup keeps incredibly well, setting you up with cozy, comfort food leftovers. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or you can store it in airtight bags for up to two months in the freezer.

Why We Love It: This textured corn soup is absolutely loaded with flavor and heartiness. Plus, it only takes 30 minutes to take this masterpiece from pot to bowl. And while most corn soups are on the sweeter side, the spice in this recipe keeps things balanced and dynamic. Jalapeño, sriracha, and roasted poblanos bring a warmth that’s perfect on a cold fall night.

Hero Ingredient: If you’re a roasted poblano newbie, you’re in for a treat. Their smokiness is magical enough to justify the (small amount of) extra effort. All you have to do is bake them until they’re blistery, place them in a bowl or container, and cover to let them steam for about ten minutes. The steam loosens that exterior skin so that it practically slides off. All that’s left is to (easily) slice the peppers open, remove the seeds, chop them up, and add them to whatever dish you’re preparing. Easy peasy!

Why We Love It: This soup is packed with stick-to-your-ribs protein and a healthy serving of vegetables. It’s full of curry powder-fueled flavor and coconut-y accents. As far as vegetables go, the soup features carrots, tomatoes, and kale, but you can make substitutions based on what you have on hand. If sweet potatoes are more your jam, include them instead of carrots. Or, if you prefer spinach over kale, sprinkle those leaves accordingly!

Hero Ingredient: The red lentils are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that boost the soup’s nutritional value. Just one cup of these babies contains 18 grams of protein, plus a dose of iron, fiber, magnesium, and calcium. Do I hear “superfood?”

Why We Love It: This soup is a cure-all for yourself and those around you. Not only is this soup flavorful and warming but it’s equipped to fight off almost any ailment. The ginger and turmeric keep inflammation at bay, and the garlic brings antibiotic properties to keep you healthy and happy. This is your sign to give yourself the ‘old chicken noodle soup treatment. But of course, with a grown-up and guilt-free spin!

Hero Ingredient: The noodles literally cook themselves and soak up each of the soup’s tasty flavors.

Why We Love It: This is a recipe that encourages you to empty your vegetable drawer. On Sundays, I almost always have a produce drawer full of sad vegetables begging to be used. In times of dire need, this soup is your answer. Asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and fresh ginger are at the forefront, but you can sub in pretty much anything you have on hand. And frozen veggies are fair game, too. There’s nothing standing between you and a soup that’s easy to make and makes you glow from the inside out.

Hero Ingredient: Soaked cashews cash in the creamy element of this soup. The vegan alternative is one that’s surprisingly rich and nutritious without any cream in sight.

Why We Love It: If you think “easiest ever” is an exaggeration, think again. This recipe is tailor-made for busy weeknights. It uses only seven ingredients, including onion, garlic, canned black beans (hallelujah), chicken broth, cilantro, lime juice, and a few spices to craft a steaming bowl of deliciousness. Plus, all you have to do is combine everything in a pot, simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, and top as you please. If you favor a more luxurious texture, whip out the immersion blender or transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Hero Ingredient: You don’t even have to drain the black beans. Simply pour them over the sautéed garlic and onion and you’re cooking with heat. Busy weeknights, meet your match.

Why We Love It: Cauliflower can get a bad rap for being bland, but that’s not the case in this smooth soup. With sidekicks like parsnip, apple, celery root, leeks, garlic, onions, and ginger joining the party, this soup is full of amazing flavor. What’s more, it’s also an excellent vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free offering for fall gatherings. Sauté the veggies (and fruit) with thyme, cumin, and s&p until aromatic. From there, add the cauliflower with a little water, simmer until everything is tender, and blend until your soup is silky smooth.

Hero Ingredient: A garnish of fried sage on every bowl is the cherry on top of this soup. They add flavor, texture, and a little aesthetic joy. The leaves are flash-fried in olive oil and sprinkled with flaky salt until crispy. Sneak a bite of a leaf or two before sprinkling them over each bowl—you won’t regret it.

Why We Love It: Butternut squash reigns victorious in the fall, and this soup celebrates the winter squash in an unexpected way. It’s flavored with curry powder, which brings notes of coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, and chili to the mix. Diced onions and apples lend a slight sweetness that reinforces the autumnal feel. For an added dose of comfort, drizzle a spoonful of coconut milk or heavy cream over each bowl.

Hero Ingredient: The curry powder is a little funky in the best way. It brings a depth of flavor that keeps things cozy.

Why We Love It: This tomato soup is perfectly rustic and wholesome for chilly nights. It keeps things simple, fresh, and flavorful with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, shallot, and balsamic vinegar laying the groundwork. You can enjoy this simple soup as-is, or with sausage, zucchini, mozzarella, white beans or poached eggs. It’s made entirely in one skillet and comes together in 15 minutes or less. Serve with lots of fresh or toasted sourdough bread for dipping.

Hero Ingredient: You can’t go wrong with adding poached eggs. If you choose to include them, poach and gently drop them in at the last minute. Then, you can pop them open and enjoy the savory yolk running throughout. Yum.

Why We Love It: The ingredient list is more extensive than the other easy soup recipes on this list, but you’ll likely have most of them on hand. The secret ingredient is Amy’s Thai Coconut Soup, which does most of the hard work for you. You don’t even have to do any sautéeing, and the chicken cooks itself in the soup broth. Less work and more flavor—is there anything else we can ask for?

Hero Ingredient: There’s no wrong way to enjoy this flavorfully complex soup. Over a bed of jasmine rice, rice noodles, or as-is… this soup is your oyster. That said, I’d recommend enjoying your bowl with a few pieces of garlic naan for delicious dunking.

Why We Love It: This recipe makes for a very satisfying plant-based dinner. It’s packed with high-fiber white beans and hearty vegetables. It all starts with roasted garlic, that brings so much flavor and is totally worth the extra step. Then, fennel, onion, and cauliflower are sautéed low and slow for about 30 minutes until the beans and broth enter the equation. The entire mix gets roughly pureed with the roasted garlic before being ladled into bowls. Don’t forget to top with lots of grated parmesan and fresh croutons.

Hero Ingredient: The roasted garlic is the unsung star of the show. When you roast the entire head, it takes on a nutty, caramelized flavor profile that’s simply divine. Plus, it couldn’t be easier to squeeze each clove out in one go. If you have an extra head, might I suggest roasting to spread on your bread? You’ll be glad you did.

Why We Love It: This is another classic soup that you’ll want in your weekly rotation. Since the chicken poaches itself in the broth, the entire soup comes together in 20 minutes or less—score! And what vegetables can we celebrate enjoying here? Leeks, carrots, parsnips, celery, garlic, and onion, which keep this recipe nutrient-dense and gut-friendly. The soup is enhanced by fresh thyme, tarragon, and bay leaf, whose flavors perfectly complement the poached chicken and veggies.

Hero Ingredient: A hero aspect of this recipe is that it’s gluten-free and dairy-free without sacrificing any decadence. It’s the perfect cold night companion and freezes well so you can enjoy a warming bowl on demand.

Why We Love It: Another grown-up, chicken noodle-esque soup, this easy recipe is yummy and 100 percent slurp-worthy. With an impressive lineup of veggies like butternut squash, bok choy, okra, and mushrooms, you could comfortably leave out the chicken and enjoy this soup as a vegetarian meal. And speaking of the chicken… you’ll start by browning your drumsticks and build from there. The rich, umami flavor is off the charts.

Hero Ingredient: The mushrooms in this soup are nothing short of award-worthy. They soak up each and every flavor in the broth and bring even more substance to the soup.

Why We Love It: Sweet potatoes are in constant rotation in my fall recipes. In this soup, not only do the tubers provide a festive color palette, but their creamy richness establishes a beautiful foundation for a host of flavors. All you have to do is sauté a little onion, garlic, and shallot, stir in your stock, sweet potato, and spices, and simmer away for about 30 minutes. Then, you’ll blend your soup to silky perfection and serve it with fresh salt and pepper and bread for dipping. Easy, flavorful, and oh-so-satisfying.

Hero Ingredient: The spices work behind the scenes to flavor this soup beautifully. Paprika brings a smoky savoriness that’s complemented by earthy, punchy cinnamon that’s totally on-brand for the season.

Why We Love It: This pumpkin soup is layered with curry spices, winter squash, and a lively hint of fresh herbs and citrus to finish it off. Plus, more lentils! The lentils help this soup feel more substantial for dinner and provide that hefty dose of protein. This recipe starts with a high-quality boxed soup that’s enhanced by fresh herbs and a few additions that polish off the soup to perfection. You’ll start by combining the boxed soup with coconut milk, then adding curry powder, lime juice, and s&p to taste. To serve, top your soup with a drizzle of coconut milk and any fresh herbs you have on hand.

Hero Ingredient: If you have any pepitas on hand, I’d suggest sprinkling a handful over each bowl. They bring a nice crunch to each spoonful that contrasts the smooth soup underneath.

Why We Love It: Hailing from Colombia, this authentic Bogotánian Ajiáco is deeply rooted in the region’s culture. It was declared cultural patrimony, or “a set of goods and values that are an expression of the people,” by the mayor’s office in Bogotá about 20 years ago. It’s destined to be special. The ajiáco soup is made with three kinds of potatoes: russet, Criolla (or gold creamer), and Yukon Gold. Each potato takes on a different role in creating the soup’s base (learn more about the technique here). If you have a little time on your hands this weekend, invite a friend over to explore this culinary masterpiece together.

Hero Ingredient: If you can’t find guasca herbs, don’t let it discourage you from making this comforting potato soup. You can leave it out without sacrificing too much of the soup’s authentic flavor.

Why We Love It: It may not be as cozy as some of the other easy soup recipes on this list, but this chilled pea soup is a light and refreshing way to kick your fall gatherings off in style. You can make it entirely in advance, so all that’s left is to serve your soup with a little creme fraiche, microgreens, and red pepper flakes. It makes for a palette-cleansing yet flavorful appetizer that’s the perfect preview for a delicious, thoughtful meal.

Hero Ingredient: Peas aren’t the only lean, green, vegetable machine in this soup. Broccoli and zucchini sneak in the background and boost the veggie content of this gorgeous chilled soup. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even add in a little green bean or asparagus to up the ante.

Why We Love It: Ok, ok… this one is not technically a soup, but it’s creamy, comforting, and soup-ish all the same. And this version skips the overdose of heavy cream and butter while opting for authenticity and spice-driven flavor. It uses seven ingredients and 25 minutes to craft an Indian dish you’ll be hooked on for cold fall nights.

Hero Ingredient: The spice mix in this dish is just divine. Tomato masala, garam masala, chaat masala, and turmeric powder join forces to flavor the base. That said, feel free to use this recipe as a starting point to adjust based on your preferences. Measure with your heart and make it how you like it.

Why We Love It: This stew-like pumpkin curry is loaded with nutrition. Instead of using an agent like heavy cream to cream-ify the base, pumpkin makes it flavorful, nutrient-dense, and decadent. As a proud member of the “superfood” family, pumpkin is packed with vitamin A, carotenoids, fiber, and iron. In this dish, it’s joined by chickpeas that boost the fiber and protein dosages even more. The stew is full of stick-to-your-ribs sustenance and warming spices that will have you coming back for more. Which is good, considering this curry fares well in the fridge or freezer.

Hero Ingredient: Serve this curry over a bed of rice and fresh flatbread to complete your bowl of goodness.

This post was originally published on October 12th, 202, and has since been updated.

Drench Your Home in These Warm, Designer-Approved Shades to Lean Into Cozy Season

When the temperatures turn crisp, we love to get comfy with a luxe throw or cloud-like sweater. And since home is where we create our fall cocoon, it’s lovely to wrap our walls up in something cozy as well. Whether you’re rethinking a room or refreshing some cabinets, we tapped a group of designers for their expert insights into the top fall 2023 paint color trends.

Our design-minded guiding lights this fall include Becca Stern, co-founder and creative director of Mustard Made; Kristin Marino of KozyKasa; Sarah Tract of Sarah Tract Interiors; and Demaudecia Taylor, color consultant at Farrow & Ball.

Image by Kate Zimmerman Turpin

The following shades a trends may vary, but a sense of warmth connects them all.

#1. Creamy White > Crisp White

As we bid the sterile white wall trend a long overdue adieu, we’re welcoming in a new kind of neutral. “Going for a creamier, warmer white instead of the crisp, bright white we’ve been seeing in recent years is a great way to warm up your space while still keeping a neutral palette,” shares Kristin Marino of KozyKasa.

A few of Marino’s favorite warm whites…

Farrow & Ball’s Demaudecia Taylor seconds the trend with her own pick, Au Lait No. CB9, which will pair beautifully with all the fall colors in this story.

#2. Earthy Greens

“My favorite color for autumn 2023 would have to be Sage,” shares Mustard Made founder Becca Stern, who drenched her sons’ room in the calming, earthy shade of green—a perfect match with the Australian brand’s Sage-hued line.

“It pairs beautifully with deeper, traditional autumnal colors, like rust and olive,” Stern adds. “It’s also really versatile and can be used in just about any room, from a kid’s bedroom to a kitchen or workspace. If you want to go all-in sage is a great option for color drenching your space. Or, for a more subtle approach, it can be used as a highlight to a room, through painted trim or a statement furniture piece.”

Image by Suruchi Avasthi

#3. Jewel Tones

“Rich hues and jewel-toned colors are perfect for welcoming autumn,” shares Taylor, a color consultant for Farrow & Ball. “Here are a couple of colors that are quickly rising in popularity.”

#4. Warm and Timeless

Though we love the idea of eternally tweaking and redecorating, painting is still a pricey—and usually inconvenient—commitment. You can paint with confidence thanks to Demaudecia Taylor’s and Sarah Tract’s picks, which are as timeless as they are warm.

#5. Dusty Hues and Browns

Dusty lilacs and plums are a gorgeous part of 2023’s purple paint resurgence. A few of Marino’s favorites include…

“Just like in fashion, brown hues are also trending in interiors,” Marino adds. “Be careful with this one so you don’t date your space. Rather [than beiges], opt for rich brown tones to give a desert feel.”

A few of my favorites include:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Are the Ultimate Cozy Season Treat

I know what you’re thinking: does the world really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe? And I’m here to say absolutely. Because what’s better than having a chocolate chip cookie recipe for every moment and occasion? Some are thick and gooey, others thin and chewy. Some use a mix of milk and dark chocolate and others swear by adding extra flaky salt or walnuts. What makes the best cookie is truly up to your taste and preference—and of course, the season. That’s why today, we’re exploring what I consider the perfect fall treat: pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are spicy, buttery, and totally delish alongside a cup of hot cider.

Cozy season is here, y’all—and there’s no better way to celebrate than with fuzzy socks, hot beverages, and sweets that warm you from the inside out. Ever since making Sarah Kieffer’s pan-banging chocolate chip cookies, I’ve been obsessed with the extra thin and chewy cookie. And I won’t lie: it’s my absolute preference over a thicker cookie. I love how crisp the edges get as the cookies spread in the oven. The chewy middles with shards and pools of dark chocolate add that rich satisfaction while being balanced out with extra salt. For me, this is the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

Ingredients for Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Browned Butter. Nothing screams cozy fall baking like browned butter. You’ll notice its nutty flavor, and it adds a delicious dimension of flavor to your baked goods.

Brown and White Sugar. As you may know, both sugars serve different purposes with chocolate chip cookies. Brown sugar helps with chewiness while white sugar adds a crispy texture.

Pumpkin Puree. The pumpkin adds moisture and the slightest sweet flavor while also giving the cookies that extra autumn orange tint. Note: Do NOT use pumpkin pie mix. Make sure you are using only pumpkin.

All-Purpose Flour. I highly recommend measuring with a scale when baking for 100% accuracy. If you don’t have a scale, make sure to fluff up your flour, spoon it into your measuring cup without patting it down, and then scrape off the top to level.

Pumpkin Spice. While this is a chocolate chip cookie, the pumpkin spice shines through in this recipe, adding warmth and spice to the cookies. You can make your own or use store-bought.

Chocolate. For chocolate chip cookies, I prefer using chopped bar chocolate over chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are made with stabilizers which prevent them from spreading or melting as a chocolate bar would. Use good-quality chocolate and chop both ways on the diagonal, both into large chunks and little shards that will spread throughout the entire batter of the cookies.

Salt. I tend to add extra salt when making other baked goods because I prefer desserts that lean slightly on the savory/salty side. Use the salt in the batter and add flaky salt over the top when the cookies come out of the oven. Bonus: It helps bring out the chocolatey flavor.

How to Bake Better Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve learned a lot from all the chocolate chip cookie recipes I’ve made over the years. This is how to ensure you’re making the very best batch:

  1. Salt is your friend. The easiest way to bring out the best in your chocolate chip cookie is to incorporate salt into each layer. Salt the dough and add a little flaky salt under the cookie as well as over the cookie when they come out of the oven. If you love your sweets sweet, go ahead and ignore this advice. But for the best balance of flavor, don’t skimp on the salt.
  2. Chill the dough. I tested this recipe by baking the dough right away as well as after chilling the dough for an hour. There was a noticeable difference in flavor and texture between the batches, and I liked the chilled version better. Letting the dough rest in the fridge ensures proper hydration of the dough and helps everything meld together. Because this recipe doesn’t use an egg, chilling also helps maintain structure during the bake so that the cookie doesn’t spread too much.
  3. Don’t overdo the chocolate. I know that sounds like wild advice for a CCC, but especially when chopping from a bar of chocolate, it’s very easy to end up with bites that are basically just chocolate. And while that’s not really a problem—especially for my fellow chocolate lovers—these are cookies. We want to taste the cookie-ness of them in every bite. We also want the warm spices in these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to shine—so exercise a little restraint with the chocolate.
  4. Tip: To ensure you get aesthetic (and tasty) pools of chocolate on top of each cookie, once you’ve balled up your dough, dip the tops in chopped chocolate pieces.

Storage Tips

Chocolate chip cookies will last a week when stored in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can bake a few cookies and freeze the dough for fresh cookies ready at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to make it happen:

Prepare the cookie dough as written. Scoop the dough into balls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Place the cookie sheet into the fridge to chill for at least an hour, the move to the freezer and freeze until the dough is solid. Once the dough is frozen, remove the dough balls from the cookie sheet and place into a Ziplock freezer bag or an airtight container. Frozen dough balls can be stored for up to two months.


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Spicy, sweet, and of course—chocolatey. These little delights are the perfect fall treat.

  • 1/2 cup butter, browned and cooled to room temperature
  • 100 grams brown sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 80 grams white sugar (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 60 grams pumpkin puree (1/4 cup)
  • 185 grams flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 50 grams chopped dark chocolate


  1. In a small stovetop pot over low heat, add the stick of butter. Let the butter melt, it will soon start to bubble and make splattering sounds. Stir occasionally, keeping your eye on the butter. As the butter stops bubbling, stir occasionally until it just starts to take on a brown color. It’s very easy to burn the butter, so keep a close eye on it. Remove from heat as soon as color starts. Pour butter into a small bowl and let cool to room temperature.

  2. In a large bowl, add the cooled brown butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Stir to combine with a spatula until light in color. Add the pumpkin puree and stir until the sugar granules have dissolved. The texture of the wet ingredients should be light and smooth.

  3. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin spice to the bowl. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet. The dough will feel dry at first, so continue to press the flour into the wet ingredients until smooth. (Sometimes I’ll use my hands here to help combine everything.)

  4. Once the dough comes together, add the dark chocolate and stir to combine. Once the dough is combined, using a tablespoon scoop, scoop out 1 ½ tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten slightly between your palms and place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been scooped. Cover with plastic wrap or a parchment sheet and a kitchen towel.

  5. Place dough into the fridge and chill for about an hour.

  6. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place cookies at least 2 inches apart. You may bake in two batches to prevent crowding the pan.

  7. Bake for 10 minutes. At the 10-minute mark, tap the baking pan onto the oven rack to de-puff the cookies. Bake for another 2 minutes, then tap again, bake another 2 minutes, then tap again, for a total bake time of 14-15 minutes.

  8. Remove from oven and tap once more on a kitchen towel over the counter. Let cookies cool for five minutes on the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

  9. Top with salt, enjoy!