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Best Holiday Baking Recipes and Tips

Recipes for cookies, pies, tarts, and more…plus, how-to videos on creating the cutest, most beautiful bakery-worthy holiday cookies.

Throw a Party

17 Tips for Hosting a Cookie Swap
Whether you’re the host or the guest, keep these tips in mind to ensure a sweet time is had by all.

Etiquette Questions, Answered: Cookie Exchange Party
Real Simple's Modern Manners columnist helps you navigate holiday cookie swap etiquette.

Jam Sandwich Cookies

Easy Holiday and Christmas Cookies

These foolproof cookie recipes will be a hit at your Christmas celebration or holiday party.
Photo: Raymond Hom

25 Deliciously Decadent Holiday Dessert Recipes

25 Deliciously Decadent Holiday Dessert Recipes
Photo: William Meppem

10 Ideas for Sugar Cookie Dough

Holiday treats (made from the same dough) that are anything but cookie-cutter.
Photo:  David Prince

26 Holiday Pie and Tart Recipes

Buttery crusts plus rich fillings equals total deliciousness.
Photo: Mikkel Vang
Jam Sandwich Cookies
Individual Chocolate Melting Cakes
Chocolate-Peppermint Wafers
Apple Crumb Pie

Cookie Decorating 101

How to Decorate the O Tannenbaum Cookie, Step 7

How To: Decorate the O Tannenbaum Cookie
For this adorable tree, you’ll use a special sprinkle mix that has red holly berries mixed right in.

How to Decorate the Warm Woolen Mitten and Painted Candy Cane Cookies, Step 11

How To: Decorate Warm Woolen Mitten and Painted Candy Cane Cookies
These adorable treats are much easier to make than you think—just ice, apply candy decorations, then sprinkle with a final sweet garnish.

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Spices

Basic Spice Checklist

Every cook needs a well-stocked spice cabinet, regardless of culinary expertise. Here are the most commonly used herbs, spices, and seasonings, which no kitchen should be without.

  • Bay leaves. These aromatic, woodsy-tasting leaves are typically sold dried. Choose those with a rich green color. Add whole bay leaves to soups, stews, and marinades; remove before serving.
  • Black peppercorns. A must-have for their slight pungency. Always pick whole peppercorns over preground versions: The flavor of freshly ground or cracked pepper makes the small effort in preparation well worth it.
  • Cayenne pepper. Made from a small, spicy red pepper, this is the foundation of many bottled hot sauces. Used frequently in Cajun and Indian recipes.

View The Entire Checklist

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