Few foods are as tightly bound to the holidays as cookies. They’re gifted and decorated, shipped and left out for Santa—they’re the first consideration when you ponder holiday baking (assuming your fruitcakes have been safely tucked away in October).


If you’re planning a swap, consider accommodating a wide range of cookie needs by letting everyone know they can simply bake as many as they’d like to take. Pick up some extra containers and zip-lock bags at the dollar store, and consider asking everyone to print out copies of the recipe (or even just one, to snap on your phone).


If you’re an attendee, consider bringing logs of refrigerator cookie dough (they look great in holiday wrap) for everyone to take home to slice and bake as needed. Besides being less work, dough is more compact, keeps longer, and who doesn’t love having the means for a batch of freshly baked cookies at the ready? Bars can also be less fussy, and easy to wrap, freeze and transport in a stack. Resist the urge to attempt to make your entire quota at once by tripling or quadrupling a recipe—with baked goods, you can usually get away with doubling it, but more than that can send things out of whack.

Taking them Home

Once you’re at the point of packaging cookies up to take home, try to keep soft and crisp ones separate—packed together, the crisp cookies will soften, the moist ones dry out, and the flavours will mingle. Separate them if you can, and tuck any you won’t eat in a few days (or didn’t eat on the ride home) into the freezer. (If you have sneaky housemates, outsmart them by saving empty frozen vegetable bags to tuck cookies into for safe storage.)

Holiday Cookies – Chocolate Tahini Rugelach

Along with these Chocolate Tahini Rugelach, check out some of Julie Van Rosendaal’s other cookie recipes: Chewy Ginger Molasses Crinkles and Classic Shortbread Cookies.

Chocolate and Tahini Rugelach

Everyone loves a fancy-ish cookie during the holidays, and these look elaborate but require no actual decorating. This recipe makes four balls of dough—plenty for a cookie swap, and enough for each kid to get their own to experiment with, if you have little hands around.



  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour


  • 1/2 c. tahini
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. approximately chopped dark chocolate


  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar and salt until smooth and creamy; add the flour and beat on low speed until you have a soft dough.
  • Divide the dough into quarters and let rest for 10 minutes, or wrap and refrigerate for an hour, or overnight. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece out into a 10-inch circle. Spread with a spoonful of tahini (about 2 T.). In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle about 1 T. overtop. Sprinkle with dark chocolate.
  • Cut the circle into quarters, and then each quarter into three, making 12 wedges. Roll each one up like a croissant, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Makes 4 dozen rugelach.