The Best Homemade Cookie Gift Box

by Crystal Sands

A few weeks ago, our family took a trip and bought a box of holiday cookies from a wonderful bakery. The cookies were delicious, but I was convinced I could make a box similar but with my own special cookies–my favorites–the cookies I wish to share with others and make them smile or feel cozy inside.

I am not a master of many cookies, but I have a couple that I knew would work well for my dream of a beautiful box of cookies to give to my friends and loved ones. I have been studying chocolate chip cookies for years, trying to make my perfect chocolate chip cookie. I must have tried and then modified about two dozen recipes over the years. Last year, finally, serendipitously, I finally put my finishing touches on the perfect-to-me chocolate chip cookie recipe.

So for my “best homemade cookie gift box,” I decided that a giant chocolate chip cookie would be the base–traditional, sturdy, cozy, delicious. From there, I wanted festive–cookies that felt like the holidays to me–so I included my Starry Night Gingerbread Cookies, a fantastic recipe for white chocolate cranberry shortbread cookies from one of my favorite bakers, and I invented a recipe for simple stars, not too sweet and very Solstice-y, I thought.

Below my photographs, you will find the recipes in full text or links. I have also included some links for recipes from really reliable sources that might be good considerations for your own “best homemade cookie gift box.”

I hope you enjoy, and I hope some homemade cookies bring you, your family, and friends some joy this holiday season and beyond. I have just decided that there is not much better than getting a box of beautiful homemade cookies for the holidays. My teenage son told me it’s because I’m “creepy toward grandmother age,” but I think the gift of homemade cookies in a cute little box tied with a lovely string is ageless.


White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies from The View from Great Island

Starry Night Gingerbread Cookies from Farmer-ish

Simple White Star Glazed Sugar Cookies



2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature or slightly melty from the microwave, if you are like me and can’t seem to plan ahead on the butter)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla


1 to 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 1/4 cup water (but add until you get desired consistency of honey)



Mix dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl. In a larger mixing bowl, mix with your hand mixer the butter and sugar. Make it fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Make that fluffy too. Add the dry ingredients and mix everything together thoroughly with your hand mixer. The dough should be a little soft, too soft to work with at this point.

Cover your bowl of dough with a clean dish towel and set aside in a cool area for about half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

When the dough has stiffened a little, cut it in half, and one a time, roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/3 of inch thick. You want these to be pretty thick cookies. Use your star cookie cutter and cut out the stars. Place on your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Each time you cut out some cookies, pick up the scraps, pat it back together, and go again with rolling and cutting.

Using large and medium star cookie cutters, I got 15 to 16 stars in total. If you have a smaller cutter, you will get more, of course. Use very bit of your dough. I promise it’s too good to waste. I always fill up two cookie sheets.

Place in the oven and bake for 8 to 11 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie. For the larger cookies, I aim for about 11 minutes. You want to get the cookies out right as they are done–before they start to get browned on the edges. When you cookies are sturdy enough to move, move them to cookie racks for even cooling.


While the cookies cool, mix your powdered sugar, vanilla, and just enough water to create a mixture that is fairly thick but thin enough to paint with using your pastry brush. It should be the texture of honey. Using a pastry brush, paint your cookies with the glaze. Let the cookies sit for about an hour,. The icing will harden. Then, it’s time to enjoy. These go well with a glass of cold milk as well as a cup of warm tea.

The Quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookie


1/2 cup salted butter (a bit melted)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon dark molasses
1 large egg (duck eggs are best if you can find one)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour (level)
1/2 cup (actually a bit less than 1/2 cup) of bread flour (this was my accidental discovery–it makes the cookies a little more chewy)
1 an 1/4 cup milk or dark chocolate chips from Ghirardelli


Using a hand mixer, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla. Add the egg and beat until just a little bit fluffy. In a separate bowl, add your dry indigents. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in your dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add your chocolate chips. The dough should be a little loose, not too dry–but definitely not thin dough.

For this cookie box, I wanted to make giant cookies. I divided the dough into 8 giant balls of cookie dough. Then, I placed each ball on a lined cookie sheet and squished each one until it was fairly flat (maybe about 1/3 inch thick).

Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 14 minutes. You have to check often because oven times vary so much. You want them to be a little under done, like just barely brown at the edge and a little loose in the middle. The cookies will continue to cook after you pull them.

Once they have cooled enough to be sturdy, move them to a cookie rack to cool evenly.

Additional Ideas for Lovely Cookies for Your Cookie Box

Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from Sallie’s Baking Addiction

Traditional Swedish Pepparkakor Cookies from The View from Great Island

Raspberry Linzer Cookies from Stephanie Cooks