The Elves’ Favorite Cookie Recipes

elfster cookie cutters on cookie sheet

We elves love nothing more than sugary sweets to fuel our days at the workshop.  A candy cane here, a sip of maple syrup there… And when it comes to cookies, well, let’s just say that we know a thing or two. Below are some of our favorite Santa-approved cookie recipes that would be perfect for a cookie exchange this holiday season.

Elf-Baked (and Santa-Approved!) Cookie Recipes

Shelly the Sweet Elf | The BEST Sugar Cookies

“If you have kids with a nut allergy, swap out the almond extract for orange extract instead.”

The BEST Sugar Cookies

Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie exchange, cookies
Author: Shelly the Sweet Elf


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream butter and sugar in your mixer until smooth, at least 3 minutes.
  • Beat in vanilla and almond extracts and egg.
  • In a separate bowl, combine baking powder and salt with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be stuff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface, flour surface as needed. Finish kneading the dough by hand.
  • DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH. Divide into 2-3 workable batches, using your favorite rolling pin, roll out to about ¼ inch thick on a floured surface, grab your favorite cookie cutters, and cut.
  • Bake at 350°F for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Chantalle the Hot Cocoa Elf | Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies

“I’ve always taken recipes I find that sound good and ‘enhanced’ them. The cranberries and orange zest are the upgrades for this recipe.”

Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies

Vanishing Oatmeal White & Dark Chocolate Chip Orange Cranberry Cookies
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie exchange, cookies
Author: Chantalle the Hot Cocoa Elf


  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups oats uncooked
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Cream butter in a mixer. Beat in both brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  • Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a separate bowl and add slowly to butter, sugar, and egg mixture. Mix well.
  • Stir in oats, white and dark chocolate chips, cranberries, and orange zest; mixing well after each addition.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F. Cool on a cooling rack.

Lesley the Techie Elf | Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

“Pumpkin and chocolate is not the combination immediately thought of…this is the perfect moist, almost cake-like, cookie!”

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

The best blend of pumpkin pie and chocolate you can imagine.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie exchange, cookies
Author: Lesley the Techie Elf


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts


  • Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg in a mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt.
  • Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in.
  • Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  • Add vanilla, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  • Drop by spoonful on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350°F (175C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. Cool on a rack.

Cheerful Charlie Elf | Chunky Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

“Cooked just right, these cookies are decadent! A soft buttery, milk chocolate interior with the crunch of walnuts and a surprise sweetness from the raisins. I like to think the raisins make them healthier so you can eat more of them :grin:


Chunky Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

An elf classic that is the pinnacle of cookie perfection, guaranteed to disappear in a jiffy!
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie exchange, cookies
Author: Cheerful Charlie Elf


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Chip Morsels (11.5 oz)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts recommend walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins


  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
  • Beat sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels, nuts, and raisins.
  • Drop by heaping tablespoon onto an uncreased baking sheet. Flatten slightly. Cook 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 2 minutes, remove to a wire rack to cool.

Courtney The Wizard Elf | Caramel Cashew Blondies

“This recipe always makes me think of my grandmother and her three sisters…baking these every holiday season transports me right back into their kitchens — full of love and laughter — with a little chaos thrown in.”

Caramel Cashew Blondies

The best blondies in the workshop!
Course: Dessert
Keyword: blondies, cookie exchange
Author: Courtney the Wizard Elf


  • 2 cups brown sugar packed
  • ¾ cup butter softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 36 caramels unwrapped
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 1 can salted cashews (8.5 oz) coarsely chopped (1 ½ cups)


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9 inch pan with foil, extending foil 1 inch over 2 opposite sides of pan; spray with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and the eggs until well blended. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt until blended. Spread in pan. Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until set.
  • Meanwhile, in a 2 quart saucepan, melt caramels with whipping cream over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and the cashews. Pour evenly over bars. Cool completely in pan on a cooling rack, about 3 hours. Use foil to lift out of the pan. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

Elizabeth the Buckeye Elf | White Cake Cookies

“I won first place in a cookie contest (yay!) with this recipe!”

White Cake Cookies

Easiest elf cookies ever! Only three ingredients!
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie exchange, cookies
Author: Elizabeth the Buckeye Elf


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Combine the cake mix, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir together until combined.
  • Using a medium spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking mat.
  • Bake for 9 – 11 minutes, or until the bookies are set. You don’t want them to brown.
  • Allow to cool on the pan for a couple minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.


They will be super soft and delicious! Perfect with buttercream icing!

Peppermint the Elf | Yummy Meringue Cookies

“This is one of my favorite holiday cookies that my mom would make growing up…they were like eating a cloud because they just melt in your mouth. They are unlike any other cookie that I have had, but they are always a crowd- pleaser at any event!”

Peppermints Yummy Meringue Cookies!

Bet you can’t eat just one!
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cookie exchange, cookies
Author: Peppermint the Elf


  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup sugar
  • sprinkle salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips or peppermint chips for a minty surprise!


  • Preheat oven to 325°F
  • Use a mixer to beat egg whites until they are just stiff. Add sugar & salt gradually and continue beating. Add vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop onto parchment paper covered cookie sheets. Bake at 325°F for 18 – 20 minutes.

Create your own cookie exchange with Elfster

Elfster makes it easy to create a cookie swap whether you’ve never done one before or if it’s a long-standing family tradition. Simply sign up and exchange cookies instead of gifts. It’s a sweet way to celebrate the holidays!

Looking for more baking inspo from the cookie experts?

Check out our Baking Gift Guide to shop for great finds for your kitchen and the perfect cookie baking gifts.

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