It's time for the YAB Virtual Holiday Cookie Swap! We've pulled together our favorite cookie recipes to share with you. Not only that, but we received a recipe from the amazing baker and writer, Katy Upperman. This friend of the Buccaneers has just recently announced her book deal with Swoon Reads - KISSING MAX HOLDEN will be published by Swoon Reads in 2017. Read all about her book deal HERE and try her cookie recipe below! Congrats to Katy - and if you don't follow her blog, you should. Great book reviews and baked goods!

And it's not too late to share your favorite holiday cookie recipe with us - tweet a link to the recipe or the photo anytime between now and the New Year's Day with the hashtag #YABCookieSwap.


The ~Best~ Chocolate Chip Cookies

*I know chocolate chip cookies aren't traditional holiday cookies, but these are Santa’s favorite. I always have a fresh batch ready to leave out for him on Christmas Eve… 

1 1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 T vanilla
4 c flour
4 t cornstarch
2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 (or more!) c chocolate chips
optional additions: coconut, pecans, or butterscotch chips

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Add in halves to butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture, stirring in-between. Be careful not to over-mix! Stir in chocolate chips and any other optional add-ins. Drop in generous spoonfuls on foil-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for ten-ish minutes. Look for golden edges and soft centers. Cool on a wire rack.



Kathryn also shared a chocolate chip cookie recipe:

My go-to holiday cookie is a simple and tasty chocolate chip recipe. I love it not only because it has many variations, but also because it's quick and easy—a must during the busy holiday season. 

--1 box white cake mix
--1/2 cup oil
--1 egg
--up to 2 tbsp water
--1/2 package chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together until batter is fully moistened. It will be thick, not goopy. Spoon cookies onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes. Note: Because they're made from white cake mix, cookies will remain light-colored! They're done when they're firm and *very* lightly browned. 

That's the basic version! But the awesome thing is that you can make this with any cake mix and any variation on chocolate chips or other candies. For the holidays, I'll often make a batch of white cake mix cookies with red and green M&Ms as well as chocolate chips. I've had great success with chocolate cake mix and white chocolate chips; chocolate cake mix and Reese's Pieces, and even red velvet cake mix and white chocolate chips. Once you have the recipe down, it's so easy to mix and match!


DREAD CAPTAIN B. (Bridgid Gallagher)

The Best Vegan Ginger Cookies

Bridgid originally posted this recipe on her blog - check it out for all the details!

Adapted from HOW IT ALL VEGAN vegan ginger snap recipe*


2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
5 Tbsp (110 - 125 grams) fresh ginger
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup melted extra virgin coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350°F.
Either hand grate your ginger, or prep in a mini food processor until no big chunks remain. Add maple syrup to food processor if necessary.
Combine grated/processed ginger with maple syrup, molasses, salt, and melted coconut oil.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.
Scoop spoon-sized portions onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 9 to 12 minutes. Bake less for a softer cookie. Allow to cool before moving.

Makes 6 large or 12 small cookies.


CAPTAIN E. HOOK (Erin L. Schneider)

HERSHEY'S KISSES Peanut Butter Blossoms


48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling 

Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. 
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.




Mashed Potato Candies (official name: Chocolate-Coconut Candies)

This has been my all-time favorite cookie since I was a little kid - but can you believe, I've never made them before this year? I've always relied on my mom to give me a batch, but they were so easy, I think I'll make them all year long.

Adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookie Cookbook

  • ¾ cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 lb. flaked coconut (about 4 cups)
  • 1 lb. confectioners’ sugar (about 4 ¾ cups, sifted)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • Chocolate coating

Combine ingredients except coating; drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper. Roll in balls; refrigerate or freeze ½ to 1 hour. If mixture is too soft to form balls, refrigerate first, then shape balls. Dip balls in coating, turning to coat on all sides. Keep chocolate over hot water while dipping candy. With tongs or fork (I stuck a toothpick in each one before freezing), lift balls out of chocolate onto waxed paper. Place candies in refrigerator or freezer to harden. (I keep mine frozen.)

Chocolate coating:

  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/3 paraffin bar

We'd love to see your favorite holiday cookie - tweet a photo or recipe using the hashtag #YABCookieSwap!

Happy Baking and Happy Holidays from the YA Buccaneers!