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Best holiday cookies for 2012

Dec 4, 2012, 1:18 p.m.

With the holiday season now in full force, the family gatherings and parties with friends are happening fast and furious. Nearly every gathering around the holiday time is centered around delicious food, special snacks, and enjoying such treats together. Of course, you don't want to host a holiday party serving the same old Christmas cookies recipes, and if you are giving Christmas cookies gifts you would likely prefer to do something different! Here are our top three picks for the best holiday cookies of 2012.

Pecan pie cookies are a great twist on the traditional holiday-time pecan pie -- and no need to worry about baking a crust from scratch! Pecans, brown sugar, butter, and pure vanilla extract are the central ingredients in pecan pie cookie recipes. Some recipes also add condensed milk for extra sweetness. You'll find this to be one of this year's most popular holiday cookie trends!

Another popular pick for Christmas cookies recipes this year is pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin cookies are really popular from Thanksgiving all the way through the Christmas cookies gifts season because they smell great, have beautiful color, and are wonderfully flavored. Pumpkin cookies are often made with cinnamon, ginger, and small amounts of clove spices -- and you can top them with a decadent cream cheese frosting for extra visual and taste impact.

Pinwheel cookies are our final top pick for holiday cookies of 2012. These cookies might take a little bit of extra effort since they are multi-layered, but the look and taste will make it well worth it. One layer of the pinwheel cookie is generally white (a sugar cookie recipe, for example) while the other layer is generally brown (this can be a sugar cookie recipe with cocoa added, for example).The two layers of dough are then placed together and rolled up. Slice the cookies off the roll and bake the swirly-looking treats up for a great Christmas cookies gifts choice!

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