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4 Classic Christmas Cookie Recipes Freshened Up for Santa

From "stockings hung by the chimney with care" to gathering with friends and family members for revelry and merry-making, Christmas means many things to many people. But one thing which can be found in nearly every house and office...

From "stockings hung by the chimney with care" to gathering with friends and family members for revelry and merry-making, Christmas means many things to many people. But one thing which can be found in nearly every house and office in the days leading up to Christmas? Christmas cookies! Read on for four fresh takes on classic cookie favorites guaranteed to sate Santa's appetite...if you manage to save him any, that is.

Christmas cookies
The ultimate edible gift.

1. Classic Shortbread Cookies in 4 Ingredients with Added 1 Ingredient Variations

Why settle for one cookie recipe when you can have three in one? This recipe from Food Network's Claire Robinson uses just four ingredients -- most of which can be found in any household pantry this time of year, but offers up multiple flavor variations.

One tip? While these cookies are easy to make, the dough is much easier to work with when cold so be sure to allow the full chilling time of 30 minutes or more.

While there's nothing wrong with the tried and true classic recipe, simple mix-ins, including Chai Spice Tea and Toasted Pecan, add up to delectable delights of their own.

2. Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

What's the only thing better than gingerbread? Gingerbread and chocolate. The perfect complement to a steaming cup of cocoa, these cookies from Modern Wifestyle are the perfect fusion of sugar and spice. (To keep things balanced, the traditional cardamom is swapped out for the chocolate.)

While these cookies can be works of art for royal icing masters, they're also the perfect way to keep little hands occupied on a snow day or leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Christmas cookies
Fun for Santa's helpers, too.

Keep in mind that's you'll need some basic supplies to execute this one (rolling pin, cookie cutters, and a stand mixer for starters), but they're well-worth the investment. We promise: this one gift-worthy recipe is guaranteed to become one of your holiday go-tos.

3. Salted Caramel-Stuffed Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles are always on the nice list, but salted caramel is one of the hottest flavors of the year. This recipe from Betty Crocker transforms a simple yet satisfying Snickerdoodle into the vehicle for a decadent dulce de leche filling. Talk about Christmas surprises!

Feeling brave? Feel free to experiment with different fillings -- anything from caramels to toffee baking bits to chocolate chips will do the trick.

4. Paleo Chocolate Chippers

But what if the big guy is watching his waistline this year? Emeals:the Blog comes to the health-conscious rescue with these gooey and delicious chocolate chip cookies made with almond flour, raw honey, and coconut oil. Chopped pitted dates, in addition to bittersweet chocolate chips, add another layer of flavors to these lifestyle-friendly treats.

Cookies may be Santa's favorite snack, but we sure like them a lot too. Make your holidays just a little bit sweeter this year by trying one -- or two, or three, or four -- of these tasty twists on holiday classics. Browse bakeware at Cilantro the Cooks Shop to begin your baking adventures today.