Holiday Cookie Hot Takes

Luke O'Connell, Editor-in-Chief

     As we come closer and closer to Christmas day, debates over which Christmas cookie is best have become more and more common. In this article, I’ve ranked five holiday cookies, using five different metrics, in order to determine the very best cookie this Christmas season. The cookies ranked in this article are shortbread, gingerbread, sugar, chocolate chip, and molasses, and the five metrics being used are festiveness, taste, decoration, accessibility, and the X-factor of this ranking, “dunk-ability.” Dunk-ability clarifies how the cookie in question pairs with a glass of milk, and is crucial for deciding the number one spot, as it helps determine which cookie you should put out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Cookies will be ranked from worst to best, with each spot correlating to a number of points. The worst spot earns one point, the second worst earns two points, etc., and at the end, each cookie’s points from the five rankings will be added up for one final score.

Holiday cookies are a necessary part of any party platter. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

     First up, festiveness. Obviously, this category determines how festive the cookies being ranked are. If a cookie isn’t specifically made for Christmas, it probably doesn’t fit this category too well. In accordance with this, chocolate chip cookies are at the bottom of this category, because they aren’t really a Christmas cookie, though they’re often put out for Santa. At the number four spot, I’ve got molasses cookies, as they’re more generic than the cookies higher on the list, like gingerbread and shortbread, which are much more often attributed to Christmas. Next up are sugar cookies, as they can be made for many different holidays, like the Fourth of July, Halloween, and many more. The number one and two spots were really close in this category, as both gingerbread and shortbread cookies are incredibly festive, but I’ve got to give gingerbread cookies the number one spot, as they can expand to gingerbread houses and are fun to decorate with loved ones, and because the uniformity of shortbread cookies often make them sort of bland.

     Our next category is taste, which is rather subjective. Personally, shortbread is easily the worst tasting cookie on this list. They’re often dry, and as stated earlier, bland and boring. At the number four spot I’ve got sugar cookies, as they’re usually too sweet, and are made even sweeter by sugary icing. Along with that, they’re probably the most store bought cookies on this list, meaning they lack the personal touch of homemade cookies. For number three, I’ve got gingerbread. This Christmas classic is a genuinely good cookie, but stacked up against competitors like the near perfect chocolate chip cookie and the rich and savory molasses, it doesn’t really compare. The taste of gingerbread cookies isn’t very complex, and they don’t last that long, becoming stale relatively quickly. With that, our contenders for the number one spot in this category are chocolate chip and molasses. For the number one spot, I’ve got molasses for its comprehensive blend of spices which works well with an optional sugar coating to make its complex taste even more complex. Through the process of elimination, chocolate chip cookies are at the number two spot for taste.

     Category three is decoration. This category helps rank cookies based on how they’re decorated, and is relatively simple. This category is crucial for holiday cookie ranking as any good cookie platter needs some color, which decorations can provide. Considering that chocolate chip cookies are never really decorated, they come last in this category. Next up is molasses, as the only appearance change they undergo is when they’re sugarcoated. In third is shortbread, as it often comes in different designs, but lacks color. In another close decision, sugar cookies top gingerbread cookies, as they both have similar design schemes, but the color contrast on sugar cookies adds more diversity to a holiday plate.

     Category four regards the accessibility of holiday cookies, and at the bottom of this list is molasses, as it’s rarely found on holiday plates. Next up is sugar cookies, as they’re arguably the hardest cookies to bake on this list. Chocolate chip cookies are in third, as they’re common on many plates, but not as many as shortbread and gingerbread, our first and second place contenders. Shortbread comes in first on this list, as they can be found at the vast majority of Christmas parties in vast quantities, putting gingerbread in second. 

     Our final category, “dunk-ability,” ranks holiday cookies based on how they pair with milk. Kicking off the list, in last place, are sugar cookies. These cookies are often incredibly soft, and may fall apart in milk. Next up are molasses cookies, as their taste often doesn’t work well with milk. In third are gingerbread cookies, as they may also fall apart in milk, but not as often as sugar cookies, and as their taste pairs better with milk than molasses cookies’ taste does. First place goes to chocolate chip cookies, as they are more known for their “dunk-ability” than the other cookies on this list, which puts shortbread in second.

     After ranking our cookies based on five metrics, the winner for best holiday cookie is gingerbread! This cookie is a staple of any Christmas party cookie platter, tastes great, is fun to decorate, and even had a cameo of sorts in the Shrek movies, which doesn’t really apply, but definitely adds some value to this Christmas treat. Happy holidays!