At Aerie, we take dessert very seriously. To get ready for the holidays, we hosted a cookie competition at our office… & it’s safe to say we were all winners. Get the recipes from our top 3 cookies & more faves from this sweet day!

Taylor, Lauren & Bri with the winning cookies!

Stained glass star cookies

The winner of our cookie competition! 
Makes 30 cookies 
Prep time: 45 min
Bake time: 30 min

Jolly Ranchers (about 20)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (& more for dusting)
Star-shaped cookie cutter 

1. Unwrap & separate Jolly Ranchers by color. Place into small plastic bags & crush into small bits with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer. Be sure not over-crush into a powder.
2. In an electric stand mixer (or with a handheld mixer), cream butter, sugar & salt until combined.
3. Mix in eggs one at a time, then blend in vanilla.
4. With the mixer set on low, slowly add in flour & mix.
5. Scrape out dough & shape into a rectangle, then wrap in plastic wrap & chill for one hour.
6. Once chilled, cut dough into thirds. Leave out 1/3 portion & continue to chill the remaining dough.
7. Roll dough out onto a floured surface. Dough should be flattened to about 1/5” thick.
8. Cut out as many stars as possible using a large star-shaped cookie cutter.
9. Transfer cut stars to a baking sheet. I found that lining your baking sheet with a silicone baking mat makes life a whole lot easier (bonus: it’s reusable!). You can also use parchment paper if you do not have one.
10. Once placed on baking sheet, cut smaller stars out of the centers of the large stars. You can either re-use this dough or keep & bake the smaller star cutouts. If you want to hang your star cookies, you can cut out small holes using a metal straw. Find sparkly string from your local craft store to make them extra festive.
11. Fill the cutout centers with crushed Jolly Ranchers and chill until firm (about 15-20 min).
12. Preheat oven to 350º F then bake for 10-12 min.
13. Let cool on baking sheet for about 10 min (or until the candy is hardened) then transfer to cooling rack.
14. Enjoy!

Sweet & chewy sugar cookies

2nd place in our cookie competition! 
Makes 30 cookies 
Prep time: 30 mins
Bake time: 10 mins per batch of cookies

1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 egg
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
Vegetable oil

1. Pour cake mix into mixing bowl.
2. Add 1 egg.
3. Add about 1/3 cup oil.
4. Add sweetened condensed milk.
5. Mix. If dough is too dry, add more condensed milk (dough should have putty consistency).
6. Place small drops/gobs on pan & bake at 375º F for 10 minutes.


3rd place in our cookie competition! 
Makes 2 dozen cookies
Prep time: 15 mins
Bake time: 10-12 mins

Cookie ingredients:
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cinnamon sugar mix ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar mix & set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter with vanilla until light & fluffy. Add sugar & brown sugar & mix until well incorporated. Add eggs & stir.
4. Use a sift to add the flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, baking soda & salt to the dough. Combine until evenly mixed. Cover with plastic wrap & chill. 
5. Roll dough into ping-pong-sized balls, then dip into cinnamon sugar mixture & roll dough balls until they are completely covered. 
6. Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper & bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. 

Merry Aerie macarons

Makes many!
Prep time: 1 hour
Bake time: 10 mins

212 g almond meal
212 g powdered sugar
82 g egg whites
90 g egg whites
236 g granulated sugar
158 g water
Buttercream or ganache filling

1. Preheat oven to 325º F & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine almond meal & powdered sugar, combine in 82 g of egg whites.
3. Heat combined sugar & water in saucepan. When temp is about 200º, begin whipping egg whites (90 g) on medium-low speed until soft peaks form.
4. When syrup reaches 448º, increase mixer to medium-high, pour sugar down side into egg whites and whip until stiff.
5. Fold the meringue into almond paste mixture. Batter should run off of the spoon in thick ribbons.
6. Add mixture to pastry bag & pipe in rounds on baking sheet.
7. Bake 9-12 minutes.
8. Let cool, remove & pipe with filling.

Fluffernutter cookies

Makes 24 cookies
Prep time: 1.5 hours
Bake time: 8-9 mins

1 1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2 2/3 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cups marshmallow fluff

1. Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
2. Combine butter, peanut butter & sugar until well combined.
3. Add in dry ingredients until a dough forms.
4. Cover & place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
5. Alternate dough & fluff in a ball.
6. Place on baking sheet with extra space.
7. Bake for 8-9 minutes at 375º F, then let cool on baking sheet.

Peanut butter buckeyes

Makes 25 buckeyes
Prep time: 5 mins
Bake time: 40 mins

1 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Small baking cups

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, vanilla & salt.
2. Slowly combine the powdered sugar until a dough is formed.
3. Roll into 1-inch balls & freeze for 20 minutes.
4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
5. While still frozen, dip balls in melted chocolate & place in cups.

Cream cheese sugar cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies
Prep time: 20 mins
Bake time: 10 mins

Cookie ingredients:
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg (room temperature)
2 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp lemon zest
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Icing ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp milk
2 tbsp light corn syrup
3/4 tsp almond extract

1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter & sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl & add the egg. Beat until fully mixed.
3. Add the cream cheese & beat for 1 minute, then scrape down the sides again.
4. Beat in vanilla extract, almond extract & lemon zest until fully mixed.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder & salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until full mixed & dough is formed.
6. Divide dough into quarters. Roll each quarter into 1/4″-thick sections. Keeping the dough flat, transfer it to the refrigerator. Chill the dough for at least an hour or overnight. 
7. Preheat the oven to 350º F & line baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Cut cookies into shapes using cookie cutters & transfer to baking sheet.
9. Bake for 9-11 minutes until just turning a light golden brown. Let cool completely.
10. To make the icing, stir together the powdered sugar & 3 tbsp milk in a small bowl. 
11. Beat in the corn syrup & almond extract until the icing is smooth.
12. If icing is thick, slowly add more milk one tsp at a time until you reach desired consistency.
13. Add food coloring once icing is complete & mix in fully, if desired.
14. Decorate & enjoy! 

S’mores chocolate chip cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies
Prep time: 18 mins
Bake time: 12 mins

2 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter (8 oz)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
2 sheets graham crackers, chopped

1. Mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda & salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
2. In separate bowl, mix butter & both sugars until combined. Add vanilla & eggs.
3. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Once mixed, fold in chocolate chips, marshmallows & graham crackers.
4. Bake at 375º F for 12 minutes.


Makes 4 dozen cookies
Prep time: 20 mins
Bake time: 25 mins

2 cups all-purpose flour (not instant)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soft (not runny or whipped) butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups minced pecans
Powdered sugar

1. Sift together flour, granulated white sugar & salt in medium bowl.
2. Add butter & vanilla extract.
3. Work together with spoon or hands until well blended.
4. Add pecans & mix well.
5. Shape into 1-inch balls & put on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325º F for 25 minutes or until pale brown.
6. Roll in powdered sugar.

M&M’s cookies

Makes 12 cookies
Prep time: 15 mins
Bake time: 15 mins

12 tbsp butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 yoke
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mini M&M’s

1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
2. Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
3. Melt & cool butter to room temperature.
4. In a large mixing bowl, add butter & sugar. Beat with handheld mixer until combined.
5. Add egg, yoke & vanilla to bowl. Beat until combined.
6. Add flour, baking soda & salt to bowl. Mix on low speed until combined.
7. Stir in M&M’s.
8. Take 1/4 cup batter & roll into a ball. Pull ball apart in half; place rough side of one half face down, place other half on top & press together.
9. Bake all cookies 12-15 minutes, then cool 15 minutes.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie recipe? Comment below & tell us!

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  1. Lauren’s mom

    Love that Lauren!

    1. Aerie

      We love her too!

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