'Tis the season for holiday baking, so let's step up our typical cookie game with these spiced holiday chocolate chip cookies! Along with warm spices, these soft and chewy cookies feature browned butter and fresh orange zest for a festive twist. Serve on a platter at your upcoming holiday get-together or package these cookies to offer as homemade gifts --- everyone always loves these spiced-up chocolate chip cookies.
With cookie baking season alive and well, we can't let this delicious time pass us without making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. But not just any chocolate chip cookie will do. For an extra jolly treat, we need a Christmas cookie filled with the season's favorite spices.
I also love flavoring my holiday desserts with fresh orange zest, which melds well with those spicy notes while adding a touch of brightness for balance. Considering that these cookies are full of holiday spice, fresh orange zest gives these cookies the perfect zip.
Ingredients for Spiced Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
And now to put together our spiced holiday chocolate chip cookie ingredients. Here's everything we need.
- Baking soda
- White sugar
- Dark brown sugar
- Vanilla extract or paste
- Orange zest
- Chocolate chips
How to Brown Butter for Chocolate Chip Cookies
These holiday cookies get an extra special kick with browned butter, but to prevent overspreading, we first brown our butter, allow it to solidify and then use as we would softened butter. Considering that this butter needs to solidify, we start on this step first.
Browning butter is as simple as heating it over the stove until it melts and turns golden brown. After it browns, we pour the brown butter into a shallow dish and pop in the refrigerator to solidify. The brown butter will also solidify at room temperature, but it takes a bit longer, which is fine if you have a full day of Christmas baking planned. Just take care of this step first thing, and then you can move on to this recipe once the browned butter solidifies.
Keep in mind, we want the brown butter solidified, but we also want it softened like any other chocolate cookie recipe. If the browned butter stays in the refrigerator long enough to harden, just take it out of the refrigerator until it gives way to a finger poke.
Of course, if you're short on time, you can always use regular softened butter and still have a ridiculously delicious cookie. But I think brown butter gives these cookies a little something special for the holidays.
How to Make Spiced Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
With our brown butter ready, we can start on the rest of this spiced holiday chocolate chip cookie recipe. We begin by mixing together our flour, salt, baking soda and spices in a small bowl and setting aside.
Now we add our sugars, softened brown butter, vanilla and orange zest to a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Using my stand mixer on speed four for three to four minutes is just about perfect. You can also easily use a hand mixer for this.
From here, we add in our eggs one at a time with a little bourbon, spoon in our flour mix and stir in our chocolate chips. Doesn't get much easier than that, huh?
Does Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Need Chilling?
I highly recommend chilling chocolate chip cookie dough before baking. Otherwise, we risk overspreading and could end up with a cookie that's just a bit too thin. Now, I still find those cookies tasty, but if we want a little lift, we'll need to chill the dough. Just 30 minutes or so should do the trick.
How Long to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies
Once we chill our holiday chocolate chip cookie dough, we're ready to bake. To keep our cookies perfectly soft and chewy, we bake them for just nine minutes.
When the cookies come out of the oven, they may look a little underdone. Don't worry. That just means you nailed it.
Now we let our cookies cool on a wire rack and then dig in to our festive little treats.
Perfect Pairing for Spiced Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
Beer and cookies are one of my favorite pairings, so throw in a holiday theme and I couldn't be more excited. With these cookies, I love a spiced imperial stout. Those roasty notes with the residual sweetness make this beer perfect with the chocolate, and the complementing spices work well together. Look for something like Hardywood Gingerbread Stout or Westbrook Brewing Mexican Cake.
For a wine, you can't go wrong with an orange muscat. Just like the orange zest in our cookies, this muscat variety plays beautifully with the spices, and it's on the sweet side to make for a nice dessert wine.
When you need a festive treat, I hope you try these spiced holiday chocolate chip cookies. With the sweet orange zest and flavorful spice mix, everyone is sure to love these cookies. Please let me know how you enjoyed this spiced holiday chocolate chip cookie recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
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Spiced Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Mixing bowls
- Hand or stand mixer
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheets
- Wire racks
- 1 cup salted butter
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest about 1 orange
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 cups chocolate chips equivalent to a 12-ounce bag
- In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it begins to foam. Continue to cook and stir frequently until it turns amber in color. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Scrape the brown bits into the bowl with the melted butter as well. Allow the mixture to solidify but remain as soft as you would use for typical cookies. To speed up the process, you can place in the refrigerator. If you’d like, you can also do this a few days in advance and store in room temperature to keep soft. Butter is perfectly safe kept at room temperature.
- Stir together flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cream together the solidified brown butter with dark brown sugar, white sugar, orange zest and vanilla extract in a stand mixer or mixing bowl with hand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Scrape the creamed butter off the side of the bowl. Add one egg with the bourbon and beat until combined. Repeat with the second egg. Once both eggs are combined, scrape the dough off the side of the bowl again.
- Add a spoonful or two of the flour mixture at a time and stir until incorporated. Repeat until all the flour mixture is combined into the dough. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, form the dough into golf ball-size dough balls. The large size will keep the cookies extra soft. If you’d like, top with additional chocolate chips.
- Bake for nine minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
- If you don't have time to make browned butter, you can always use softened butter as you would with regular chocolate chip cookies. They will still be absolutely delicious. Prep time is based on allowing the brown butter to solidify, so you can significantly reduce this by using softened butter.
- The bourbon adds a nice depth of flavor, but the cookies don't come out tasting bourbony. Just pretend bourbony is a word. If you don't want to use bourbon, just add a couple tablespoons of water if using brown butter.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.