'Tis the season for sugar plums, candy canes and fruit cakes.

But I much prefer cookies.

Daily Record/Sunday News staff members shared their favorite cookies recipes - and the holiday memories that go with them - to help make your season merry and bright.

Cranberry-walnut oatmeal cookies

THESE OATMEAL CONFECTIONS combine cranberries, walnuts and a hint of cinnamon to liven up your holiday cookie plates.

Ingredients

Cooking spray

¾ cup butter shortening

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

2¾ cups rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

submittedThese oatmeal confections combine cranberries, walnuts and a hint of cinnamon to liven up your holiday cookie plates. (Brittany wilson)
submitted These oatmeal confections combine cranberries, walnuts and a hint of cinnamon to liven up your holiday cookie plates. (Brittany wilson)
Coat baking sheets with cooking spray.

Beat shortening, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. Beat into shortening mixture until smooth. Stir in oats, dried cranberries and walnuts.

Place tablespoonfuls of dough about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

- Recipe from www.tasteofhome.com

Macaroons

MY COLLEGE ROOMMATE and I rented a kitchen and made dozens of batches of macaroons each year before heading home for winter break. In my four Christmases since graduation, I've continued the tradition but no longer rent a kitchen. The fluffy coconut sweets are easy to make and, for me at least, signal that it's time for the holidays to begin.

Ingredients

3 cups shredded coconut

1 teaspoon almond extract

teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup melted dark or milk chocolate (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

submittedLiven up macaroons by dipping them in milk or dark chocolate to add another layer of flavor. (Brittany wilson)
submitted Liven up macaroons by dipping them in milk or dark chocolate to add another layer of flavor. (Brittany wilson)
Combine coconut, almond extract and salt and mix in condensed milk to form a paste. Fold in stiffly-beaten egg whites with cream of tartar.

Grease cookie sheets and drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the sheets - about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges are browned. Let the cookies cool.

While the macaroons are cooling, melt the milk or dark chocolate. Dip the bottom of the macaroons in chocolate. Place on wax paper to set.

- BRITTANY WILSON, inspired by www.foodnetwork.com

Cottage-cheese fudge cookies

CHRISTMAS COOKIES ARE THE SWEETEST PART OF THE HOLIDAY, and whether you're baking for one or dozens, it's always nice to have a stack of recommended recipes to choose from.

photo of fudge cookies by Ashley May.
photo of fudge cookies by Ashley May.

If you are looking to add to your pile - my favorite recipe is what my family calls Cottage Cheese Fudge Cookies (also known as Crinkle Cookies). They are soft, cakey and full of chocolate deliciousness.

Ingredients

2/3 cup butter or margarine at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup small-curd cottage cheese

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

¾ cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Mix butter, sugar, cottage cheese, eggs and vanilla into a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a blender and set aside.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl.

submittedAfter the sugar cookies are out of the oven, sprinkle them with colored sugars to add to the holiday feel.
submitted After the sugar cookies are out of the oven, sprinkle them with colored sugars to add to the holiday feel.
Add the flour mixture to the cottage cheese mixture in the blender and mix well.

Chill dough for 30 to 40 minutes. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and coat with powdered sugar. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees 12 minutes or until firm to touch.

- ASHLEY MAY, multiplatform journalist

Sugar cookies

DESPITE BEING SIMPLE, sugar cookies are tasty enough to hold their own this holiday season. But if you would like to spruce up the classic - or if your kids want to lend a hand in the kitchen - decorate the white cookies with colored sugars or icings. For an even more festive feel, sprinkle crushed candy canes, mint-chocolate candies or chocolate chips in the mix, too. 

Ingredients

2¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1½ cups white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Then beat in the egg and vanilla. Next, gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on the cookie sheet for two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

- www.allrecipes.com

Chocolate chip cookies

MY MOM AND I keep trying to find the perfect recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but there's just no matching our favorite: The Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

These are sure to be a holiday crowd pleaser, and no one has to know the recipe came from the back of a chocolate-chip bag. We still keep the same bag from 1989 in between the pages of my mom's cookbook and break it out every time we make them.

Ingredients

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

12-ounce package Nestlé Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1 cup chopped nuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until creamy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

- APRIL TROTTER, Smart editor

Grandma's Hungarian lekvar cookies

FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER, my family has celebrated Christmas with lekvar cookies. The cookies are simple - only five ingredients- but the flaky, buttery cookies are sure to please almost everyone. If you are put off by prune filling, don't worry, the cookies are versatile. The cream cheese-based dough pairs well with apricot jam and almond-paste fillings, too.

Ingredients

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese

2 cups flour

1 cup butter

8-ounce jar prune jam (lekvar)

1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together cream cheese and butter, then add the flour in small portions by hand.

When the dough begins to take shape, turn over on a lightly-floured surface and add the rest of the flour to form a soft, smooth dough. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll the dough out into a ¼-inch thick sheet on a floured surface. Cut into 2-inch by 2-inch squares and fill center with ¼ teaspoon of lekvar (or the filling of your choosing). Pinch together opposite corners of the dough.

Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet for about 15 to 20 minutes until light brown. Keep an eye on the cookies while they are in the oven; they burn quickly.

While still warm, roll in powdered sugar and let cool. Once the cookies are cooled, roll them again in powdered sugar.

- BRITTANY WILSON

Shortbread thumbprints

Ingredients

1½ cups (three sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Jam or jelly of your choosing

Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar until they are just combined. Add vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and bring everything together with your hands.

Roll shortbread into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with your palm. Make a small indentation in the top of the cookie using your thumb. Spoon about a ¼ teaspoon of jam into the hole. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10 to 12 minutes of until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown.

- Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook