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What is Pinterest’s most popular Christmas cookie recipe? Finding one wasn’t easy

This is the story of my quest to find the most popular Christmas cookie on Pinterest.

Maybe quest is too strong of a word. It mostly involved Google and a little tool called Pinontop. The Chrome extension ranks anything you search for on Pinterest by either repins or likes. I chose repin for no other reason than the radio button was preselected. Here’s what happened.

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I have some friends coming over to frost cookies this weekend, and I figured if I was already making sugar cookies anyway, I might as well make a festive treat to eat while we frost. But what? Scotcharoos are a perennial family favorite, but one of my guests doesn’t like peanut butter. Plus, do those count as cookies if they’re really more of a bar? (That’s a bigger question outside the scope of this article.)

I decided to hit up Pinterest, but I wanted not just any cookie but the ultimate Christmas cookie. If you type Christmas cookie into the site’s search bar, you get recipes with tens of thousands of repins, like this one for raspberry almond shortbread thumbprints. There was also a promoted pin from Ritz, which, it should be noted, was for crackers not cookies*. Not helpful, Ritz.

Because Pinterest doesn’t let you sort pins based on popularity, I had to download Pinontop. It’s not a perfect system, because I got different results based on whether I searched “Christmas cookie” or “Christmas cookies.” Some, like the M&M’s Christmas cookie bars (193,600 pins), showed up in both. Clearly, Pinterest thinks bars are cookies. But these award-winning gingerbread cookies (144,6oo pins) showed up in neither, despite the fact that they have more repins than the cookie in the No. 4 slot for Christmas cookies — Twix cookies (113,500 pins). Search for holiday cookies, and a whole different mess of cookies come up. The winner there is Almond Joy cookies, with 256,600 cookies.

But none of these can top the cookie that comes up when you just search for “cookie”: white chocolate pumpkin snickerdoodles (518, 500 pins). While it’s true this cookie was pinned to many Thanksgiving boards, I did see it on several Christmas ones, including a Cajun Christmas board. But I don’t see how a Twix cookie or an Almond Joy cookie is more Christmas appropriate than a pumpkin-based cookie. Naturally, if you use Pinontop to search for “cookies,” this recipe doesn’t show up at all, and the No. 1 recipe in that case is for a Buckeye brownie cookie (451,100 pins). Thus, I can’t really say positively that the pumpkin snickerdoodle is the most popular cookie on Pinterest, nor that the white chocolate-dipped peppermint sugar cookie (305,400 pins) is the most popular Christmas cookie.

And who’s to say that just because they’re popular, they’re the best? Maybe these gingerbread gooey butter cookies, with their measly 11.6k pins, are the way to go?

*According to this recipe, if you spread peanut butter on Ritz crackers and dip them in chocolate, they become a cookie.