Favorite Christmas Cookies?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just taking a small poll here (READ: cop-out post). As you may or may not know, I've been doing some of the baking over at Simply Recipes, the latest being my family recipe for Brandied Cranberry, White Chocolate Chip Cookies. That's right, I can do more than cupcakes.

Come the Christmas season, we made lots of chocolate chip cookies. And on Christmas Eve, after ignoring the Church sermon and listening for Santa's sleigh flying outside over choir music (yep, as a child I knew where my priorities were) we would leave out a plate of them for him, with some carrots for the reindeer too.

So out of curiosity, what are the traditional cookies (Christmas or otherwise) your family makes? For me it's always these and the traditional chocolate chip cookie. I'm always wondering what other people make for their cookies, and always eager to try new recipes. Feel more than free to write links to the recipes, assuming you have them online, in the comments or just write the recipe in your comment if you so wish.

Cupcakes will be resuming sooner or later, promise!


  1. Oh, Christmas cookies! They are such a tradition with our family... my mom has a set of cookies that she makes every year; she makes fudge, pecan bars, mint meringues, and chocolate haystacks. And then, just for the family, she makes horns, which are possibly the most delicious cookies ever. They are made of a sour cream-based dough filled with apricot jam, then with walnuts and powdered sugar on top. They are just fantastic.
    I usually make gingerbread biscotti and snickerdoodles.

  2. Christmas in my family wouldn't be Christmas without Kourambiethes (for pronunciation purposes, we've always called them 'could'-'ums'), a simple Greek almond-shortbread cookie, centered with a clove and covered with powdered sugar. The amount of powdered sugar on the cookies depends on the family- we like to make a dozen Kourambiethes on a plate look like 12 small piles of powdered sugar, no cookie in sight.

    Makes 8 dozen (Which we need- we're Greek)
    -1 pound unsalted butter
    -at least 1 cup confectioner's sugar
    -2 large egg yolks
    -1/3 cup brandy or whisky
    -1 teaspoon vanilla
    -4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    -1 teaspoon baking powder
    -1 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped and lightly toasted
    -whole cloves
    (The ingredients also vary slightly from family to family)

    1. In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar and beat another 5 minutes, or until very white. Beat in the egg yolks, brandy and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups of flour with the baking powder, and then gradually add it to the butter mixture, beating well. Gradually mix in the almonds and enough remaining flour to form a soft, smooth dough.

    2. Preheat oven to 350F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into about 1-inch sized balls, then flatten slightly. Place 1 inch apart on the parchment-lined cookie sheets, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies are pale yellow.
    Let cool until warm, not hot.

    3. Make a fairly thin layer of confectioner's sugar on a large sheet of wax paper. Transfer the warm cookies on top of this layer and then sift confectioner's sugar on top of the cookies (again, however much you prefer).

    Happy Holidays!

  3. Or go to cookie is a Tea Cake. Here is the recipe:

  4. People beg for these Caramel-filled Chocolate cookies at Christmas and throughout the year. I originally saw the recipe on the back of a bag of Pillsbury flour, and it is to die for!

    1 cup butter, softened
    1 cup plus one tablespoon sugar, divided
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1 (13 ounce) package Rolo candies
    4 (1 ounce) squares white chocolate, melted

    Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, 1 cup sugar and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture, beating just until combined.

    Shape a tablespoonful of dough around each candy, forming a ball. In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and pecans; roll each ball in the sugar and pecans. Place nut side up 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
    Bake for 8-10 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Cool for 3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle with melted white chocolate.

  5. Candy Cane Cookies ala Betty Crockers Cookie Book, Russian Tea (aka Mexican Wedding Cakes), Sandbakelse (aka Sunbuckles)..occasionally Rosettes, the fried batter on an ornate irons that you sprinkle with powdered sugar and eat immediately because who can ignore hot, fried, batter of any shape sprinkled with powdered sugar?

  6. My boyfriend's favorite cookies are snickerdoodles, so we have them on every holiday. Seriously -- thanksgiving, christmas, his birthday, etc. I was actually making a batch as the ball dropped on New Year's Eve last year! :-) I use the recipe on allrecipes.com called "Mrs. Sigg's Snickerdoodles" and they always come out great. :-) They're on my blog here (http://sugarlaw.blogspot.com/2007/10/snickerdoodles.html) but the picture is wretched -- taken with my old, terrible camera! They look much yummier in person!

  7. My family's favorite Christmas cookies are Rum Dums. They are basically fruitcake cookies without all the extra candied fruit. Each cookie gets one candied cherry and a lot of raisins that have been soaked in dark rum. I wind up getting the recipe from my mom every year. Very English and, in my mind, Christmas-y.

  8. My mother created a recipe called cream-cheese sugar cookies. They are rich, thick, moist, decadent cookies that are best topped (I think) with layer of melted chocolate that's allowed to cool and harden before eating.

    We cut the cookies out in various shapes appropriate for every major cookie-baking holiday (any time it's cold enough to bake) and they are requested whenever I do cookie swaps or bring dessert to friends.

  9. We always do ginger molasses cookies so that they're still a little gooey in the middle but crispy on the edges. I don't even think I have a recipe, I've been making them since my great-grandma taught me at 4! I also make sesame jam thumbprints with raspberry jam.

    Gotta get in the kitchen more since I'm the only one left who can cook!

  10. pSnickerdoodles,Snowball Cookies(Russian Tea Cakes),Chocolate Chip, Spritz Cookies,White chocolate Macadamian cookies. That's the standard then if I find some other recipe that sounds good I'll add a couple of other cookies

  11. We've always done Mexican Wedding Cakes, Spritz, and something my Mom called Ting-a-lings... a no bake cookie basically made up of melted chocolate and Asian crunchy noodles!

  12. Hi Garrett: good to meet you the other night. we always did and still do traditional frosted cut-out cookies. and since it was the 70s, another fave was a no-bake one called "stix & stones" with crispy chow mein noodles, peanuts, and melted butterscotch chips. good times.

  13. I usually make about 20 different cookies (the same ones every year) and then ship them off to my friends as Christmas gifts. What started in college as a way to save money on buying gifts has turned into a much anticipated tradition.
    My favorite are the gingerbread although Hershey's Macaroon kisses rank high as well as my family's pumpkin cookie recipe.

  14. My mum always makes these German walnut cookies - very crumbly and rolled around in lots of confectioners sugar. We're not German, so I'm not quite sure how that started, but they're damn good. And my dad chews up the reindeers' carrots and spits them out in the driveway to look "authentic." I really like the sound of yours though - can't wait to try them.

  15. Amanda, my family makes Kourambiethes too! I'm half Greek, so I've had them at every holiday since I was a baby!

  16. Hi Garrett, I love your blog! Have been reading for quite some time, but just now commenting.

    I usually make almond biscotti with pistachios and cranberries. I make a ton so I can pack some up as gifts or take some to those God awful x-mas work parties, lol.

  17. My new gingerbread recipe with ground mulling spices instead of the traditional allspice/cinnamon mixture covered with cream cheese frosting. Decadent and addictive.

  18. *drool*

    raspberry buttons (shortbread cookies baked with a little raspberry jam on top), turtle bars (pecan/caramel/chocolate), snowballs (like tiny round biscotti, dumped in powdered sugar while they're still hot), and mint chocolate bombs (self-explanatory and delicious). i don't have any of the recipes, because they're my mom's and i'm out of the country at the moment, but oh god they're amazing.

  19. Traditional in my family - molasses crisps (in place of gingerbread) and sour cream with jelly (the cookie is made in 2 layers one solid and one ring, so the jelly shows through). Mint jelly makes a really pretty green, but for many is just too weird.

    As an adult - peppermint bon-bons and maple bears. Recipes for all could be provided, although I don't have them online at this time.

  20. So cool that everyone commented makes different cookies for the holidays. I started making Kris Kringles (my husband's favorite), when my mother-in-law couldn't bake anymore. They are little shortening shortbread bombs with half a candied cherry on top. I use the recipe in Fannie Farmer.

    The second (and hubby's new fav) is a spiced gingersnap from the folks at Penzy's. These cookies are sooooo delicious. Cruchy on the outside, chewy in the middle, and spicy all over.

  21. We have always made Santa cookies! It's my grandma's recipe of a dense sugar cookie, that is made using a very particular Santa cookie cutter.

    The adults make the cookies and the kids decorate. Older kids do frosting, younger kids do eyes and cheeks.

    We still have the original cookie cutter, that's been broken and repatched many times over. I have my own now, as well.

  22. My family always makes Pecan Sandies, Cookie Press cookies, Candy Cane cookies and Snickerdoodles for Christmas. For the past 5 years or so, I've been making Creme de Menthe bars--cocoa/graham cracker crumb bottom, creme de menthe & unsalted butter middle and chocolate top. They've become my holiday signature.

  23. Chocolate Almond Thumbprint cookies with cherries in the middle. YUMMM. Reminds me of my childhood.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! :)

  24. For me, basic and maybe slightly boring sugar cookies...with a little lemon zest. But it was ALL about the frosting, decorations and cookie cutters! For me, they are the taste of Christmas!

  25. Pigswings:
    Story is that my aunt asked my grandma when they could have them every day, and she said "when pigs fly"


    ¾ c shortening
    1 c sugar
    1 egg
    1/3 c molasses
    2 ½ c flour
    2 t soda
    1tsp each ginger and cinnamon
    ½ t cloves
    ¼ t salt
    Preheat oven to 375. Mix shortening, sugar, egg and molasses together until well blended. Sift in flour, soda, spices and salt. Mix well. Shape into 1” balls, dip tips in sugar. Bake on un-greased cookie sheets for 7-10 minutes.

    trust me...nothing better in the world.


  26. Grandma's butter cookies.

    Or should I say "butter" cookies...? They are made with Crisco. Just drop cookies, but then topped with a glob of thick white Crisco icing, then dunked upside-down into bowls of particular sprinkles... she makes tons of them every year. And she makes some plain ones for my uncle, who likes them that way.

    I have learned how to make them too. It's taken practice with lots of batches to get them perfectly shaped and not at all burned. I still don't have enough practice to make them look just like hers.

    One year I gave my grandma some different types of sprinkles to use as a present, but she won't use them. The rest of the family thinks it would be too weird too. But I like to make these somewhat labor intensive cookies (depends on how many you're making!) at Valentine's Day and use pink and purple and red sprinkles and colored sugar. Mmmm.

  27. Hi I'm not even sure how I trawled to your blog but I like your style. Christmas or anytime, my family and friends line up for this Caramel shortbread recipe: http://tastyebites.blogspot.com/2007/01/granny-bessies-caramel-shortcake.html
    Not for those on a diet!

  28. THANK YOU GARRETT for the AWESOME Candied cranberry white choc cookies- they were a HUGE hit at my son's preschool and now everyone thinks I am a baking goddess! Love your blog! Kiss-kiss, Jilly


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