Christmas cookies are centuries old tradition that appears to have begun in Medieval Europe. It is believed that German Lebkuchen may have been the first cookie to be associated with the Christmas season. The Colonial Dutch and German settlers brought their Christmas cookie traditions to America.
Cookies were used as gifts, desserts, and decorations. In fact, animal crackers have their beginnings as Christmas ornaments.
Cookie cutters in a variety of
Christmas shapes began to be imported to the United States in the
late 1800s. The Victorians loved decoration and these new, very
detailed shapes allowed them to create fanciful cookies to give as
Christmas gifts as well as to serve.
The tradition continues. What would Christmas be without Christmas cookies?
Rolled Sugar Cookies
These are the easiest rolled cookies in the world. They are one of the most popular cookies in my cookbook, Everything Cookies and Brownies. You can't over-roll them and they are perfect for making with kids. Bake them just until the edges are slightly golden, allow to cool and decorate lavishly. These are named for my very good friend, Mary Trombley who has brought these to our house every Christmas for 20 some years.
Mrs. T's Sugar Cookies
- 1 1/2 cup butter melted
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 4 eggs beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder ( or 1 tsp baking soda, for a softer cookie)
- 1 tbs Vanilla extract
- 5 cups of flour
- Melt the butter.
- Whisk in the sugar, let cool until lukewarm, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Add flour and baking powder (or soda).
- Chill for about 30 minutes in the freezer or overnight in the fridge.
- Roll out about 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured board, cut, and place on ungreased baking sheets
- Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.
- Cookies will be golden at the edges but do not let them brown. let cool and decorate as desired.
Yield depends on size of cutters
Egg Nog Drop Cookies
These are rich with the flavor of egg nog.
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup egg nog
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp brandy extract
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 ¼ c flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Line your cookie sheet with parchment or silpat
- Beat eggs, sugar, yolks, flavorings, butter, and egg nog together until fluffy.
- Combine the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.
- Drop by rounded teaspoons on the baking sheet and sprinkle with colored sugar
- Bake 6-8 minutes or until done
Makes 3 dozen
Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
These are the buttery cookies that are forced through a cookie press to make the swirls and other shapes. You can color the dough with food coloring if you like. Dip the ends in melted chocolate and roll in chopped pistachios for a beautiful presentation.
- 2 ¼ cups flour
- pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 oz softened cream cheese
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp almond
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- Sift the dry ingredients together
- Blend butter, cream cheese, and sugar until well mixed. Add egg and flavorings and beat well.
- Stir in the flour mixture.
- Fill the cookie press with the dough and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet
- Bake for 12 – 15 minutes. Let cool
- Cookies are delicate.
Everything Cookies and Brownies
If you like these recipes check out my cookbook, Everything Cookies and Brownies published in the Everything Series by Adams Media. In it are hints for cookie bakers plus 300 cookie and brownie recipes for all kinds of treats. The book makes an awesome Christmas gift. If you are looking for more cookie recipes you may also want to check out The 50 Best Cookies on the Internet. You may also like: How to Make Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses