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Easy Good Recipe - Christmas Cookies from our neighbor Mrs. Tanner

Updated on March 14, 2016
Peggy W profile image

I grew up watching & later helping my mother make homemade cookies. They were always in our school lunch boxes. Some family favorites here..

Christmas Cookie Recipe


This Christmas Cookie Recipe came from our next door neighbor many years ago and has been utilized through the years with great success.

My Dad was a Realtor and also a home builder in McAllen, Texas. My mother helped him in his Real Estate office and also assisted my Dad in his home building business.

She was the one he could count upon to choose all the colors from the brick on the outside of the houses to the tiles, carpeting, wallpapers and any and all color choices inside the spec homes that he would have constructed and put on the market for sale.

They were a great pair...both as parents to me and my younger brothers...and also as partners in business.


Assorted Homemade Christmas Cookies

Assorted homemade Christmas cookies ready for giving as gifts.
Assorted homemade Christmas cookies ready for giving as gifts. | Source

Photos of my parents while living in McAllen, Texas

My Dad
My Dad | Source
My Mother
My Mother | Source

Moving expertise

Often during their first and only marriage that lasted until my Dad's death they moved frequently in McAllen. Why?


If a home built on speculation sat there for a while unsold, my mother was willing to put the homestead in which they lived on the market for sale. They would then move into the one that had not sold as quickly as they had hoped.


My father generally built three or more homes at a time all while operating his Realty company. Naturally the houses in which they resided showed well due to the window treatments, landscaping and the like. Also some people can better envision what a dwelling looks like with furniture in it verses looking at empty rooms.


The end result was very frequent in-town moves and my parents and we kids who still lived at home as well as some of their helpful friends became experts at moving. "Anything to get out of Spring Cleaning!" was one joke regarding the frequent moves. Another one was referring to not having to empty the ashtrays. Both of my parents smoked cigarettes at the time and both later gave it up.


We obviously liked some of the floor-plans of the houses better than others but one thing was certain. If it was built by my Dad...it was built to last! My Dad always put much more into the guts of the habitation...the things not readily seen by home buyers...and therefore did not make near the percentage of profit as many of the others who skimped on things...but he was proud of each and every residence and his reputation grew as time passed. Anyone purchasing one of his domiciles knew that they were getting something special.


He grew up in a home that his Dad had built and my father was also incidentally born in that abode. My grandmother lived there until her later years when she decided to scale back and not have to maintain a two story house with basement on the lake in Okauchee, Wisconsin. She still lived on a lake...just a different one in her condo that she purchased.

Location of McAllen, Texas

A markerMcAllen, Texas -
McAllen, TX, USA
get directions

So what does this have to do with a Christmas cookie recipe?


When my maternal grandmother died my Dad had a home specially constructed to house not only us, but my grandfather as well. We lived together for several years that way until many of his friends were settling into a retirement area limited to seniors and he decided that he would like to join them.

While living in that home (I was a teenager at the time) we became friends with our next door neighbors. The husband had worked in Mexico for some of his career and he and his wife had retired in McAllen.


While in Mexico they had collected some prized paintings which graced the walls in their home. One particular artist specialized in painting children with big soulful eyes and an occasional tear or two springing from their eyes.


When I painted the face of a Mexican girl wearing a sombrero, Mrs. Tanner admired it and I offered it to her. I was very proud when she hung it in their house. After gifting her with that painting she invited my mother and me over one day to show us where she had decided to hang it.


It was the time of year around Christmas and she had some Christmas cookies laid out on a platter and invited us to help ourselves to some of them. One in particular was delicious and I asked for the recipe. I am happy to be able to share it with you.

Picture of Mrs. Tanner

The lady from whom I got this recipe.
The lady from whom I got this recipe. | Source

The recipe...


Ingredients and Instructions:

Cream: 1 cup butter, 2 eggs & 1 1/2 cups brown sugar together

Add: 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda & 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix: 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, 7 ounces of chopped dates, 1/2 cup dried cherries (or other fruit), 1/2 cup dried pineapple & 1/2 cup flour (mixed with the dried fruit and nuts)

Add the nut and dried fruit mixture to the creamed mixture and blend well. Drop by teaspoons onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes.

Decorate if desired with colored sugar before baking.

Note...I just made some of these and have them readied in the freezer for Christmas gift giving. They will be combined with other favorites. Instead of the dried cherries this time I substituted dried cranberries and according to my official tasters...my mother and husband...they are delicious.

If you have a convection oven, it only takes about 9 minutes to bake these Christmas cookies.

Please let me know if you like this recipe of Christmas Cookies that originally came from our good next door neighbor. Enjoy!


5 stars from 3 ratings of Christmas Cookies Recipe

Rudolf's Christmas Cookies

Do you have stories connected to some of your favorite recipes?

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Candy Cane Christmas Cookies

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

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    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Lady Guinevere,

      So glad you liked the background history of my family and how I acquired this good recipe.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Patricia,

      When I make many batches of cookies I generally freeze them and thaw them when needed. It works well for most cookies including these. Your sister's recipe sounds similar. Glad that you have enjoyed hers in the past and thanks for your comment and pin. Sending best wishes your way!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      That was neat how you put your heritage in with your cookie recipes. These sound very yummy and thanks for writing this hub to share.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Peggy, I can smell these baking ....My sister used to bake some fruit and nut filled cookies years ago. They were tender and so full of flavor. She would bake many other kinds as well, store them in airtight containers, in the pantry which was not heated...The flavors grew with each passing day but they did not last long as well all found many reasons to go and sneak a few of them on a daily basis

      I am bookmarking and sharing this Peggy. Pinning

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Prasetio,

      So glad you like the sound of this recipe. Hope you give it a try!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 2 years ago from malang-indonesia

      What a delicious Christmas Cookies recipe. I like it. Thanks for writing and sharing. Voted up as usual. Take care!

      Prasetio

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings peachpurple,

      Hope you give this recipe a try. The cookies are delicious!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      This year instead of baking loads of Christmas cookies I have been baking sweet breads to give as gifts instead. Most are now frozen and in those bags that pump out the air so when thawed and given away as gifts they should be fresh as if just baked.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you! Today is the day! Thanks for the shares.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Your ciokies look so good to resist, wanna eat them

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      An interesting story about your growing up years. Assorted Christmas cookies are always popular it seems, and they make a great gift, especially for someone who may not be able to bake, someone who entertains a lot, or for a family that can never have too many cookies around. Christmas is just 33 days away.

      Voted this up, UI, posting on FB, and Sharing on HP.

      We've gotten out of the cold spell -- for now -- and we're back to warmer temperatures. Today it's misting. Hope you are well on your way to having your Christmas planned and organized . . .

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Mary,

      Enjoy your baking of Christmas cookies and happy to share Mrs. Tanner's special one with you and others. Let me know if those candy cane cookies are good as shown in the video. They are surely pretty! Thanks for the votes and share.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      This recipe of Mrs. Tanner's looks super delicious! I'm getting ideas for my Christmas baking so I'm enjoying your Hubs on making cookies, Peggy.

      I enjoyed the video showing how to make candy cane cookies, too.

      I voted this UP, etc. and will share.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi 2patricias,

      Hope you enjoy Mrs. Tanner's wonderful tasting Christmas Cookies. They could be eaten and enjoyed year round as far as I am concerned. Thanks for the share!

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 4 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Love the story behind the recipe. The cookies sound pretty good too!

      I am adding this to my Recipe Index for HubPages - and sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Indian Chef,

      So happy to hear that you liked this Christmas cookie recipe from our former neighbor from many years ago. Thanks for the mention of my parents. They were a "wonderful couple" in so many ways! Appreciate your votes.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi moonlake,

      Since you and your husband like the dried fruit fillings, I know that you will love these Christmas cookies. They are a softer type of cookie so if stacking them for the freezer, I put pieces of wax paper in between the layers. Thought that I would pass on that tip. Thanks for the vote up.

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 4 years ago from New Delhi India

      I loved Mrs Tanner cookie. And thanks for sharing her recipe. I liked pictures of your parents. They made a wonderful couple. voting up and useful.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Enjoyed the story of your family. The cookies look great I don't have this one. Dates, raisins and cranberrys are favorites of mine and my husband's in cookies.Voted up.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi RTalloni,

      Thanks for the compliment regarding the beauty of my mother. She was beautiful inside as well as in outward appearances. She touched many lives in such a positive manner while she was alive. I can only hope to leave such a legacy behind. This cookie recipe is a winner. Appreciate your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi sweetie,

      This was a true story of my parents and their many moves because of being in the building business and also Real Estate. This cookie recipe from Mrs. Tanner has remained a favorite throughout the years. Glad that you liked the story associated with this recipe.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      A fabulous looking cookie recipe you share here, and the history is a delightful read. Your neighbor looks like a treasure and your parents photos are lovely--your mom is a stunning beauty, actually!

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 4 years ago from India

      It looks very tasty dish , thanks for sharing it. Also liked the life story of your dad about making houses . Voting it up and sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello beingwell,

      Cookie baking is not hard. Just give it a try! Am sure you would no longer be interested in purchasing them from stores in packages. You will also not be eating preservatives, artificial colors and flavors...and most cookies freeze beautifully. These Christmas cookies are delicious! Thanks for your comment.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Voted up! Ahh... if only I know how to bake! I'd love to make some cookies, tooo! I would have to settle for Pepperidge Farm's chewy cookies.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi homesteadbound,

      This Christmas cookie recipe really is simple and makes quite a large batch. Enjoy! and thanks for your comment.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      It's always great to have an easy recipe for those baking marathons we have close to Christmas. Thanks so much!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Scribenet,

      Thanks for letting me know that you baked and really like Mrs. Tanner's Christmas Cookies. I baked them again this year to give out as gifts in a cookie assortment. Merry Christmas to you also!

    • Scribenet profile image

      Scribenet 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi Peggy! I just baked Mrs. Tanner's Christmas cookies last night and they were soft and delicious. I have sealed them into containers...but we shall see if they make it to Christmas! Thank you! Merry Christmas!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Cheryl,

      You will probably get some of the Christmas cookies from Mrs. Tanner's recipe this year when I make my regular assortment. I know your sons enjoy them also. Thanks for your comment.

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 5 years ago from Houston, TX

      Thanks for sharing the Christmas cookie recipe. I can hardly wait to try the recipe. A very great hub and beautiful photos of your parents and Mrs. Tanner.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Nell,

      Starting in November I will start some of my Christmas cookie baking. I freeze them and then when the time is right to start giving tins of assorted ones as gifts, they are all brought out of the freezer...thawed...and divided up. This recipe is always one of the favorites and it freezes well if wax paper is put between the layers.

      As to the house moves...it was often! We got to be good at it! Ha! Thanks for your comment.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I love the story about your house moves! and the photos of your parents are lovely, this recipe sounds great I like trying new things, I seem to have been using the microwave to much these days so I am getting back to baking! cheers nell

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi talkingcellular,

      So happy that you and your neighborhood all liked Mrs. Tanner's Christmas cookie recipe. It is always a part of the assortment I make for the holidays. Thanks for letting me know that you liked them. :-)

    • talkingcellular profile image

      talkingcellular 7 years ago from Weston, Florida

      Hi Peggy, we baked the Tanner's Christmas Cookies today. My wife helped, we all had a great family time together. The recipe is fantastic - the cookies were great... (My family and the neighbor's kids ate all of them!) Thank you. We looking forward to baking more cookies for Christmas.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello talkingcellular,

      Merry Christmas to you and your daughters and good luck with the baking of Mrs. Tanner's Christmas Cookies. Let me know how you liked them if you get a chance. Thanks for the comment.

    • talkingcellular profile image

      talkingcellular 7 years ago from Weston, Florida

      CHRISTMAS COOKIE recipe from Mrs. Tanner

      Thank you for sharing this recipe. My daughters and I always venture into the kitchen every year a few days before Christmas to bake cookies and cakes. We are going to try honor your recipe in traditional fashion. Thanks again!

    • talkingcellular profile image

      talkingcellular 7 years ago from Weston, Florida

      CHRISTMAS COOKIE recipe from Mrs. Tanner

      Thank you for sharing this recipe. My daughters and I always venture into the kitchen every year a few days before Christmas to bake cookies and cakes. We are going to try honor your recipe in traditional fashion. Thanks again!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi habee,

      So happy that you liked this Christmas cookie recipe that came from our neighbor, Mrs. Tanner. Dried cranberries would be a great addition and they are also very healthful. We always keep a bag of them on hand in the pantry. Thanks for your feedback!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I made the cookies! I used dried cranberries. They were wonderful! Thanks!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Karen,

      Let me know what you think of the Christmas Cookie recipe after you try it. Heading over to read your recipe now.

    • Karen Ellis profile image

      Karen Ellis 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      The cookies sound scrumptious. I can't wait to try them. I love to bake. If you get a chance, go by and check out my Sugabread cookie recipe.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Tracy711,

      Glad you liked the story and hopefully you will enjoy Mrs. Tanner's Christmas cookie recipe as much as we have. Have a very Merry Christmas yourself and thanks!

    • Tracy711 profile image

      Tracy711 7 years ago

      hi Peggy, loved the story and i'm gonna try the cookies too... i'm sure i will love them as well...thank you for sharing and have a very Merry Christmas..hugs ..God bless

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Truth From Truth,

      If you like good Christmas cookies, then this one from Mrs. Tanner should suit you well. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 7 years ago from Michigan

      I always like a good Christmas cookie.

      thanks.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings Specialk3749,

      Hope you will like this recipe of Christmas Cookies as much as we have over the years. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 7 years ago from Michigan

      Oh yum!!! I am definately going to try these cookies! I am always looking for a new cookie recipe. Thanks!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi bingskee,

      Please let me know how you like the Christmas Cookie recipe after trying it if you get a chance. Thanks!

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 7 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      will have to try this for Christmas! thanks for sharing!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      Glad that you liked the the story and Christmas Cookie recipe at the same time. We really did do a lot of moving! Of course after moving and getting things settled, THAT home would sell.

      For years we had about 15 boxes labeled "odds and ends" that never got unpacked. Once when it looked like they were going to stay in place for a while, my Dad suggested donating the boxes unopened. OF COURSE my mother and I said no...unpacked them...and found some treasures we had not seen for quite some time. It was like opening Christmas presents! (Smile)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello loveroflife,

      These Christmas Cookies are yummy...at least my husband, mother and friends all think so. And of course since I had originally asked for the recipe, so do I. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Dear Hello, hello,

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. Hope you try and enjoy this recipe of Christmas Cookies from Mrs. Tanner.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      What a lovely story to go with this festive recipe

    • profile image

      loveroflife 7 years ago

      Sounds yummy.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That was lovely and I so enjoyed it. Thank you.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi dohn,

      If you like dates and nuts ( nutty dates aside for the moment ) then this Christmas Cookie recipe from Mrs. Tanner is for you! As to your nutty dates...enjoy! :) Enjoyed your comment as always.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I'm with habee-I love dates and nuts (I love nutty dates??? Sorry, I couldn't help myself) I really liked the story to accompany this great recipe as it's only fitting! Thank you.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello habee,

      With all the dates and nuts in these Christmas Cookies, I doubt that you will be disappointed in the taste...especially since you can customize the dried fruits to your taste. They freeze well and the one recipe makes a good sized batch. Please come back and comment after you try these. Thanks!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I gotta try these - I LOVE dates!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Putz,

      The recipe of Christmas Cookies from Mrs. Tanner really is a good one! Let me know if you give them a try. Happy for your comment.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 7 years ago

      Great story and bet those cookies are scrumpcious!