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My Best Ever Christmas Cookie Recipes

Updated on November 30, 2016
Ilonagarden profile image

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I have collected traditions, decorations, and recipes to make it fun and festive. I want to share the joy.

Cutouts Are Favorites

Gingerbread is a quintessential Christmas cooky
Gingerbread is a quintessential Christmas cooky | Source

My Family's Favorite Christmas Cookies

One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking special cookies- cookies that I don't make any other time of the year. Another tradition is eating them, but I should be a little less enthusiastic in my celebration of that beloved activity. In no way does that put a damper on baking, since there are always plenty of happy recipients who can step in for me.

Good thing, because these family favorite cookies must be made with real butter, delicious flavors and additions such as jam or cream cheese, and warm inviting spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamon. A great Christmas cookie should not skimp on ingredients for the sake of calories. Let the New Year take care of those considerations!

I hope you make some of these recipes your own best and beloved baked traditions.

The Best Christmas Cookies

...a few cookie baking notes

My absolute favorite cookie recipes for Christmas should be made with real butter, unless specified otherwise.

Try out the cardamon spice if you are not yet familiar with it. It is warm and lends a delicious flavor to baked goods and even a dash in your coffee will surprise you with its pleasant aroma. Scandinavian cooks are famous for their use of this wonderful spice, and though expensive in the grocery store, if you have an Indian grocery nearby, you may find it more economically priced there.

I always try to bake a "gingerbread" type of cookie and my favorite is the Moravian Spice, which is a hard cookie, wonderful as a keeper and for dunking in a warm drink.

Kifli are Hungarian favorites and I have this cookie listed on my Famous Hungarian Food lens. There are so many recipes, each truly delicious, but the one for this collection of recipes is my easiest one.

Moravian spice cookies
Moravian spice cookies

Moravian Spice Cookies

These are our family favorites. Deeply satisfying molasses flavor and a firm, thin cookie that makes a beautiful base for simple royal icing decorating. You may substitute reconstituted powdered egg whites for fresh, if you wish.


  • Dough
  • 4 cups sifted flour
  • 1 c. light molasses
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • softened
  • 1/2 c.packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp.cloves
  • Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup egg whites (about 2)
  • 3 3/4 -4 cups sifted confectioners sugar


  1. Make dough: Sift flour with baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
  2. In large bowl,beat brown sugar,butter,and molasses til well-combined.
  3. With wooden spoon,stir in flour mixture , then mix with hands til combined. Form dough into ball. Wrap in saran wrap or wax paper and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Next day: Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  5. Divide dough into 4 parts. Refrigerate until ready to roll out.
  6. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick.
  7. Use cookie cutters in your favorite shapes to cut out cookies.
  8. Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets and bake 6-8 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  9. Make frosting: In med. bowl,beat egg whites with 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar to make a smooth,stiff frosting. Add more sugar if necessary. Cover with damp cloth until ready to use.
  10. Decorate cookies : Pipe frosting through #4 writing tip outlining cookies and making polka-dots.

Top Five Cookie Baking Essentials:: Excellent Spatula

OXO Good Grips Silicone Cookie Spatula, Gray,4 inches
OXO Good Grips Silicone Cookie Spatula, Gray,4 inches
Get a good silicone spatula- I replace mine every few years! Scraping the bowl is essential for mixing dough well. Needed for every recipe listed here, to scrape the batter from the bowls, help form the dough ball, fold in the chocolate. You get a lot of use from a spatula and don't want it getting all shredded and cracked at the edge.

Make Bunches of Cookies

Top Five Cookie Baking Essentials:: Rolling PIn

OXO 73981 Good Grips Non-Stick Rolling Pin,Black
OXO 73981 Good Grips Non-Stick Rolling Pin,Black
Noting matters more than a good rolling pin. If you can chill it, and it has a the right weight- those qualities are a plus. A decent rolling pin will help produce results of thinly rolled cookies like my Moravian Spice..
2.7 stars from 3 ratings of Moravian Spice Cookies

Auntie Mary's - Cream cheese dough, rich chocolate filling

This is -hands down- my children's favorite cookie. It is very rich and due to cream cheese dough is not a long keeper, but it is meltingly delicious.


  • Dough
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 3 oz. cream cheese-softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Filling
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Confectioners sugar


  1. Mix on medium speed, butter, cream cheese, and sugars until well creamed and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beat. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Divide dough into quarters and wrap. Chill overnight or minimum of 2 hours.
  2. Make filling: in suacepan cook sweetened condensed milk with chocolate until melted together. Remove from heat, stir in nuts and cool.
  3. Heat oven to 350F and grease cookie sheets. On floured surface, roll each quarter of dough to 10'' by 6'' rectangle. Spread 1/4 amount of filling down the center of rectangle. Fold in thirds over the filling and place seam side down on cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes until light brown. Cool on racks. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar once completely cool, and cut into slices.

Top Five Cookie Baking Essentials:: Timer

Lux Classic Timer, White
Lux Classic Timer, White
Whether it is a classical shaped timer like this, or one of the cute ones that match your kitchen decor, using a timer that alerts you prevents the dreaded burnt cookies. You always believe you will pay attention and remember the moment to take those lovingly rolled, formed, delectable cookies out of the oven when baking time is done. But trust me, without a dependable timer.... you won't. I know you mean well, but it is just human to walk away and get distracted by something you thought would take just a minute. Save yourself waste of perfectly wonderful cookies and buy the timer.

Kris Kringles - Cardamon flavored!

A buttery rich cookie with the special fragrance of cardamon spice.


  • Dough:
  • 1/2 cup soft butter or Margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 hard-cooked sieved egg yolks
  • 1 raw egg yolk
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp.cardamom
  • 1 Tblsp.grated lemon peel
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 2 Tblsp.sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  2. In medium bowl, with wooden spoon: beat butter, sugar, egg yolks, cardamom, and lemon peel til well blended.
  3. Stir in flour;mix with hands to blend.
  4. On lightly floured surface roll out 1 of two parts of dough to a 7x6 inch rectangle.
  5. Cut each rectangle in half, and then cut crosswise into 12 strips (you will have 48 strips in all).
  6. With palms of hands, roll each strip 4 inches long. Form into a ring or pretzel shape, pinch to seal.
  7. Place on cookie sheets and brush with egg white beaten with 1 TBSP water.
  8. Make topping: Combine almonds with sugar. Sprinkle over tops of cookies .
  9. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes til golden brown. Remove to wire rack to cool

Top Five Cookie Baking Essentials:: Tiered Backing Rack

Wilton Excelle Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack for Cookies, Cakes and More
Wilton Excelle Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack for Cookies, Cakes and More
This space saving wire rack cools the cookies quickly and keeps their shape. When baking dozens of cookies, or layered cakes, etc. this saves space and cools baked goods nicely.

Chocolate Walnut Sensations

  • Dough:
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp.baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp.salt
  • 3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels(divided)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In small bowl mix flour,baking soda and salt; set aside
  3. In large mixer bowl,beat brown sugar,butter, and vanilla til creamy
  4. Beat in egg;gradually add flour mixture;
  5. Stir in the Chocolate morsels and the walnuts
  6. Spread into greased 9 inch baking pan. Bake for 23-25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining cup of morsels, let soften and spread evenly over top. Garnish with some coarsely chopped walnuts.
  8. Cool; chill briefly in refrigerator and cut into 2 x 1 1/2 inch bars.
magic cookie bars
magic cookie bars

Magic Cookie Bars

OK- this one gets baked anytime. It tastes like a candy bar, but better.


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 (6 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 3 1/2 oz.(1 can)flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In 13x9 in. baking pan, melt butter
  2. Sprinkle crumbs over butter;pour sweet. cond. milk evenly over crumbs.
  3. Top evenly with layer of coconut, then chocolate morsels, then nuts; press down gently.
  4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes til lightly browned. Cool thoroughly before cutting into bars.
  5. These store well if you can keep them long enough!

Hungarian Pastries (Kifli) - tender cream chease dough, delicious fillings

This was given to me by a friend. Fast, easy, rich, delicious.


  • An 8 oz. block of cream cheese
  • 2 sticks butter(1 cup)
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • Apricot preserves


  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together with large spoon.
  2. Add flour, mix and roll out thin. Cut into rectangles or use circle cookie cutter
  3. Fill rounds with spoonful of jam. Pinch closed and place on ungreased cookie sheet
  4. Bake at 350 F. til golden (10 min.?) Don't overbake, adjust time to your oven.
  5. Cool.Turn over in confectioners sugar to coat.


Recipes that call for softened butter or cream cheese simply mean that the stick is at the temperature of a warm kitchen, it does not mean to melt it, or liquefy.

Linzer Squares
Linzer Squares

Linzer Squares - this cookie is so worth it!

Rich and very delicate, my dad's favorite!


  • 1 1/2 cups +2 Tblspn.unsifted flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. dbl.act. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 oz.) ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup butter (or marg.)
  • 1 Tblsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup thick raspberry jam
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp.water


  1. Heat oven to 375.F. Grease 9 in. square pan.
  2. In large mixer bowl add 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nuts, and butter. Mix til well-combined. Add lemon peel and egg, stir til ingredients are moistened.
  3. Reserve 1/2 cup dough. Pat remaining dough into pan and set aside.
  4. To reserve dough add 2 Tblsp. flour. Roll between two sheets of waxed paper into 9 in. square. Freeze for 5 minutes to firm.
  5. Spread jam over dough in pan leaving a 1/4 in. border.
  6. Take reserve dough, peel paper off and cut into 18 strips 1/2 in. wide. Make lattice top with 9 strips parallel and 9 crosswise over the top.
  7. Stir egg yolk and water together in small bowl; brush strips. Bake 30 minutes until top is golden brown.
  8. Cool completely, cut into 36 little squares. About 95 calories each.

I Never Have Too Many Cookie Recipe Books!

Cookbooks yield great cookie recipes
Cookbooks yield great cookie recipes
vintage Betty Crocker
vintage Betty Crocker

Finding Good Recipes

Old fashioned, Tested Recipes

Once I had baked for a few years, it became apparent from looking at a recipe whether it was a winner or not. Before that I tried many and collected from old recipe books and magazines. I still buy cookie recipe magazines every year.A few good ones were handed to me from friends, including both my Kifli recipes.

I think a wonderful gift for a new bride or for someone who likes to bake would be a cookie collection written out in a pretty recipe book. I think I should do that for my children this coming Christmas!

Jam Crescents

Another cream cheese dough- this time with jam filling


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tabelspoons sourcream
  • 3/4 cup preserves, (your choice of fruit) for filling


  1. Mix flour with sugar and salt. cut in the cream cheese and butter to crumbs, like cornmeal.
  2. Stir in sour cream with fork until dough holds together, form into ball.
  3. Wrap and chill for an hour.
  4. Heat oven to 325F and grease 2 cookie sheets. Work 1/4 dough at a time.
  5. Roll dough into 10'' square on floured surface, then cut into medium size circles. Place 1 teaspoon filling in center of each circle.
  6. Moisten fold, seal, prick top. Bake for 18-20 minutes until light brown

Mrs. Janssen's Pecan Drops - rich, easy, delicious

One of the easiest Christmas cookies I bake- the whole pecans on top make them special.

This recipe can be doubled.


  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • pecan halves one per cookie


  1. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar. Stir in flour and chopped pecans.
  2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla; beat until mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Drop by heaping 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet- about 1 inch apart.
  4. Press pecan half into each cookie.
  5. Bake in preheated 300F oven until rich golden brown, about 23-25 minutes. Remove at once to wire rack. Cool.

Chocolate Cherry Squares - with the taste of chocolate cheesecake

This came from an old Hershey cocoa ad, years ago. It won't keep long without refrigeration, but it is too yummy not to have on hand.


  • 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 8 oz. cream cheese-softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. 1/2 cup chopped candied red cherries
  • candied red cherry halves for each square


  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, and butter (cut into chunks) in large mixer bowl.
  2. Blend on low speed to form fine crumb, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in nuts.
  3. Reserve 3/4 cup of crumb mixture for topping; press remaining crumbs into ungreased 9 inch square pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes @ 350F until lightly browned.
  5. Combine cream cheese, sugar, cocoa, milk, egg, and vanilla in small mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Fold in chopped cherries.
  6. Spread mixture over warm crust. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over top; garnish with cherry halves evenly over the surface.
  7. Return to oven and continue to bake for 25 minutes @ 350F until lightly browned and filling is set.
  8. Cool. Cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.

Everyone Recommends This Mixer - The KitchenAid

For good reason, everyone has this mixer on their list! If you don't' have one yet, I think you should add a Kitchen Aid Mixer to your list of essentials- add it to your wish lists and give hints for holidays and birthdays until you get one. It will make you very happy if you are a person who bakes and cooks anything needing mixing. I can't hype it enough. This mixer is solid, dependable and comes in professional sizes if you have dreams of baking or cooking on a large scale.

It is easy to keep clean, and the design works and looks good. There is a reason it is the top of the line in mixers.

I can vouch for all the good things people say about it, because one of my sons bougt me one for Christmas a number of years ago. It has been terrific to work with and I especially like the way it whips cream and does dough for my sweet rolls.

I also use the meat grinder attachment to make fresh cranberry relish.

A Kitchen Workhorse

KitchenAid K45SSWH, White
KitchenAid K45SSWH, White
This is the mixer I own, and it is a sufficient size for all my needs. I love the way it is sleekly designed and utterly dependable. I use the grinder attachment, and the mixing blades are easy to change out.

Christmas or any time - write your greetings here

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    • sarahspradlin profile image

      Sarah Spradlin 

      3 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      I mentioned your recipe in my article!

      Here is the link!

    • sarahspradlin profile image

      Sarah Spradlin 

      3 years ago from Little Rock, Arkansas

      If you don't mind, I would like to add your link to an article about Christmas that I'm working on. I will of course give you credit. : ) I'll take it down if it's a problem.

    • Frischy profile image


      8 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      The cookies look delicious. I love your vintage cookbooks. And, your intro pic is just delightful! Nicely done lens!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great lens! You gave me lots of great Christmas cookie ideas. Blessed by a squid angel :)

    • lucybrz1 profile image


      9 years ago

      I eat too much sugar. Better I don't copy paste your recipes. but they look delicious.

    • Ilonagarden profile imageAUTHOR

      Ilona E 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      @Psycho-Gamer: The lens is pretty new and people tend to want to bake cookies during the colder months maybe. I'm glad you are trying the recipes, because they are really good ones- a bit fancy sometimes, but worth the time to make. Freeze them and you don't have to eat all at once;)

    • Psycho-Gamer profile image


      9 years ago from Earth

      i am really surprised how is it possible people not to show some love for such an excellent lens....don't they like cookies ?.....u r killing me girl....every time i visit your food lenses i write down the recipes the ingredients and make the resipes.....i ll get fat if i do not be careful

      brilliant lens...


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