Around the Holidays, there are many food-centric traditions, which is one of the reasons they’re so great. Who doesn’t love to eat? One such tradition that we love are Christmas cookies. Whether they transport you back to sneaking a fresh cookie off the tray at your grandma’s house or waking up to see if Santa cleared the cookie plate when he stopped by your house on Christmas Eve, Christmas cookies have a special place in this holiday. While it’s certainly possible to make and enjoy healthier versions of the cookies we all know and love, there are some classics that aren’t the easiest to make lite. They still deserve some love and recognition, though!
Christmas cookies are often a generational thing, with family-specific cookies and recipes being passed down from one generation to the next. But, if you’re not a baker or are just starting to get into cookie-making, we’ve got you covered. Here are three different Christmas cookies you can’t go without for the Holidays!
Classic Sugar Cookies
More often than not, when you think of Christmas cookies, you’re thinking about the classic sugar cookies in fun, festive shapes. These are the cookies left on plates with milk for Santa or brought to holiday parties in decorative tins. This is partially because they’re easy to make, but also because they’re easy to shape and decorate for the season. If you’ve never made cookies before, they’re a great place to start!
Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 2 eggs
- 2 ½ cups of sugar
- 1 ½ cups of softened unsalted butter
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp of salt
- 5 cups of flour
- 1 ½ tsp of baking powder
- Add softened butter and sugar to a bowl and cream it with a mixer (thoroughly combined for the non-bakers).
- Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and slowly mix the dry flour mixture into the wet egg mixture.
- Cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- On a clean, floured surface, place the chilled dough and roll it into sheets at your desired thickness with a rolling pin. The thinner your sheet is, the crispier your cookies will be, while the thicker they are, the softer they will be. Don’t go thicker than ¼-inch or thinner than 1/8th-inch.
- Using a few festive cookie cutters, cut the cookies out of the dough sheet and gently lay them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper with an inch or two of space between each cookie. You can reroll any unused dough to make more cookies.
- Put the cookies in the oven and bake for between 7 and 10 minutes, or when the cookies begin to turn golden around the edges. Sugar cookies should be fairly light, so you don’t want them to brown much at all.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 3 to 5 minutes until they no longer bend with you try to move them with a spatula. Once you can do this, move them to a cooling rack.
- Once the cookies have cooled, you can store them or decorate them further with icing or store-bought edible decorations (this is a great activity to do with the family and grandkids!).
Many people enjoy gingerbread around the Holidays usually either shaped like little men and women, or constructed into festively decorated gingerbread houses. However you plan to enjoy this Holiday staple, these spicy, warm cookies pack a ton of flavor, which makes them the perfect dessert on a cold winter’s night.
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 2/3 cup of brown sugar
- 2/3 cup of molasses
- 1/2 cup of softened butter
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tsp of ground ginger
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp of ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp of allspice
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- Combine and cream the brown sugar and butter with a mixer before mixing in the molasses.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
- Slowly combine the flour mixture into the wet mixture until it forms a thick dough.
- Cut the dough in half and form them into two balls. Cover the balls tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator anywhere from 3 hours to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Roll out the dough on a floured, clean surface to about 1/4-inch thickness.
- Cut out your cookies with a cookie cutter or knife and place them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. You can roll any unused dough to make more cookies.
- Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, the less you bake them, the softer the cookies will be.
- Remove from the oven to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooking rack.
- Once the cookies are cool, decorate them with frosting or store-bought edible decorations!
Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
Shortbread cookies are great all year-round, especially when dipped in a cup of coffee, but they really shine around the holidays. These buttery, rich cookies are general crowd-pleasers with their simple yet delicious flavor and texture. We can take this a step further while adding a holiday twist by adding a chocolate dip or drizzle and peppermint candies. This simple but sumptuous recipe will be a smash hit at your Christmas parties!
Peppermint Shortbread Cookies Recipe
- 1 cup of softened butter
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 3 cups of all-purpose flour
- A bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Peppermint candies, finely crushed, or peppermint sprinkles, for garnish
- Combine and cream the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl.
- Add in the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Slowly add in the flour and combine completely.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and place on a floured, clean surface.
- Form in the dough into an inch-thick rectangular brick, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove the brick from the refrigerator and place it on a floured cutting board.
- With a sharp knife, slice the brick into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.
- Place the pieces on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle them with sugar.
- Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until the edges of the cookies begin to brown.
- While the cookies are baking, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or bring a pot filled just under halfway with water to a boil, place a metal bowl over the pot (ensuring the water doesn’t touch the pot), and add the chocolate chips. Stir regularly to keep the chocolate chips from burning.
- Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving them to a wired cooling rack.
- When the cookies are cooled, you have two decoration ideas. Either dip the cookies halfway in melted chocolate or drizzle the chocolate over the cookies with a spoon. Dipping is a bit quicker and even while drizzling gives you a bit more precision and artistic opportunity.
- Sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies over the chocolate areas of the cookies before they dry so that the candies stick to the cookies. Allow the chocolate to harden, and you’re done!
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What’s your favorite Christmas cookie? We tried to keep these fairly classic, but there are some really neat and inventive cookies we’ve had over the holidays. If you have a favorite festive cookie you’d like to share, tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to see your suggestions!