Favorite Christmas Cookies

Over the years, I have collected many favorite Christmas cookie recipes. They make great gifts for school teachers and friends.  One year I added decorated cut-out cookies to our Christmas tree decorations. Alas, they mischievously disappeared a few at a time. It’s baking time again, here are a few of my favorites.

Plate of Christmas Cookies - IMG_1009_1

These reindeer look a little sad in this photo, but they really are quite cute. They are fun to give for gifts–the recipient is always delighted–and the cookies really taste great, too.

When my children were growing up, we always had an afternoon project of making cut-out sugar cookies and decorating them during the holiday season. It was a creative activity that my children and their friends enjoyed. I iced the cookies with a confectioner’s sugar icing and we decorated them with all kinds of sprinkles and colored sugar. My son first got his interest in cooking during these sessions which he has continued into his college years and beyond. This is the greatest gift you could ask for.

TOSHIBA Exif JPEGFavorite Christmas Cookies

I like to try different variations of cookies and bars each year, especially those with a creative twist. Many of the recipes are from the special interest magazines that fill the book racks. I keep the best magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookies and Candies. Every recipe in this magazine is a winner, and surprisingly, it can still be purchased at amazon.com and other used bookstore sites. It gives some of the best instructions for making candy that I have found.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies and variations are my some of my favorites. I didn’t think that the Toll House Chocolate Chip recipe on the Hershey’s chocolate chip bag could be beat. Then our newspaper ran an article which included a chocolate chip cookie recipe with molasses made by Roland Mesnier, the pastry chef at the White House, beginning with President Carter. The chef retired in 2006–the longest serving chef at the White House. The recipe can be found in his cookbook, “Dessert University.” It is delicious, the molasses adds a spicy flavor.

Easy One Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I have come up with my own chocolate chip cookie recipe. It is quick and easy to mix up by hand and makes a small batch–two dozen cookies. It uses soft tub margarine which makes the dough easy to mix. I like to use good quality chocolate chips (not imitation ones) such as Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips for the best flavor.

For baking cookies, every oven is different and using a dark baking sheet gives different results than a shiny one or insulated sheet. So it is important to watch cookies carefully as they are baking and to get to know how your oven bakes.

Easy One Bowl Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 24 large cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup soft tub margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Instructions and Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, combine margarine, sugar and molasses and stir with wooden spoon until well combined.
  3. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue to stir to combine.
  4. In separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda and salt together.
  5. Add flour mixture and chocolate chips to the dough and stir until just mixed in.
  6. Drop teaspoons of cookie dough onto baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 6-8 minutes until bottoms are brown and center is just set.
  8. Let cool on cookie sheet and then remove, cool completely and store in airtight container.

Reindeer Sugar Cookies

The Reindeer Sugar Cookies recipe comes from one of the special interest magazines, AllYou, which I store on a the same shelf so I can find the recipe every year. It has become one of my most “favorite” cookies. The salty pretzels for the antlers give a nice contrast to the sweet cookie. The recipe also includes orange zest, lemon juice and chocolate icing. All the flavors blend together; it is quite a good cookie–even without the reindeer concept. This cookie recipe can be found on the internet at: myrecipes.com/recipe/reindeer-sugar-cookies

The process of decorating the cookies takes time; so find some good music and an hour or so of free time. What am I listening to? An old bluegrass C.D. that I found on my shelf by Blue Highway: “Still Climbing Mountains”. How appropriate.

The dough is very crumbly. Let it chill in the refrigerator. Then remove it, work it with your hands until it warms up and form the dough into balls of 2 Tbsp. Then use your palm to flatten each one into 3-inch rounds.

Reindeer Sugar Cookie Dough - IMG_0985_1

Bake the cookies until just brown on the edges. After the cookies cool only a few minutes, cut them into quarters and let cool completely.

Baked Sugar Cookies - IMG_0988_1

Get all the ingredients together for decorating the cookies–pretzels, yogurt pretzels, M&N’s and yogurt-covered raisins (the recipe uses white jelly beans.) For icing, I used 1 cup of melted mini-chocolate chips. Decorate a few cookies at a time since the chocolate dries quickly. This recipe makes 48 reindeer cookies (assuming no cookies are broken in the decorating process).

Decorating Cookies - IMG_0990_1

Here are a few of the finished cookies.

More Reindeer Sugar Cookies - IMG_0998_1

Orange Sour Cream Cookies

This recipe is adapted from an old cookbook, “Granddaugter’s Inglenook Cookbook”, published in 1942. Good recipes are timeless. This is a soft sugar cookie. The sour cream adds some tartness and the orange zest gives an interesting contrast. The cookie is not so sweet making a nice contrast to other rich-Christmas cookies.

Sour Cream Orange Cookies - IMG_1016_1

Orange Sour Cream Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest from fresh orange
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice, from fresh orange
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Icing Ingredients

  • 1 tsp orange zest from fresh orange
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, more if needed
  • orange sprinkles

Method and Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large mixing bowl of electric mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on high speed until soft and blended.
  3. Add orange zest, orange juice, eggs and vanilla extract and continue to beat on high speed until creamy.
  4. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. On low speed, add flour alternately with sour cream to batter in mixing bowl, beginning and ending with flour. Do not over-mix.
  6. Place in refrigerator and chill for one hour or more.
  7. Drop by large spoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes until bottoms of cookies are just brown.
  9. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheets. Remove and cool completely.
  10. For icing, blend orange zest, orange juice and 1 Tbsp with milk with 1 cup powdered sugar. Whip with a spoon until creamy. Add additional milk, if needed, by small spoonfuls to get the proper consistency. If needed add a few spoons of powdered sugar. The icing should strand slowly when poured from a spoon.
  11. Spread the icing onto each cookie and immediately add orange sprinkles.
  12. Store in an airtight container.

Used with Permission from the Brethren Publishing House, Elgin, Illinois. adapted from “Sour Cream Cookies” in “Grandaughter’s Inglenook Cookbook” 1942. page 55. at cookbook.http://inglenookcookbook.org/

Plate of Christmas Cookies - 2 - IMG_1006_1This year, enjoy some fun Christmas cookies!  And the best gifts are something homemade; from the heart.

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