Christmas Cookies

Every year, as many families, we like to make Christmas cookies. My sister and I were quite young when we first started making them on our own and it's been our special tradition ever since. I remember how we used to rub flour onto our cheeks to make it look like we had been working so hard in the kitchen. Now my sister has a little girl who helps to make them and a little boy who helps to eat them!

I can't even tell you where this recipe came from. My mom had it written on a tattered piece of paper and I copied it down from her. She may have gotten it from my grandmother who may have gotten it from her grandmother (or from the back of the Crisco container...I guess we'll never know!)

We only make these once a year because, for some reason, cut out cookies seem like a huge deal to us. It takes us hours and hours to make them, which probably has more to do with us talking and eating raw cookie dough than actually making the cookies. Nonetheless, it's a happy tradition that we look forward to all year!

Christmas Cutout Cookies

  1. First, blend together 6 cups of sifted flour, 1 tbsp of salt, and 2 1/3 cups of Crisco (shortening) using a pastry blender or two butter knives (use the butter knives to slice through the ingredients and mix them together).
  2. Then, take 2 cups of the mixture you made above and add 3/4 cups of sugar, 1 tsp of baking powder, and 1/4 cup of flour. Next, blend in 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla.
  3. Roll out the dough (don't chill it, use immediately) and use cookies cutters to cut out different shapes. Re-roll the dough that's left after you cut out the shapes and try to make as many more shapes as you can (We always feel this tremendous sense of accomplishment when we re-roll it enough times to have only a little teeny bit of dough left over).
  4. If you are using sprinkles, put them on the cookies now (before they bake). Bake at 375 degrees for somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes. We never remember how long they take to bake and just try to keep an eye on them (which usually means that the first batch gets a little "brown"). After they cool, decorate with icing or whatever else is edible.
  5. Continue using the first mixture you made to make batches of dough (by adding the sugar, baking powder, flour, egg, and vanilla).
There are a few cookies recipes we make every year that are close to our hearts. Peanut Blossoms are a classic cookie recipe that we got from our Aunt Wendy. I always make Spritz cookies for me and my Mom because we love them with coffee! I can't remember where I got the recipe for Spritz cookies, but there are about a million versions online. You need to have a cookie press to make Spritz cookies and they can be purchased very inexpensively at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond or Amazon.

Peanut Blossoms
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 14 oz. bag of Hershey kisses
  • Extra sugar for rolling
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the Hershey kisses and extra sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Mix on the lowest speed until dough forms.
  4. Shape the dough into little balls and then roll into extra sugar.
  5. Put on an ungreased cookie sheet (I like to bake mine on parchment paper). Bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
  6. While they are baking, unwrap the kisses. When you remove the cookies from the oven, immediately press one kiss into each cookie. Let them cool completely and be careful when putting them into a container because the kisses will remain soft for quite a while.
  7. This recipe makes about 8 dozen cookies, but I typically double it at Christmas so that I can give many away.

Classic Spritz Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar (I put it in my mixer for several minutes until it's light and fluffy)
  3. Add the egg, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Beat together well.
  4. Stir together the flour and baking powder and then gradually add to the creamed mixture.
  5. Mix until it's a smooth dough. Don't chill it.
  6. Put the dough into the press and press cookies directly onto the baking sheet. Decorate with sprinkles if desired and then bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove the cookies, cool completely on a baking rack. This recipe makes about 7-8 dozen cookies.
There are lots of other cookie recipes that I've tried and loved, but I'll leave you with one more. In many ways, this is my favorite one because they are so easy and very delicious. I make these all year around and everyone always enjoys them!

Crispy Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 package of yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c water
  • 3 c crisp rice cereal crushed (Rice Krispies)
  • Raspberry or strawberry preserves or Andes mint candies cut in half
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Combine cake mix, oil, egg and water. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Add cereal; mix until well blended.
  3. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. Use thumb to make indentation in each cookie. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of preserves into center of cookie. (Or place 1/2 of mint candy in center of each cookie).
  4. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies 1 minute on baking sheet; remove from baking sheet to wire wrack to cool completely. Makes 3 dozen cookies.

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