Deck the halls, trim the boughs, it’s Christmas time again! Most families have a host of Christmas traditions, new and old. Some families take pride in outdoor decorations, some love to create handmade gifts, while others are creating new traditions with every passing season. One Christmas tradition, however, is almost universal: cookie baking. Baking Christmas cookies for parties, friends, or as gifts is a timeless tradition. Baking brings families together and can create memories that last for decades. To that end, we’ve found 14 Christmas cookie recipes you can share to further the tradition.
1. Christmas crinkle cookies
A tradition that goes in and out of style is Christmas caroling. Christmas carols are songs centering on the Christmas story. The songs are traditionally sung and played on and around the Christmas season or in department stores after Halloween. While we may be sick of hearing the piped-in Christmas songs by the time Christmas Day rolls around, the tradition of going door-to-door singing the carols doesn’t get old. For some, caroling is a special gift to bring to family and friends around the month of December. One of our Thanksgiving team members enjoys the special carol visit by some friends. The friend prepares a goodie and some “snow” (cotton balls) and goes around house by house, showering her loved ones with song and treats.
Perhaps you’re not one for caroling, but don’t skip the baking tradition. Nothing brings the family together like holiday baking. However, the process of baking can be quite daunting for busy parents. Maybe you’ve forgotten about the kid’s bake sale or need a quick dozen to bring to a friend for dessert. Whatever your need, this recipe for Christmas crinkle cookies is to the rescue. Crinkle cookies are traditionally made with chocolate dough, then rolled in powdered sugar. When the cookie is baked, the chewy cookie has a gentle coating that cracks when the cookie expands during the baking process.
This Christmas crinkle cookie recipe from the Suburban Mom calls for a box cake mix and food coloring to make these festive cookies. Simply combine the white cake mix with two eggs and beat together. Then divide the dough in half, and color the dough in red and green. The dough should be chilled, then rolled in powdered sugar, and then baked for a measly 10 minutes. They come out soft, yet with a crackly shell. With simple ingredients and easy directions, you’ll have plenty of time to warm up those vocal cords.
2. Raspberry-filled Christmas tree cookies
Just like cookie baking, Christmas traditions usually include decorating the tree. Tree decorating is a German tradition brought over to America by immigrants. The process of decorating the tree is a sacred tradition for many. The very basic decisions are made by tradition in this oh-so-important symbol of Christmas. Do you get a real tree or boxed? If boxed, do you string the lights yourself? Or do you buy it pre-lit? Even ornaments have their own tradition: family heirlooms? Or homemade every year? Or do they match beautifully like a department store? And what about tinsel and popcorn garland? Should we even bother to ask?
Personally, we like a boxed tree, pre-lit with LED lights (the colors change!), with family heirloom ornaments. No tinsel, a bit too messy for our taste, but garland is fine. Of course, that is our tradition, not right or wrong. Family traditions aren’t worth arguing; they just exist to bring family together during this special time of year.
One thing we won’t argue, though, is that this raspberry-filled Christmas tree cookie recipe is sure to be a family favorite. This recipe is based off the Austrian linzertorte, but uses a sugar cookie base, rather than a linzer dough, which has ground almonds and lemon zest. This recipe for raspberry-filled Christmas tree cookies from Queen of My Kitchen is a delicious way to get the whole family involved. After rolling out the cookie dough to 1/16-inch thickness, have the kids help by cutting out tree shapes. Use a drinking straw to punch holes into half the cookies. Once the cookies are baked and cooled, spread a thin layer of raspberry preserves onto the solid half and top with a decorative tree. These sweet treats won’t last very long, but the memory and tradition will live on.
3. Candy cane kiss cookies
Some Christmas traditions occur out of doors. Our friends in the Northeast, Midwest, and Northern states have a delightful tradition of building snowmen and snow angels with the fresh snow fall. The winter activities of ice skating, sledding, and skiing are all fun Christmastime traditions.
But when it’s time to bring in those flushed cheeks, freezing hands, and wet boots from the cold, have a plate of these candy cane kiss cookies ready for your loved ones. From Sally’s Baking Addiction, these recipes for vanilla candy cane kiss cookies and for chocolate crinkle candy cane kiss cookies will keep the fun going and fill hungry stomachs.
For the vanilla cookies, Sally’s recipe uses a firm vanilla sugar cookie dough, rolls it in festive sprinkles, and bakes it. You will need a firm dough, but it does not need to be chilled. Firm dough means that the cookie will blossom around the kiss once it is pressed into the cookie. Once the cookie is baked, allow the cookie to cool for about 5 minutes and press the candy cane kiss into the dough. Then freeze the sheet of cookies or the kiss might melt.
For the chocolate crinkle cookies, the dough does need to be chilled or it won’t blossom. Otherwise the directions are the same. The availability of candy cane kisses is limited to around Christmastime, so grab a bag or two once you see them. These cookies will taste great with chocolate kisses, but the candy cane ones have a perfect blend of creamy white chocolate and candy cane crunch. However, if you can’t find the candy cane kisses, simply add a bit of peppermint essence to the doughs and use a chocolate kiss.
This is one cookie we hope will become tradition.
4. Christmas monster cookies
A best-loved Christmas tradition is decorating the outside of the house. Nothing gets us into the holiday spirit like Christmas lights and decorations. Pulling out rolls and rolls of lights to decorate may test our patience, but when it’s all done, the carefully strung twinklers bring joy for the entire season. We love to pull out the inflatable Christmas Mickey Mouse, knowing kids of all ages will smile a little. Decorating the outside can be elaborate, a la Clark Griswold, or as simple as sticking in one of those laser light displays.
Another fun tradition is driving around to look at decorated homes around the city. We get as much joy from simple décor as we do from the crazy music-synched whole-house display. While some may prefer the simple wooden nativity scene to the ornate professionally done shows, the Christmas tradition of outdoors Christmas decorations will live on.
And just like we love those crazy hodgepodge Christmas displays, you’ll love these equally outstanding Christmas monster cookies. From Lemon Tree Dwelling, these monster cookies have it all, plus Christmas. This cookie starts with a peanut butter cookie base, which is then baked. Once the cookies are cooled, the party starts. Each cookie gets a layer of peanut butter, a crushed peanut butter cup, 8-10 red and green M&Ms, and a drizzle of chocolate ganache. These cookies are crazy good and crazy rich. This tasty and elaborate cookie is what we all need this year for Christmas, but like light displays, who is to say when it is too much?
5. Italian holiday cookies
For countless people, Christmas is a difficult time. It is our hope that Christmastime evokes feelings of compassion and gentleness toward the downtrodden. In that spirit, some families have a tradition of serving at soup kitchens during the cold month of December. Others collect small toys, games, and toiletries to send to children in need. Still more people participate in toy drives like Toys for Tots.
Organizations and employers also get into the giving game over Christmastime too. Adopt-a-family is a way for larger groups to help entire families by providing Christmas gifts and gift cards.
While the charitable acts centering around Christmas are lovely and important, when we volunteer our time and money, we reap a special gift of peace, joy, and contentment. We here at Thanksgiving.com hope you’ll make a tradition out of giving and serving others during this season.
Create a tradition of giving out goodies along with your gifts to charity this year. A plate of cookies for the office staff, for the parish priest, or for the teachers at your children’s schools are a terrific way to share warmth and love this holiday season. For a delicious, yet easy, holiday cookie, try this Italian holiday cookie from Budget Bytes. A simple butter cookie is chilled, then rolled in shredded coconut, and then topped with a bit of jelly. This recipe calls for apricot jelly, but you can substitute in raspberry, strawberry, or blackberry jams. Then the cookies are baked. We hope you’ll make up a bunch to share this Christmas.
6. Swig sugar cookies
Christmas traditions can be fun, lovely, heartwarming, and — let’s not forget — delicious. The traditions that combine food with family are usually the ones that get passed. Generations of families have baked, frosted, cooked, peeled, and roasted together in preparation of Christmas.
Generations of immigrants have brought over cooking and baking traditions to pass on. People of Polish origins make pierogies before Christmas. Italian descendants have a traditional meal of 12 fishes on Christmas Eve. The Mexican tradition of tamales is one of our favorites. Suffice to say, Christmastime is the best time for cooking and baking with family.
For a new and tantalizing tradition, try these Swig sugar cookies from Thanksgiving.com. Recreated from the award-winning Swig soda shop based in Utah, these sugar cookies are deceptively easy, yet perfectly sweet and creamy. They start with your basic sugar cookie recipe, which is then rolled out and cut. Instead of smooth cookie cutter edges, the Swig sugar cookies have a unique uneven edge created by using a small juice glass to make a divot in the top. Once the cookies are cooked and cooled, they are frosted. The secret ingredient to the frosting is sour cream, giving these cookies the perfect tangy balance to the sweet sugar cookie dough. You can dye the frosting red and green for the festive Christmas season. These cookies will become a family favorite for years to come.
No matter the tradition, Christmas is a time to gather the family close, lean a little more into each other’s lives, and share a treat with those closest to you. With the Swig sugar cookie, your loved ones will linger a little longer.
Want more? Check out these other Christmas cookies recipes