Saturday, December 14, 2019

Five Christmas Cookie Recipes I Love!

If I wasn't dealing with a broken oven, I would be baking up a storm right now.  (Yes, less than one week after the broken furnace, and since it is a vintage '60s oven, original to the house, repair isn't easy.) Not long ago I wrote about the Southern Exposure cookie workshop I went to and said it was great fun but I still liked some of my cookie recipes better. (Hopefully by the time this posts, the oven will be back in service!)

Well, don't you love your own the most? Now and then, a super-duper new recipe pops up that becomes part of the repertoire, but there are still the favorites.

So, blogger Mae asked me about some of my favorites and I decided to share a few recipes with you. Some might feel familiar, some are variations on a theme. In any event, enjoy! (Cue the music -- this is a good one!)

My Favorite Go-To Shortbread

The photo shows it dressed for Easter. But at Christmas you might find a bit of colored sugars topping these. Or a dab of buttercream. I might add some dried cranberries or mini chocolate chips or Heath bar chips. And my favorite any-time-of-year version is just a lemon juice/powdered sugar glaze --  either dropped into the center or drizzled over the top.

This recipe makes about 3 dozen if you use a small scoop (about the size of a melon baller or a bit larger). They also freeze like a dream. Best of all, you have all the ingredients -- I bet you do!

300 degrees for 15-18 minutes, till edges are golden.

Cream 2 sticks soft butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
2 c. flour (1 c. at a time)
(You can also add cranberries, decorating sprinkles, mini-chips, or other bits for a different look)

Put in balls on cookie sheet and gently press with fingertips or flat of a spoon. Bake till edges are golden and cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack. I will sometimes glaze these, too.

Cousin Bonnie's Jingle Bells

These are Jingle Balls before they have their second dipping of powdered sugar.

You may well have your own version of these little pecan balls -- Snowballs, Italian Wedding Cake, Mexican Wedding Cookies. The names and recipes may vary slightly. What doesn't? The taste!

This recipe makes about five to eight dozen, depending on how small you make them. And the secret to making them so delicious is the double dipping in the powdered sugar -- first, right when warm from the oven and then again when they are cooled.

350 -- about 20 minutes

2 c. flour
2 c. chopped pecans
2 softened sticks of butter
4 T. sugar
2 t. vanilla

Make into tiny balls and bake. Roll in powdered sugar while hot and again when they cool. 

Minty Clouds

My friend Carolyn Parshall would never share her recipe for what she called Melting Moments. Then one day my pal Kate found the recipe for this on the back of the cornstarch box! Kate calls them Mint Meltaways. I call them Minty Clouds. Because you've gotta claim your own!

These have limited sugar and you use powdered sugar instead of regular granulated. They're very light and indeed, they do melt away! Frost with buttercream.

350 degrees.

1 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. peppermint extract
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cornstarch

Mix and refrigerate a half hour. Then  do one-inch balls two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets or parchment. Bake 12-15 minutes till edges lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on sheet and remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 T soft butter
1 to 2 T. milk (add gradually)
1/4 t. peppermint extract

Frost and if you want, add crushed peppermints or candy canes.

Drum Kickers

I shared this recipe long ago here. It came from one of my former bosses who said it was his German grandmother. It's a gently spicy brown sugar cookie that can be cut into long or short "fingers" and either served plain or with a drizzle glaze. When he brought them to the office they were gone in a flash.

As you can see from the photo, this one makes a lot. It calls for Lyle's Golden Syrup, which is common in England and not as common here. I have had luck finding it at World Market and some specialty food stores or online. You may be able to substitute Karo syrup for this -- but I haven't tried it and take no responsibility if it doesn't pan out with Karo!

I liked Kent's instructions -- they had great character (like Kent), as you shall see!

A couple of things about this recipe. It calls for vanilla powder and vanilla sugar. I'm told you can find it at World Market and I would guess at specialized food stores or possibly King Arthur. But I didn't have it. So I used a little more vanilla. It tasted fine to me.

And Kent's didn't call for icing but I think an icing glaze always looks pretty, especially at the holidays so mine is basically thinned out powdered sugar, milk, butter and vanilla to a "pouring" level.

Kent's Drumkickers

Cream 1 c. butter (softened)

(Kent's Note: I only use real butter, not margarine or Crisco. They don't turn out as well if you don't use real butter. And besides -- you're supposed to use real butter! Generation after generation of plump German Fraus can't be wrong.)

1 c. vanilla sugar (or regular if you can't find)
2 T. Lyle's Golden Syrup (OK, maybe 3 T if you like really sweet)

Beat vigorously

2 c. flour
1 t. soda
3 T. vanilla powder (you can substitute an equal amount of vanilla)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. I'd recommend parchment paper. Roll dough into a four "logs" that are about one in in diameter or square and about 12 inches long, give or take. They will flatten out, so give them room on a cookie sheet (see photo below to see how it flattens.) It works to do three lengthwise and one across the width of the pan. Bake 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 3-5 minutes on cookie sheet. Cut baked logs into strips while on cookie sheet. You could also use a deep cookie cutter but there is likely to be spoilage.

(Since I glaze them, I drizzle the glaze after they've cooled but still on the cookie sheet).

The rest of Kent's Instructions:

  • Dough is thick compared to cookies like chocolate chip and log size approximate.
  • I sift the flour but I don't know that this recipe really benefits from it.
  • Liberal applications of Schnapps (brandy, port or riesling may be substituted) for the chef during the baking seems to help the results, I find. Or perhaps just make the results easier to accept. It easily makes a double batch or two full cookie sheets.

 The Good Old Fashioned Christmas Cookie!

I make these every year and on Christmas Eve with the kids, whichever day that falls on, we decorate them. We've been doing it since they were small, first for Santa, with the rest used for Christmas dinner dessert and given away.

I'm hoping this year we can introduce the tradition to at least one Baby Grand! 


2 1/2 sticks of butter
1 c. sugar
(Cream together till fluffy and add:)

1 large egg (I used extra large and it was fine)
1 T. milk (I didn't have milk -- used water, it was fine)
2 1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. finely grated lemon zest (I just did the whole lemon because I like them lemony; this is an optional ingredient)

Add (mixed together)
3 1/4 flour (all purpose)
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Mix ingredients together and divide in half.

Roll each half out flat between two sheets of waxed paper and chill a half hour.

Peel off top layer of waxed paper and cut cookies, rerolling dough scraps.

If the dough gets too soft, roll flat again between waxed paper and re-chill.

Repeat for the second half.

Bake on parchment or greased sheets at 375 for 6 to 9 minutes. (If using sugars vs. icing, put on before baking) Cool on baking sheet for a minute or two before removing.

Cool on baking rack before frosting.

You probably have your favorite buttercream or frosting recipe. I frost with my trash can version of butter cream -- about a half stick of butter, up to 1 T. of milk (depending on how much powdered sugar -- I just throw it in) and about 1 t. of vanilla or -- if desired -- another flavor. I used lemon juice with these -- about 1 T., because I like it tart! (Or peppermint or whatever you like. Maraschino cherry juice is good too, and tints the icing at the same time!)

Adjust consistency with more sugar or milk.

Note: This recipe makes a lot of cookies and the dough will freeze, so you could bake off half of it, which is probably easier than making a half-recipe. It all depends on the size of your cutters. This cutter from Rita is extra large (as are some Christmas cutters) but many are much smaller.

Add toppings. Lots of them!

And then wait for Santa!

(Miss any of my Christmas posts? Check the tab on the menu bar at the top of the blog, where Christmas 2019 is archived!)

Sharing with:    Pink Saturday    /    Let's Keep in Touch     /    Share Your Style    /    Best of the Weekend   


Misadventures of Widowhood said...

They all look wonderful and a fun family event to decorate them. I baked cookies last week for the first time in probably 40 years but I ended up eating them all in a few days, so I won't be baking cookies again. I'll confine my baking to scones and bread.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Everyone has their favourites - I love finding out what other people bake! I just posted one of my no-bake recipes this morning, but I still have molasses cookies, gingerbread, and sugar cookies to make as well. Your little grandsons are going to love those cookies! -Jenn

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

To me Christmas cookies equal memories and I see the same is for you. I miss baking cookies with my daughters so much.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I gained 2 kg just looking at the pictures! We don't bake that many cookies in an entire year! In fact, as I think about it, we don't bake any. The two little girls next door used to come over regularly and always wanted a cookie when they were here, but those little girls are becoming big girls and are concerned with weight, acne and other important considerations like that, so cookies are not in big demand any more.

Valerie-Jael said...

They all sound great, I might make those drumkickers, although I am finished with cookie baking - one more sort wouldn't hurt! Have a great weekend, I've been baking Christmas cake and making chocolates here. Hugs, Valerie

eileeninmd said...


It is fun having the whole family there helping to make the cookies, music playing makes it more festive. All the cookies look delicious, I do favor the old fashioned Christmas cookie. Thanks for sharing the recipes. Have a happy day and a great weekend!

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Home made cookies, or biscuits, at Christmas wasn't a thing for me growing up, maybe because we had mince pies. In fact I didn't really associate biscuits with Christmas until I lived in California where I went to my first cookie exchange. My oven now is small, so baking biscuits is time consuming as I can only bake a small tray at a time. Also, if I bake 'em, I eat 'em which is not good. I hope your oven is sorted out now!

~~~Deb in Wales

Joyful said...

Your cookies look delicious. I never actually make cookies for Christmas on a regular basis. I maybe have done is 3x in my life, lol. If I do make a dessert, it is usually some kind of bars (Dream Bars being my favourite). A few years ago I made some chocolate crinkle cookies which were a huge hit with my friend's children and I've been craving some this year. I'm so glad you have a cookie making tradition in which you and your loved ones can participate and bond over. So sorry to hear of the troubles with the furnace and the oven. I hope they get resolved soon. Have fun making cookies!

Evi Erlinda said...

Thank you so much Jeanie!
I got your secrete cookie recipes now!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I've made the Jingle Balls before, but didn't call them that. For me, it was easier to place the pecans in a coffee grinder and give them a few whirls. Then you save your wrists. I've also made sugar cookies, but never rolled them between two pieces of wax paper before. That's a very clever idea, Jeanie.

Thanks for these recipes and tips.

My name is Erika. said...

I was going to bake cookies today but then one of my oldest friends called and we chatted so long I didn't get to it. Tomorrow definitely. I really enjoy seeing these recipes. Those drumkickers look yummy and I have never heard of that recipe. I just hit print so I may be making them tomorrow. If not, next weekend when i do more cookie baking. All yours look so yummy! Hope you are having a good weekend even if you aren't getting to bake cookies. I guess you can tell yourself it helps save some calories, but I am not sure at this time of year that works. Hugs-Erika

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, thank you for sharing your favorite cookie recipes. They all look delicious and a couple I make. Shortbread is a favorite of ours, but I haven’t met a cookie that I don’t like. Hopefully, your oven will be fixed soon.

Victoria Zigler said...

If I didn't already have a load of freshly baked goodies I'm in the process of working my way through eating, I'd so be heading out to the kitchen to bake some of these right now. Especially since most of them require very little adjustment to make them vegan friendly. Excuse me while I steal some of these recipes to add to my own collection, and schedule in some post holiday baking... *wink*

La Table De Nana said...

Thanks for sharing Jeanie!!!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, these look wonderful and many thanks for sharing. I am especially interested in the shortbread cookie. Happy day to you and I do hope your oven if fixed soon.

Pam said...

Oh I love cookies....those all look so nice. Been thinking of making some of my son's fave and send them to him. He loves butter cookies, sugar cookies and his all time fave is choc oatmeal no bake. I have already sent him his gift,a check so after the holidays I will do it as a surprise...

Sandra Cox said...

Oh my, don't these look and sound yummy.
Happy Holidays.

Sandra Cox said...

AND...Thanks for coming by and leaving comments even though I've been MIA. It means a lot.

I need orange said...

Those nut-butter balls (Mexican wedding cake) cookies were on our Christmas list when I was growing up, too. I am not a frosting person -- I discovered I liked them just as well without the powdered sugar as they come out of the oven. I have also tried making a chocolate version (adding cocoa powder, if I recall correctly). Yum. :-)

Now neither my husband nor my daughter like nuts. (I know, right? Not like nuts!??!?!?!?) So I don't make those any more. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeanie! Oh, yummy! Can I just come on over to your house? All of those goodies look so so yummy! Merry Christmas, my frien.d
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Miss Val's Creations said...

These all look delicious Jeanie! I feel inspired to make shortbread cookies now...something I have yet to attempt! We are always making
oatmeal cookies in our house since my husband (me too) LOVES them with tea.

Prims By The Water said...

Yummy cookies. Who doesn't like a good one! Thanks for sharing the recipes.Janice

Iris Flavia said...

A vintage '60s oven, how "cool" is that. Sorry, it is cool, is it...
"Fun" how Germans adapt some words...
Yes, I prefer my own (if hearty) food. You know what´s in there, right.
I love how you look so happy :-)
Oh, I still have one (bought) cookie, but my sweet tooth fell deeply asleep again!

The French Hutch said...

Christmas cookies, aren't they always the best! I was a cooked monster while my son was growing up but slacked off after her left for school. Now about the only time I bake cookies is when our grandson is here. Sometimes I cheat with the slice and bake. Your cookies look amazing!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum! Even though it's before 9am, you've got my mouth watering for some cookies! I know from Facebook that your oven needs to be replaced. Womp womp. There's never a good time for your oven to stop working, but now is an especially crappy time! I am glad you can use Rick's oven, though!

I always make GF sugar cookies for my decorating party. GF dough is extremely finicky, though, so I can't roll them out/cut them into shapes. But we still have fun with round cookies. That's it for Christmas cookies for me, though. Phil is not a big sweet eater so it's not good for me to have lots of cookies around! This year, though, I am making some GF cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. We are having Christmas at our house this year and our MIL will stay with us so I feel like I can make the things I want! I'm also making a chocolate pie for dessert on Christmas day but it's a super easy recipe and I'll buy a GF chocolate crust.

My Wonderfully Made said...

What would we do without butter at Christmas time haha!! I think I've used at least 5 lbs. in baking so far. Your cookies look wonderful and made my mouth water!

Lowcarb team member said...

Christmas is a great time for baking!
I do hope you can share the tradition with at least one Baby Grand this year - that would be so lovely :)

All the best Jan

Marilyn Miller said...

Yes, it does seem like we like our own cookies best, but I must say you have some good ones here. That was a lot of work to write them out for us, thanks! Santa will be a happy guy at your house. Always wondered where to find golden syrup when I have seen it in a recipe. I will be checking out World Market the next time.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

I wasn’t planning on doing any holiday baking, Jeanie, because than there would be the holiday eating of said treats. But, some of these recipes are worth trying after the holidays.

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Thanks, Jeanie. I'm going to try the Christmas cookies..Merry Christmas..xxoJudy

William Kendall said...

My mother would bake a hundred dozen or so for Christmas.

Olka said...

Oh, I wish I could find your post before holidays! :D
They all look so delicious!

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