Christmas cookies are a staple around the holidays. Whether you love making the elaborate, very fancy cookies, or are looking for quick and easy, there is no doubt that there is a cookie for everyone to enjoy. In my blog The 10 best of December, I mention three cookies that fit into any holiday celebration and are best for the holidays; the sugar cookie, gingerbread cookie, and the Chocolate Reindeer cookie are all traditional favorites and will not disappoint. Now, I want to share these 5 easy Christmas cookie recipes for when you need a simpler solution for the holidays.
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The first cookie is synonymous with Christmas…the Sugar Cookie. This cookie is a repeat as I wrote about it in the 10 Best of Christmas blog. However, in my mind, they are a Christmas staple. It is a great cookie to make when you want to involve the kids, and each cookie can be decorated however you want. In order for the shapes you cut to hold while in the oven, you may want to chill prior to baking them. The best and easiest way to do this is to place them in the freezer for 10 minutes before you place the cookies in the oven. This should help avoid tears when the candy cane turns out like a blob. The nice thing about the sugar cookie dough is that you can make it three days ahead, refrigerate it and then come back and cut your shapes when you are ready to bake and decorate.
You do not want to forget the frosting. There are some great sugar cookie frosting recipes out there, and you will want to pick the one that tastes the best for you. You can use food coloring to make colorful frosting as well as sprinkles and toppings to make a fun colorful cookie when finished.
The second cookie is called Santa’s Trash Cookies. These cookies look delicious and you can put whatever sounds good into the dough. Once you choose your ingredients, stir all the ingredients together and bake them for approximately 10 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on size and thickness of cookies.
You will want to have ingredients like pretzels, sprinkles, or chocolate chips, however, any of these can be substituted with treats that tickle your fancy. You could even try potato chips, pretzels and graham crackers. Of course, the chocolate chips could be traded for white chocolate, dark chocolate, or peanut butter chips. The “trash” gets to be whatever sounds good, hence the name Santa’s Trash cookies. These cookies turnout very colorful and tasty and will no doubt these will be a fan favorite with everyone.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are one of my all time favorite candy bars, so I can guarantee that these cookies are easy to make and are well worth the effort.
Historically the Peanut Butter Blossom cookies have been made with shortening, but in the day and age of trying to be healthy, (we are talking about cookies, right?) other recipes call for butter. The recipe you choose just depends how healthy you want to be but the taste will be about the same using either. An important note while we are talking about being healthy, try to avoid the all natural peanut butters and use good old fashioned Jif or Skippy butter. Your cookies will turn out smoother and creamier.
The Peanut Butter Blossom Cookie is easy to over cook. Believe the recipe when it says only bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overthink it and pull them out when light brown. Another handy tip is to be sure to unwrap the Hershey kisses, whatever flavor you want to go with – milk, dark, peppermint, etc – when you put the cookies in the oven. Once done, you will want to put the kiss in the middle of the cookie while they are warm so unwrapping them ahead of time will expedite this process.
Peanut Butter Blossoms are a fun looking cookie and the Kisses on top are a bonus to the peanut butter yummy-ness that holds them.
The fourth Christmas cookie is the Jam Thumbprint. These are a buttery, shortbread cookie with your favorite flavor of jam in the middle. As with the other cookies, you can make the the thumbprint dough ahead of time. Be sure to refrigerate the dough until you are ready to make them. Making these is a fun family activity and the dough can be pulled out when you need something for the kids to do.
This dough is firm so to make sure it doesn’t crack, roll it into balls until smooth and firm, then gently press your thumb in the center. You can refrigerate before or after you make the thumbprint in the dough, either way is fine. In addition, you can add the jam anytime to the top of the cookie, before or after you bake them. Finally the beauty of the Jam Thumbprint is that you can add any flavor of jam.
These are a great cookie if you are looking to get away from chocolate or rich flavors and will add a light tasting treat during the holidays.
Finally, one of my all time favorites, is the Snowball Cookie. These remind me of the holidays when I was growing up as my mom made these every year. This cookie is a delicious alternative to the traditional Christmas cookie. They do include nuts, so be careful with allergies in the house. Of course you can leave nuts out, but in my humble opinion, they taste better when included; you can also add chocolate chips.
You will want to stock up on powdered sugar for these, and a cooling rack is very helpful. Once baked, you will sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies while they are cooling. Place Saran wrap or waxed paper on the counter top and under the cooling rack so the powdered sugar does not make a mess. However, I promise you, the mess is 100% worth it as the finished product is delicious. They melt in your mouth and are a non-traditional cookie for the holidays.
The Snowball Cookie looks great on any cookie plate, adding diversity and dimension to the flat cookies mentioned above.
This holiday season, be sure to stock up on flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, and vanilla. These staples will get you through most of the recipes mentioned above. There are so many other scrumptious Christmas cookies you can make, but the 5 Easy Cookies I wrote about are great go-to’s for the holiday season. Do not forget to check each recipe prior to starting for specific ingredients that you need in addition.
I hope whichever cookies you decide to make are delicious and allow you quality time with your loved ones.
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