Attending a cookie exchange? Hosting a holiday party? Need a little something for the neighbors? This time of year, Christmas cookies are a necessity. So, I have ranked on a scale of easy to slightly more difficult – three of my favorite traditional Christmas Cookie recipes. Easy recipes include only using one bowl to mix, and one tin to bake. These treats are so yummy, you will be tempted to bake them year round – which you can do in under 2 hours max, including baking time.
- Maple Shortbread – This is my own recipe, modified from the Joy of Cooking book. It’s simple to a fault, and you will love it!
- Pumpkin Cookies – These drop cookies are full of spices of the season, and when topped with a bit of sugar icing, these will look so fancy without you having to work so hard.
- Soft Gingerbread Cookies (pictured above) – This classic is straight from the Joy of Cooking book, and is classically made into Gingerbread men. For a more grown-up and easy approach, I have modified them by drizzling orange flavored sugar icing over them and garnishing with orange zest.
I know – I haven’t included sugar cookies. *GASP!* The reason is, sugar cookies need to be chilled, rolled, cut out in holiday shapes, and decorated to be charming enough for me to give them away. I’ve even tried drop dough sugar cookies, but they don’t taste as delicate or as delicious as the kind you roll out. Since the best sugar cookie recipes take a lot of time, no sugar cookies made this easy list.
Below are the wonderfully simple recipes to the ranked cookies above. They are fool-proof, and will taste like you went to a lot of trouble making them, when you didn’t. Don’t worry – your secret is safe with me!
Wishing you and yours a warm holiday season,
1 Cup unsalted butter 2 Cups all-purpose flour 1/2 Cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring
Preheat oven to 325.
Cream the butter and maple flavoring until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, powdered sugar and salt into the butter. Blend until incorporated.
Pat the dough into an ungreased 9 x 9-inch pan and press the edges down. Pierce with a fork through the dough every half-inch.
Bake 25-30 minutes and cut into squares while warm.
Preheat oven to 375.
1 Cup unsalted butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
Add and mix well:
1 Cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift together and add to above mixture:
2 Cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Drop cookies onto well-greased cookie sheet and bake about 13 minutes. For added flair, make the simple sugar icing below.
Pumpkin Sugar Icing
Mix 1 Cup powdered sugar, with 4 teaspoons of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Flavored Almond Drink. Add sugar or almond drink to reach desired thickness.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies
1/4 Cup unsalted butter 1/2 brown sugar 1/2 Cup dark molasses
3 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 2 teaspoons ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 Cup water
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream the butter and brown sugar together, then beat in the molasses. Sift the remaining dry ingredients together. Add the sifted ingredients to the butter mixture in about three parts, alternating with the 1/3 Cup water.
Roll dough into one-inch balls, flatten slightly and place on cookie sheet. Bake cookies for about 8 minutes, and let cool. For added decoration, make the icing below and pipe onto the cookies in a stripe pattern. Top with freshly grated orange.
Simple Orange Sugar Icing
Mix 1 Cup powdered sugar, with juice of half a large orange. Add more sugar or some water to reach desired thickness.