There are so many traditional holiday treats, but these are my family’s four Christmas cookie favorites. We’ve tried new things, but we come back to these every year.
There are so many options when it comes to traditional holiday treats. It’s incredibly overwhelming. I mean, just take a gander at Pinterest, a little scroll through Instagram, or a glance at any of the baking blogs out there around this time of year. There are hundreds upon hundreds of recipes being posted, and it’s on everyone’s mind.
But I’m willing to bet you have at least one or two recipes you go back to every year… one or two that your family loves or has connected with some special tradition. Decorating cookies anybody? Well, I want to share with you my family’s four favorites that we go back to every year. So whether you’re making new traditions or just looking for new ideas, these are our go-to Christmas cookie choices (well, one of them is fudge, but I count it :)):
Peanut Blossoms. The peanut butter ones with the Hershey kiss in the middle. Total yum. A little trick: keep the Hershey’s kisses in the freezer while you’re baking, so that when you put them in the middle of the warm cookies, they hold their shape a little better. You might be familiar with the original Hershey’s recipe, but I prefer the Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms recipe from the How Sweet It Is blog because it uses real butter instead of shortening. I promise you, no flavor is compromised (for real, how can flavor possibly go wrong with butter?! It straight-up can’t.).
Classic Sugar Christmas Cookie Cut-outs. Man I love decorating these things! And I honestly don’t really like sugar cookies. But anything that requires being artsy, I love <3. I remember my younger brother always needed some serious sprinkle control. Let’s just say you could tell which cookies were the ones he decorated (I mean this lovingly!) by the opacity of their sprinkle layers. My mom tried to convince him that “less is more”, but to no end. To his credit, he voluntarily ate his own over-sprinkled works of art. It did come to my advantage once when he and I mutually conspired in sprinkle overload and decorated a cookie with at least 15 Red Hots. Then we gave it to my dad and told him they weren’t Red Hots… rather, they were harmless, cherry-flavored sprinkles. He completely “fell for it”! Or so we believed at the time. Little did we know that when two young kids come sprinting up to you, urging you to eat this “special” cookie they made for you, and eat it now while they’re watching… you sort of know that something fishy is going on 😉 Anyway, I love the Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies over on Sally’s Baking Addiction.
Fudge. Totally not a Christmas cookie, but still a Christmas treat that makes our top four. This is one of those times where we just love one of the simple back-of-the-box recipes–Carnation Famous Fudge. And in particular we love it with semi-sweet chocolate chips… though there is probably room for creativity in the kind of chocolate you use (see linked recipe for ideas).
Brown Sugar Spritz. These are the ones I tend to like most out of the four, because they’re not overwhelmingly sweet or rich, and they don’t have frosting (I don’t exactly have a sweet tooth). They’re also small in size, and I prefer bite-size things. My mom and I love to dip them in coffee 🙂 We use a recipe from a Better Homes & Gardens holiday book from the 80’s.. maybe the 70’s? Back when food photography in cookbooks had that cringeworthy yellowy-orange tint? Yeah, that’s the era this book is from. But this is the closest recipe for Brown Sugar Spritz that I can find from BHG on the web, the only difference being 1/2 teaspoon of lemon peel. It might be worth trying, though!
You need a cookie press to make spritz, which is why they’re not pictured here (I don’t have one!). But here’s one I recommend if you want to try it out: OXO Cookie Press
Like I said, these are four of so many options. You might be reading this like, Has this person ever heard of gingerbread?! Or this that and the other thing with peppermint and whatnot?! Of course! But you can only make so many treats each holiday season, and we don’t make these any other time of year… so when snow starts falling and lights start going up everywhere, these are the traditions that follow 😉
Happy Holidays! Hope you make some fun new traditions or relive the old (preferably both!).