mmmmmm. Christmas cookies….It seems like gone are the days where people (mostly women) compile their favorite trusted 50 top recipes for cookies and get going on creating magnificent tins and platters filled with a variety of Christmas cookie favorites. I grew up in probably the last generation of kids who was lucky enough to see the Christmas magic unfold in the form of cornflake wreathes, Russian tea cakes, and Nutter Butter reindeer over a weekend.
It’s not for lack of trying, recipes, or desire. The thing most of us lack is time, Christmas’ ultimate nemesis. What used to be a given, an assortment of homemade cookies, is a surprising delight nowadays. Though we have a hard time finding…well….time, I thought I would put together a list of quick to make, not too fussy, delicious and eye-catching classic Christmas cookies. These are great for you to compile a cute tin for your favorite family.
Peppermint Bark Oreos: This feels like a MAJOR cheat. You don’t really have to make anything. There are just 3 ingredients (and wax paper) and you are done. BUT they are a charming little delight that packs a punch to the taste buds as well as add a little color to your stash. Check out the “recipe” here. You could make this in a college dorm, you basically need a microwave and about 30 minutes. PRETTY GREAT!
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies: If you are like me, you can’t really get enough chocolate anytime of year. That’s why I am ok with having 2/5 of my classic easy Christmas cookies beings chocolate based. This recipe does demand that you let the dough chill for 2 hours, which can really have you feeling pressed for time But if you decide to do all 5 of these cookies in an afternoon, this is a good time to move on to creating another cookie miracle. The ingredients are simple enough, and most people have them in their pantry already. They are TOTALLY DELICIOUS from this website, (I recommend adding the chocolate chips!) and well worth the 2 hour fridge-time.
Cranberry Orange Shortbread: Shortbread has long been a classic cookie. The recipe was developed in Scotland in the 1730’s and has been a staple in baker’s books for hundreds of years. The orange and cranberry combination popped up in American baking in the mid 1800s, and since then, this cookie has been replicated from coast to coast. The ingredients are inexpensive and the cookie itself is delicious. Again, there is a little chill time but that’s important for keeping its shape ( that’s what I tell myself when I need chill time) while baking. This recipe is what I have been baking for years. It has a nice fresh quality that will go well with the rest of the batches you are making!
Holiday Sugar Cookies: Every good tin needs a batch of good sugar cookies. The thing about these little sweet treats is that often, they can devilishly separate the pro from the amateur. You look at them and think HOW HARD CAN IT BE? But the answer is… for some? Hard! Frosting is an art-form in itself, and I know some master, I MEAN MASTER, cookie-frosters (ahem, Aunt Charlotte). That’s why I like these. They are festive, but not finicky. For the baker that doesn’t live in the kitchen this basic sugar cookie recipe is perfect. And the frosting is for anyone….and the surprise ingredient (lemon) steals the show!
Gingerbread cookies: No tin is complete without some gingerbread. These cookies are SO EASY! They are 3 ingredients and don’t require chilling. It feels like a HUGE CHEAT but when you are a busy lady, these do the trick! NO one will really know… except maybe my mother….and all the grandmas out there…Check out the recipe here!
Cornflake wreathes: My favorite is the cornflake wreath. Mine look more like holly blobs…but the taste is what is really important. If these little green guys aren’t in your Christmas cookie catalog, I don’t know what you are thinking! My mom has been making these since I was a kid, and I remember barely being able for them to cool before I snuck my sticky little fingers on the wax paper to grab one! (I MEAN 10)
Happy baking, and I hope these recipes helped charm you into taking a little time for yourself in the kitchen! Oh, and once the cookies are made, check out how Martha would package them here, they are baller!