Full disclosure: this is my sister's photo from a few years back. She does those colorful pinwheels and the molasses cookies. I'm sure my sisters and I would have similar takes on the cookie list, but not the same.
1. Russian Teacakes: I wouldn't have called it #1 as a kid, but it snuck up on me since then. We served them at between our December wedding and the luncheon afterwards, along with mom's breadsticks. I've made (and eaten) most of a double batch in the past few days.
2. Chocolate crinkles: If we were ranking by dough alone, this would be #1. I could eat that stuff by the spoonful. Wait. I DO eat that stuff by the spoonful. But the cookies are lovely too. Currently my daughter's favorite. We've made and eaten a batch, and will be making a gluten free version to share with my mother-in-law in the next day or two.
3. Krumkake: Pictured above, these cookies are basically tiny fancy waffles rolled up. For years they were my favorite, but I don't have a krumkake iron, so I've let others replace them in my heart. When I get together with my sisters to make cookies, we definitely make these, so here's to next year. As a kid I prided myself in my ability to roll them hot off the press without flinching at my singed fingers.
4. Spritz: another childhood classic I'm less insistent on these days. Mostly because they are a royal pain to make. For years I was the only one who would make them, because I thought I had the knack, but either I was fooling myself or I've lost it. I do have my mom's press, which is highly sentimental. Buttery and delicious.
5. Fudge: specifically Aunt Julia's Five Minute Fudge, which is really just the recipe off the back of the Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk can.
6. Divinity: my husband really doesn't like it, and I love it, so there's the quandary--do I make it just to eat it all myself? The kids like it too, but it's not #1, so it doesn't get made very often. Besides, it requires corn syrup, and it's the only thing I bake that uses it.
7. Candied walnuts. Yes, this is the third non-cookie, but they COUNT, okay?
8. Jan Hagel: From the Betty Crocker Cookie Book I grew with, these are buttery and walnut-y and quite tasty. I occasionally make these when it's not Christmas (unlike everything else on this list), but they still have that holiday feeling.
And the best Christmas cookies I don't make:
1. My friend Marian's rumballs, which are boozy and amazing, and I am not able to reproduce.
2. My sister's pinwheels, pictured above.
3. The Oreo-cream cheese truffle my colleague made us this year.
Mmmmm! What are your favorites? (Please don't say thumbprints with Hershey's kisses. Those are good, but they are not Christmas cookies.)