Thursday, December 24, 2020

Top Ten Christmas Cookies: An Annotated List


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.)


  1. This is a most delicious post. I am not a cook or a baker, but my Tante Ilse made the most fantastic cookies each year. Spritz, thumbprints, butter cookies, and many other, but my favorite was her Linzer tart. My daughter made it this year using my aunt's recipe and it was amazing! Merry Christmas!

  2. But thumbprints with Hershey Kisses are my favorite! I like snickerdoodles, too, but I don’t know if those are a Christmas cookie. I eat them at Christmas. And I eat a lot of sugar cookies. And a lot of fudge.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  3. You can't leave out fattigmands. A Christmas tradition at our house.


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