This Christmas is
only already our 4th as a married couple. As such, we’re still working on establishing traditions for our own family. One of the traditions that we remember as kids and that we wanted to observe this year was that of Christmas cookies. We both have similar memories of exchanging tins or plates of cookies with other families or coming home from church with a few collections of Christmas cookies!
Since we just got back from vacation with less than one week before Christmas, we haven’t had much time to prepare specifically for the holiday (ie: Christmas decor is absent even though it’s the eve of Christmas Eve!). Despite being limited on time and prep, Andrew supported me in efforts to pull of some baking during this season. I won’t forget one recipient’s remark upon receiving our gift of cookies, “How did you ever have time to get these done?” My response was and is true: It’s because Andrew was willing to do a LOT of dishes, runs to the grocery store, watch Gideon, and put up with a messy kitchen for a while. As we haven’t made many cookies at all in the last year an a half, it was a fun experience to bake up a storm in our home knowing we wouldn’t be required to eat all of the goods!
I thought it would be neat to look back years from now and see what cookies I made for Christmases past, hence this post is a little selfish. But in order to make the post less selfish I am including the links to the recipes used in case those that received our cookies would like to know the recipe(s)!
The idea of doing these cookies came from my sister, Tamarah. Though she does not enjoy some cookies/treats that many Americans would consider traditional Christmas cookies (namely, gingerbread), she does like snickerdoodles. In a recent conversation it was mentioned how we didn’t grow up on snickerdoodles or weren’t aware of them till we were older, but how we both enjoy them now. Personally I think it is the cinnamon that wins her heart with these cookies. But whatever the case, her mention of these cookies sparked the idea to add this to our list this year. I’m glad we did! Soft enough to taste fresh but firm enough to be a sugar cookie and not undercooked; plus, the cinnamon sugar exterior is that perfect combination of sweetness and holiday spiciness!
Orange Cranberry Crinkle Cookies
We only recently discovered this recipe, but we’ve already grown to love it! Since cranberries are only easily found in Singapore at this time of year, we’ve taken the excuse in the last month or so to buy them up… but that requires some good recipes to use them with. I think this one is probably my favorite of the bunch. Despite being sugar-y (hey, it’s a cookie!) the bright citrus flavor of the orange and the crisp tart sweet cranberry flavor make it suprisingly full of flavor!
Chocolate Nut Clusters
Growing up I always remember finding some sort of nutty treat covered in chocolate from various cookie platters given to us from friends from church. I think because it wasn’t something my family normally made, the unique treat was especially savored. I had never made these before, but with only four ingredients I thought I’d give it a try. They were worth trying… though next time I would try adding more nuts (maybe cashews) and look for a different chocolate base (I’m not even sure what kind of chocolate chips it was that I threw into the pot)!
Andrew and I talked about what recipes and sweets we remembered from our childhoods. This one was one he talked about. He said he remembered his mom making (and liking them). This was proven when we told his mom during our weekly video call that we had made molasses cookies. She perked up with a wistful excitement, “Oh, I love molasses cookies!” My favorite moment baking these was when I was transferring these little treasures onto the cooling rack and I hear, “OOOOOOOOOHHHHH Those smell delicious! Ooooh. Those smell good.” Apparently from Andrew’s emphatic statement from across the house, the smell was just what he remembered from his childhood. Not only was the smell right on point, but they were yummy too. I’ll count them a success. We’re only sorry we can’t share them with her!
(Side note: definitely do brown sugar instead of white as many of the reviewers suggested.)
Oatmeal Etc. Cookies
With all the sugary goodness, we felt like we needed something a little more hearty to balance all those “empty” carbs out. So I turned to oatmeal cookies. I had found a recipe a month ago that used flaxmeal in it’s make-up. The suggestions from reviewers were so many, plus my own tweaks, that the end result was a bit different than the original recipe. They definitely fit the bill of giving a less sweet treat, but still very tasty!
Since I added so many tweaks, I’ll call them Oatmeal Etc. Cookies:
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses (optional… gives it a sweeter and richer flavor though)
- 1 mashed banana
- 2 eggs (could probably do more banana for eggless recipe)
- 2 cups flour (will need more depending on humidity and how much wet ingredients you used)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups oatmeal
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed/meal
- chocolate chips to taste (I used almost 2 cups)
Cream room-temperature butter and sugars together. Add the rest of the wet ingredients together and mix till consistent. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Finally add oatmeal and chocolate chips … to taste 🙂
Bake on parchment paper baking sheets at 350F for 10 minutes until set and starting to brown on edges.
PS – All the above recipes have been toddler and adult tested and approved. 🙂