Santa’s Favorites

Christmas cookies

The weather is getting crisp. Stay in and warm your home with these classic cookies. Whether you want powdered snowballs, fruitful delicacies, or a spiced confections, you are sure to find seasonal inspirations with these recipes.

RECIPES

Rusian Snowball Cookies (Pryaniki)

Russian cookies

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Ready in 25 minutes
Makes 48 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans/walnuts (substitute mini chocolate chips for those allergic to nuts)
  • Additional powdered sugar for rolling

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Mix butter, ½ cup powdered sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Stir in the nuts (or chocolate chips). If dough is too soft, chill it until you can work it easily with your hands.

  3. Place 1 tablespoonful balls of dough on prepared cookie sheet.

  4. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes until bottoms are just slightly brown. Remove from oven and cool for just a minute, until you can handle them. Fill a small bowl with powdered sugar and roll each cookie in the sugar until coated. Place on a rack to cool.

Tips

Once cookies are cooled, you may want to re-roll them in more powdered sugar.

Austrian Christmas Cookies (Linzer)

Linzer cookies

Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Ready in 2 hours
Makes 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ unsalted butter (softened)
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • 2 cups sifted all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 ¾ ground almonds
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • ⅓ cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

Preparation

  1. Batter. Beat butter and sugar together until mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in ½ cup flour, the ground almonds, and cinnamon. Mix in remaining flour ½ cup at a time until mixture becomes a slightly stiff dough.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball; divide it in half. Wrap both halves in wax paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Cookie Cutting. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough into a ⅛ inch thick sheet. With a 2 ½-inch thick cookie cutter, cut as many circles from the sheet as you can. Knead the leftover scraps of dough into a ball and roll it out again into a ⅛ inch sheet. Cut out more circles. You should now have about 12 circles.
  5. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch of space between them. Refrigerate while working with remaining dough.
  6. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the other half of the dough, but after placing the second batch on the baking sheet, cut out the center of each circle with a ½ inch cookie cutter.
  7. Bake cookies 10 to 15 minutes, or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  8. Jam and Sugar. Spread a thin coating of jam on each of the complete cookie rounds. Set a cutout cookie on top of each, pressing the two together so they make a sandwich. Spoon a dab of jam into the opening of each tart and sprinkle the tops with confectioners' sugar before serving.

German Gingerbread Cookies (Lebkuchen)

Gingerbread cookie

Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Ready in 45 minutes
Makes 32 cookies

Ingredients

For the Cookie:
  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ¾ cups almonds (ground)
  • 1 tablespoon rum 
  • ¼  cup shredded coconut
  • 32 oblaten (baking wafers, 3-inch size)
For the Glaze:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons rum 
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar

Preparation

Make the Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
    1. Batter. Cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy.
    2. Mix in the flour, spices, cocoa powder, and baking powder, alternating with milk. 
    *Note that you can use prepared lebkuchen spices (1 tablespoon) if available rather than the listed spices.
    1. Fold in the nuts.
    2. Stir in the rum and coconut.
    3. Place the oblaten on parchment-lined baking sheets. Drop about 3 tablespoons of cookie dough onto the wafer and smooth to the edges. If you are not using the oblaten, draw 3-inch diameter circles on parchment paper using a cup or biscuit cutter as a template. Drop about 3 tablespoons cookie dough into the center of each circle.
    4. In both cases, use the back of a spoon to fill out each circle, slightly mounding the dough toward the center.
    5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. For less brown and more golden cookies turn down oven to 350 F. (Follow Glaze instructions while baking)
    6. Let cool for a few minutes, then remove to a cookie or cake rack.

    Make the Glaze

    1. Boil sugar. While the cookies are baking, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan on the stove. Boil for a few minutes.
    2. Add the vanilla and 1 to 2 tablespoons rum. Sift confectioners sugar over the hot sugar syrup and stir. (Cookies should be ready to remove from oven at this point)
    3. Brush glaze. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm glaze over the warm cookies. Let dry completely.

    Tips

    Decorate cookies with frosting and candy.

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