Christmas Cookies: Favorite Classics

I’ve decided to post all the recipes (or links) to my fave Christmas cookies on this page, even if written in weights only (you do have a scale anyway, don’t you?!). My granddaughter’s coming over soon to help with Christmas baking, and I liked the idea of showing her what our options are. Here’s what I rounded up…

Almond TartsAlmond Tarts: These are much easier to make now that Trader Joe’s has blanched almonds at a reasonable price. (You can do ’em yourself easy enough, if you have time, but…) Make sure you have plenty of almond extract on hand for these!Grateful-Table-Biscotti-Almond-Orange.jpg

Biscotti (Or see this Biscotti, Healthy Style version): A good cookie for dipping into tea or coffee, this traditional cookie starts as a loaf, gently baked. It then gets sliced; the slices get baked again, creating a crunchy cookie. Usually flavored with almonds or other nuts, citrus zest, and/or dipped in chocolate.


  • 1 1/4 c. whole almonds, blanched
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBS. Anisette (or other flavoring)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. coarse corn meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. anise seed (or orange zest)

Toast: > .40 whole almonds, blanched (1 1/4 c.)

Cream: > 1/2 c. butter > 1 c. sugar

Beat into butter mixture: > 2 eggs > 1 TBS. Anisette (or other flavoring) > 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. salt

Stir in next: > 2 c. flour > 1/2 c. coarse corn meal > 1 1/2 tsp. anise seed

Add an extra 1/4 c. flour if dough’s too sticky. Grease 2 cookie sheets (or one deli sheet) and form dough into 4 loafs, 2″ wide and 3/4″ thick. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes, until light brown at edges. Cool 8 minutes, then slice loaves into 1/2″ slices. Lay the slices down on cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes more at 325.



Gingerbread Cookies: Much easier to manage the decorations when we use dried fruits and nuts. Frosting’s the other option, but more time-consuming! Plus, the fruits and nuts (and maybe some chocolate chips) make these healthier.

Russian Tea Cakes (AKA Mexican Wedding Cakes): Versions of this cookie can be found even in grocery store bakeries, though they don’t usually have the same buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture the home-made ones have. Here’s the recipe I use, using weight measurements for an easier recipe:

  • .50 butter (1 c.)
  • .15 confectioner’s sugar (1/2 c.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • .65 flour (2 1/4 c.)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • .20 chopped nuts (3/4 c.)

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in dry stuff, chill. Form teaspoon-sized balls and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Roll in more confectioner’s sugar while warm.


Scotch Shortbread: These are so rich and buttery! Here’s an easy recipe for them using weight measurements:

  • .37 butter (3/4 c.)
  • .13 sugar (1/4 c.)
  • .62 flour (2 c.)

Cream butter and sugar. Stir in flour w/hands. Chill dough, then roll out, cut in shapes. Bake at 350 degrees 20-25 minutes. (They won’t turn brown, but will be done.)


Snowflakes (Or Hearts, Etc.): Another recipe I have written down in weights for convenience. Also quicker thanks to the already-shelled pistachios available at TJ’s! A little smear of chocolate glues two snowflakes together; another smear of chocolate on top gets sprinkled with pistachios. Yum!

  • .50 sugar (1 c.)
  • .37 butter (3/4 c.)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • .75 flour (2 1/2 c.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Chocolate, to melt
  • Pistachios, chopped

Cream first four ingredients. Mix dry ingredients together, then add to creamed mix. Chill 1 hour. Cut out shapes, bake at 400 degrees 6-8 minutes. Put 2 cookies together with some melted chocolate. Add a smear of chocolate to the top, sprinkle with pistachios.


Grateful-Table-Springerle-Embossed-Christmas-Cookies.jpgSpringerle: This anise-flavored cookie is fun to make; designs are carved on the “Springerle” rolling pin, creating embossed squares that get baked long and slow until they’re the right texture. Not a rich cookie, but a good one for dipping into tea!

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