Christmas Cookies


How many of you still bake Christmas cookies?   I know sometimes you don’t feel like it…. the busyness… the time it takes.    I totally get it!   Besides, we don’t need those calories anyway, right?Well, all that may be true, but when it comes to Christmas cookies…. it’s a tradition passed down from generation to generation…. it may even have significance to family heritage.   For example, my side of the family is mostly German… so a cookie I grew up with is Pfeffernusse.    It’s a spice pepper nut cookie covered in powdered sugar!  I think I appreciate the cookie more and more as I get older….. it’s a familiar taste… its something that reminds me of my childhood.  I also noticed my kids devouring them with excitement over the taste of our traditional home baked cookies!   Gosh… remember when we REALLY made homemade cookies every week because they didn’t come in the store?   Well anyway……

It’s always fun is to create new traditions with new cookies that you enjoy too!  For example…. my mother made a persimmon cookie… which was delicious…. it was like a spice cake cookie of sorts with a green or red candied cherry on top but this cookie is dreadfully hard to make since you have to find persimmons and also get the pulp out of them.  I honestly prefer something different… so I created a new tradition sticking with the German theme…. a Butter/almond cookie that is much like a shortbread.   Oh how simple and delicious….

Per request…. I’m sharing my recipes…   Maybe they’ll make it to your kitchen as a new favorite!


Pffefernusse cookies before confectioners sugar



2 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp ground anise seed

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/2 c unsalted butter

3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 c molases (unsulfered)

1 egg

2 c confectioners sugar for dusting

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, pepper, anniseeds, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg and cloves
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter, brown sugar and molasses until light and fluffy – about 4 min
  • Beat in the egg.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture
  • Cover and refrigerate dough for several hours
  • Position rack in the middle of the overn and pre-heat to 350 degrees.
  • Scoop up about a tablespoon of dough and form into balls between your palms and place 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or non-stick cookie sheet.
  • Bake until cookies are golden brown – approximately 14 min.
  • Transfer the sheets to racks to let cookies cool slightly on the sheets
  • Place the confectioners sugar in a sturdy paper bag and drop a few cookies into the bag.  Close the top securely and shake gently to coat the warm cookies in the sugar.
  • Transfer to cooling racks to let cool completely.
  • Store in air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Vanille Hoernchen (German Christmas Butter cookie)

1 1/3 C flour

2 1/4 C finely ground almonds 

2 1/3 C butter

1 1/3 C sugar

1 TBS vanilla extract

1 1/2 C powered sugar for coating after baking

  • Mix all ingredients ( except powdered sugar) in a bowl.  Knead dough just until it is mixed.
  • Divide dough into managable sections and rool loogs or snakes and cut into even sections to about 1 1/2 inch balls.  Shape into horns or crescents and flatten a little with your hand or use a cookie cutter.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-12 min or until golden brown.
  • Cool a bit on the cookie sheet and then dust with powdered sugar and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Store in airtight container for up to a week.