Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes – One Recipe with Many Variations

There are so many Christmas cookie recipes around but often so little time to bake during the busy holiday season.

The solution? A great tasting basic cookie recipe that quickly and easily turns into such a variety of easy to make Christmas treats, friends and family will think you poured over all your favorite Christmas cookie recipes.

Let’s start with the basics.

Basic Cookie Dough Recipe

1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter (or margarine) at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the flour. Beat with an electric mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl several times, until the mixture is light and fluffy. With mixer at a low speed, add the flour gradually, beating just until everything is well blended.

Place the mixture on a baking sheet using a tablespoon measure and press down with a spoon to flatten a bit. Or roll our and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350ºF for about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden.

This basic cookie mixture is also the base for the following cookie recipes (all baked in a preheated oven at 350ºF).

Orange Cookies

(Makes about 32)

Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest to the recipe. Shape into a log that is about 1 1/2″ in diameter and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Slice dough into 1/4″ thick slices. Place on cookie sheet. Cookies can be decorated with candies, rolled in colored sugar, or cut into pretty holiday shapes before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cherry Coconut Chocolate Squares

(Makes about 54 squares)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups flaked coconut

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, well drained and coarsely chopped

Line a 13″x9″ baking pan with foil.

Stir cocoa powder into basic dough mixture. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust looks dry.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, almond extract and baking powder until well blended. Stir in coconut and cherries. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top just begins to brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Lift it out on to a cutting board using the foil ends and cut into 1 1/2″ squares. Squares can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Coconut Pineapple Cookies

(Makes about 36)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1/3 cup pineapple preserves (use raspberry or apricot if you prefer)

Add 1 cup of the flaked coconut to the basic dough mixture and mix well. Shape the dough into 1 1/2″ balls and roll in the remaining coconut to coat them. Place the balls 1″ apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie with your fingertip.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookie is firm and the coconut is lightly toasted. When cooled, fill each hole in the center of the cookies with the preserves.

You can vary this basic dough to make a wide variety of Christmas cookie recipes. Add other flavorings like maple, ginger or cinnamon. Add chopped dried fruits like apricots or dates. Or bake them plain in holiday shapes and decorate with colored icing.

Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Here’s hoping these quick and easy Christmas cookie recipes help keep the pressure off the cook.

Healthy Cookie Recipes – Vegan and Gluten Free

Vegan cookies, gluten-free cookies, wheat-free cookies…healthy cookie recipes are easy to make if you are willing to experiment with a few alternative quality ingredients. Agave nectar is the perfect sweetener for such baked treats. Not only because of its superiority to refined sugars, but also for its moisture-retaining qualities.

Healthy Cookie Recipes Can Be Made Without Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Or Milk!

Let’s start with a solid base of ground nuts. We can use whatever fits best our personal preferences and budget. Pecans tend to be a bit more expensive than almonds and hazelnuts (filberts), walnuts are often on sale or available at a less expensive regular price. Always buy bulk, and halves and pieces are just fine. No need to get whole nuts since we ground them up anyway.

A good cookie recipe should include some fat. As we want to keep this healthy, nutritious, and acceptable for vegans, let’s forget about the butter and choose instead almond, cashew, or peanut butter, or a combination thereof. If you don’t like the flavor or price of nut butters, substitute with organic canola oil.

Great, but what about the flour if we want to make gluten-free cookies? The answer is: organic brown rice flour! Works like a charm and is much healthier than white flour.

Next up: which sweetener? As stated above, agave nectar is a great sweetener for baked goods. Similar to honey, it helps retain the moisture in cookies and cakes. It also blends quickly and easily with all other ingredients for a well-mixed batter.

To add flavor to this basic healthy cookie mix, use some vanilla or almond extract, ground cinnamon, crushed anise seeds, and a pinch of salt, of course.

And to add even more nutritional value, consider lightly toasted rolled oats, raisins, sesame seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. My goodness…what to do with all that energy?

Why This Is An Easy Healthy Cookie Recipe For Vegan Cookies And Gluten-Free Cookies

We don’t really need a recipe for these incredible power morsels of nutrition. It all depends on what we have on hand, or what we like to eat, or what we want to buy. Here is a simple recipe template utilizing the ingredients discussed above:

  • 4 cups ground nuts
  • 1 cup nut butter or 1/2 cup organic canola oil
  • 1 cup organic brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cups agave nectar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon crushed anise seeds, cardamom, or other spices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/2 cup each raisins or toasted oats or seeds

The individual ingredient quantities don’t really matter that much. The template is just a general guide line. Our goal is to mix a batter that holds its shape when divided into cookie-size balls. We might have to add a little water if the mix is too dry and crumbly. Or, we might have to add more brown rice flour to a wet and sloppy batter.

This is the best part: As we are not using raw eggs, we can taste our cookie batter before we bake it off! Add more agave nectar if you like it sweeter, more spices or seeds, until you are happy!

Important points for the baking process!

  • Place 2-inch balls on a parchment-lined cookie pan and flatten lightly with a fork (similar to making peanut butter cookies, dip the fork in cold water before pressing it on the cookie portions)
  • Use a fairly low oven temperature: 8-10 minutes at 300-325 degrees; agave nectar browns a little faster than sugar, so keep an eye on your cookies and don’t let them get too dark on the bottom!
  • Remember, there are no raw eggs in our batter; we won’t have to bake it completely through. A lightly “under-baked” interior is wonderful!

So, be adventurous and experiment with a variety of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, spices, and whatever you love in your gourmet vegan cookie. As long as you don’t burn them black, they will always be good eating. And because they are so healthy and nutritious, they’ll be good for you, too!

Pumpkin Cookie and Mincemeat Cookie Recipes

Here are my mother’s pumpkin cookie recipe and mincemeat cookie recipe. She would bake these particular cookies during the holidays. She worked in the home. So, quite often when I would return from school in the afternoon, she would have a batch of cookies made. As I entered the house, it would smell so inviting.

I have chosen these two recipes because they bring back my memories of home and fall. I hope you enjoy them.

Pumpkin Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 package butterscotch morsels

Mix all the ingredients in the order given. Then, drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes. You may substitute raisins, pecans or coconut for the butterscotch chips. This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies.

Mincemeat Drop Cookies

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 well-beaten eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 9-oz. package dry mincemeat
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup nuts

First you cream shortening and sugar together. Then add the eggs and beat well. Next, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Add half of the sifted dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and add the finely crumbled mincemeat, lemon rind and water. Stir this mixture until blended. Finally, add the nuts and remaining flour mixture and mix well. Drop the dough from a teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees to 10 to 15 minutes. You may use one cup of canned mincemeat instead of the dry mincemeat. This recipe makes 4 dozen cookies.