Here at Yankee, we’ve been making and sharing classic Christmas cookie recipes since 1935. To help celebrate the season, we’ve put together a list of our favorite bar, cutout, ball, sandwich, and drop cookies from the Yankee archives. We hope they’ll help make your holiday season extra-sweet!
15 CLASSIC CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES FROM THE YANKEE ARCHIVES
Aroostook Gingerbread Puffs
We’ve updated these 1930s gingerbread puffs so they have a soft, moist texture, with the added pleasure of making good use of leftover mashed potatoes.
Greek Nut Crescents
Essentially shortbread with nuts, Greek Nut Crescents (kourabiedes) are similar to Russian tea cakes and Mexican wedding cookies. You can make them with any nuts you like: hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, or walnuts.
Split-Second Jam Cookies
These jam cookies take less than 20 minutes to put together and another 20 minutes to bake. They’re tender and buttery, with great contrast from the tart jam.
Lemon-Glazed Caraway Cookies
This recipe takes us back to the very beginning of American cooking. In fact, its roots are in the first cookbook ever published here, a 1796 work called American Cookery, printed in Hartford, Connecticut, by Hudson & Goodwin. The cookies were delicious but a little plain, so we made some adjustments, including a lemon glaze. Now they’re perfect: fragrant, buttery, and just sweet enough.
Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
These old-fashioned sugar cookies are based on a 1939 recipe. Top with icing and sprinkles for a colorful (and kid-friendly) treat.
Discover all the things that should be on your to-do list this holiday season in New England—when you download the FREE Yankee’s Ultimate Guide to the Holidays in New England right now!
Favorite Crispy Cookies
Been hunting for a delicious, super crispy cookie recipe? With these nutty brown-sugar crispy cookies, the search is over!
In 1960, a reader sent us this recipe for her grandmother’s soft sugar cookies, filled with minced apples, nuts, spices, and raisins (we substituted dried cranberries). They’re like tiny apple pies. Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients; these honeymoon cookies are very simple to make.
Intrigued by their period authenticity (the ’70s are, after all, when the term “junk food” was coined), we gave these potato-chip cookies a try and found that they were not only delicious but fun to serve with a “guess what’s in them?” quiz. They’re worth making at least once, both for their flavor and for the surprise factor.
Iced-Cranberry Spritz Cookies
Buttery and sweet, these cranberry spritz cookies get a tangy kick from the addition of dried cranberries, which also gives them a moist texture. Lightly dipped in a simple glaze, they’re pretty enough for gifting.
Here’s a fruitcake variation that people actually love: tender frosted bars studded with dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate (that’s the “treasure”). Treasure-chest bars were popular in the ’60s and ’70s, and we published this version of the recipe in November 1978.
No-Bake Chocolate Rum Balls
Since 1971, the 40 or so women of the now-famous Wellesley Cookie Exchange have gathered each December to swap dozens of Christmas cookies and recipes. In 1986, we published The Wellesley Cookie Exchange Cookbook, compiled and edited by Susan Peery, and the book has become a classic. One bite of these delicious no-bake chocolate rum balls will make you understand why.
Semi-Retro Chocolate Chip Cookies
Remember the 1990s obsession with white chocolate? You’ll find both white and bittersweet chocolate in these classic chunky chocolate chip cookies, and the combination is lovely.
A hazelnut shortbread forms the base of these little gourmet tartlets, which are filled with raspberries and chocolate ganache.
Chocolate-Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
These delicious Chocolate-Peppermint Sandwich Cookies are a nod to “gourmetified” junk-food classics. In fine bakeries around New England, we now see tongue-in-cheek artisanal interpretations of Oreos, whoopie pies, and Pop-Tarts. Here, we took the Oreo meme a step further, adding crushed candy canes for a little holiday pizzazz.
Gluten-Free Cornmeal Thumbprint Cookies
A startling number of people these days are reporting gluten sensitivities, and gluten-free baking has become an important subspecialty for recipe developers. We love the flavor and texture of these tender gluten-free cornmeal-based cookies, and the way the raspberry flavor complements the corn.
Which classic Christmas cookie recipes are your favorites?
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.