Spiced Christmas Cookies Recipe

In the November issue of Metro Parent, we shared our favorite family recipes with you. We’ve got marvelous mini quiches, crazy good corn chowder, sinful French silk pie and perfect holiday sugar cookies. Here, Metro Parent’s associate editor Megan Krueger shares her family’s spiced Christmas cookies recipe – and the story behind them.

The story

The metal, sea foam green recipe box my mom, Nancy Krueger, keeps next to her stove is brimming with magazine cutouts and handwritten notecards, but one recipe means so much more to me than any of the others: Our family’s Christmas cookie recipe – the one my mom’s family has been making for generations.

These spiced treats are synonymous with December days spent baking with my mom and sister Emily in my childhood home (Christmas music blasting all the while, of course). I loved spreading flour all over the counter top, using the rolling pin and picking out my favorite cookie cutter shapes to make these. Emily and I were notorious for sneaking scraps of dough to snack on (not the healthiest idea, but certainly the yummiest!).

No food captures my childhood quite like these cookies. Below, find the recipe – straight from the worn orange notecards. Enjoy with a hot cup of tea (mom’s favorite), or with a fresh glass of milk – the way we always left them for Santa.

Ingredients

Dry portion

  • 5 cups flour (plus additional for rolling)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. mace
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg

Wet portion

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening or lard, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (shake up well, set aside)

Directions

  1. Combine all the dry ingredients from the first section of the recipe in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, cream together shortening (or lard) and sugar. Push mixture to one side of the bowl.
  3. Mix two eggs until creamy, then add to the bowl of shortening and sugar mixture. Add vanilla extract and stir all together.
  4. Alternate adding small amounts of the dry mixture and splashes of buttermilk to the wet ingredients and stir. Repeat until all ingredients are combined into a dough.
  5. Cover the bowl with a heavy layer of foil and refrigerate dough overnight (about 8 hours).
  6. After refrigeration and when ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 F.
  7. Spread flour over work surface. Make a ball of dough and use a rolling pin to roll out them out (Note: make sure dough isn’t rolled too thin).
  8. Use cookie cutters of your choice to cut cookies out of the dough.
  9. Place cookie cutouts on baking sheets and bake for approximately 8 minutes. My mom likes them softer and doughier, but can bake for longer until more brown and crisp, depending on personal preference.

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