Christmas Cookies

20181128_205652When I was growing up one of the biggest Christmas traditions in my grandmother’s household was having lots and lots of Christmas cookies. At least 7 kinds of cookies. Nothing requiring cookie cutters or frosting, oh no. Sandtarts, crescents, florentines, tiny crunchy chocolate chip, toffee bars, Reese’s squares, mint bars, and sometimes more were each stored in their own decorative tin on the counter in the laundry room.

Since my family lived only a few miles away from my grandparents’ house, we visited for a lot of dinners, especially in December. Over winter break two or four of my cousins would often be visiting from Florida, sometimes accompanied by one to four of their parents. It could be quite the crowd! But no matter how many people there were, or how many dinners we ate, the Christmas cookie well never ran dry.

After dinner arranging the cookie tray was an honor the grandchildren competed for because you could sneak a few extra cookies and you got to decide the proportion of the tray each cookie occupied. The job usually went to the last child at the table with the adults (that would be me) when the others got up to play or the first child to return from playing and complain that wasn’t it time for cookies yet? The lucky child, or children if the rest of us had anything to say about it, would open up all the tins and carefully stack cookies onto a small red plastic tray that was reserved especially for the after-dinner cookie display.


Out of all the varieties of cookies that graced the cookie tray each year, sandtarts are probably the most popular of the bunch. In my grandmother’s recipe book she credits her beloved neighbor, Mrs. Zug, with sharing the recipe.



1lb sugar (about 2 cups)
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3 eggs
4-5 cups flour
cinnamon and pecans pieces (quarters) for topping

Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and mix until well combined. Add flour a little at a time until completely incorporated.

Drop 1 tablespoon amounts onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Top with a pecan piece and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a rack, then cool completely before storing in an airtight container.



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