What is your holiday baking tradition?

Gingerbread Men and Women

As December wears on, holiday baking kicks into ever higher gear and I start to bring out more and more cookie recipes. Baking Christmas cookies has been a tradition of mine for as long as I can remember. This probably is not surprising, since I have a baking blog, but it’s worth noting because there are some recipes that I will always make for the holidays even if a bake dozens of different cookies. I bake butter cookies – which I often turn into spritz cookies by using my cookie press to pump them out into interesting shapes – and I bake oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  A newer tradition of mine is to bake and decorate lots of gingerbread men, too, but those spicy cookies don’t have the same long track record as the butter and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies do. I also always bake at least one loaf (often many, to give as gifts) of Orange Cranberry Bread.

What are your must-bake recipes that have become part of your holiday traditions? A specific type of cookie that you leave out for Santa? A batch of homemade cinnamon rolls that you eat on a lazy weekend brunch with family, that out of town relatives expect to enjoy?

28 comments

  1. Last year was the 1st year I really baked for Christmas. I made choc chip cookies, snicker doodles, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, and biscotti. This year I’m going to do a few new cookies and keep with the biscotti. It was a big hit and very easy to make.

    I really enjoy your blog very much!!

  2. For us it’s always Tea Cookies and Cowboy Cookies. For us these both just scream holidays, though there are others that get made in there as well :)

  3. I don’t have any specfic traditions but baking Christmas goodies in general is a must!

  4. Baking cookies is a huge tradition in our family. We bake Aunt Verna’s Sugar Cookies (an old family recipe) and Pepparkakor, a Swedish cookie with cinnamon, cloves and ginger (also an old family recipe).

    And now we have another cookie that is going to be an annual “must have”…they’re called Almond Triangles and they were a winner in the annual Minneapolis Star Tribune cookie contest last year. Oh man, are they delish!!!

  5. Rum balls, to be sure. Norwegian Crowns. And we used to always have a Swedish Tea Ring for breakfast.

  6. I’ve been baking Italian cookies with my grandmother since I was a kid. We roll out dough into shapes, then decorate them with a powdered sugar icing and sprinkes and colored sugars. It usually takes forever to make them, but we got it down to a science – seven of us made about 300 cookies in 2 hours this year, a record for us!

  7. Over the last few years I’ve taken it upon myself to do pretty much all the Christmas baking. Although I only have one real standard recipe, I always bake Banana Bread, always. No matter the holiday, I love it (apparently others do too). My tradition is more about process: I spend December 23rd preparing everything for Christmas Eve and Day. Usually two types of cookies, some type of cake (though not this year), brownie, blondie, banana bread, and anything else that I may have come up with :). Oh and cinnamon rolls for New Years morning :).

  8. My musts are: sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, keilflies, springerlies, and orange spritz.

  9. When I lived in MN, it was a group bake day to make “peppernuts” (I forget the proper German spelling). Generally they would make 5,000 or so. Very small but oh so tasty. Lots of work so you need a few people to get it done.

    Since I’ve lived in OR, I’ve been doing a Bake Day with some friends and their young relatives. It changes slightly every year but the main ingredient is fun and the main attraction is decorating sugar cookies. We also do a cookie exchange most years (basically I do all the baking and they exchange the cookies) that I look forward to. I’m not into decorating cookies so that’s my part of the event. This year it will be held at my house so doubly exciting!

  10. Oh, I love thumbprint cookies and fudge. My new favorite recipe is truffles! These are a hit no matter when I serve them!!

  11. Jennifer Merschel

    Christmas is the only time of year I break out my pizzelle iron. I have been making them with my grandmother and mom since I can remember and when I got married, they gave me my own iron. I make a huge batch of the classic anise flavored and my husband just likes plain vanilla.

  12. Every year I bake tons of cookies and give them as gifts….the favorites that come back every year are gingersnaps, chocolate chip candy cane and a linzer type of sandwich cookie with lemon curd filling and raspberry filling. Then I always through in some extra kinds….this year I’m doing meringues because my hubby has recently proclaimed them as his favorite cookie.

  13. Sugar cookies are my go to cookies this time of year. I get so lifted when I’m baking with my daughters. I feel truly blessed that they want to continue the tradition.

  14. Coconut macaroons, chocolate covered pretzels and cinnamon sugar almonds are holiday favorites in my home.

  15. I bake and decorate lost of Gingerbread men! I make different types of swiss and german Christmas cookies (Mailänderli, Chräbeli, Brunsli, Zimtsterne, Spitzbuben…) and, on the 5th January, I make “Roscón de Reyes”, traditional spanish sweet bread with presents inside :)

  16. There are two things that make a Christmas for me: Finnish Gingerbread cookies (I always add a hint of orange) and Karelian pasties (served with a spread made from boiled eggs and butter). Especially the latters we bake hundreds of every time come Christmas. Other than those we don’t bake at all, but rather eat proper food. And confectioneries.

  17. When I was younger I used to make jelly rolls filled with caramel (great aunt’s recipe) for my and my siblings’ teachers to give as gifts and a bunch more for family events. Now that I’m older I tend to just help out in general – made yams at thanksgiving! My aunt usually comes by and we make badly held together gingerbread houses too.

  18. An applesauce cake filled with raisins, dates, and nuts always comes out of my oven, starting even before I was a hard-core baker. I also always make these amazingly simple Reese cup peanut butter cookie tarts–it wouldn’t be Christmas without those!

  19. i make candy cane cookies, chai spice girls, monster cookies and pecan shortbread cookies. i also make pumpkin roll.

    for Christmas breakfast i like to make stuffed french toast (using similar filling to pumpkin roll and a little strawberry jam, cinnamon bread and a sandwich maker) and sausage.

  20. oh and i also usually do chocolate dipped cookies, marshmallows, etc and pretzel bark but this year i have a wedding December 18th and don’t have the time

  21. I don’t exactly have a holiday baking tradition but Christmas always gives me an excuse to bake more than usual, and try all the things I’ve been wanting to make :)

  22. I usually try a couple new things every year, but we have several cookie favorites that we make without fail. My husband makes his favorites from childhood (peppermint brownies, toffee, Jewish cookies) and I make the favorites from mine (peanut butter balls, Nanaimo bars, pumpkin cookies) and we make some sugar cookies. I’m excited for my 2 y/o son to decorate them with us this year. And no matter where we are on Christmas morning, we have to have waffles with apricot syrup.

  23. I tend to get a little carried away with my xmas baking. This year’s list includes:

    Chocolate Mint Cookies
    Whipped Shortbread
    Butterscotch Cookies
    Butter Tarts
    Mincemeat Tarts
    Gingerbread Cookies
    Sugar Cookies

    Yikes! Better get started :)

  24. Thumbprint cookies, potato candy and biscotti!

    Mmmmm!

  25. I bake these german pastries that are a traditional thing. I enjoy it tremendously but they are something I bake only for christmas, such as weinachtsstollen. I also enjoy baking gingersnaps and fruit cake.

  26. My daughter and I make double batches of 70 different types of cookies. Then we have all of our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers come over with empty tins to fill with whatever types of cookies they want.

  27. Taken up my Grandma’s tradition of baking things like cherry balls, mincemeat tarts, fudge, peppermint patties and spotted dick. Christmas certainly isn’t the same without them…

  28. Shortbread pigs, gingerbreads, piruka (bacon-filled buns), challah (for stuffing and french toast), and something new every year. Baking typically takes up a week’s worth of evenings before the big event.

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