Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The History of the Christmas Cookie - By Trish Berg

I love baking Christmas cookies. We bake cookies all December long, from cut outs to nut meg logs, biscotti's to ginger bread men. So I wondered what the history of the Christmas cookie is.

Here is what I discovered:

"To discover the true meaning of Christmas (cookies), we had to look back--way back--in time. Now, it's no secret that sweets have been part of holiday rituals since long before Christmas was a declared a holiday (which was in 1870, in case you were wondering). But according to Foodtimeline.org, it was a combination of Eastern spices and European flair that contributed to the cookie's success:

Ancient cooks prepared sweet baked goods to mark significant occasions. Many of these recipes and ingredients (cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds, dried fruits etc.) were introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages. They were highly prized and quickly incorporated into European baked goods. Christmas cookies, as we know them today, trace their roots to these Medieval European recipes. Dutch and German settlers introduced cookie cutters, decorative molds, and festive holiday decorations to America. German lebkuchen (gingerbread) was probably the first cake/cookie traditionally associated with Christmas.

Of course, the article goes on to state that sugar cookie type recipes descended from English traditions; perhaps their trip over the Atlantic was the inspiration for Animal Crackers, which were originally designed as Christmas ornaments.

While the tradition of Christmas cookies may have its roots in Medieval Europe, and while we may associate some cookies with the holidays more than others.

The Cake Spy

So, since I know I have the BEST cut out cookie recipe in the WORLD, I wanted to share it with you.



1 cup real butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

5 cups + more all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt


1. In large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and eggs. (Recommend using wooden spoon, not Kitchen aid)

2. Add sour cream and vanilla and stir.

3. Stir in flour1 cup at a time, an.d add soda and salt.

4. By the last cup of flour, will need to mix with hands.

5. Roll out on a floured surface, not too thin, cut out.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes

*Use butter cream frosting in a can to ice

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