Today is National Cookie Day

December 4 is National Cookie Day, or so says the ubiquitous Internet where all things are true. So, let’s bake cookies with the flavors of the season. Here are two of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes.

Canberry Coins
Pictured above, this recipe came from Melanie, the neighborhood Martha Stewart. She got the recipe from Martha, of course!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla with a mixer until smooth. Add flour and salt; beat just until combined. Stir in dried cranberries. Divide dough into quarters.

On parchment or waxed paper, shape each portion into a log about 1 ½ inches in diameter and 4 inches long. Wrap logs tightly in parchment or waxed paper. Chill 30 minutes or up to one day. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen up to one month.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. With a sharp knife, slice dough into one-quarter-inch thick rounds. Rotate log as you cut to keep it from flattening. Place rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets, one inch apart.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to two weeks.

Holiday Pumpkin Cookies
These were a mainstay every Christmas growing up. Mom made up her recipes and named them. Her naming conventions went right to the point. Thanks for the memories, Mom!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup shortening (this means Crisco, luckily, today, you can buy them in pre-measured sticks)
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon orange extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup solid pack pumpkin

Cream the above, then add the following:
1-3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (usually a mixture of cinnamon, ground cloves and allspice)
Drop and top with pecan half.

Bake at 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

My variation: For Christmas, top with red and green sugar and the pecan. Or do some without the pecan for non-nut eaters. However, the original version is the one in the photo.

Holiday Pumpkin Cookie photo by Cindy Dyer.

Holiday Pumpkin Cookies

Photo by Cindy Dyer

By this time, mom was well into baking her Christmas cookies. The extra freezer was packed with various containers labeled with the names. I wonder if she knew we used to sneak frozen cookies out of those containers well before she intended them to be eaten? Who am I kidding? Of course she did!

Mom made up her cookie recipes. She named them with to-the-point names, most often using the words “holiday” or “Christmas” in the titles. Mom didn’t waste words and this was demonstrated even in her cookie titles. She used ingredients like Crisco and even sometimes “oleo.” (Remember that word?). Some of her measurements don’t even exist today in newly-packaged items with new weights.

When mom died in 2000, my sister Jane attempted to put all her recipes in a book and called it DeDe’s Delights. She did a great job, but I still have some written in mom’s handwriting that didn’t make the book.

Mom’s gone but her cookies and many of her recipes live on. Hope you enjoy this cookie recipe.

DeDe's Holiday Pumpkin Cookies (Photo by Cindy Dyer)

Holiday Pumpkin Cookies by Lois “DeDe” Garneau

  • 1 cup shortening (this means Crisco, luckily, today, you can buy them in pre-measured sticks)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup solid pack pumpkin

Cream the above, then add the following:

  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (usually a mixture of cinnamon, ground cloves and allspice)

Drop and top with pecan half.

Bake at 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

My variation: For Christmas, top with red and green sugar and the pecan. Or do some without the pecan for non-nut eaters. However, the original version is the one in the photo.