When thinking of holiday traditions, it’s hard not to think of the smell of cookies baking in the kitchen. From sugar cutouts and gingerbread to peanut butter blossoms, cookies just go hand in hand with with the holiday season. What else do you think keeps Santa going all night long? Cookie favorites vary from state to state with sugar cookies and peanut butter cookies topping the list across the country. In fact, Illinois was the only state to name chocolate chip as their favorite cookie around the holidays.

With the holidays right around the corner, we began to wonder, where does the tradition of these holiday treats begin? In the Middle Ages, cooks would prepare sweet baked goods to mark significant occasions. Many of these recipes and ingredients such as cinnamon and ginger 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. It was Dutch and German settlers who introduced cookie cutters, decorative molds, and festive holiday decorations to America. German lebkuchen (gingerbread) was probably the first cake/cookie traditionally associated with Christmas.

So what is your family’s favorite holiday cookie? Do you have a tradition you’ve carried on from year to year? Perhaps you’re looking to start new traditions with your friends and family! One of our favorite holiday cookies are Trisha Yearwood’s Snickerdoodles. If you’re looking for a fun and easy recipe, this one is great! We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups, + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the eggs and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and stir into the shortening mixture.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon.
  • Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 tablespoon per ball), and roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar. Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake two sheets at a time until the edges of the cookies are set but the centers are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Transfer the cookies to wire racks for cooling. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Store in an airtight container.


Looking for a little inspiration? Check out these 26 Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes Everyone Will Love

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Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008