It is a pretty bold claim to say these are the very best Christmas cookies ever, but in our world they totally are. Before I tell you about them, full disclosure, this isn’t my recipe and I am not sure that I have ever made them myself! My husband always makes them as this recipe has been passed down from his mom, these cookies are 100% completely his thing part of his family tradition.
All that being said, these cookies are THAT good! They aren’t hard to make, but they do have several (but easy) steps which makes these a fun family activity. Ever since our kids were young, one of our Christmas traditions is to spend a day at Christmas time making these cookies. Since the recipe yields several dozen cookies, not only do they make great gifts but they also freeze beautifully. There have been years when we’ve been able to enjoy them for months after Christmas thanks to a few zip loc bags we’ve stored in the freezer.
They are similar to a traditional gingerbread cookie (though lighter), rolled in granulated sugar, cooked, then finished with a coating of powdered sugar. My kids loved helping make these when they were little, especially the part that involved the sugar rolling and the fun sugar shaking!
Now that they are teenagers, my boys much prefer eating the cookies to helping prepare them but still, each holiday they always ask when we are going to make them.
Our goal this year was to make several batches so we could gift them to friends and family. We also made our first ever batch with Gluten Free Flour (so I could eat them) and they came out perfectly so you can very easily modify these for those on a gluten-free diet. (These are also dairy free).
Also, while we always make these at the holidays there have been many years where we’ve just been too busy before Christmas so they have happened after. I fully encourage that as these are a great way to spend an fun family afternoon during the traditional Christmas break. These have a Christmas flavor but are great at any time of year.
Most of the ingredients you probably have on hand, though we do use a brown paper bag to shake them in powdered sugar (you could find other ways to do this if you don’t have a bag handy) and traditional baking elements like vegetable shortening. My husband would not stand for the recipe being adjusted with ‘healthier’ swaps but if that matters to you, I am sure there are ways it could be modified. Also, be sure to make sure you have enough of the spices on hand, as several teaspoons may be required for some of them.
Here is a graphic you can save to Pinterest if you want to make them later.
Here is the recipe…and if you make them, please let me know how you like them!
Ginger Spice Traditional Cookie Recipe
Our very favorite Christmas recipe, these taste delicious and are perfect to have the kids to help bake!
- 1 1/2 c Vegetable Shortening (Such as Crisco brand)
- 2 c Sugar (granulated)
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 c Dark Molasses
- 4 c Flour Can substitute Gluten-Free (I like King Arthur Brand)
- 3 t Baking Soda
- 3 t Ginger
- 4 t Cinnamon
- 2 t Water
- 1/4 t Salt
- 3 t Ground Cloves
- 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (or more, for covering baked cookies)
- 1/2 cup Sugar (or more, for rolling cookies prior to baking)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix first four ingredients together. Then add remaining ingredients (ending with cloves) together in a bowl.
Using floured hands, roll walnut sized balls of dough.
Roll each cookie in granulated sugar, covering well and place on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, let cook for 1 minute before removing to wire rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Fill a brown paper bag with powdered sugar, drop cookies into a bag and shake well until covered.
Cool on wax paper sheets, store in air tight containers (can be frozen in air tight bags for up to 3 months).
With that, I am off to finish baking and wrap those last few presents. We’ll be back after Christmas with two posts next week but for now, I wish you a very happy Christmas! May you all experience the wonder and joy of the Christmas season.
Also–if you are in a need of a Christmas Eve church service, I hope you will tune into Monterey.Church which is a wonderful non-denominational church on both US coasts (locations in Monterey, California and here in Gainesville, Virginia). Thanks to technology you can safely enjoy their Christmas services live online HERE! (service will be live at 3pm EST on 12/24, or anytime after)
Merry Christmas and happy baking!XO,