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Foodie Finds
Spread Some Holiday Cheer with Our Favorite Cookie Recipes

AAA STAFF SHARE CHRISTMAS TREATS FOR YOU TO MAKE AT HOME

Baking cookies with my two children just might be one of my favorite Christmas traditions. I love the delicious sugary scents while we make memories together. There are so many types of cookies that can decorate your Christmas platter. Here are six of our team members’ favorite cookie recipes, from our families to yours.

Making Soft Christmas Cookies
AAA Employee, Janet Creque, making Christmas Cookie's with her nieces; Photo courtesy of Janet Creque

SOFT CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPE
Shared by Janet Creque, Social Media & Interactive Marketing Manager

Growing up, we made these cookies every Christmas for Santa. We would play the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas album on the record player while we baked and frosted cookies together as a family. Now we make them for almost every holiday with different cut-outs. And while our frosting technique may not be Pinterest worthy, they are frosted with a lot of love and countless memories!

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup Crisco Oil
  • ¾ tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp lemon flavoring (optional)
  • 3 cups flour + enough to roll out cookies

DIRECTIONS:
Mix together the following ingredients:

  • salt
  • Crisco Oil
  • vanilla
  • sugar
  • nutmeg
  • eggs

After mixture becomes soft, add in:

  • Buttermilk
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • lemon flavoring 
  • 3 cups flour

Roll dough out and cut out cookies with cookie cutters. Bake at 400º for 7-8 minutes until lightly brown on bottom. Let cool before frosting.

FROSTING RECIPE:
Our frosting recipe is not an exact science, we just mix until it looks (and tastes) good!


COMBINE:

  • Powdered sugar (start with ½ a bag)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • ¼  – ½  tsp vanilla


Slowly add milk and cream together. If it becomes too runny, add more powdered sugar. Divide into bowls and use food coloring to get desired color.

Holiday Spritz Cookies
Holiday Spritz Cookies with green sprinkles

HOLIDAY SPRITZ COOKIES
Shared by Brian Rydz, Digital Product Owner

This is a recipe passed through my family from my Grandmother. While she’s always in our hearts, this special recipe brings back great memories we shared and adds some extra joy to our holiday season. Light and buttery, they’re the perfect holiday treat. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  • Cream butter and sugar for 7 minutes.
  • Beat in egg and egg yolks, vanilla and salt.
  • Gradually blend in flour to make a soft dough.
  • Fill cookie press and press out on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar.
  • Bake at 350֯ for 10-12 minutes until the sides are a little brown.
  • Let rest on a cookie sheet for a few minutes to cool.

Peanut Butter Blossoms with Red & Green Sprinkles
Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies wth red and green sprinkles; Photo by Erica Bray

PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOMS
Shared by Erica Bray, contributing writer, AAA World, The Extra Mile & AAA Traveler

My go-to holiday cookie recipe is a year-round favorite: peanut butter blossoms. This is one of the very first cookie recipes that I remember making with my grandmother, so there is a lot of nostalgia attached to these Hershey kiss-topped treats. Plus, the melt-in-the-mouth combination of peanut butter and chocolate is a comfort-food must during the cold month of December. I’m passing down the recipe to my 2-year-old daughter, Skylar, who is a big fan of helping me unwrap the foil from the Hershey kisses -- and sneaking a few bites of chocolate in the process.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Additional granulated sugar
  • About 36 Hershey’s® Kisses® Brand milk chocolates, unwrapped

DIRECTIONS:
Step 1

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, peanut butter, butter and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended. Stir in flour,
baking soda and baking powder until dough forms.

Step 2

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in additional granulated sugar. To make them festive, roll the cookies in coarse sparkling sugar or colored decorating sugar (such as green and red) before baking. On ungreased cookie sheets, place about 2 inches apart.

Step 3
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately press 1 milk chocolate candy in center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack.

Recipe originally featured in Betty Crocker

Date Pin Wheel Cookies
Date Pinewheel Cookies

DATE PINWHEEL COOKIES
Shared by Christine McCarthy, Travel Marketing Content Specialist

Growing up, I knew Christmas was near when my mother got out the ingredients to make her Date Pinwheel cookies.  Although not traditionally a holiday cookie, these unique treats were always part of any holiday cookie tray she made.  When I asked her the story behind this, my mother said she makes them because that is what her mother always did!  I have since carried on this tradition while remembering fondly getting to help roll out the dough and cut the cookies.  When asking my mother why should only made these during the holidays, she laughed and said, “Maybe it’s because they are so much work that you only want to make them once a year!”  But don’t let that discourage you – they are well worth the effort.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ½ cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine dates, sugar and water, and cook 10 minutes.
  • Add nuts and put in the refrigerator to chill.
  • While that mixture is chilling, start the dough by creaming together the shortening, brown sugar, and the eggs.
  • Next mix in the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • When you’re ready to assemble, divide the dough and the date mixture in half so you’ll end up with two logs.
  • Roll out the dough and then spread the date mixture on it.
  • Roll each into a log and then cut cookies that are ¼ inch thick.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.


No Bake Cookies
No-Bake Cookies

NO-BAKE COOKIES

Shared by Nicole Bumbaugh, Supervisor, Print and Digital Content

No-bake cookies are hands-down my favorite cookie. They also happen to be the easiest cookies to make since you don’t need to put them in the oven. Although they are not just for the holidays, they certainly add a chocolatey goodness to any Christmas cookie platter.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 tbsp. cocoa

DIRECTIONS:

  • Bring sugar, shortening and milk to boil.
  • Add Peanut butter. Stir until melted.
  • Add cocoa, oatmeal, and vanilla.
  • Drop mixture in clumps on wax paper. Allow to cool and enjoy.


Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Lemon Crinkle Cookies waiting to go in the oven

LEMON CRINKLE COOKIES
Shared by Stacy Tillilie, editor, AAA World and AAA Traveler

When my now-teenage daughter was about 8 years old, Santa brought her an American Girl Parties recipe book for Christmas. And at Christmastime every year since, she’s been using a beloved recipe from that book—with a few small twists (and traces of flour still sprinkled on the page as remembrances of previous years’ batches)—to make the best Lemon Crinkle Cookies ever. Light and fluffy on the inside, with a burst of lemon encapsulated in a crispy, crinkled shell dusted in sugar, these cheerful cookies—which can be made even merrier by adding red and green food coloring—are one of Santa’s favorites; he even polishes off the crumbs!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of powdered sugar, sifted
  • Red and green food coloring, if you wish

DIRECTIONS:
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisking them together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is creamy. Then, add the eggs one by one, beating each well before adding the next. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract, beating until blended. Pour in the flour mixture, and stir on low speed until blended.

If you wish to make your yellow cookie dough a festive red and green, separate the dough into two bowls, and add a few drops of red food coloring to one batch and a few drops of green food coloring to the other.

Here's where some patience comes in: next, cover the bowl(s) with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight. (Kid-tested tip: My daughter says chilling the dough overnight makes for yummier cookies.)

Anywhere from at least an hour later to the following day, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pour the powdered sugar into a shallow bowl. Take a tablespoonful of the chilled dough and hand-roll it into a ball (yes, it’s kind of a sticky mess but worth it in the end). Then, roll the dough ball in the powdered sugar until it’s completely covered. Repeat with about 27 more balls (as the yield is about 28 cookies). Space the balls about two inches apart on the cookie sheets, and press on the dough balls to slightly flatten.

Bake for seven minutes, and then rotate the cookie sheets when baking on two different racks (be sure to evenly space the racks). Continue to bake—about six more minutes—until the cookies puff up and crack and the edges are just starting to brown. Remove the cookies, and cool them on a wire rack for about five minutes.

When the cookies are completely cooled, serve them—preferably, with a big ole glass of milk as the perfect accompaniment. Just remember to save some for Santa!

Yield: 28 cookies