Christmas Cookies from Mom’s Recipe Box or It Must Be Saturday ‘Cause I Am Giving You Another Recipe

A cone and holly.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fifty-six years. That is how long it took me to bake my favourite Christmas cookies.  It is a simple recipe {with just a few more than my usual five ingredients}, or I would not have even attempted them. I am now wondering what took me so long. Was it my fear of flour, my impatience, or my lack of confidence in my baking skills? Most likely all three.

Actually making the cookies was quite a breakthrough for me. My fear of flour was conquered. Being able to follow a recipe to its fruition, then eating the fruits of my labour was truly satisfying.

Of course, this is no ordinary cookie—it is a recipe I remember my mom making Christmas after Christmas. She would sometimes make them during the year but never with the seedless raspberry jam dropped oh-so-elegantly into a little indentation in the middle of the cookie.  That was saved for the special occasion of Christmas alone.

During the year they were known as Ice Box Cookies and had chopped up walnuts in them, but at Christmas they became Thumbprint cookies with a bright dab of jam. I can, and do eat these by the handful with a glass of cold milk.


Christmas Cookies! (Photo credit: .imelda)

For years, my younger sister, who does not share my aversion to baking, brought me  big tins of these cookies at Christmas because she knew how much I love them. And while I would share some of them with my family, I always hid away a little cache of them {if you lived at my house you would understand: cookies get inhaled whole}.

One day, my youngest son asked me why we did not make them. I did not have a really good answer, other than the fact that I probably did not have the ingredients. Well, he wasn’t buying it. So, I found the recipe, which I had copied from my mom years ago and kept safely in a little recipe book that I rarely used.

It turned out that there were no strange or unknown ingredients in the cookies, and that in fact the only thing I really had to make a special trip to the store for was the seedless raspberry jam. These cookies did not even need baking powder, but are content to rise with baking soda, which I always have on hand.

Buoyed  by my son’s enthusiasm I bought the jam and set about to make the cookies. The recipe makes a large batch, which is great for a newly minted baker of cookies. I had to email my sister to ask a couple of pertinent questions, like temperature, length of time to bake the cookies, and should I put the jam in the thumbprints before or after baking. The answers came back: 350 degrees, 8-10 minutes, and put the jam in before baking.

The cookies came out just perfect! I prefer a soft cookie and they are wonderfully soft. And the raspberry jam adds just the right festive note. They also bring back all the lovely childhood memories I have of Christmas—munching on these wonderful cookies while reading a new book left by Santa.

So, if you are someone who is not fearless in the kitchen, or have a strange fear of flour as I did, this is the recipe for you:


Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes


1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

3 ½ cups flour

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts

Seedless raspberry jam or jam of your choice.

Mix ingredients (except for jam) and roll into two rolls; wrap in wax paper. Chill, slice and bake.


Roll into balls, make dent, and put in small amount of jam. I never use the walnuts–but you get to make that call.

Because this is a generous cookie recipe I have made all the cookies at once using the second method; but have also made just some of the cookies and rolled up one roll of cookies and put them away to make another day.

So, have you set your fears aside and made a special recipe for Christmas?


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29 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. My mom always made these cookies and they are so darn good! I might have to make a batch this weekend! But they are dangerous since you cannot stop eating them!!

    • I know–you find yourself eating 6 to 8 at a time with a tall glass of very cold milk

  2. this is the only time of year I’ll use so much butter! yum

    • the recipe makes a lot of cookies, so in essence it is not really that much butter — ha ha

  3. Sounds simple enough.
    I really have to get the oven fixed. Or – there will be no baked goods this holiday season.

  4. My girls and I are baking these cookies next weekend. They are top of the list to make for Christmas….I’ll bring you a batch in January if you don’t get around to making them. Or maybe I’ll conquer my fear of yeast and make cinnamon rolls. 😉

    • by January, even if I do make them, they will be long gone–tell me if you get over your fear of yeast–that is the next thing I want to conquer
      cinnamon rolls- yum!

  5. I’ve always had a fear of cooking (anything) – but I’ll try these 🙂

    • If I can do it, it is guaranteed you can do it–I am the anti-Martha but not out of a dislike for Martha–my domestic gene is not the dominant one

      • LOL! 😀

  6. My son is rather partial to anything that has jam in it so I think we’ll have to try these ones!

  7. I’m getting ready for the holiday baking marathon. My family likes the cut out cookies– which after 5 batches is a real pain in the $#% . the things we do for love 🙂
    I love thumbprints– i like them with mint jelly

  8. MMMMMMMMMmmmmm. These sound so good.

  9. Hi LouAnn dear!
    Long time, no see! Hope you are doing good!
    It is always a pleasure to visit here. And today I have a good reason.
    To share an award. To tell you how much I admire your work.
    Its waiting here for you,

    Enjoy! Cheers! 🙂


  10. Goodie! I wanted to make a few different cookies this year (different for me, I mean). I’ll be making these! Thank you.

  11. […] Christmas Cookies from Mom’s Recipe Box or It Must Be Saturday ‘Cause I Am Giving You An… ( […]

  12. Yummmmmmmyyyyyyyy!! I love these cookies, and did you know that they freeze really well too? You can make them ahead of time and just throw them in the freezer until you need them. I just put wax paper in between the layers because of the jam :).

    • freeze them – ha ha, at my house– I suppose I could hide them in an old cardboard box that held something else–then maybe, just maybe–cookies get inhaled at my house if I do not hide them

      • That’s why I freeze them LOL!! It’s a good place to hide them if you need to take them to a party of something, and you don’t want the kids to find them :).

  13. […] Christmas Cookies from Mom’s Recipe Box or It Must Be Saturday ‘Cause I Am Giving You An… […]

  14. These were perfect. I’m just taking a second batch out of the oven. Half of the first batch didnt make it. They are so easy, even the hormone addled kid was able to make them. I’ll be keeping this recipe.

    • so glad you like them–they are my favourite cookie that is not chocolate

  15. […] Christmas Cookies from Mom’s Recipe Box or It Must Be Saturday ‘Cause I Am Giving You An… ( […]

  16. […] also tried an easy and delicious thumbprint cookie recipe from LouAnn and learned a neat little trick for making the thumbprint holes from Carolyn (I’d […]

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