Traditions in the Making: Christmas Cookies


Every year around the holidays, my mom makes these little butter cookies that are rolled out and cut into stars and half moons baked until they’re perfectly done and cooled before dipping them halfway in chocolate and sprinkling them with crushed nuts. They’re perfect and they fall apart in the best way if you dip them in hot tea and my brother’s girlfriend Jane and I sat down together and probably ate 30 of them the day after Thanksgiving this year.

I love the traditions that just happen, the ones you don’t have to plan for but then if you forget about them one year people (i.e. me) are like “BUT WHERE ARE THE COOKIES?”

I made the cookies last year before I had a baby and I froze them so my mom and I could eat them when she got to town. We defrosted them and dipped them in hot tea and they were good but they weren’t as good, so this year I didn’t make them (it could also be because I already ate at least 15 just a few weeks ago).

So this year Rob and I made some sugar cookie dough on a Saturday morning while Sophie napped, and we drank our coffee as I rolled the dough into four sections and twisted each one into a plastic wrap-covered ball. Into the fridge they went and later on that afternoon we rolled them out onto a marble slab and used a juice glass to cut them into perfect circles before baking them and then transferring each cookie onto one of two cooling racks which I ordered on Amazon two days before for exactly this reason.

Sunday was Cookie Decorating Day, so I set out a variety of sprinkles and those cinnamon red hots and we opened a bottle of sparkling wine before mixing powdered sugar with egg whites, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a shocking amount of milk because it seemed like we were mixing concrete, not icing. Countless Instagram cookie decorating videos had me feeling incredibly confident about my innate royal icing piping skills, so Rob and Sophie watched as I piped and flooded white backgrounds onto each of the cookies with the help of my friend Mary, who came over just to decorate cookies with us on a Sunday afternoon.

A few drops of food coloring into each one of four bowls and a few more piping bags later, we had cookies that were…not as cute as I thought they’d be.

Traditions in the Making: Christmas Cookies | Freckled Italian

But what a fun afternoon it turned out to be, and later that evening after Mary left we tucked Sophie into the stroller with a blanket and walked through our neighborhood, talking about what cookie cutters we should get for next year and how when Sophie is older maybe she’ll want to invite her own friends over for the annual Peterson Family Cookie Decorating Party.

PS we used this cookie recipe and it was perfect. This frosting, not so much. If you have a sugar cookie frosting recipe you love, let me know!