This time of year is full of so many wonderful signifiers of the Christmas season: warm glowing Christmas lights, jolly holiday music with familiar melodies, the smells of cranberries and pine lingering from a favorite candle or the freshly-cut tree.
But there is one incredibly classic Christmas signifier that I unfortunately have never been a big fan of, and it’s time for me admit it once and for all.
I do not like gingerbread cookies.
I know this might be a big deal to some, but we didn’t really bake or eat gingerbread in my house growing up! Only being exposed to it as I’ve gotten older, there’s a part of the rich flavor that does not sit well on my tongue. I think it’s the molasses, as I’ve done my research and every other ingredient in these famed cookies is something I do enjoy in other recipes.
When discussing Christmas cookie baking with my husband this year (a very serious and important subject), I was relieved to discover he also does not enjoy gingerbread. What a win! So then, with the holiday season upon us, I felt called to try and find a gingerbread alternative that still had some warming spices throughout.
After plenty of Pinterest researching, I decided to try out the “Spiced Christmas Tree Cookies” from One Hot Oven (linked here). The main thing I changed was the shapes; I wanted to use all of my new fun Christmas cookie cutters, so you bet we did!
It ended up being delicious; similar to the chai-spiced cookies I made from Half-Baked Harvest back in the fall, these are full of all the lovely comforting spices that make it feel like the holidays. The cookies are almost shortbread-like, with plenty of butter and no rising agents like baking powder or baking soda. When rolled thin, they get a lovely crisp on them with just a bit of softness in the middle.
We also had a ball decorating the cookies. I bought some white frosting bags as well as a gold and white sprinkle set. I even pulled out the leftover chai sugar from those chai sugar cookies for us to sprinkle on top! Tapping into our arts-and-crafts side, Jarod and I enjoyed piping and sprinkling on each of these cookies with our own designs before winding down for bed that evening. It worked really well as we left the cookies out for the frosting to set overnight and then stacked them up in my cake stand in the morning.
My hope is that this Christmas cookie decorating becomes a tradition in our family as it is for many families this time of year. Right now it’s just two of us, but one day we’ll hopefully have more around the table, and I’ve really been enjoying trying things out to see if they’ll “stick” as traditions in the years to come. Maybe soon I’ll write a post about the seasonal/non-seasonal “traditions” I’ve been thinking about trying in this first year of marriage. It’s funny how some traditions are planned and others naturally come into existence.
Take a look at the pictures below to see how these turned out and let me know – do you have a favorite Christmas cookie recipe?