Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice


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Christmas background with homemade gingerbread cookies, decoration and ingredients

Caroline Croft, Senior Editor

 Cookies are a must-have around the holidays. Snickerdoodles, sugar cookies, and gingerbread men are a few of many treats that help us celebrate the season. Whether they are made for the family to enjoy special gatherings or set out for an overnight visitor who brings presents, cookies are essential to spreading holiday cheer. 

     “I like Campbell’s cookies because they’re festive and designed to look like Christmas things” Senior Web Watkins said. “I always bring them home to my family and we finish them really fast.” 

     Snickerdoodles, decorated sugar cookies, and gingerbread men are all treats that I have grown up having at Christmas. My family builds gingerbread houses with gingerbread men, my sister and I decorate sugar cookies with our grandmother, and my mom makes snickerdoodles for our family. Each of these cookies perfectly represents Christmas as well as family to me, and I hope each of these recipes will brighten your holiday season!



Snickerdoodles (


     Snickerdoodles are a classic Christmas treat. They date all the way back to the 1800s and are native to New England. However, the cookies are likely of German or Dutch descent and could originate from the German word “schneckennudeln,” which translates to “crinkly noodles.”


  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture:

  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Start creaming butter and sugar for 4 to 5 minutes to create a smooth texture. Add eggs and vanilla and cream for 2 minutes longer. 
  • Use cream of tartar as a leavening agent. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. 
  • In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Refrigerate the cookie dough for 20-30 minutes. Double roll the cookie balls into cinnamon sugar.
  • Press the cookie balls down in the center before placing in the oven. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the edges of the cookie become a light golden color.


Sugar cookies (with icing) (

     Christmas cookies became available to Americans in the 17th century when the Dutch brought them over. Following a change in importation laws surrounding certain cheap products from Germany, Christmas cookie cutters were made available to American markets. The cutters were originally designed to make shapes that could hang on Christmas trees. 


  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature 
  • ¾ granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract 
  • ½ teaspoon of almond extract 
  • 2 and ¼ cups all purpose flour 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 


  • ½ cups of confectioners sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup 
  • 2-2.5 tablespoons room temperature water
  • Pinch of salt


  • Beat the butter until creamy and smooth for about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes. 
  • Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until fully combined for about 2 minutes.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. If the dough still seems too soft, ass one tablespoon of flour. 
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll out onto a piece of parchment to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the pieces onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into shapes. Put the cut cookie dough onto the baking sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack to cool completely before icing. 
  • For the icing, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl until the consistency is quite thick. Add food coloring to achieve the desired color. 
  • Decorate your cookies!


Gingerbread men (

Gingerbread men originated in 15th century England. The first instance they were shaped into human-like figures was at the court of Queen Elizabeth I of England. She had gingerbread men made to please her most important guests. 


  • 10 tablespoons of unsalted butter 
  • ¾ cup of brown sugar 
  • ⅔ cup of unsulphured molasses 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 3 and ½ cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda 
  • ½ teaspoon of salt 
  • 1 tablespoon of grounded ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon 
  • ½ tablespoon of ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves 


  • Beat the butter for 1 minute until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and molasses and beat until combined and creamy-looking. Beat in egg and vanilla on for 2 minutes. 
  • In a different bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together until combined. Then, slowly mix into the wet ingredients until combined.
  • Divide dough in half and place each onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each up tightly and pat down to create a disc shape. Chill the dough for at least 3 hours. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 
  • Flour the work surface. Roll out the discs until they are ¼ inches thick. Cut into shapes. Place shapes 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake cookies for about 9-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet then move to the wire rack. Decorate after the cookies have cooled.