google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html Family Recipe Friday - Online Cookie Exchange | The Armchair Genealogist

Family Recipe Friday - Online Cookie Exchange

Now that the calendar has turned to the last page and December is here, our thoughts quickly turn to Christmas. From here on out our days will be filled with shopping, decorating, and baking. 

Christmas is filled with traditions particularly  food traditions. None more prominent than Christmas cookie traditions.

I love the idea of a cookie exchange. A dozen women (or men- but not likely) show up with a dozen cookies for everyone and voila you now have a 12 dozen cookies to put in your freezer for Christmas day. 

I got to thinking (smell the smoke). Wouldn't it be great if everyone showed up with a cookie that was a traditional family favourite. Attached to your dozen cookies, you could add a little story or antidote about the ancestor or family tradition along with the recipe. What a great way to share some family history. 

 I would love nothing better then to invite all you lovely people to my home for an ancestor cookie exchange. However, that would be somewhat of a logistic's nightmare. Instead, I've decided to host an online cookie exchange. 

Let's share our favourite cookie recipes. It can fall into one of two categories.  

1. A favourite cookie recipe handed-down from an ancestor.
2. A favourite recipe that has become a holiday tradition in your family. ( You know the one, it's not Christmas without it.) 

So here's the deal. I'm sharing my all-time favourite cookie recipe. Posted below. You can post your favourite cookie recipe, either in comments below, or linked to a post in your own blog. 

Before you know it, we'll have a nice list of favourite cookie recipes and traditions to share. Perhaps you will be inspired to bake up some history this holiday season. 

My Traditional Holiday Cookie

I decided to share my shortbread recipe. This is the one cookie I must have at Christmas. My mother always made them, and I am pretty finicky about my shortbread. I like the melt in your mouth kind, not the hard biscuit type. 

You see my story is I have no Scottish roots, no ancestor who handed down this recipe. I will have to presume our shortbread tradition comes by way of the Scottish influence in this country. 

My mother has made this shortbread recipe for 50 years and now I've made them for the last 25 years. They must have the little green or red cherry pressed in the middle.  It's just not Christmas without them. 

Of course, we always had to leave cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas eve, and the shortbread cookie was always the cookie of choice.  My daughters now count shortbread among their favourites and I couldn't be happier. 

What's your family cookie tradition?  Join the online cookie exchange and post below or in your own blog. 

Looking forward to baking up some holiday family history this Christmas season. 

 Shortbread Recipe


• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1/4 cup cornstarch
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2. Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low for one minute, then on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

3. Press a piece of red or green cherry in the center.

4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Watch that the edges don't brown too much. Cool on wire racks.


NoOceanInKansas said...

I received this Sugar Cookie recipe from a work friend several years ago. It is my all-time favorite sugar cookie recipe: big, soft, chewy, and always a bit hit with the kids.

Laurel Watson's Sugar Cookies

1 c softened unsalted butter
3/4 tsp salt
2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. sour cream
4 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, salt and sugar together. Add egg and sour cream and mix well. Add vanilla. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Chill dough for at least 4 hours or overnight. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese
16 oz. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients well and frost.
(I add a little milk to thin it)

For Christmas cookies, I use lots of different colored frosting and tons of sprinkles. My grandson loves to help me decorate.


Nancy said...

Lynn, I'm in for the cookie exchange but I'll have to post one day next week or the week after. (We still have 3 weeks till Christmas, right?!)

Your recipe looks so simple, I think I will try it!

I'm looking forward to other entries. Thanks for hosting.

Anglers Rest said...

Alas I don't have a cookie recipe handed down to me. I have though printed out yours and will try and make some on the lead up to Christmas.

I have taken part in the Cookie Exchange. Watch the Anglers Rest blog for the recipe I used and see photos of those I received. My first batched arrived yesterday for a man too!

Anglers Rest said...

What a twit! I am rambling on about a cookie exchange involving my book bloggers. I am blaming it on the sciatica! Count me in!

Lynn Palermo said...

Thanks Karen for the sugar recipe, my daughter loves to make these.I'm going to give them a try, as I'm not a fan of our current recipe.

Kelli said...

I have been baking for about a week now, and hope some of it makes it until Christmas, as I have 2 teenage boys with great appetites!

Sugar & Spice Cookies

¾ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp soda
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp each: ginger and nutmeg
¼ tsp each: allspice and black pepper
granulated sugar

In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and molasses. In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and spices. Beat about half of flour mixture into creamed mixture using medium speed, stir in remainder. Shape into 1” balls and roll in sugar. Place 2” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 375˚F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until tops are cracked. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 55 cookies.

Lynn Palermo said...

@Julie no worries, look forward to your recipe
@Nancy lots of time, I don't like to bake too early, like Kelli pointed out, there is nothing left by Christmas Day.

Lynn Palermo said...

@Kelli, thanks for the recipe, are these like a gingerbread cookie? Looking for a good gingerbread recipe!

Kelli said...

You're welcome, Lynn. They're a bit different from gingerbread, but much easier because there's no rolling/cutting. Here's a great gingerbread recipe I've used for years. Thx to Martha Stewart:

Gingerbread Cookies

6 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
½ pound unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup molasses

•In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
•With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Ass flour mixture; combine on low speed. Divide dough in thirds; wrap in plastic. Chill for at least an hour.
•Heat oven to 350˚F. On a floured work surface, roll dough 1/8” thick. (or thicker, as I don’t like them crispy) Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm (15 minutes). Bake 8-10 minutes, or until crisp, but not darkened. Let cookies cool on wire racks, then decorate as desired.

Danette said...


Okay, here is mine but it is really Paula Deans Ginger Cookie Recipe. The reason that is a tradition and "not Christmas without them" is that they are the first cookie Leah, my granddaughter, and I made together and she loves them. She originally called them "Spikey Cookies" because she said they made her tongue feel all spiky, so now that is what we call them. They are quick and easy to eat and absolutely addicting so we don't make them until the last minute because they are gone by the end of the day!

3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the shortening and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and molasses and beat until completely incorporated. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt and add to the mixture. Stir until combined. Roll the dough into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in sugar. Place 1/2-inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten the balls slightly with your fingertips. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Lynn Palermo said...

Thanks Danette, I look forward to the day of sharing holiday traditions with grandchildren. But in no hurry to see my children have children.LOL.

NoOceanInKansas said...

Lynn, let me know how they turn out!! They are a HUGE hit at my house.

Jacqi said...

Lynn, what a fun idea! Unfortunately, I don't have any "heritage" recipes--for Christmas, or any other time. My dad's relatives were so secretive about their national origin (immigrants from Poland) that they wouldn't even give any clues through what they made in their own kitchens! My mom's family was as American as apple pie for several generations, so we usually satisfied our holiday sweet tooth by experimenting with new recipes in current magazines.

However, my dad, a professional musician who turned to teaching in his later years, was gifted with all sorts of treats at Christmas time. Our best memories were of gifts from the Italian families among his students. The only pastry that I ever learned the name of was "Struffoli." My sister has found a Struffoli recipe which she does, but it is very time consuming...though delicious!

If any of your readers come from an Italian heritage that includes this pastry, I'd love to hear what other treats come from that region of Italy. I'd love to rediscover (and find the names of) those mystery pastries we enjoyed from our childhood years!

Lynn Palermo said...

Jacqui, my great-grandfather was Polish, and although I wouldn't call him secretive, he spoke nothing of his homeland. He said Canada was his home, he was 18 when he arrived. So we too have few Polish recipes. My husband is Italian. His parents were born in Campania region, Caserta, my husband was born in Canada, about 5-6 years after they arrived. So a very Italian household. We keep as many of the traditions alive. I love the Italian culture. I will have to ask my husband about Struffoli, I don't know it by name.

mo said...

When we were growing up, we had several traditions and foods that made Christmas really special. I've written a couple of stories about the most important ones. We always made special holiday cookies like Russian Teacakes and date cookies and such, and candies like pecan logs. But my favorite three are Dad's homemade fudge, spiced walnuts, and rum balls. I still make them today and given them away as gifts to friends and family.

Here's the recipe for spiced walnuts:
3 C sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 C water
4 C walnut halves

In saucepan, mix together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice, then add water and stir. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils. Boil gently until syrup forms a soft ball (238 on candy thermometer).

Remove from heat. Add nuts, stir until syrup begins to sugar. Spoon onto greased pan or cookie sheet and let cool. Separate nuts.

This has always been a real crowd-pleaser, and I hope you enjoy them as well. Be careful, they're addictive!

Denise Spurlock said...

I posted the recipe for my favorite on my blog. Cranberry Hootycreeks!

Nancy said...

I decided to bring Spritz Cookies. You can find the recipe at Thanks for hosting, Lynn.

Leslie Brinkley Lawson said...

I'm late to share my cookie recipe! It's busy around here! I wanted to share my mother's Chocolate Fudge Cookie recipe. She loved all things sweet and all things chocolate! (So do the rest of us!)

Thanks for hosting this idea!