Get out the cookie cutters and colorful sprinkles — it’s time to make Christmas cookies! We all know Christmas cookies are as much a holiday tradition as trimming the tree and hanging the stockings. But how did this come about?
In days past, sugar was extremely expensive, and flour was needed for everyday bread baking, so these ingredients were typically not wasted on sweet treats except for special occasions, such as Christmas.
Gingerbread is most likely the first type of cookie to be associated with Christmas and dates back to Medieval Europe. By 1500, the cookie tradition had spread all across the continent, with each region having its own particular specialty. Recipe books from the Renaissance period contain numerous cookie recipes. Later, the Industrial Revolution brought about the mass manufacturing of cookies.
The word “cookie” is derived from the Dutch world “koeptje” (or “koekje”), which means “small cake.” In England and Australia, cookies are called “biscuits.” In Spain, they are referred to as “galletas,” while Germans call them “keks” or “Platzchen.” Italians are known for their amaretti and biscotti.
Whatever they may be called, cookies are a worldwide favorite. Check out the recipes below, and don’t forget to save a few cookies for Santa!