Ask any child what they love about the holidays and most, if not all, will say the presents. A close second for many kids and adults alike are the cookies. These confections are delicious any time of year, but many families have traditional cookies they bake year after year. From classic chocolate chip to sugar cutouts, chocolate icing, fruit fillings and more -- there are endless options for baking holiday cookies.
My family's favorite cookie, one that my mom still bakes today, are green Christmas trees. When we were younger, my sister, brother and I would help mix in the ingredients and take turns adding in the green food coloring. We also added almond extract, which makes these cookies extra delicious! My mother would stuff the cookie dough into the cookie press and we'd watch in awe as this cool gadget transformed the dough into the shape of a tree. The best part for us was decorating the cookies. My mom would set up stations for us to add sprinkles and small, edible stars as a tree topper. Once they were in the oven, we'd sit and watch Christmas movies while they baked and then we each got to sample one before Christmas Eve. Every year we left these cookies for Santa, as we learned they were his favorite, too!
I figured other Long Island families had similar cookie traditions so I reached out to our Facebook and Twitter fans to find out what cookies they're baking this holiday season. Here are some great ideas for cookie recipes from LIers:
I know an awesome Reese's cookie recipe made with cake mix!
-Beth Santagata, via Facebook
I started baking sesame and anise cookies and I still have to bake pignoli and rainbow cookies...yummy!
-Toni Giannettino-Lifrieri, via Facebook
Anise cookies...the kind shaped in balls with icing and sprinkles...my Grandmother's recipe, then Mom's and now mine to make with my children (ages 14, 16, 18). Already made a batch with my daughter and will need to make more to make it through the holidays!
-Valerie Sullivan Pfundstein, via Facebook
Oatmeal chocolate chip, chocolate chip (chunk), sugar cookies. We like to give Santa options; will even give Santa the option of milk, hot chocolate (with or without marshmallows) or warm apple cider.
-Karen Lelo, via Facebook
Chocolate chip and sugar cookies!
-Andrea Blocker, via Facebook
Sugar and chocolate chip. We bake cookies every Christmas Eve and decorate them with frosting and sprinkles for Santa. Even though my boys are now 21, 19 and 18, we still keep up this tradition as a family.
Crescent butter cookies with mini chocolate chips, half dipped in melted chocolate and then rolled in sprinkles or nuts or coconut.
-Patti Langan, via Facebook
Russian tea cakes, yum!
-Donna Hawkins, via Facebook
Santa likes good, old-fashioned oatmeal chocolate chip!
-Heather Lloyd Guilmette, via Facebook
Some gingerbread men and women pops, and some stained-glass cookies (from a Newsday article last week!). I am not too crafty, and my 4-year-old daughter Alexandra Pavone helped me!!
-Kara Gallagher, via Facebook
Every December the Pre K children at Barton Elementary School in Patchogue make a life-size gingerbread boy. One of the children gets traced onto a large piece of paper. Then the boys and girls get to mix the dough and fill in the large tracing with their gingerbread. The teacher bakes it and the next day the children go to the cafeteria to get him, but surprise, he isn't there! Then the adventure begins, a search throughout the school to look for him. He isn't in the music room, he isn't in the library, he isn't visiting the nurse. Finally they figure out from the many clues that he is in the principal's office. Then everyone gets to have gingerbread at snack time. What a fun day to be in Pre K!
-Sandy Echan, via Facebook
The Italian Rainbow cookies are mine. Little Brian loves anything with sprinkles.
-Bonnie Esau Spellman, Hampton Bays
Rainbow cookies! And struffoli, the classic Italian cookie has become a tradition in my family.
-Natalie Maio, Baldwin
Thumbprint cookies all the way!
-Maryellen Matarazzo, via Facebook
Aunt Lynn's Sugar Cookies for the holidays. Butter, sugar, flour, egg and vanilla.
-@Peggylowhunt, via Twitter
What's your favorite holiday cookie? Share yours in the comment section below and submit a picture of the finished product here.