kawarthaCHOW – Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies create holiday spirit and make a great gift!

Give a gift of cookies this year, or treat yourself through a cookie exchange!
Give a gift of cookies this year, or treat yourself through a cookie exchange!

Christmas — what is it all about?

There are emotions all around when Christmas approaches. Some experience the spirit of the season, while others experience stress or loneliness. Christmas can be a time of excess when too much money is spent, too much food is eaten, and the thought of driving to yet another family event is daunting.

For me, Christmas has always been about the food. As a child, it was about the baking. As I grew, it became about being able to replicate my mom’s Tourtière and the magic of Christmas dinner. With children of my own now, and a realization that some people will spend Christmas alone or sad, Christmas has become about sharing.

I think that the Christmas cookie represents everything that’s Christmas. I love the idea of the workplace cookie exchange, where everyone makes dozens of cookies and then divide them up; you end up with all your Christmas baking done! People have cookie parties with the same concept.

The time and love that a person puts into Christmas baking is a gift — one of the best that people can exchange in this season of rushing around and excess. This year I say put down the charge card and pick up the oven mitts! Let’s share some cookies with neighbours who might be alone, let’s give some cookies to the bus driver, the teacher, or someone who just needs something sweet.

Let’s face it: when Santa comes down that chimney, he doesn’t want an Oreo — he wants something made from the heart and decorated with care. The beautiful smells that happen when we bake are enough to transport anyone to a happy “cinnamon and spice” sweet place.

Here’s a recipe with a few simple ingredients that will make about 10 dozen cookies — plenty to share! You can make them ahead and put them in tins or the freezer, for decorating later and even hanging on the tree.

From my kitchen to yours … Merry Christmas!


  • 1-1/2 cups (343 ml) butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups (402 ml) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup (167 ml) dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) molasses
  • 4-1/2 cups (1018 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp (6 ml) cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp (4 ml) ground cloves
  • Frosting of your choice


  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in egg, corn syrup, and molasses.
  3. Combine the flour, spices and baking soda.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours (or until easy to handle).
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until 1/8-inch thick and cut out with your favourite cookie cutter.
  7. Bake at 375°F (190°C) on an ungreased cookie sheet bake for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Decorate and enjoy!
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Elaine McCarthy
Elaine McCarthy is the Co-ordinator of the PC Cooking School, located upstairs at the Great Canadian Superstore at Lansdowne Place in Peterborough. Elaine has been cooking professionally for over 20 years and running the cooking school for five years. A mother of two girls, she has a passion for healthy eating and for teaching children about the importance of the food that we consume. Be sure to check our column about the PC Cooking School and facility rental. You can follow Elaine on Twitter at @PlanxtyIrwin.