Cakes of all shapes and sizes (including smaller items such as cookies) have been part of festive holiday traditions long before Christmas. Many of these recipes and ingredients (cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, almonds, dried fruits etc.) were introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages. They were highly prized and quickly incorporated into European baked goods. Christmas cookies, as we know them today, trace their roots to these Medieval European recipes. Dutch and German settlers introduced cookie cutters, decorative molds, and festive holiday decorations to America. Dutch New Year's cookies were also sometimes molded into fancy shapes. German lebkuchen (gingerbread) was probably the first cake/cookie traditionally associated with Christmas. Sugar cookie type recipes descended from English traditions.
"By the 1500s, Christmas cookies had caught on all over Europe. German families baked up pans of Lebkuchen and buttery Spritz cookies. Papparkakor (spicy ginger and black-pepper delights) were favorites in Sweden; the Norwegians made krumkake (thin lemon and cardamom-scented wafers). The earliest Christmas cookies in America came ashore with the Dutch in the early 1600s."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 184)
We wanted to share the fun of sharing wonderful Christmas Cookies Recipes so we created a fun board on Pinterest of Christmas Cookies to showcase Bel Aire's favorite picks this holiday. From classic sugar cookies to gingerbread men, these top recipes will sweeten your holiday — and make you the darling of all your cookie swaps.