My favorite holiday traditions mostly seem to revolve around the kitchen. In particular: cookies. For me, Christmas is all about cookies. Well, Christmas baking is all about cookies. Sure, for Christmas dinner, I’ll be whipping up that ol’ family favorite, the Astoria Red Cake (as it is called on the recipe card, though it’s more commonly known as Red Velvet Cake), but before Christmas, it’s cookie time. Three varieties have already come out of the kitchen, and I’d say there’s at least two more on the way. Care to take a peek?

First, the Citrus Sizzlers:

This is one of those recipes my best friend Heather and I immediately fell in love with. Combine lemon with cayenne pepper and – bam! – you get a deliciously tasty hot treat. It’s not the kind of spice you would expect from a Christmas cookie (or any cookie, really), but I love that little burst of zing you get from them. You really do need a glass of milk to go with these little bombs!

After those little whiz-bangs, I decided to something more traditionally Christmas: Eggnoggers!

It’s simple, really. Take your basic cookie dough and add in some eggnog. They look a lot like the Citrus Sizzlers, and they have almost the same texture, except the Eggnoggers are a little moister. And they’ve got that lovely sprinkling of nutmeg on top. I’m not much of a fan of eggnog, but I do really like the little bundles of yum. They taste like a mouthful of Christmas spirit.

And this week, Geordie, my brother, and I did something that’s been a family tradition for years and years and years: Sugar Cookies!

Ryan, Geordie, and me preparing to roll out some cookies!

Ryan's decorated cookies.

two of my decorated cookies

a few more decorated cookies

This recipe actually dates back to before I was born – long before I was born. It’s from Robin Hood Flour, and it’s a recipe my grandmother gave to my mother when she got married. This year, my grandmother even gave me three cookie cutters that orginally came from Robin Hood Flour: a crusader, Maid Marian, and Robin Hood himself.

Geordie's crusader before . . .

and after!

The whole process of rolling and cutting and baking and decorating takes a couple hours, but it’s always fun and totally worth the effort. The cookies came out really tasty this year, and they look wonderful! For me, it really starts to feel like Christmas-time when there’s a batch of decorated sugar cookies sitting in the kitchen, just waiting to be eaten.

Last (so far!), Geordie and I put together the Gingerbread House.

Gingerbread is not one of my Christmas baking standards; I usually just by a pre-fab house and put it together. And that’s what we did here. Perhaps not the most artistic of gingerbread houses, but it works. And it was fun to put together.

And there’s more to come! You’ve got to have Gingernuts to go with Christmas! And I’ve been dying to throw together some Cornflake Cookies. I’m also thinking about doing some Whippersnaps, which I haven’t done in a few years, and there are two new recipes I want to try: Cranberry Hootycreeks and Dutch Almond Cookies. And that’s not even counting the hard candy I make every Christmas. I also love to do marzipan – my absolute most favorite candy ever! – but this year, I bought some from IKEA instead of making my own.

Of course, the only problem that comes with making cookies is having too many cookies! Fortunately, it’s Christmas, and as fun as it is to make cookies, it’s even more fun to share them with friends and loved ones.

So. Anyone want a cookie?