Holiday Favorites

12 Days of Christmas Desserts: Classic Sugar Cookies

A Holiday Classic:  Sugar Cookies

Sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla…by themselves, these ingredients make up the main parts of infinite baking recipes, but when combined in a certain way, they create one of the most well known and beloved cookies in the world: the Sugar Cookie.  Sugar cookies are also one of the most traditional dessert recipes used during the holiday season.  It’s a time of year when we heat up our ovens and whip up countless holiday sweets.  Sugar cookies are perhaps the most adored of holiday desserts because they are quick and easy to make and are loved by even the pickiest of eaters.  They’re also a favorite cookie for families of all ages to decorate.  Everyone loves cutting the dough into different shapes and decorating them with colorful frostings and sprinkles.

Sugar cookies, and cookies in general, were most likely created by accident.  Historians think the idea of cookies was conceived by a Middle Eastern baker way back during the seventh century.  The baker didn’t want to waste ingredients so he decided to sell the small batter cakes he used to test the temperature of his cooking oven.  The ingenious idea used to eliminate waste by selling these tasty mini-cakes caught on and a revolutionary sugar-based creation was born.


Custom decorated mitten sugar cookies from Artistic Cakes & Cookies

It’s very likely that old-time sugar cookies weren’t decorated with sprinkles and frosting, or decorated at all.  In fact, some of the first sugar cookie recipes that came about in 17th century Europe required the baker to boil the dough before baking it.  The dough was rolled, cut into narrow strips and tied in a knot before being boiled and baked.  The result was a cross between the modern bagel and a cookie.  Before they were called sugar cookies, they were referred to by other names; gimblettes in France, cimbellines in Italy, and jumbles, jumbals, crybabies, plunkets and gemmels in other parts of the world. Old style sugar cookies were often tough and dry, too.  This made them portable and long-lasting.

Today’s sugar cookie can be traced back to the mid-18th century in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.  German Protestant settlers created the round, buttery cookie and it became known as the Nazareth Sugar Cookie.  To preserve its heritage as the birthplace of the modern sugar cookie, the Nazareth Sugar Cookies was adopted as Pennsylvania’s official cookie through a House bill introduced in 2001.  It’s safe to say Nazareth is very proud of their cookies.

Fun Fact: Mark your calendars for July 9th, National Sugar Cookie Day!

So bust out your baking sheets, whip up some delicious sugar cookies and decorate them to your hearts delight! But don’t forget to leave some for Santa!  To make your own Classic Sugar Cookies, check out this recipe.


Find Classic Sugar Cookies at one of these WBA member bakeries:

Mila’s European Bakery
239 North Main Street
Thiensville WI 53092
Phone: (262) 242-1404

Treat Bake Shop
207 E Buffalo, Suite 212
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone: (414) 800-6179

Sugar & Flour Bakery
5721 Broad St
Greendale, WI 53129
Phone: (414) 421-5565

Artistic Cakes & Cookies
N282 Stoney Brook Rd. Suite A
Appleton, WI 54915
Phone: (920) 423-3678

For a complete list of WBA Member Bakeries, click here.


More Christmas dessert ideas:

First Day of Christmas: Yule Log
Second Day of Christmas: Gingerbread House