Ask A Minnesota Expert: Christmas Cookie Recipes

Ask A Minnesota Expert: Christmas Cookie Recipes

One of the best parts of winter, or one of the only good parts depending on how you feel about the cold, is a kitchen warm from the oven and the soul-hugging smell of cookies baking inside. With snowflakes falling outside and temperatures dipping lower and lower, winter is the very best season to enjoy these holiday treats.

Darlene Anderson
Baker, Cookie Maker, and Grandmother

Darlene Anderson has been a Midwest gal her whole life. Born in Iowa, she spent much of her life in Minnesota, working in Minneapolis and raising a family in Monticello, before moving to Big Lake. Darlene makes cookies for bake sales and fundraisers, for church functions, for her eager grandchildren and for the smiling faces of anyone lucky to get their hands on some. Here, she shares with us the recipes that will fill your house this holiday season with that unbeatable smell of fresh-baked cookies straight from the oven.

For more recipes, contact Darlene Anderson at:
or (641) 832-2411

Molasses Cookies

For the chilly weather of the holidays, enjoy the warm spices of clove and cinnamon and smooth sweetness of molasses that makes these cookies so delicious you won’t be able to stop eating them.


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Mix sugar and Crisco, and then add your egg, and then molasses. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix salt, ginger, cinnamon, clove, soda and flour. Make sure that you mix thoroughly, especially the soda, to avoid clumps.
  4. Combine your two mixes.
  5. Use a spoon, or your hands, to roll dough into balls. Sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Bake for no longer than 8 minutes.

Related: Holiday Recipes From Minnesota Chef Peter Makens

Date Cookies

Dates are a classic holiday fruit, commonly given as gifts on Christmas, as well as baked into cakes and pastries. And they’re simply delicious in these one-of-a-kind cookies.



  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup, give or take, chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup, give or take, chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Mix sugar, Crisco, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, soda and salt thoroughly, then add to your first mix.
  4. Add milk (the dough is really thick, so the milk is crucial to softening it up), dates and almonds.
  5. Bake for approximately 9 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the classics. Honestly, is there anything better than fresh chocolate chip cookies that melt right in your mouth?



  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 oz chocolate chips (1 bag, typically)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix your white and brown sugars and shortening in a bowl.
  3. Add the three eggs, one at a time.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Mix both mixes together, then add chocolate chips and almonds.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. As soon as you see a little brown around the edges of your cookies, take them out and let them rest, finishing on the baking tray.

Related: Ask A Chef: Best Breakfast Casserole Recipes

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.