My All-Time Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipe

This is post #8 for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Okay, so I got the appetizer out of the way. Now, I’m skipping straight to dessert.

One Christmas about a decade ago, while visiting my mom, I pored over her cookbooks, recipe cards and magazine clippings for the dishes I loved so much growing up. I was finally out of college, with a kitchen I could cook in, and I was desperate to recreate many of those dishes on my own.

Among the recipes I copied down were several for cookies. Chocolate chip cookies were the standard throughout the year at our house growing up, but at Christmas… Oh, at Christmas. That’s when all the special recipes were made — gingerbread men, chocolate butter cookies (for the cookie press), peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s Kisses on top, molasses cookies, pfeffernüsse (literally, pepper nuts), almond crescents, we made them all.

My all-time favorite holiday cookies always mesmerized me as a child, the way the powdered-sugared crusts of the cookies would split and crackle, revealing the dark chocolate yumminess inside. And all of this was topped with a nonpareil (Now, how do you pronounce that? Non-peril or Non-pair-eye?).

I so wish I had a picture of these cookies. Hmmm… might just have to bake some, so I can take some pics. That’s the kind of sacrifice I’m willing to make for you, my readers. In the meantime, imagine these with these on top.

Here is the recipe for Sugar-Coated Chocolate Cookies:

1/2 c. butter
3 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate
2 c. sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 pkg. nonpareils

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees (F). Melt the butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat; combine the sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl; add the chocolate mixture, eggs and vanilla; mix until smooth (will be thin). Cover and chill for 2 hours. Roll into 1-inch balls and roll these in the powdered sugar. Bake 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes. Press one nonpareil onto each cookie as soon as they come out of the oven.

12/29/2009 UPDATE: Picture now available! Just baked a batch of these with my sis:

4 thoughts on “My All-Time Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipe

  1. erik says:

    I’ve always thought the pronunciation was “non-peril” Hence, I have always believed that nonpareil cookies were the evil-knieval of cookies, with no fear of being eaten.

    Further, while on the subject.. It is interesting [to me] that jimmies/sprinkles/hundreds-and-thousands have so many names while their smaller monochromatic cousin the nonpareil went by only one name.

  2. Thank you for this delicious post. I have never seen chocolate sugar-coated cookies if you can believe it. I just may have to try making some myself–thanks for the recipe! Also, chcocolate butter cookies? If I’d even realized such a thing existed….well, you know what I’m googling next!

    • baysideresearch says:

      Lol, folkarchivist — let me know if you need a recipe! 🙂

      Erik, thanks for stopping by! I’ve never heard sprinkles referred to as hundreds-and-thousands!

  3. smylinMylin says:

    I’ve been making these with the holiday nonpareils (purchased at Weis grocery store in PA) and they’re our new favorite cookies. So good! And they are really beautiful with the red, green and white nonpareils. Thank you!

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