Family Recipes :: Pine Family Christmas Cookies

The Pine children circa 1987.
The Pine children circa 1987.

Growing up in the Pine household, Christmas Day followed the same general pattern every year: wake up early to open stockings and presents, play with our new toys for the first (and often last) time, engage in jealousy-induced fighting (Merry Christmas!), then eat Christmas dinner (aka lunch) at my grandparent’s house. We never strayed from tradition, and we all had a job each year to pitch in and make sure the day ran smoothly.  The grownups cooked the meal while drinking André Cold Duck* out of sterling silver goblets; I set the table with my favorite aunt; and my siblings were responsible for STAYING OUT OF THE KITCHEN.

Did I mention that there were 4 of us? In 4 years? (I have an older half brother, but I don’t think he’d be happy if I lumped him in with the kids. He was probably sneaking sips of Cold Duck anyway, which would automatically put him in the “grownup” category.) Needless to say, staying out of the kitchen was about as much responsibility as we they could handle, and it worked for our family (for the most part).

Rich Roll Cookies
Rich Roll Cookies

There was one holiday tradition, however, that we were all allowed to help out with…  the Christmas cookies. The best way I can describe our annual family cookie making is “quasi-controlled chaos.” The chaos part of it should be obvious. Imagine the four of us sprawled out on the kitchen floor, tarred and feathered from head to toe in icing and sprinkles, crumbs all over our faces, bellies protruding from our efforts to ensure that “they weren’t poisoned.” It was quasi-controlled in that the floor was completely covered in wax paper, we had separate bowls and knives for the various colors of icing (which worked half the time), and we were stripped down to our underwear so as not to get food coloring all over our clothes [image unavailable]. By the end of the annual cookie decorating, even I, a child, was exhausted. My poor mother.

And since I am a masochist brave mom, I have decided to uphold this family tradition with my own children. And let me tell you, it is just as much fun and twice as exhausting as I remember (and I only have 2!). Do I go through a whole roll of wax paper? Yep. Are my kids stripped down to their underwear? If I remember. Do they complain about tummy aches despite my constant warning? Absolutely. But these cookies are so good that we end up making them for every major holiday. They make amazing teacher’s gifts any time of year, are always a welcome addition to any dinner party, and provide a couple (long) hours of entertainment for the kids on a cold or rainy day.

They make great Valentines, too!
They make great Valentines, too!

Recommended pairing: Silver goblet full of André Cold Duck (or 2+)… because you’ll need it. In fact, any alcoholic beverage and vessel will work.
Serving size: 1 cookie (The cookies that have been dropped on the floor, broken pieces, or licks of icing DO NOT COUNT.  Once you apply this rule it is amazing to discover just how many cookies “fall” on the floor or “accidentally” get broken.)
Other notes: Best served cold.

*For the more refined readers out there, Cold Duck is a cheap red, sparkling wine that is typically consumed out of red Solo cups or straight from the bottle (I’m assuming).

Click on the recipe below to start baking!

Helen Recipe Image

family recipes graphic



  1. Fantastic post! I have been inspired Helen! Not to have 4 children in 4 years or drink Cold Duck but to try cookie decorating with my 2 hot messes. Thanks for the recipe!


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