Every year my mom and I collect cookie recipes we want to try and then get together in early December for an afternoon of baking. These no-fail lemon cookies have become an annual tradition. They're a wonderful homemade holiday gift. —Kristen Johnson, Greendale, Wisconsin
These holiday-spiced cookies are the first ones I make in December. The recipe came from my mother-in-law. If you like, tint the buttery icing a cheery pink or green and pipe it on with a decorating tip.
To add bushels of fall flavor to your birthday bash, try baking up this cookie scarecrow shaped and decorated by the Crafting Traditions kitchen crew. It starts with Vickie's sugar cookies. "The recipe is a winner with my family and friends," Vickie says. "I am always asked to bring it—or even make it—for people." The scarecrow's easily adapted for other themes besides. For example, try a clown with bouncing balls or an athlete with baseballs instead.—Vickie Wade, Bourbonnais, Illinois
Coffee and ginger flavor this old-fashioned recipe Peggy Graving of Butte, Montana received from her mother-in-law years ago. "I always bake up a batch for the dessert buffet I host on Christmas Eve," Peggy writes. "Everyone comments on the taste, and the bell shape of the cookies adds to the festive occasion."
Cutting fun shapes from sweet dough and decorating the cookies with icing and candies is a Christmas-time tradition many families, including Sherry Taylor's. "This easy sugar cookie recipe yields delicious results," assures this Metropolis, Illinois subscriber.
I didn't need a special basketball player cookie cutter to shape these sporty cookies—gingerbread men cutters make the team! I like this cookie's rich taste better than that of a basic sugar cookie. —Sharon Landeen, Tucson, Arizona
Eneatha Attig Secrest of Mattoon, Illinois has relied on the mix for these light sugar cookies for years, even selling it at bazaars. "I package it in a plastic bag tied with pretty ribbon and attach a cookie cutter and copy of the recipe," she notes.
With a fresh breeze, my longtime-favorite sugar cookie recipe got under way on a new track. I cut out sailboats and frisky fish, frosting them brightly for the nautical gathering. My guests ate their limit!
-Martha Conaway, Pataskala, Ohio
"With their soft tender insides, these cookies quickly disappear from the cookie jar," reports Stephanie McKinnon of West Valley City, Utah. "Vanilla pudding mix gives the frosting a velvety texture and fabulous flavor."