12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Grandma Etta’s Cookies

Bust out those aprons – it’s cookie time! Between now and Christmas, I’ll be sharing 12 delicious cookie recipes for you to try. Share some with your neighbors, bring some to a cookie swap party, or keep them all for yourself. I won’t tell anyone. Promise.


This is a special cookie recipe in our household. It is a family favorite, passed down to me by my sweet mother-in-law when Alex and I were first married.

Per family tradition, this cookie only makes an appearance at Christmas time and, seeing as these are Alex’s favorite cookies of all-time, you can bet that it is on repeat in the Byrd house for the entire month of December.


This recipe makes a thin, somewhat chewy cookie. It’s spicy and citrusy and totally unique.

Because I only bake them at Christmastime, I always roll them in a festive red sugar sprinkle but the color bleeds into the dough when baking which results in a not-so-photogenic (but still delicious) cookie. So, if you plan on making these for a cookie spread or to bring to a party I recommend using regular sugar.


Does your family have a special Christmas recipe?

Grandma Etta's Cookies
Thin, chewy, spicy, delicious. A family favorite!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
  1. 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  2. 1 1/2 up sugar
  3. 1 tsp ground ginger
  4. 1 tsp ground cloves
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 1 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1 egg
  8. 1/2 tsp lemon rind
  9. 1 TB light corn syrup
  10. 2 1/4 cup flour
  11. Coarse sugar or sprinkles for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together butter and sugar
  3. In a small bowl, mix together ginger, cloves, baking soda and cinnamon; add to butter/sugar mixture
  4. Add egg, lemon rind and corn syrup to mixture and stir until combined
  5. Slowly blend in 2 1/4 cup flour (more if dough is sticky)
  6. Roll dough into 1" balls, tap the top of the ball in coarse sugar or sprinkles
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown
  1. The original recipe says to mix ingredients with a spoon (you go, Grandma Etta) - I cheat and use my stand mixer with the paddle attachment 😉
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