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Top 5 Retro Christmas Cookies

It is no secret that I love retro recipes. I’ve collected cookbooks over the years from as far back as 1890. To help you out with your Christmas baking, here are my top five Christmas cookies recipes from decades gone by.

Grandma Gig’s Oatmeal Walnut Cookies circa 1952

My step-mom’s famous recipe. They won a blue ribbon in the 1950’s in the Traverse City, MI county fair. All three of my boys can’t stop eating these! When shopping for ingredients, don’t forget powdered sugar to roll them in before baking.


2 C brown sugar

2 sticks real butter, softened

Mix in:

2 eggs

1 t vanilla extract

In another bowl mix:

2 C all-purpose flour

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

3 C quick oats

1 C chopped walnuts

Blend well and chill dough, covered, for four hours or overnight. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-13 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly golden. Do not over-bake.

Church Windows

Church Window Cookies  circa 1960

A classic cookie that has adorned holiday trays since the 1960’s. I make them every year.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 package (12 ounce) chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 package mini colored marshmallows
3 C. flaked coconut

In a large saucepan over very low heat, melt butter and chocolate chips together. Cool. Gently stir in nuts and marshmallows until blended.

Divide mixture into three parts. Place flaked coconut on a sheet of waxed paper. Spread chocolate over coconut to form three “logs”. Sprinkle coconut over top and sides of logs. Wrap in wax paper and twist ends shut with twist ties.

Chill in refrigerator overnight. Unwrap, slice and package as desired.

 (photo credit)

Cocao cookies with chocolate covered maraschino cherries

Chocolate Cherry Drop Cookies circa 1978

Reminds me of a chocolate-covered cherry. I got this recipe from my good friend back Suzy in the 1990’s.

In a large bowl cream:

1 stick butter

1 C sugar

1 1/2 t vanilla

1 egg

In a separate medium bowl mix:

1 1/2 C flour

1/2 C cocoa powder

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t baking powder

Gently mix the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture. Batter will not be stiff, but moist.

Drain one large jar maraschino cherries setting aside juice.

Drop dough into heaping tablespoons on an ungreased cookie sheet. Push a cherry down into each. BEFORE baking frost with frosting below.


Over very low heat melt:

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips


1/2 C sweetened condensed milk

4 t reserved cherry juice

BEFORE BAKING top each cookie with a teaspoon frosting. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Do not over bake.


Iced Gingerbread Cookies circa 1940

Super easy and super delicious! It just isn’t Christmas without some sort of gingerbread. These will do the trick!

In a large saucepan boil:

1 stick butter

2/3 C white sugar

1 T vinegar

1/2 C blackstrap molasses

1 1/8 t ground ginger

1/2 t cinnamon

1/8 t allspice

Remove from heat and add:

1/2 t baking soda that has been dissolved in 2 t hot water


1 egg

1 t baking powder

3 C  all-purpose four

Cool and cover. Chill in fridge for three hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-13 minutes or until lightly golden. Do not over-bake. Cool slightly. Then, drizzle icing over.


1 C powdered sugar

1/2 t vanilla

Thin with a few tablespoons milk until it is of a consistency that can be drizzled over the cookies. Drizzle and let cool completely.


Merry Berry Cheesecake Bars circa 1986

I found this recipe in a magazine when I was first married. Great for the cranberry lover.

2 C all-purpose flour

1 1/2 C quick oats

3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

1 block cream cheese, softened

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 16 ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce

1/4 C  real lemon juice

2 T corn starch

Beat first four ingredients until well blended. Reserve 1 1/2 C mixture and press remaining in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown. Remove from oven. Beat cream cheese until fluffy and add canned milk and lemon juice. Spread over crust. Combine cranberry sauce and corn starch. Spread over cream cheese. Top with remaining flour mixture crumbled over the top. Return to oven for 40-45 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool and cut into bars.


Want more recipes? Grab my fave Christmas appetizers and desserts HERE.

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