Best. Christmas Cookies. Ever.

Admittedly, I'm a total Scrooge when it comes to certain things, Christmas cookies among them. But the sheer quantity and the variety!, you say. But the sprinkles, the frosting, and the little silver balls! The decorative holiday serving trays!

Bah, humbug. Here's what I think: most Christmas cookies don't taste very good. True, the Strib picks some winners every year (anybody made the 2009 champ?), and Wuollete's puts some chocolate-pecan turtle-like cookies on its holiday plate that are real gems, but perusing a selection of Christmas cookies, I'm often hard-pressed to find something that I'll even consider (sugar cookie, no; peanut butter/Hershey kiss cookie, no; green rice-krispie wreath, no), and even those that look good don't often pull through. So far this season, I've been disappointed by homemade gingerbread and a Russian teacake and some terrible, dry divinity from Jerry's grocery.

But...I'm not a total Grinch. I did have some successes this year: an awesome krumkake (thanks, Bergrens!) and about a half a batch of a longtime favorite: Mint Meringue Kisses. They're a bit like a Frango mint in cookie form: delicate crust that melts into a hollow interior and a chewy mint-chocolate core.

I adapted this recipe on, as it seemed closest to the one that Katy W. supplied to our class recipe book way back in second grade:

Mint Meringue Kisses, one dozen

Ingredients * 2 egg whites * 1/4 tsp cream of tartar * 1 pinch salt * 1/2 cup white sugar * 4 drops mint or peppermint extract (or 2 drops each) * 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips * 1 drop red or green food coloring

Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F (190 deg C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, with electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, extracts, coloring, and sugar until stiff. (This will take 5+ mins and start to look glossy.) 3. Fold in chocolate chips. 4. Drop bater by heaping teaspoonfuls onto covered baking sheet. Place in oven and turn off oven and leave the cookies alone for 5 hours or overnight.

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