Spry Christmas Cookies

Old Fashioned Christmas Spry Cookies

Spry Christmas Cookies is actually an old fashioned sugar cookie recipe that can be made anytime.

When I was growing up, we did not make sugar cookies by rolling them out and cutting them with a cookie cutter.

We shaped the dough into balls and rolled them in sugar, then placed them on a baking pan.

We flattened the tops with a glass and baked them.

When I first made these cookies in 1945, Mama kept poking her hand in the oven to test if it was hot enough.

Awe, the memories!

Spry Christmas Cookies

  • 1/2 cup Spry* shortening

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1 3/4 cups sifted plain flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Nut meats (walnuts or pecans), chopped

  • Colored sugar (optional)

Combine shortening and sugar and mix well. Beat in vanilla.

Then beat in egg yolks until thickened and lemon colored.

Stir in milk.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Blend into shortening mixture.

Chill dough about one hour in refrigerator.

Shape into balls and roll in nut meats or colored sugar.

Place 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

Bake at 350F. for 12-15 minutes, until brown around the edges.

Carefully remove hot pan from the oven.

Remove cookies with a sturdy spatula immediately and place on a rack to cool.

When thoroughly cooled, store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

*Spry shortening no longer exists. Substitute a "soft" vegetable shortening.

The Spry Company advertised that it was a triple creamed  vegetable shortening.

Spry shortening was soft and creamy like room temperature lard.

Cookie Variations

  1. Almond Cookies - Add 1 teaspoon almond flavoring and 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds instead of pecans to the batter.

  2. Lemon Cookies - Add 1 teaspoon lemon extract and 2 teaspoons lemon zest to the batter.

Gingerbread Christmas Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 large egg, well beaten

  • 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer bowl.

Stir in ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Heat in a saucepan on the stove, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.

Remove from the stove and let it come to a warm temperature.

Then stir corn syrup, egg and vinegar.

Sift together flour and baking soda. 

Stir into the wet mixture until it forms a smooth dough ball.

Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill several hours or overnight.

Remove chilled doughball from the refrigerator.

Rollout on a dough board that has been dusted with sifted flour, to 1/4 inch thickness. 

Cut dough with Christmas cookie cutters.

If planning to hang these Gingerbread Cookies on your Christmas Tree as ornaments, add their hanging strings before you put the cookies in the oven to bake.

Bake in a preheated oven 350F. for 8-10 minutes.

Cool cookies, then decorate.

How To Attach Hanging String

To attach hanging thread to cookie dough before baking, first thread a needle with strong sewing thread and do not tie in a knot in the thread.

Run the sewing thread through the top of the unbaked cookie to the length of thread you need for the size of your Christmas Tree.

Gingerbread Icing Recipe

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla or almond flavoring

  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • 4-5 tablespoons water

If desiring various colors of frosting, divide your icing into the appropriate number of containers. 

Mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla or almond flavoring, corn syrup and water until smooth. 

The icing should be thick enough to coat the back of a tablespoon and thin enough to pipe with a pastry bag.

Place a small round tip in your decorating bag and test it before piping the Gingerbread Cookies.

If the Icing is too thick, add a teaspoonful of water until it is thin enough and if the icing is too thin, add a little powdered sugar until it is just right.

Scoop your icing into a decorating bag and pipe your Icing. 

Let your iced cookies set until firm before you serve them.

Cookies For Hanging On
A Christmas Tree

There are many popular shapes for these  Gingerbread Cookies.

I think the most popular one is the Gingerbread Man that children love so much.

A few others are in the shape of Angels, Candy Canes, Stars, Christmas Balls, Christmas Bells, Snowflakes, Rectangular Gift Boxes and in the shape of Christmas Trees and more. 

These cookies usually have a simple white icing, while some have colored Icing around the edges.

Some have the frosting spread over the entire top of the cookies, also.

Making these beautiful and delicious Gingerbread Cookies, is a great project for the entire family.


To reduce the sweetness of sugar cookies, use 2 tablespoons less sugar called for in the recipe.

Eliminate or reduce the sweet decorations you rolled the cookie in.

If you eliminate all the decorations and still want a colored cookie to match your party or celebration theme, add a few drops of food color to the batter before baking.

To freeze these cookies, cut out circles of waxed paper or freezer paper and pack between each cookie to promote easier separation before thawing.

Related Pages

Ladyfingers Recipe

Vanilla Wafers Cookie Recipe

Return to Cookie Recipes


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