Holiday Traditions: Christmas Cookies- Cowboy Cookies and Sour Cream Cookies

Holiday Traditions Christmas Cookies

There is something about the holidays that brings out nostalgia, especially when it comes to Christmas cookies. Each year, we have the tradition of re-creating a few of our family recipes over Christmas, and this year, opting for a healthier, less indulgent, or should we say, ravenous cookie buffet, we chose two that brought us the most Christmas memories, and thought we would share them with you: cowboy cookies and sour cream cookies. 

Holiday Traditions Christmas Cookies Cowboy Cookies and Sour Cream Cookies

Cowboy Cookies

Shannon’s choice, Cowboy Cookies, are a tradition that goes back to when I (Shannon) was younger, and would make these cookies with my aunt. I remember being so young that I would sit on the counter, and she would let me mix all of the ingredients with my hands. This is actually still probably the best way to get all of the ingredients mixed in really well, but the neat freak in me won’t allow that anymore. Every Christmas since, we have made these cookies, and I cannot remember a single Christmas where we haven’t had them. Since Gerry and I have been married, we have always made them. When we used to have our annual Christmas cocktail parties, we’d make them and people would always ask for the recipe. I’ve never been told it was a family secret, so here it goes!

Holiday Traditions Christmas Cookies Cowboy Cookies

Arner Adventures Family- Cowboy Cookies

Serving Size:
45 min
Fairly simple


  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and sugars with an electric mixer for 2 min.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Blend in the vanilla extract.
  6. Blend in the dry ingredient mixture, slowly, beating with the mixer.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and mix.
  8. Once evenly mixed, use the dough to form little balls, and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
  9. Leave about 2-3 inches in between each ball.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, turning the pan half way through baking time.
  11. Cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack.
  12. Enjoy!

Sour Cream Cookies

Gerry’s choice, Sour Cream Cookies, are a tradition from when I (Gerry) was younger. There was never a Christmas we didn’t have them. My mom always made them, most likely since she was also a child in Pennsylvania. This isn’t a surprise since the Sour Cream Cookie is a classic Christmas cookie with Pennsylvania Dutch roots. I am happy to have brought this tradition to Shannon, and we now make these each year, using my mom’s recipe. It is a way that I can honor my mom’s memory, and also indulge in a nostalgic and delicious culinary delight. Like Shannon, I have not been told this recipe is a secret, so I will share it here.

Holiday Traditions Christmas Cookies Sour Cream Cookies

Arner Adventures Family- Sour Cream Cookies

Serving Size:
1 hour
Fairly simple


  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 containers of buttercream frosting-16 oz each- Gerry’s mom made her own buttercream frosting, but we take a shortcut here.
  • Red and green sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix butter, eggs, and sugar in large bowl.
  3. Add sour cream and baking soda and mix.
  4. Mix in flour.
  5. Once mixed well, we refrigerate the batter for about 15 minutes while we lightly grease pans to prep.
  6. Drop by teaspoon or melon baller, the batter onto pan and cook for 25 minutes, turning half way during baking.
  7. Let cool completely before icing with buttercream icing.
  8. Use red and green sprinkles to decorate after icing.

Note- since this recipe makes so many cookies, we half this, and refrigerate the cookies. You don’t have to refrigerate them, but just make note of how many you will need since this yields so many.

Holiday Traditions Christmas Cookies Cowboy Cookies and Sour Cream Cookies

We would love to hear your feedback, if you make either of these, and if you have Christmas cookie recipe traditions, please let us know. Happy holidays, and happy baking!

Let us know what you think!