12 Cookies of Christmas: Ribbon Cookies

Photo Jan 23, 2 48 47 PM


I can remember my mom making these cookies from the time I was a toddler, and indeed she was probably making them before that because the recipe came out in December 1971 when I wasn’t even 6 months old. They are one of the key cookies that make me think of childhood Christmases.

With three stripes that look like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, these cookies evoke Neapolitan ice cream. Does anyone remember what that was? Even if you don’t, people will still be impressed by these cookies because they are cute and appear to require much more work than they actually do. This recipe has a fantastic effort yield ratio because one batch will make 6 dozen cookies.


Ribbon Cookies (Adapted from the Women’s Day Kitchen Collector’s Cookbook #179 – Christmas Cookies, December 1971 issue)


  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 square unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • red food coloring
  1. Cream butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add sugar beating well.
  3. Add egg and vanilla and beat well.
  4. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in separate bowl.
  5. Add into butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture. Mix well.
  6. Divide dough into 3 equal parts.
  7. In one part, stir in choclate and walnuts.
  8. Into another one of the parts, stir in a few drops of food coloring to make the dough pink.
  9. Leave the 3rd pportion of dough plain.
  10. Line a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan with waxed paper.
  11. Pack plain dough into pan.
  12. With a teaspoon, distribute chocolate part on dough and spread evenly to form second layer.
  13. Repeat with pink dough.
  14. Fold waxed paper over the top and press down to smooth top and press layers together.
  15. Chill at least 24 hours. – This is key to the cookies. If they aren’t fully chilled, they will spread and loose their shape.
  16. Preheat oven to 350F.
  17. Remove dough from pan and peel off waxed paper.
  18. Cut dough loaf in half lengthwise, then slice about 1/4″ thick. – NOTE: If your loaf pan has slightly angled sides like mine does, trim the cookie edge lengthwise to form a straight edge before cutting the slices. This will give you more uniform rectangular cookie slices. Cut the scraps into cookies and bake them. No use in wasting yummy dough. 
  19. Put cookies 1″ apart on ungreased or parchment lined light-colored cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes. Do not brown!
  20. Cool on wire rack.


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