The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


December 19, 2013

Cheryle Finley: Baking cookies for Santa a popular U.S. tradition

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Do you plan on putting out cookies and milk for Santa this year? Or perhaps a carrot of two for his reindeer? The nice thing about Santa is that you don't have to worry about whether he prefers chocolate, decorated, plain, vegan or gluten-free cookies -- he'll be happy with whatever you decide to serve.

According to, the tradition of putting out cookies for Santa originated from a Norse myth. The myth says that a hunter named Odin and his friends flew through the sky in search of adventure. Children would leave hay and treats for Sleiper, Odin's eight-legged horse, in hopes that Odin would leave treats for them.

The tradition was handed down to Dutch children, who leave treats for Father Christmas' horse. According to folklore, those who decorated with apples and cookies would wake up to find some of their decorations missing after Santa had stopped to snack during his visit. So they decided to leave something special for him, thus saving their decor.

The tradition of leaving cookies for Santa has been popular in the U.S. since the 1930s and continues today with people offering their favorites -- from chocolate chip and Oreos to fancy cut-outs with candy decor.

Cookies were brought to the United States in the early 17th century by the Dutch. When the German cookie cutter appeared, cookie recipes began springing up all over the place. There are several basic types of cookies, according to, and one may be more appealing to you than the others. So look for recipes accordingly.  Here's a rundown:


  • Drop: As the name infers, the cookie dough is dropped by spoonfuls onto baking sheets. Traditional chocolate chip cookies fall into this category.
  • Bar: The cookie batter, which is thicker than cake batter, is spread into a baking pan. After cooling, the finished produce is cut into bars for serving. Bars are probably the easiest and fastest of the options. Brownies are part of the bar group.
  • Molded: The dough for these cookies is usually chilled then rolled out and cut into designs. Sugar cookies are perfect for cookie cut-outs. Making these cookies is a little more time-consuming, as most of us like to frost or decorate them.
  • Pressed: The cookie dough is pushed out through a cookie press or pastry bag, usually into a fancy design, such as for a spritz. These are a little more labor intense.
  • Refrigerator: As with the molded cookies, this dough is chilled in log form so it can be sliced and baked. These cookies sometimes have a pretty design in the middle. Allow them time to chill.

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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