Christmas Cookies, Aunt Mary Appler Rockets

Incredible Christmas cookies and Aunt Mary Appler, a little story

Christmas cookies

She was a woman of style and grace. Picture in your mind a black and white photograph from the 40s or 50s of the quintessential housewife with house guests. Always meticulously dressed, always ready to offer a cocktail or cup of coffee with appropriate appetizers.

Aunt Mary was Joanne’s aunt and, despite the fact I sported shoulder-length hair and a beard, she took a liking to me almost immediately. It was easy to like Mary Appler for all of the above reasons. Nope, they just don’t make many like Mary Appler anymore.

One day, during a visit to her home, she offered us coffee and these Christmas cookies while we chatted. It was the most amazing cookie I had ever eaten. I had to have the recipe and she was tickled that I asked. In fact, she wrote it out for me on the spot. I’m sure she didn’t think I would ever make them but she was mistaken. I make them every year at Christmas time and have for 40 years.

Now there are plenty of recipes for this Christmas cookie all over the internet and one year I’ve tried a couple. They just aren’t the same. For this recipe, I use mini cupcake tins. Mine are 3/4 inch deep and 1 7/8 inches wide. (2cm x 5cm) The dough, being made with cream cheese and butter is plenty sticky if not chilled so make sure to refrigerate it before rolling. The filling always looks like there will be too much…there won’t be. It will be just enough.

When putting the dough into the tins be careful not to poke holes in it or the cookie will stick to the tin. Use a shot glass or small dowel and it will go fine. Baking time is 20 to 23 minutes but keep an eye on them. Set a timer for 20 minutes and check them. Chances are they’ll need another 2 or 3 minutes.

That’s it. They are easy to make and will surely become one of your yearly must-make Christmas cookies. Let me know how they come out.

Enjoy, Aunt Mary would like that!


Christmas Cookies, Aunt Mary Appler Rocket


  • Dough
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • Filling
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Dough
  2. Mix all ingredients with food processor until it just starts to come together. Remove and form into a log about 8 inches long and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Make the filling while you wait.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and divide into 24 balls and flatten between wax paper. Press into small size cupcake tin. Chill dough if it's too sticky to work with.
  4. Filling
  5. In a small bowl add walnuts, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg. Melt butter and add to rest of ingredients. Mix welll and spoon about 1 into dough cups filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 350˚ F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and dust with confectioner's sugar.
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  • reply Your sister-in-law Pat ,

    Hey David–what a great tribute to Aunt Mary, and her ‘Christmas Rockets’ recipe!!

    She’d be very happy to know you’re carrying on her tradition.

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