Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap Favorites

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Caraway Kringles "Christmas Cookies and Candies"
Submitted by Barbara Myers

Cream: 1/4 lb butter and 1 cup sugar.
Add 1 egg, 2 tsp caraway seeds

Sift 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt

Alternate adding flour mix and 3 tbs brandy to above butter mix.

Chill 2+ hours.

Roll 1/8 inch.

Cut, dust with confectioner’s sugar, bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes – until lightly browned.

Notes: Important to use fresh caraway seed (homegrown is nice) or at least not old seed. Brandy can be good cognac, Drambuie (my favorite), or Irish Mist, or your choice.

Candy Cane Cookies
Submitted by Helen Leah Conroy

This was one of my favorite holiday treats when I was a child. It still is! Like many of the cookies that were new to our family during that decade (the sixties), this one probably was clipped from “Woman’s Day” or “Family Circle.” I make these every December and ship them off across the country to my parents and siblings, and now to my grown nieces and nephews. My husband, sons and neighbors look forward to them too! If you don’t care for a strong almond flavor, feel free to use a tablespoon of vanilla extract instead. You could also substitute a much smaller quantity (1/2 teaspoon) of peppermint extract if you like. The key to these is dusting the cookies with the candy cane powder while they’re still warm, so the scented pink sugar will stick. Enjoy!!


1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I use Spectrum organic.)

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or 1/2  teaspoon peppermint extract)

2 1/2 cup sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red food coloring (or more, if necessary)

2 ounces candy canes (to make 1/2 cup, crushed)

1/2 cup granulated sugar


Cream the butter, shortening and confectioners’ sugar. I use a stand mixer on medium speed for about 4 minutes, scraping down after 2.

Add the egg, vanilla extract and almond (or peppermint) extract and mix well to combine (another 2-3 minutes should do it).

Sift the flour and salt into the creamed mixture and fold it in, to combine.

Divide the dough in half. (On a kitchen scale, I get about 320 grams per half.) Into one half, mix the food coloring, using the back of a spoon. It should be a bright pink! Wrap the half batches of dough separately and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 if using a convection oven and your manufacturer recommends that reduction).

Line two cookie sheets with parchment.

When ready to bake, take heaping tablespoons of each dough, roll them (separately) into 6-7” logs between your palms, then twist a pink strip with a plain strip and form into a candy cane shape, flattening very slightly onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches between canes.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until very slightly browned on the edges.

Remove and allow to cool on the cookie sheet.

While the cookies are baking, blitz the candy canes in a food processor with the sugar until you have a fine powder speckled with tiny red shards. While the cookies are still warm (and leaving them on the cookie sheet), sprinkle them with the pink candy cane and sugar powder, pressing very gently to help it melt and thus adhere. Gently transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

N.B. I take a somewhat industrial approach to shaping these, adopting the following efficiency-increasing procedures. I first plop little lumps of chilled dough onto a parchment lined sheet, making an effort to keep them uniform, and truing up any that aren’t. I also check to make sure I have equal numbers of pink and white! I roll the dough into logs, but when they’re about 3 inches long, put them down onto another cookie sheet (parchment covered) and quickly roll them back and forth on the sheet. It shapes them more evenly. Once all the logs are rolled, I wrap and shape all at once.


Browned Butter Cookies
Submitted by Gretel

My mother found this one some years ago—I have modified the filling from her version.

1 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt + pinch

Get a big bowl of ice water ready in sink. Melt butter over med heat stirring occasionally until it browns and turns caramel colored. It will Foam up once it is browned.

Place pot in ice water to stop cooking—let it cool about 5 min. Add sugar and vanilla stir Sift dry ingredients and stir into butter mix to form dough. Let sit out 2 hours then into fridge overnight.

Use a spoon to form cookies by packing a deep teaspoon with dough then sliding off onto a ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 325 for about 10-15 min, until golden. Let the cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then on rack. Once cool create filling of raspberry jam. Mom uses sour cherry by warming it in sauce pan. You can add a splash of liqueur of choice. Create sandwiches.  Enjoy! Wait 2 days before eating for best flavor

Poppy Seed Cookies
Submitted by Jean

1 cup sugar (7 ounces)

Peel of 1 orange

1 egg yolk

1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature) cut into 8 pieces

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour (5 ounces)

1 cup cake flour (4 ounces)

1/4 cup poppy seeds

Food Processor Steel knife: Combine sugar and orange peel in work bowl and mince finely. Add egg yolk and mix 1 minute. Add butter, salt, and nutmeg and mix until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and mix using 4 or 5 on/off turns; do not over process.

Divide dough into 4 equal portions and shape into 2 x 4 inch cylinders. Seal in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.


Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
These are made with olive oil, not butter, and are so incredible, you'd be advised to pack copies of the recipe wherever you bring them!

1/4 cup mild extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups unsifted unbleached flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick baking spray. In a large bowl beat the olive oil and sugar together. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and eggs, beating until the mixture is completely blended. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder with a hand whisk. On low speed gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Slowly beat in the cranberries and pistachios. Divide the dough in half and form into two logs about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. (If the dough is too sticky to work with, wet your hands with cool water.) Bake for 30 minutes or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, cool for at least 15 minutes and cut slices on the bias. Place cut cookies on a cooling racking placed on the cookie sheet for 15 minutes flipping cookies once midway.



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Comments [11]

michele from Palm Desert, CA

Helen,the baker who submitted the candy cane cookies, mentioned her other favorite xmas cookie is a pecan cookie -- Helen, Helen's family, Helen's friends, Melissa Clark: please post this other recipe! I am always in search of a great pecan cookie for my dad -- his b-day is the day after xmas, so I try to bake him something special (I still owe him this year's tarte tatin...). Thanks.

Feb. 15 2013 07:01 AM
carol from Brooklyn, NY

I made the Brown Butter Cookies and the outcome was delicious, but the dough was so hard to work with... quite hard after refrigeration, even after warming a bit... Did others have this result?

Dec. 26 2012 02:46 PM
carol from Brooklyn, NY

I made the Brown Butter Cookies and the outcome was delicious, but the dough was so hard to work with... quite hard after refrigeration, even after warming a bit... Did others have this result?

Dec. 26 2012 02:46 PM
mary paragon

Please help we are interested in finding the name of a restaurant owned by a caller named Vicki who submitted a cookie recipe on your December 18th program.

Please send the name of the restaurant.

Thank you.

Dec. 25 2012 08:24 PM

The browned butter cookies are fantastic! The candy cane cookies, however, were a disappointment: way too much almond extract in the recipe (and we love almond) A lot of work with not a lot of payoff. Stick to the browned butter cookies; they are to die for! I would suggest making them fairly small because when you make them into sandwich cookies it's a lot of cookie.

Dec. 22 2012 05:19 PM
RHS from L.A.

The cranberry pistachio biscotti came out amazing--much better than a recipe I tried that used butter. I plan to make them again and again and will try them with dried cherries and hazelnuts next time, as well as perhaps making a version with chocolate and almonds. In my oven, I only cooked the cut biscotti for 15 minutes. I also suggest wetting your hands when shaping them and flattening the loaves a bit so that they're not too thick when cutting them. Also, do cool thoroughly before cutting, and use a sharp knife to avoid breakage.

Dec. 21 2012 06:45 PM
Maureen from NJ

I made the Browned Butter Cookies yesterday and waited to taste them until now. All I can say is "WOW."

Dec. 21 2012 01:58 PM
Lisa from Randolph from Randolph NJ

Loved the holiday swap winners show yesterday. So many fabulous recipes and tips. Thank you Melissa! Could you confirm above about re-baking/drying out Biscotti. Also could you also share the Gluten Girl website? Could it have been GlutenFreeGirl? Thank you. Happy Holiday Season to all.

Dec. 19 2012 07:14 AM

Yes! Re. the biscotti, please supply your answer to whether they go back into the oven for crisping. However, I found this instruction on another cooking web site for what to do after slicing the log: Line baking sheet with a clean sheet of parchment. Stand slices, curved sides up, 1/2 inch apart on baking sheet and bake in upper third of oven until biscotti are dry, about 30 minutes (they will become hard as they cool). Transfer biscotti to rack to cool.

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Dec. 18 2012 06:39 PM
Joanne from White Plains

Details, please: for the Caraway cookies, direction says "cut" the rolled dough. Is there a size/shape? For the biscotti, do they go back into the oven for a second baking? Can't wait to get baking. Thanks!

Dec. 18 2012 06:22 PM
Corinne from Madison, NJ

I received this recipe from my mother-in-law several years ago and have made it every year since then. The explicit instructions added here are invaluable!

Dec. 18 2012 12:53 PM

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