A Christmas Classic

Happy Christmas Eve!  There are about three or four Christmas cookie recipes that get made every December in my household.  Gingerbread cookies are one of them.  And this is a recipe I do not mess around with.  Sometimes I’ll try variations of my favorite Christmas cookies to make sure I’m making the best possible version, but not with these.  This recipe is basic and hits the spot every time.

One special thing about these cookies is that baking them is a tradition with my brothers and me.  The three of us typically find some time over our Christmas vacation and we make these.  My mom or I usually make the dough ahead of time, and when my brothers and I find a moment, we break out the cookie cutters.  We usually divide and conquer.  I am in charge of rolling out the dough and doing most of the cookie cutting.  Then one of my brother’s is in charge of egg washing the cookies, and the other decorates them with sprinkles.

Warning: this dough is best if it’s chilled overnight, you should just make it when you have a minute, stick it in the freezer, and pull it out later that week/month when you’re ready to bake them off

Gingerbread Cookies

Yields a lot, this is a big batch, From my mom


  • 1 cup molasses (NOT blackstrap)
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda (dissolved in ½ cup water)
  • 2 eggs
  • 5-6 cups flour (sometimes I put in some whole wheat flour)


  1. Cream together molasses, shortening, and sugar.  Add eggs and baking soda dissolved in water.  Mixture will look a little curdled at this point.wet part
  2. In a separate bowl combine 2 cups of flour with the spices, and salt.
  3. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet.  After combined, continue to add 3-4 more cups of flour until the mixture is pretty stiff.batter up
  4. Allow dough to chill in freezer overnight.
  5. Let dough defrost on counter for about an hour, or move it from the freezer to the fridge when you wake up in the morning.
  6. Preheat oven to 375.
  7. Use flour on your surface and rolling pin.  Roll out cookies in batches and use cookie cutters to cut them out.  Try to put cookies on baking sheets that are of similar sizes.  I usually categorize by big cookies, medium size, and tiny ones, and I’ll do a couple trays of each.  You can choose to do an egg wash and apply sprinkles before they go in the oven, or frost after the bake.
  8. Bake 12-15 minutes until a little puffy and firm to the touch.  Allow to cool and decorate as you see fit.yum

expertly decorated

Starbucks Copycat

Biscotti are a must have during the holiday season.  I love them with my holiday flavored tea or lattes.  Plus they typically aren’t overwhelmingly sweet, which is a nice break from the typical Christmas cookie.

If I’m at Starbucks and I need a treat, I often turn to the biscotti to enjoy with my mocha latte (grande with skim milk please).  I love their vanilla almond flavor so when I saw a copycat recipe for it on a blog, I pinned it right away.

I got the chance to try the recipe when I was home visiting my parents.  I know my mom enjoys a good biscotti.  Plus I packaged some in a mason jar as a last minute bridal shower gift for my friend because her gift didn’t arrive in time!wrapped up

I was very satisfied with the results. I always enjoy a traditional almond biscotti, but this version has a great neutral vanilla taste rather than the overt almond extract flavor; and you still get the almonds throughout.  These would be great to have on hand this season for a party or when a friend stops by for some tea!

Copycat Vanilla Almond Biscotti

Yeilds about 10-15 depending how you slice them, from Cannella Vita


  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (I used half a.p and half whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
  • 3 Tbs butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 3 Tbs buttermilk
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Combine the sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and about 3/4’s of the chopped almonds.
  3. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter, like you would with a biscuit or pie dough recipe.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, egg, egg white, and
  5. Combine the wet and the dry and mix to combine.  You might need to kneed it a little to get it to come together.  It will seem too dry at first, but the liquid should be enough.log
  6. Form a log about a foot long on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  The log will expand so you can make it pretty narrow at about 3 inches wide.  Sprinkle the left over almonds on top and pat them into the log slightly.
  7. Bake log for 30-35 minutes until light golden brown.sliced up
  8. Remove from oven and after it was cooled for a few minutes, slice on an angle, place slices on their side and put them back in the oven for 10 minutes at 325.  Then turn them over and bake 10 more minutes until lightly toasted.toasted
  9. You can let them dry out over night if you would like.  The nice thing about biscotti is that they will stay at room temp for quite a few days.


The reason I love gingersnaps and gingerbread, is the unique taste and personality of the flavor.  It’s a nice compliment to any holiday cookie assortment because they add a different taste.  Gingersnaps are one of those cookies that I always associated with buying in the grocery store. Why would you make these when the packaged version is so great already?  Well I do believe there is a time and a place for the packaged gingersnap cookies, but these are so easy to whip up, and what is better than a fresh, home made cookie?

These are actually somewhat of pantry cookie for me.  The other day I had some leftover butter and eggs from another baking project and I wanted to use them up.  And who doesn’t have molasses at the ready in their cupboard?  Mine must have been left over from making gingerbread last year.  So anyway, I decided to make these gingersnaps, and I was thoroughly satisfied with the results.  In addition to enjoying a couple cookies with my tea, I saved a bunch for my mom and her famous molasses with gingersnap ice cream.  It sounds a little weird, but it’s a hit in our family!


Yields about 30 cookies, from The Sweets Life


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add molasses and egg.
  4. Gradually add dry to wet and try not to overmix.
  5. Drop on lined cookie sheets in 1 inch balls, bake 8-10 minutes.  These cookies will spread so give them space!

PS- Happy Chanukah!Second Night