Tag Archive: holiday cookies

Cookies for Sandy Hook–Oscar the Grouch Peppermint Cookies


I am happy to be participating in this event to support the victims of Sandy Hook. Baking and cooking is my way to show I care.  I think of those sweet, sweet children and it makes me think of Sesame Street.  If the world were more like that then we would never have had to face this tragedy.  So, from my kitchen via my heart as an offering of support here are some Oscar the Grouch Cookies.

We can all start to change the world today. We can have more empathy and humanity for each other to help build a kinder, gentler world where these things can’t happen.  I say this prayer for all of us.

Don’t forget to come and meet my new friend at New Friend Friday.  Grandma Loy from Grandma Loy’s kitchen.  I am a Grandmother too and us Grandma’s have lots of tips and tricks to share with the younger generation.

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Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Chocolate Dipped Spice Cookies

I’m posting this to the Christmas Cookie Swap.  It was a fun idea to share a written recipe with three bloggers who I didn’t know and get three new recipes to try out.  I included a little Paperclip Angels with each of my recipes.  Surprises are fun.

These cookies pack a little punch.  I like to experiment with different chili powders.  Especially those I pick up at Savory Spice Shop.  It’s a good thing for my wallet and spice cabinet it is in Austin and I am not.  Although I think I could shop online.  It’s just not the same as going in that beautiful store lined with spices from all over the world and taking some home.

I would not suggest putting these on the children’s snack table.  Don’t think they are your traditional spice cookie you see for the holidays.  The after-taste of the chile is surprising.  Even the chocolate doesn’t mellow it out too much.  I sampled one and thought, “Ok, spicy.”  A minute later I thought, “Oh wow, spicy!!”  These would be fun served at a potluck for your friends.  I think mine will go to work for our Holiday Potluck lunch.  It will be fun to have people ask me what is in those cookies?  I like to keep them guessing.

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Gallery of Favorites

Grandmother’s Christmas Cookies

I decided to be a part of this wonderful cookie swap program.  This has been fun.  Although I will say I have worried more about which cookie to bake and how to pack them than anything else.  I hope these arrived to you safe and sound.  I felt very proud of myself to get them packaged, labeled and shipped off before the deadline!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap brings together food bloggers from around the world in celebration of all things scrumptious. The premise is this: Sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself or share if you want. Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year’s cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.

This year we are even more excited to be partnering with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer, which claims the lives of more children in the US than any other disease. By participating in this cookie swap you are not only contributing to the food blogger community, but also supporting a great cause.

This is the part that got my attention.  Why not?  And I got the cutest little cookie spatula from OXO.  That part was totally unexpected and unnecessary.  Next year watch for this opportunity.  I will certainly help spread the word.

The swap is hosted by Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen.  Thanks so much ladies.  This combines all my favorite things-cooking, sharing, caring and cookies!

I got some great cookies from Ashley at Cookie Monster Cooking.  How cute is that name for a food blog?  Head over to her site and check out the cookies she made for me.  The cookies she sent me reminded me of my Peppermint Snowballs.  So, cookies truly do inspire more cookies for me.  Lets hope that vegetables inspire vegetables in January!

I was sent three names to bake cookies for, mail them by December 5 and post this on December 12.  That’s a lot of instructions to keep up with, but I did it.

Be sure to check out my three cookie swap matches.  I’ve cooked for and met people from the Washington state,  New York City and Orlando.  Imagine that, little ole me from El Paso, TX!

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Chewy, Peppermint, Fudgy, Brownie Cookies

I participated in the Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap for the first time.  It is for a good cause, to raise money for Kids with Cancer.  And I got a gift. This cute little spatula is perfect for my cookies.  I love it!  This is not the recipe I shared with my 3 secret bloggers.  The reveal date is coming soon and I am having a hard time keeping a secret.

If you like chewy, fudgy, chocolatey food, these might fill the bill.  The peppermint is a little extra kick.  I have discovered these Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips.  I love them. No need to smash up candy canes!  Unless you need to release some tension, then go right ahead.  I prefer the gentler touch for my baking.   So, I topped these cookies off with the Peppermint M&Ms (red and white).

It was about 10 o’clock when I finished these up.  I turned on the ceiling fan to cool them so I could package them and go to bed.  The house smelled delicious as I drifted off.  Sweet dreams!

Don’t forget to come and meet my new friends Stacey and Aubrey from Real Housemoms at New Friend Friday.  These are real ladies who are real friends with really great ideas!  Check out their linky party on Friday too:
Real Housemoms


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Dreaming All Day

Sweet 2 Eat Baking




Peppermint Snowballs

Peppermint Snowball

These have a very mellow/soft peppermint taste.  With the powdered sugar maybe that tones it down a bit.  I don’t like strong peppermint.  These were easy to make and look so nice.  The second roll in powdered sugar makes a difference.  I’m going to make another batch.  These went very fast at work.  But I think if it is homemade they love just about anything.  If the young guys tell me they like something I make and come back for seconds I know it is a keeper.

I think these will become a favorite to repeat each year.  I hope you enjoy them.  I thought they looked very nice on this little tray.  I received it one year with a cheese ball on it.  I really treasure the little things I collect over the years and the memories that go with them.  Don’t you?

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Pink Peppermint Christmas Chip Cookies

I had a friend, Debbie, who loved Christmas.  She spent the entire year picking up Christmas gifts for friends and she kept recorded in a notebook who she gave what to, which year.  I am never that organized, nor will I be.  She did come up with the most creative, meaningful things for each person.  She got on a program of giving me Lladro Christmas bells – one for each year.  I think I have 10 or 11.  So you can see how long we were friends.  The year she passed away was the end of a series.  I treasure them.

I was always looking for something special for her too.  I found a set of Santa’s reindeer dessert plates in a catalog one year. That was it!  I had found something she didn’t have that would be perfect.  Each year on Christmas evening she had her extended family and friends to dinner.  Dessert was cookies or pies.  So these plates would be the perfect addition to her collection of Christmas dishes.

Every year she borrowed my Christmas china to add to hers. (We put a dot of red nail polish on the back of mine so we could tell the difference.)  Combined there was enough for everyone.  So I gave her two sets of these plates and she called that afternoon to have me bring mine too.  They were a hit with everyone.

I think about Debbie every year at Christmas.  I still miss her and the fun times we had.  She loved to laugh.  Which reminds me of a story.

One year she gave my family tickets to go with them to a Christmas concert at the historic train station here.  I got there early and was trying to save seats for us all together.  When they arrived they were almost late and she came up the steps in a huff.  I told her we couldn’t sit together and she said, “I know.  It’s not my fault.”  I said it again. She looked at me and nearly fell over laughing.  Without ever knowing it we had bought the same sweaters for Christmas.  Our children saw us and walked totally away and wouldn’t come near us the entire concert.  We went to dinner after the concert and they wouldn’t sit at the same table as we did.  We thought it was funny.  We did a lot of things the same and liked the same things.  These cute little plates are just one of many such things.

Good friends make good memories.  I treasure mine with Debbie.  Christmas is a special time to recount those blessings and be warmed by those memories

These cookies have nothing to do with these plates.  I was trying to decide which plate to use to take a picture and this blog is a result of that.  Memories…that’s what it’s all about with me.


Pink Peppermint Christmas Chip Cookies 

  • 1 cup Crisco solid shortening (not butter flavored)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 18 drops red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips
  • 1 cup Nestle Toll House Holiday Semi-Sweet Morsels  (red and green)

Cream together Crisco, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, food coloring and eggs until light and fluffy.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.  Mix chips in by hand to avoid crushing the chips.

I used a small cookie scoop to measure equal size cookies on insulated cookie sheets.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes on insulated cookie sheets (shorter time on dark or non-stick pans)

Cool on waxed paper and store in air-tight container.

These freeze well if they last that long.  Don’t forget to stop by and meet my new friend at New Friend Friday.  Melissa from Dancing for Food.  That is two Melissa’s in a row if you are counting.  This Melissa is a dancer and a foodie.  What a fascinating combination.

Chocolate Espresso Stars

I thought these would be good for all my coffee-drinking friends.  Little did I know the chocolate lovers liked them too.  I thought these said Christmas.  They aren’t  red and green, but gold dusted stars.  I’m sure they could be cute for other occasions too.  They were easy to make and I think the kids could get involved with everything but maybe the gold dusting.  I dusted mine lightly.  I had to order my gold luster from Wilton on line.

 Chocolate Espresso Luster Dusted Stars

  • 2‐1/4 cups all‐purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
  • 2 ounces sweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons shortening
  • Edible gold luster dust (optional)

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat about 2 minutes or until fluffy, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and espresso powder. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour mixture (dough will be crumbly). Use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Divide dough in half.

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll each half of the dough to 1/4‐inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes using a 2‐1/2‐inch star-shape cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm.

Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

Microwave the chopped chocolate and shortening in a small microwave‐safe bowl on 50 percent power about 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring three times.  Dip one‐third of each cookie into melted chocolate mixture; let excess drip back into bowl. Place cookies on waxed paper; let stand about 1 hour or until set. If desired, brush luster dust on chocolate.

Makes 48 cookies.

Place cookies in layers separated by pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies, if frozen, before serving.

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Thursday Favorite Things

Citrus Bon Bons

I spent a week getting ready for a Christmas Cookie Swap one year.  I don’t remember what year now, but I had more problems than I have ever had getting ready for anything.  The vent fan over the stove fell down the morning of the party as I was scrubbing it.  The wind decided to blow and my entire front porch was covered with dust.  I engaged Andy and a friend of his to help me with the vent fan.  “Just put it up so it doesn’t look bad.  We can figure out what to do later!”   I had to try to clean sand in a wind storm.  Have you ever tried to sweep in a wind storm?  It doesn’t work.

This recipe came to me from Pat Wallen (Karen’s mother) a friend of my daughter, Amy.  The year I had this gigantic Christmas Exchange, I thought a few people would come and bring a few cookies because most of my friends claim not to bake.  Was I ever surprised?  I think everyone I invited came and brought wonderful cookies!  It was awesome.  A few even brought their recipes to share.  This happened to be one I fell in love with.  Thanks, Pat.

(I don’t think anyone noticed the dust on the front porch.  They live in West Texas too.)  We all stood in the kitchen or sat in the living room and talked and laughed and we all had a good time.  Good thing Andy got the vent fan in place!

The most surprising part of this cookie is you don’t bake anything.  It has some cocoa and fresh orange and lemon juice and orange zest for flavoring.  They have the most intense orange and chocolate flavor.  I love orange slices dipped in chocolate.  That is what these remind me of.

Citrus Bon Bons

Citrus Bon Bons

  • 3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup pecans, finely ground
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • Sugar for rolling the cookies in


Put the vanilla wafers in the food processor and blend until very fine crumbs are formed.

Finely chop the pecans.  Zest the orange and squeeze the lemon and oranges to equal ¼ cup each.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.  After I did this I thought I should have done it in the KitchenAid stand mixer, but it wasn’t a problem doing it by hand.

I did use a grinder to finely chop the pecans. There’s another story to go with this little gadget.  We’ll talk about it later.

Shape into ½” balls and roll in the granulated sugar.  Place on waxed paper and allow to dry for up to 1 hour.  Store in an air-tight container.  I put mine in the refrigerator.

Makes approximately 48 bonbons.

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Candy Cane Kissed Cookies

These are just too cute and so colorful and seasonal.  I don’t know how you could be tempted not to eat more than one.  The contrast of the Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses and the sugar cookie is so tasty.  Of course, I had to have one.  I think these will be the hit of the Sunday School children’s Posada at St. Francis Anglican Church this year.  I am amazed how many cookies and gallons of lemonade those little and bigger kids can consume.

Candy Cane Kissed Cookies

Candy Cane Kissed Cookies

  • 1 bag Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoons milk
  • Red and green colored sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the wrappers from the candies and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl until well blended.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll in red and/or green colored sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies are set.  Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes.  Press candy piece into the center of each cookie.  Remove them from the cookie sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

(For some reason I needed to let my cookies cool much longer than this or the kisses melted too much.)

Makes approximately 35 cookies.

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Lemon Basil Sandwich Cookies

It is almost the last day to submit entries for the cookie exchange.  Voting begins at midnight on the 19th!  The top 10 will be featured here, there and everywhere!  Participants will also receive an e-book with all the entries compiled by us here at TWC.  So, go on and link’em up.  If you don’t have a blog you can email recipes to  2012cookies@tumbleweedcontessa.com and we will post them for you.

Cookies 2012

Here is my last submission to the party:

I don’t know about you, but I have armfuls of basil right now.  I am determined to try to use some of it before the first freeze.  That could be tonight or January, 2013.  We never know around here.  Don’t count on the weather man.  I know I could make pesto, but I still have some of that frozen from last year.  (Time to clean out the freezer.)  I prefer to use it in savory and now sweet dishes.  At 1 tablespoon at a time I better plan to bake a lot of cookies!

These cookies just sounded too good not to try.  I think I will make them again and make my cookies much smaller.  These are a bit bigger than would be my choice.  The scent of lemon and basil while they baked was amazing.  I’ve never experimented with herbs in cookies, maybe lavender one time.  For some reason I think of lavender as sweet.  Basil is usually used in savory dishes to me.  It is part of the mint family though and it is sweet tasting by itself.

I think these will make a great hit at your cookie exchange party or on the dessert table for Christmas.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.


Lemon-Basil Sandwich Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ cup white decorator sugar crystals


  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream

Heat the oven to 400°.  In a large bowl beat the butter, powdered sugar, lemon peel, basil, salt and vanilla in the bowl of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the paddle attachment on medium until creamy.  On low speed add the flour and baking powder until well combined and the dough forms.

Place the sugar crystals in a small bowl.  Make dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the sugar crystals.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.   Flatten slightly with a fork making marks with the tines.

Bake 6-8 minutes until set.  Remove to racks to cool completely.  About 30 minutes.

In a small bowl melt the chocolate chips and cream at 15 second increments until melted and smooth.  Put in the refrigerator to cool until almost set. (About 10 minutes.)

Spread about ½ teaspoon of the chocolate on one the bottom side of a cookie and top with the other bottom side down to form a sandwich.  Let stand until set.

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