Baking for the Holidays

In honor of the (too) quickly approaching holidays, and a day (or 2) late for National Cookie Day... I've decided it's time to start talking about cookies! Baking with loved ones is the perfect activity to get in the holiday spirit. Then you can gift the baked goods, bring them as your contribution to your holiday celebration OR just eat them. We just had a cookie exchange at work and I brought home like 5 lbs. of cookies (pictured below) a few of which I happily ate in bed... for sure one of my favorite past times.

I've included 3 cookie-ish recipes that are delicious, simple and fun to make. Check them out and let me know what you think!


with a White Chocolate Drizzle

Yield: 24 cookies Prep Time: 40 minutes Bake Time: 10 minutes

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest - if you haven't check out her blog before... do it! She's amazing and I love to get inspiration from her.


1 ½ sticks butter, softened

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/3 cup molasses

2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cardamom*

¼ tsp. kosher salt

White sugar, for rolling**

8 oz. white chocolate, melted***


Preheat the oven to 375°.

In the bottom of the stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, brown sugar and vanilla extract until lightly fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and molasses until well combined.

Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Add this dry mixture to the wet, and beat until well combined and a dough forms.

Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.

This allows for the dough to not be so sticky/messy when rolling into balls.

Place about ¼ cup of white sugar in a small bowl.

Roll the dough into tablespoon-size balls. Drop each ball in the white sugar and roll around until complete coated.

Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

I like to also line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or tin foil to make the cleanup a bit easier.

Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack, if you have one, to cool some more.

Melt your white chocolate down and drizzle across the cookies using a spoon. OR you could dip them if you wanted.


*The original recipe calls for ground cardamom but I did not have any so I left it out and they stilled turned out de-lish.

**If you have coarse sugar on hand, that would be preferable. BUT your average white sugar will work just fine!

***I have recently started using Kroger’s ‘Candy Coating’ instead of chocolate bars or chips for melting purposes. The entire 16 oz. block is break-able (just like a Hershey’s bar), allowing you to save some for later, if needed. It also comes in a wonderful, little microwaveable dish, which makes cleanup GREAT.


stuffed with caramel

Yield: 24 cookies Prep Time: 2 hours & 10 minutes Bake Time: 12 minutes

There are a ton of different ways for you to switch up this recipe to make it fit you and your loved one's wants:

-- swap the red velvet cake mix with any type you prefer (chocolate, vanilla, even funfetti!)

-- leave the caramels out or swap them for a different type of candy


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter (1 stick), softened

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 package of boxed Red Velvet cake mix

24 soft caramels*

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Flakey sea salt - optional


Place the softened butter and cream cheese in the base of a stand mixer, or a medium-sized bowl, and beat on low speed until smooth. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla extract and then the cake mix. Continue until well-combined.

Transfer the cookie batter to a greased bowl (or just leave it in that same bowl), cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This step is crucial as it allows the dough to harden up aka not be so sticky and messy.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Roll the chilled dough around the caramel pieces, into tablespoon-sized balls. (Is that even a thing? I don't know... just make them your normal cookie size.) Roll the cookie balls around in powdered sugar until they are covered completed.

Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Again, I like to also line the cookie sheet with parchment paper or tin foil to make the cleanup a bit easier.

Bake for 12 minutes. Allow to cool for at least a 30 minutes before digging in. The caramels tend to drop to the bottom of the cookie and may stick to the pan if you try and move them too quickly.

If you are going to top with sea salt, sprinkle onto the cookies immediately after pulling them out of the oven.


*I have stuffed these cookies with caramel twice and I have used different types of soft caramel candies each time. Although both types worked, the slightly more expensive ones remained soft once the cookies have cooled. SO if you feel like spending a couple of extra bucks… get the nicer ones.


Yield: 20 truffles Prep Time: 30 minutes Set Time: 30 minutes - 1 hour

If it isn’t holiday season, switch up the toppings – sprinkle on some crushed nuts, toffee, Oreo crumbs or candy pieces instead of using just sprinkles. Get creative!


1 package of Oreos

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

8 oz. white chocolate



While still in the packaging, crush up the Oreos a bit – I like to use a meat mallet. Place the package of Oreos in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Remove the Oreos from the freezer and their packaging. Using a food processor, pulse the Oreos into fine crumbs. Set aside about ¼ cup of the Oreo crumbs at this time, if you would like to use them for topping.

Put the softened cream cheese in the bottom of a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining Oreo crumbs and stir until well combined.

Shape the Oreo mixture into 1-inch sized balls (about the size of a golf ball).

Dip each of them into the melted white chocolate. Sprinkle your desired toppings on immediately after dipping them in chocolate to ensure that the topping sticks.

Place the truffles on to a wax paper-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat.

#cookies #dessert #holidays #baking #christmas #oreos #redvelvet

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