Ask, and you shall receive: Readers share their go-to holiday cookie recipes

We received 20 recipes from readers when we asked for their favorite holiday cookies. Some of the tasty selections included passed-down secret family recipes, a 4-H award winner and even one gleaned from a Holocaust survivor.

We received 20 recipes from readers when we asked for their favorite holiday cookies. Some of the tasty selections included passed-down secret family recipes, a 4-H award winner and even one gleaned from a Holocaust survivor.

Tips for baking from Pink Box Bakeshop

Michele Kaminski, proprietor of Pink Box Bakeshop, 727 Mass., lets us in on her secrets for handling more than 1,000 cookies per week.


Lawrence Journal World

Included in the holiday cookie recipes we received are, clockwise from the top: Mom's Soft Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Cookies, Swiss Sandwich Cookies, Chocolate Crinkles, False Strudel and Gingersnap Gems.


Lawrence Journal World

Perfect for gift-giving are two cookies from Lawrence's Betty Lynds: Mom's Soft Sugar Cookies (front) and Gingersnap Gems (back).


Lawrence Journal World

These Swiss Sandwich Cookies come from a recipe sent by someone who is actually Swiss — longtime Lawrence resident Regine Benalcazar.


Lawrence Journal World

These White Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Cookies make a large amount in a single batch and look effortlessly festive. Recipe from Glenda Mills, McLouth.

Holiday cookies have a special place in every baker’s heart. They’re crowd-pleasers that shine once a year, often bringing joy to sweets lovers both near and far.

And they’re special in that many bakers have their signature cookie. The one that embodies a million holiday memories in a single bite. And lucky enough for us, we’ve gotten a few Lawrence bakers to share their holiday favorites.

Some of these recipes are family heirlooms that have been passed down, while others have made it to the realm of go-to holiday cookies very recently. Whatever the case, they’ve all been taste-tested by area families and would be a welcome addition to any holiday celebration.

And, if you’re just not into baking (or don’t have the time — thanks, holiday parties!), you can always do what Lawrence’s Graham Bailey does when he wants his favorite cookie. Hint: Bar codes = tasty + quick.

“Ingredients: 1/2 gallon of gasoline, $3.29 cash, automobile (may choose individually, depending on taste), bag of Oreos. Instructions: Place gasoline into automobile. Drive to Dillons. Barter $3.29 for bag of Oreos. Return home. Open package at designated end. Eat Oreos.”

Happy holidays, from and the Lawrence Journal-World.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies

1 3/4 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

18 large marshmallows, cut in half

36 pecan halves


2 cups powdered sugar

5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons margarine

4-5 tablespoons half and half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Frosting: Combine the ingredients and mix until well blended.

Cookies: Sift flour, salt, soda, and cocoa; set aside. In bowl, cream shortening and sugar; add egg, vanilla, and milk. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased (or parchment paper lined) cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes; do not over bake. Remove cookies from oven and top with marshmallow half. Return to oven for 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and cool cookies. Spread frosting on each cookie and top with a pecan half.

— Recipe from Krystal Burenheide, Lawrence

Kentucky Colonels

1 stick margarine or butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 cup chopped dates

2 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal

Coconut flakes for rolling

Mix margarine/butter, sugar, egg, and dates in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly (until mixture thickens and becomes less cloudy). Remove pan from stove. Working quickly, add rice cereal. Cool the mixture until you can handle it, but do not let it cool completely. Roll it into balls and roll the balls in flaked coconut. You can also roll them in chopped nuts or coarse colored sugar, but coconut is the classic Kentucky Colonel coating. Depending on the size of the balls, this makes several dozen pieces, which keep very well in a cool place, covered. These ship well, too.

 — Recipe from Andrea Zuercher, Lawrence

False Strudel

1 cup butter (two sticks), room temperature

1 cup sour cream

2 cups flour

3/4 to 1 cup any type of jam or marmalade or jelly

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Cream together the butter and sour cream. (Tip: If the butter is not at room temperature, grate the sticks on a grater.) It will mix in with the sour cream easily.

Add the flour to the above and mix well. Form into a round flat piece, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put parchment paper on cookie sheet (not absolutely necessary but it helps with cleanup later!)

Divide into 5 equal parts. Roll one part on a board covered with flour and sugar (to keep the mixture from sticking to the board). Roll into a long roll, the length of a cookie sheet and about 4 inches wide.

Spread jam or jelly along the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch on either side clear. Sprinkle with a small amount of coconut and/or nuts. Roll up jelly roll style and pinch along the long edge to seal. Place seam side down on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the other 4 dough parts.

Leave space between the rolls so they do not touch. If you can not get all five rolls on one cookie sheet, put the others on another sheet and refrigerate those rolls until the first batch is done.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool completely. Cut across or on the diagonal into about 1 inch cookies.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

— Recipe from Jane Robshaw, Lawrence

Pineapple Cookies

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix shortening, sugar, egg and vanilla. Add pineapple and nuts. Add mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Drop in rounded teaspoons on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with a mixture of sugar and nutmeg. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes three dozen.

— Recipe from Lyn Hewitt, Lawrence

Coconut Cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon coconut flavoring

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup coconut

1 cup quick oats

1 cup rice cereal

1 cup pecans (chopped finely)

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, oil, sugars, egg and flavorings until blended.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar.

Slowly stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Add coconut, oatmeal, rice cereal and pecans and raisins (if using) until a stiff dough forms. Drop by teaspoons onto an ungreased baking sheet and slightly flatten with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly brown around the edges. Watch carefully, as they brown fast.

— Recipe from Sadie Deaton, Lawrence

Schwaebish Butter-S

500 grams (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour

250 grams (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

125 grams (1/2 cup) sugar

7 egg yolks

1-2 egg-whites to ‘paint’ the cookies at the end

Course sugar or fine almond slices for decoration

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Whisk butter until foamy. Mix sugar, egg yolks and flour to it and kneed the dough well.

Let dough cool in a cold place for at least 2 hours.

Roll dough into finger-thick “sausages,” about 2-3 inches long.

Place on greased cookie sheet and dry overnight in cool place.

The next day, paint the top of the cookies with lightly beaten egg white and drizzle course sugar (may be regular sugar, if you can’t find the course kind) or almond shavings on them.

Bake in cool oven (250 degrees) for 8-10 min until light golden.

— Recipe from Regine Benalcazar, Lawrence

Swiss Sandwich Cookies

250 grams (2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

200 grams (1 cup) sugar

125 grams (1 cup) ground, peeled almonds

300 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour

1/2 package (1/2 tablespoon) vanilla sugar

1 pinch salt

Red currant or raspberry jelly

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients well to make a dough. Roll dough out about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out small round “coins” with a shot glass or small round cookie cutter, no bigger than 1 inch in diameter. The dough breaks easily. It is best to roll it out when it is room temperature.

Bake in small batches (no more than 20 at a time) about 10 min. They should be almost white when removed from oven.

While still hot, place small amount of jelly on flat side of half of the cookie coins. Cover them with another coin and roll the sandwich in granulated (regular) sugar. Let cool on a rack. It is best to work quickly and in small batches.

— Recipe from Regine Benalcazar, Lawrence

Nuernberger Lebkuchen

500 grams (4 cups) powdered sugar

250 grams (3/4 cup) honey

4 eggs

100 grams (3/4 cup) almonds, ground

30 grams candied lemon rind (citronat)

15 grams (about 3 teaspoons) cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking powder

100 grams (7 tablespoons) melted, unsalted butter

750 grams (5 cups) all-purpose flour

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk sugar, honey and eggs until foamy. Mix in all other ingredients and form a dough which can be rolled out. Roll dough about 1/4-inch thick.

Cut dough into whatever cookie shapes you have (larger is better than tiny). Paint cookies with lightly beaten egg-whites. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

This yields a big portion. Keep cookies in a well-sealed container after thoroughly cooled, to keep from drying out. They will last for several weeks.

— Recipe from Regine Benalcazar, Lawrence

Walnut Crescents

1 cup margarine

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups enriched flour

1/2 cup black walnuts

Mix in order given and form dough in long rolls about 1/2-inch in diameter. Cut in 3-inch lengths. Shape in crescents. Bake at 350 oven degrees for 8-10 minutes.

— Recipe from Lois Llewellyn, Lawrence

Gingersnap Gems

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

Sugar for rolling cookie balls in (about 2 tablespoons)

In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1 cup sugar and shortening with an electric mixer until well-combined. Beat in molasses. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 45 cookies.

— Recipe from Betty Lynds, Lawrence

Mom’s Soft Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup shortening

pinch of salt

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon soda

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (sweet or sour)

Mix shortening, salt and sugar. Sift together flour, soda and baking powder. Add egg and vanilla to shortening mixture; add alternately milk and flour mixtures.

Sprinkle a little flour on waxed paper. Roll 1/3 of the dough lightly in flour so dough will not stick to hands. Dust rolling pin with flour and roll out dough very gently to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutter and place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cookies will stay white. Frost with your favorite frosting after cookies cool. Yield 30 to 35 cookies.

— Recipe from Betty Lynds, Lawrence

Sesame Street Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream together butter and sugar; add eggs and vanilla, then flour and baking powder. Dough will be very stiff. Roll out to 1/8 inch. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes.

 — Recipe from Nancy Arnold, Baldwin City

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

6 ounces chocolate chips

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour

1 egg

Melt butter and peanut butter in microwave. Add sugars, vanilla and egg and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy and well-blended. Mix in flour, oats and baking soda. Stir in chocolate chips. Place rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 2 dozen and can be easily doubled.

— Recipe from Nancy Arnold, Baldwin City

Best Ever Casual Cookies

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (Bob’s Red Mill or Arrowhead are good)

1 cup oatmeal (not instant)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup organic turbinado sugar

1/3 cup rice milk or soy milk

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/3 cup almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (convection setting if you have it).

Mix the flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder salt and cinnamon together with a fork. Add the nuts and cranberries. Mix well.

Put the rest of the ingredients in a measuring cup. The almond butter needs to be room temperature so it will mix well. Combine until the almond butter is smooth or nearly so. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until well-combined, but do not over mix (makes things tough).

Put a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Once you use it you will never want to oil a cookie sheet again. Drop by spoonful, you can make them small or large. Makes about two dozen. Check at 8 minutes, if starting to crack they are done. If not go a bit more. They will be soft at first; then they will firm up. Leave on cookie sheet five minutes, transfer to a cooling rack.

— Recipe from Roberta Schiff, former Lawrence resident, currently of Rhinebeck N.Y.

Pecan Dainties

3 ounces cream cheese

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter or oleo


1 egg

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

These will be miniature pecan pies. Cream and press the first three ingredients into small muffin pans, cover bottom of pan and up the sides. Beat the filling ingredients and spoon into above crust in muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees until brown about 15 minutes.

— Recipe from Paula Warren, Lawrence

Chocolate Crinkles

1/2 cup butter or oleo

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup baking cocoa

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Melt butter, sugar and cocoa together, beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla, then the flour mixture.

Chill dough in refrigerator an hour or so, roll into 1-inch balls, then roll in powdered sugar. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. These cookies should be soft and chewy.

— Recipe from Paula Warren, Lawrence

Ice Box Cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts), finely chopped

In large bowl combine first five ingredients and blend well. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; blend well. Stir in nuts.

Divide dough in half; on waxed paper shape each half into a log a 1/2-inch in diameter. Wrap in wax paper, chill until firm, 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut dough in 1/4 inch slices. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes until light brown. Can keep dough in refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.

— Recipe from Paula Warren, Lawrence

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, (room temperature)

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips (about 8 1/2 ounces)

1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped roasted salted macadamia nuts (about 4 1/2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat just until blended.

Using spatula, stir in cranberries, white chocolate chips and nuts.

For large cookies, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. For small cookies, drop dough by level tablespoons onto sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until just golden, about 18 minutes for large cookies and about 15 minutes for small cookies.

Cool on sheets.

Store airtight at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.

— Recipe from Glenda Mills, McLouth

Natural Cookie Balls

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup oats

1 cup dry powdered milk

1/2 cup honey

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Roll dough into small balls. Roll ball in a little dry oats or dry powdered milk. Refrigerate at least 2 hours tightly covered. Raisins or chocolate chips may be added.

 — Recipe from Andrew, Aaron, Alex and Aric Trent, Lawrence


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