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Paul from Rhode Island (Food Blogga's dad). I always said that no one could make pizzelle like my grandmother, Nan. It's true. Now that her son-in-law, my dad, has been making them, I find myself saying that no one can make pizzelle like my dad. That's true too. My family enjoys Dad's Italian Pizzelle not only at Christmas time but at Easter, birthdays, and all types of family get-togethers. If it weren't so humid in RI in the summer, he'd probably make them for the Fourth of July too. Even though we live in California, Dad never forgets us; our FedExed care package of pizzelle arrives soon after he finishes baking them. His cookies are oh-so-good--slightly thick and chewy and laced with fragrant anise seed. The only thing that would make them taste better would be sitting down with Dad and enjoying them with a nice cup of coffee.
Dorothy from North Providence, Rhode Island, USA (Food Blogga's mother-in-law). Walking into my mother-in-law's house at Christmas time is like stepping into a real life gingerbread house. Every nook and cranny is decorated lovingly with Christmas angels, snowmen, holly berries, and soft, twinkling lights. It is also filled with the mouth-watering aromas of freshly baked goods including her fabulous Almond Biscotti, famous date-nut bread, and delicious Prune Rugelach. Dorothy's rugelach is pleasingly tender and sweet and pairs particularly well with a cup of hot tea. I speak from experience. I hope you will too.
Janet from Rhode Island, USA (Food Blogga's mom). Janet shares my grandmother's recipe for Molasses Cookies. Made with dark molasses, black pepper, and orange zest, these cookies are sweet and pack a zing. Janet says, "Every year when I made my Christmas cookie trays, I topped each one with a molasses cookie. The recipe was my mother’s, and they were always the crowning glory of my cookie trays. To this day, they remain my favorite Christmas cookie and bring back memories of baking with my mother who is now 99 years old in a nursing home."
Lisa of Homesick Texan from New York, USA. What would life be without mom's homemade cookies? Fortunately, Lisa doesn't have to find out because her sweet mom mails them to her. Mom's Raspberry Bars made from raspberry preserves, sliced almonds, and vanilla chips are so beautiful, they'll make make you want to sing (like Lisa). Always a hit with her guests, these bars were described as "pure heavenly decadence," by one eater. Need I say more?
T.W. of Culinary Types from Long Island, New York, USA. T.W. presents uniquely lovely Dutch Speculaas Cookies which are rich with butter and with history. T.W. writes engagingly about food history, and I encourage you to visit his site to read about Dutch Speculass Cookies and Saint Nicholas. These spicy almond butter cookies are baked in attractive hand-carved cookie molds made from beech and cherry hardwoods; T.W. has two of them for his "yuletide baking."
Kara of What's Kookin' in Kara's Kitchen from Alexandria, Virginia, USA. Kara offers us a refreshingly merry treat: Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark. Kara (who shares my affinity for listening to a lot of Christmas music) loves to make this bark, since it "ALWAYS" tastes great. I trust Kara on this one, but making a batch of this recipe to taste myself couldn't hurt.
Namratha of Finger Licking Food from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The holidays remind Namratha of good cheer, festive decorations, and "never ending goodies" like her Butter and Jam Cookies. These buttery discs are filled with sweet, red strawberry jam, which really is finger licking good. Why not follow Namratha's lead and wrap the cookies, tie with colorful ribbons, and give them to friends for a Christmas gift.
Dana of Proof of the Pudding from Washington, DC, USA. Dana has an addiction. To everything gingerbread--cakes, lattes, and Crisp Gingerbread Men. Part of Dana's quenchless craving comes from a desire to re-create the soft, chewy, and perfectly spicy gingerbread men of her youth. Her quest for that cookie recipe continues, but that shouldn't stop you from baking these cute little guys. It won't stop me.
Neema of Recipeswap from North Carolina, USA. Neema revels in the holiday spirit when she thinks of singing Christmas carols, decorating the tree with twinkling lights, and exchanging presents with friends. She stays warm by sipping hot cocoa and baking Christmas goodies like these deliciously chewy and simple to make Chocolate Almond Cookies.
Amy of Everyday Fare from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Amy and her son are ready for Christmas--they've decorated the tree and have kicked off their baking extravaganza with pretty Jam Thumbprints. Children love to bake these cookies because they have fun making the thumbprints in the dough (I know I always loved that part, and still do). Rolled in coconut flakes and filled with fruity jam, these cookies are a truly sweet treat.
Chef JP of The Chef From Hell from Lindenhurst, New York, USA. Chef JP has sent us a real treat--the recipe for Santa Claus's favorite cookie: Snickerdoodles! Santa enjoys them with a cup of Mrs. Claus's special cocoa, and you will too. Check out JP's site to discover the secret ingredient.
Shn of Mishmash! from the USA. Inspired by a recent beautiful snowfall, Shn baked these elegant Mexican Wedding Cookies. These simple-to-make treats are filled with chopped pecans and dusted with sweet confectioners' sugar. Shn says they melt in your mouth, and that they are the best cookies she has ever baked. Considering how scrumptious they look, I don't think she's kidding.
Mike of Mike's Table from Florida, USA. Mike lives in a rural area of Florida where has some trouble finding good Jewish food like bagels, latkes, and rugelach. So Mike decided to make his own Rugelach this year, well actually, three types of rugelach. The most traditional version is filled with sweet apricots, raisins, and walnuts; the second has delectable honey, dates, and pecans; the third has a winning combination of chocolate and hazelnut. I can't decide which of the recipes I like best, so it's looking like I'll be making three types of Rugelach too.
Rachel of Coconut and Lime from Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Did you know that there is such a thing as York Peppermint Patty baking pieces? Well, you do now, thanks to Rachel and her mom. So go to the market this week, pick yourself up a bag (or two) and make Rachel's recipe for fudgy, peppermint-y York Peppermint Patty Brownie Cookies. You'll be glad you did.
Nidhi of Charche Chauke ke from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. Nidhi shares one of her mother's traditional Indian sweets: guna. Though guna are usually fried, Nidhi wanted a lighter, healthier version, so she baked hers instead and used whole wheat flour. Her Baked Guna may be lacking in calories and cholesterol, but with savory walnuts, almonds, and cardamom, they sure aren't lacking in flavor.
Karyn of Hot Potato from Maryland, USA. Karyn's a self-confessed Grinch. She winces at the sound of Christmas music and frets over the energy wasted on decorative lights. However, in spite of her Grinchness, she likes --no, loves--to bake Christmas cookies. Lucky for us, she shared her recipe for the adorably named Santa Baby Biscotti. If these biscotti don't make your heart grow, then I don't know what will.
Sarah of Sweets by Sarah from Richlands, NC. Though Florentines have always been a favorite of Sarah's mom, Sarah never even considered making them herself. Until she found a recipe for them in her email inbox and thought she'd give them a try. Seeing as she has rated these Florentines a "5" on "5" for deliciousnesses and ease of making, I think we should all be grateful that Sarah has been checking her email frequently. Aren't they lovely?
Jaden of Jaden's Steamy Kitchen from Tampa, Florida, USA. Mimi's Shortbread Cookies are simply the best and easiest shortbread Jaden has ever had, and she's sharing the recipe with us. She's also sharing her tips on how to manage a successful holiday season after marriage. In a nutshell, don't touch his bbq grill, make his mother happy, and spend his money on Botox so you look 30 when he looks 80.
Judy of No Fear Entertaining from Cape Coral, Florida, USA. We have Judy's sister to thank for her Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies. That's because on a recent trip to Judy's house, her sister couldn't stop raving about them. Apparently, she wasn't exaggerating-- Judy's "non-cranberry loving husband" adored them too. So will you.
Maya of All About Konkan from Dallas, Texas, USA. Maya shares a deliciously wholesome and healthy cookie with us: Oatmeal Delights with Dried Banana. Made with rolled oats and whole wheat flour, these are bona fide "guilt-free" Christmas cookies. Does that mean I can eat as many as I want?
Mary of Shazam in the Kitchen from Ohio, USA. Since Mary isn't a huge fan of mint, she considered skipping her Mint Chocolate Cookies this year. That is, until Mary was "met with an outcry" from her friends who love her mint chocolate cookies. I can't blame them, really. These chewy, chocolate-y cookies are rich yet refreshing and perfect with a glass of cold milk.
Sarah's photo is from Epicurious.com.Sarah of Sweet Teeth from Buffalo, New York, USA. Sarah is part of baking cooperative made up of the wives of dental students. Their aptly named group--Sweet Teeth--just made a refreshing and also delightfully named cookie: Chocolate Grasshopper Cookies. Made with both a mint and a chocolate ganache, these cookies will hop off the plate as soon as you set them in front of your guests.
Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy from Sarasota, Florida, USA. There's a little friendly competition among the neighbors on Susan's street. What about? Christmas light displays. So this year Susan's husband pulled out the big guns--Bart and Homer Simpson on a sleigh (see her site for the pic). In the midst of this decorating frenzy, Susan stayed inside and baked cookies. The first recipe she shares is for Sherry Yard's elegant and aromatic Rose Water Almond Tea Cookies. These lovely cookies would be perfect for Christmas, a bridal shower, or a tea party.
The second cookie recipe Susan shares is for intensely buttery, crumbly, and nutty Butter Pecan Cookies. Susan says they're a breeze to make, which makes any baker happy.
Amy of Everyday Fare from Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Amy's been on a binge--a cookie baking binge. I don't mind. And you won't either when you see Amy's Sugar Twists. Be sure to check out her site for this simple to make recipe with step-by-step visual instructions.
Robin of Home Economics from New York City, USA. Robin had a lot work to do on Sunday. So in between her chores, she made Cinnamon Palmiers. Robin found the repeated rolling and chilling of the dough to be so relaxing, that before she knew it, all the bills were paid, and she was sinking her teeth into sweet, caramelized palmiers.
Katy of Sugar Laws from New York, New York, USA. Katy was smitten at first sight. She took one look at the Sesame Ginger Cookie recipe in her December Cooking Light and decided to make them. After some ingenious tinkering, Katy came up with a wonderfully savory cookie made with tahini, sesame oil, ginger, and even a splash of soy sauce. Like Katy says, they may not be traditional Christmas cookies, but they are delicious. Hey, that's all we're looking for.
Chris of Mele Cotte from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. A few years ago, Chris had never heard of Pfeffernüsse, a traditional central European Christmas cookie. Now Pfeffernüsse and Christmas are one-in-the-same for Chris. They will be for you too when you see this recipe which contains redolent cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg and sweet, sticky honey and molasses. I just hope I don't have to learn to spell them in order to make them. Be sure to visit Chris's site where she's doing a 12 Days of Cookies! Yes, more cookies!
Julie of A Mingling of Tastes from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. What do you get when you take a traditional thumbprint cookie and fill it with festively colored icing instead of jam? My Favorite Thumbprint Cookies. The original recipe came from Julie's grandmother, and like most grandma recipes, this one is tried-and-true, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Helen of Tartelette from Charleston, South Carolina, USA. Helen enjoys using a mix of traditional family recipes and new ones for the holidays. Today she shares a recipe she has adapted for elegant Pistachio Cocao Nibs Cookies. These light, crumbly cookies are scented with vanilla and flavored with a splash of Cognac. I would save these for the grown-up's table.
Chris of Mele Cotte from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Chris's family loves Italian Almond Bars. Not only are they a cherished Christmas treat, but the recipe for them is a family heirloom: Chris has her Aunt Gloria's original hand-written recipe (check it out on her post). Unlike her mom, Chris is a soft biscotti kind of gal, but as she says, "either way, they taste fabulous and are perfect with coffee!" I couldn't agree more.
Susan V of Fat Free Vegan Kitchen from Jackson, Mississippi, USA. Susan offers a Fat-Free Gluten-Free Gingerbread Biscotti that tastes great too. Her daughter loved them, and who knows cookies better than kids? Thanks to Susan's experimentations and ingenuity, we can all try making her wonderful recipe the next time we want a guilt-free treat. Be sure to check out Susan's post to learn about baking with different types of flour.
Anthony of Defient Chef from Abingdon, Virginia, USA. Flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and molasses, Anthony's Gingerbread Biscotti must be as delicious as they are aromatic. Make them even better by dipping them in white chocolate like Anthony did, because, really, who could argue with that combination?
Ann of Redacted Recipes from Brooklyn, New York, USA. Ann and I have mutual friends: Bing, Rosemary, Vera, and Danny. We see them every December, and remarkably, they always look the same. If you haven't seen Irving Berlin's White Christmas, then go rent it today. It's an absolute delight. And make a batch of Ann's White Christmas Cookies to nibble on while viewing.
Danielle of Habeas Brulee from Brooklyn, New York, USA. After Danielle purchased some dried strawberries and chestnut flour at the market, she was inspired to make something delicious with them. After tweaking a recipe for Nibby Buckwheat Cookies, Danielle created Nibby Strawberry Chestnut Cookies. She succeeded. Delicious.
Sharona May of Bird Food from Georgia, USA. Sharona May got such rave reviews the last time she made fudge that she decided to make another batch with a Christmas twist. Red and white twists actually. Sharona's rich, chocolate-y Peppermint Fudge is chock-full of zingy crushed candy canes. Now that's Christmas-y.
Michelle of Culinography from Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. My father always told me never to procrastinate. If something has got to be done, then it should be done now. Fortunately, Michelle did not heed that advice. Since many of the cookies she had intended to bake were already submitted, Michelle had to find a new one. Her beautiful lace-like Swedish Almond Wafers are thin, light, and pleasingly buttery. Clearly, it does pay to wait.
T.W. of Culinary Types from Long Island, New York, USA. T.W. presents a true Christmas cookie classic: Chocolate Crackles, named so because of the "crackling" sound the sugar coating makes when you bite into them. If you've never had chocolate crackles, then put them on your must-bake list right away. The only thing that makes them better is washing them down with a cold glass of milk.
Ames of yay pie! and hooray for bananas! from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. What would a Christmas cookie round-up be without Peanut Blossoms (also known as Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies)? Thanks to Ames we won't have to find out. If you've ever made these classic Christmas cookies, then you know that the Hershey's kisses always falls off the top of the cookies. They won't if you follow Ames's advice and bury the chocolate kiss inside the cookie dough. Brilliant.
Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy from Sarasota, Florida, USA. As a musician, Christmas music holds a uniquely special place in Susan's heart. Singing these rousing and emotional hymns also makes Susan think of deeper issues of peace and violence in our world today. As a result, she shares a recipe for World Peace Cookies, a symbolic gesture of spreading peace throughout the world.
Katie of Good Things Catered from Washington, D.C., USA. It's not surprising that Katie loved them as a child and still loves them as an adult: her Candy Cane Cookies would make anybody feel like a kid again. These big, puffy, sweet treats made of twisted red and white dough will add a little cheer to everyone's Christmas this year.
Katy of Sugarlaws from New York, New York, USA. With only six days left until Christmas, you may need an easy cookie recipe; look no further than Katy's Truffles. Katy says the secret to perfect truffles is to use really good dark chocolate and cream. Then let your creativity soar--spike them with liqueur, roll them in chopped nuts, or cover them with festive crushed candy canes. Any way you make them, they are utterly divine.
Anali of Anali's First Amendment from Quincy, Massachusetts, USA. These beautifully, symbolically named World Peace Cookies are ideal for Christmas or any time of the year, as Anali can attest. It's no wonder she has baked these cookies countless times. They're slightly sweet, slightly spicy, slightly chocolate-y, and wholly delicious.
Namratha of Finger Licking Food from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Namratha's adoration for Ferro Rocher hazelnut chocolate candies inspired her to create this recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies. These exquisitely rich cookies are made with a combination of creamy Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread and crunchy toasted hazelnuts. Like Namratha says, "bliss."
Tracy of Rah Cha Chow from Rochester, New York, USA. Since Tracy didn't get to bake too many of her treasured Christmas cut-out cookies when she was a child, she makes sure to bake a batch every year now that she's an adult. Her Rich Rolled Cookies decorated in a carnival of colors are a must bake cookie for the Christmas season.
Pamela of Pamela's Kitchen from Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Every year Pamela eagerly awaited a Christmas package full of baked goodies from her grandmother. And every year Pamela would delight in her grandmother's Jam Thumbprints. That's why she makes them every Christmas and cherishes those sweet memories.
Asha of Foodie's Hope from North Carolina, USA. Asha presents her unique version of Rugelach, a traditional Jewish cookie made with sweet dried fruits and nuts. Here she uses tropical fillings like papaya jam as well as rich fillings like luscious Nutella.
Samantha of Bella Grey from South Carolina, USA. Samantha's been busy which is why she has to shift her Christmas baking into high gear. When she needs a delicious, fast, easy cookie recipe, she knows exactly what to make: Aunt Rasie's Crunch Drop Cookies. These no-fail cookies are made with wholesome oats and crunchy Rice Krispies. You can make them in a snap (crackle, pop!)
Tara of Smells Like Home from Middlebury, Connecticut, USA. Tara's mom adored Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies so much that she would actually hide them from the kids so they wouldn't eat them all! Tara understands. She now shares her mom's adoration for the cookies (especially orange Milanos), which is why she created this unique, scrumptious recipe for Chocolate Dipped Orange Butter Cookies. Pepperidge Farms better watch out because these look better than the original.
Claire of Cooking is Medicine from Jackson, Mississippi, USA. There is something oh-so-Christmas-y about minty-chocolate treats at this time of year. If you haven't made one yet, then try Claire's Christmas Mint Brownies. When one treat can be described as fudgy, rich, decadent, moist, intensely chocolate-y, and cakey (and has festive green mint filling), it simply has to go on your must-bake list.
Madhavi of My Veggie World from Tampa, Florida, USA. With only 4 days left until Christmas, you'll want to give Madhavi a great, big hug for sharing her recipe with you. That's because you can make three different types of sugar cookies all from one eggless dough. Brilliant. Using a star cookie cutter, you can make these cheerful Sugar Dusted Stars.
If you'd like something a little sweeter, then try Madhavi's Jam Thumbprints with your favorite fruity filling.
Andrea of Andrea's Recipes from Virginia, USA. Andrea's husband remembers fondly baking gingerbread men with his mom when he a child. Now he and Andrea are continuing the family tradition with their three sons. Andrea says she used "minimalist" decorations: raisins for eyes and cherry mouths. These are homey, sweet Gingerbread Men that look just just as they should like --like they were made with love.
Tracy of Rah Cha Chow from Rochester, New York, USA. Tracy will make her Special Scotcheroos at Christmas time only. Why? Because she has a waistline she'd like to keep, and if these chewy, gooey, crispy, chocolate-y treats were in the house all the time, she'd never be able to stop herself from eating them. Don't worry Tracy, I wouldn't be able to stop myself either.
Ronnie of Around the Table from Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. Sometimes your dearest friend isn't the one you've known since elementary school or roomed with at college. Sometimes she has a completely different heritage from yours. Yet, you share the same values, and she supports you in eveything you do. That's Ronnie's cherished friend Willa, who also shares a cherished recipe for Swiss Kekle.
Paula of Half Baked from Alabama, USA. There aren't too many cookies Paula doesn't like, but her absolute favorite Christmas cookies are Russian Tea Cakes. She's not alone. Like Paula says, sundry cultures have a recipe for these delectable shortbread cookies (think Mexican Wedding Cakes and Southern Pecan Butterballs). These "snow"-dusted treats are buttery, sweet, and nutty. Who wouldn't love that combination?
Karyn of Hot Potato from Maryland, USA. You may know them as Snowballs or Butter Balls, but Karyn calls her most treasured Christmas cookies Russian Tea Cakes. These buttery rich melt-in-your-mouth cookies are only enhanced when enjoyed with a cup of eggnog or hot cocoa. In fact, if you eat them this way on Christmas Eve, you'll wake up a little perkier on Christmas Day--really-- Karyn does.