Oh, it’s time to make ’em all right. My Contest Winning Christmas Cookie Recipe is one I share every year. This cookie won a contest in Country Home years ago, and the spritz-like, buttery, buttercream-frosted cookies have been an annual tradition here for more than 30 years. I’m also sharing other family favorites. The funny thing about these favorites is how they have evolved due to our dietary changes. My husband can’t tolerate gluten, our younger son follows a vegan diet, and my own diet is fat-restrictive! Extra work and creativity are always on the menu!
Hello Lovely’s Winning Christmas Cookie Recipe
With just 20 days until Christmas, many of you have finished the shopping, planning, and simple decorating. This year, I’m just getting started. Time to turn up holiday music, marvel at the snowy wonderland outside (how magical is it when it snows overnight and you awaken to the quiet beauty of it?), and bake a few yummy things.
But did you know there’s a way to assure you’ll always have a WHITE CHRISTMAS…?
For a few bucks, my easy DIY snowflakes deliver the snowy holiday.
Today I’ll bake the old fashioned sourdough I have been making from a starter I have fed for 31 years, and maybe it will be used for a baked French toast (recipe is below).
Since my husband can’t have gluten, there will always be g-free goodies in the mix…like these easy pistachio cookies:
They’re sooooo delicious and easy…find the recipe HERE.
Family Recipes Become Extra Special
This post is dedicated to families and friends who won’t be able to gather physically for the holidays. Enjoying the tastes of home sometimes provides comfort when you have to be apart.
Snowflakes are silently falling as I type this, and the trees in the yard are getting their lovely frosty sweaters.
Winters in Northern Illinois stretch long, and the secret to not resenting them is joining in their delights…getting out into the crispness when temps are not dangerously low.
It’s not as easy for me to do this now with my health condition, but I do my best.
I hope you enjoy these treats I make again and again, and I would also love to hear about your own family favs!
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may also earn a commission.
Swedish Christmas Cookies (aka Luke’s Christmas Love Cookies)
If you have been reading this blog for a length of time, you know about these delicious cookies. I have baked them with our sons their entire lives, and it just isn’t Christmas without them. Winning a contest in Country Home magazine 15 years ago was a game changer and inspired my creative journey online.
Prep: 50 minutes – Chill: 2 hours – Bake: 7 minutes/batch – Preheat oven: 375°
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 7-oz. jar marshmallow cream
3/4 cup butter, cut up and softened
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium to high speed, beat 1 cup butter for 30 seconds. Then add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and almond extract. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour then divide in half. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until easy to handle.
2. On a lightly floured surface roll half of dough at a time until slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough using a 2 1/2-inch star-shape cutter then place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake in 375° oven 7 to 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Transfer to wire racks; cool.
4. In large mixing bowl beat marshmallow cream, gradually adding 3/4 cup softened butter. Beat in 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Spread or pipe atop cookies. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles. Makes 6 1/2 dozen cookies.
TO STORE : Store in a single layer in refrigerator until frosting sets, about 1 hour. Store in a single layer in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze uniced cookies.
Per cookie: 73 cal., 4 g fat (3 g sat. fat), 14 mg chol., 49 mg sodium, 8 g carbo., 0 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein.
Holiday Baking Inspiration
Crème Brûlée French Toast
Need an idea for Christmas morning or a brunch any given weekend? I love this dish because it is made ahead.
So easy and delicious! Sometimes I’ll sprinkle fruit on top before baking, and since I bake bread weekly, I use it for this recipe. However, you can use French bread or your favorite from a bakery.
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
1 8-9″ round loaf of country style bread
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 tsp. vanilla
In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over a moderate heat, stirring until smooth, and pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Cut six 1″ slices from the center portion of the bread and trim the crusts. Arrange slices in one layer in the baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.
In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, and salt until combined well. Pour over bread. Chill covered, from 8 hours to one day.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring bread to room temperature. Bake, uncovered, in center of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Slice and invert (to plate servings ooey gooey side-up!) and serve with or without maple syrup.
Merry Mug Inspiration
Serve it with mugs of warm apple cider or hot chocolate.
Speaking of mugs…
The fun part about the taller rack is it can also easily double as a Christmas tree during the holidays.
Festive Bottle Holder Inspiration
The vintage examples are awfully sweet, and they certainly need not be decorated to have presence!
More Sweet Family Recipes
Next up is is my mom’s easy peasy PUNCH, served at special occasions. You just can’t mess it up, and it also works for a brunch or simple sweets buffet.
Mom’s Easy Strawberry Punch
This punch is basically a strawberry float and sort of like our family’s faux eggnog since we like drinking sugar more than eggs. You can certainly add rum or Chambord to this should you like your floats boozy.
1/2 gallon really good vanilla ice cream
2 cups strawberries (halved) frozen (or a package of frozen)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 2-liter bottle ginger ale
In a punch bowl, pitcher, or large mixing bowl, add ice cream then strawberries. Sprinkle on sugar. Add ginger ale to cover, combine gingerly, then top off with ginger ale as needed.
Hello Lovely Special K Bars
These are from my childhood in the 70s and are present at every holiday or family gathering. Other recipes call for a 2:1 ratio of butterscotch to chocolate, but mine are heavier on the chocolate, and dark delivers a completely different result than milk chocolate. You can make them vegan by eliminating the butterscotch chips and subbing dairy-free chocolate chips.
1 cup sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
6 cups Special K cereal
11 oz. package butterscotch chips (I like Hershey’s)
11 oz. package dark chocolate chips (I like Hershey’s)
Lightly grease a cookie sheet or half sheet pan (I use a half-sheet pan, 10.5″ x 15.5″) or spray with nonstick spray. Place cereal in a very large mixing bowl. Bring sugar and syrup to a boil, then remove from heat. Add peanut butter and stir to completely melt and combine. Pour mixture over cereal in bowl and delicately fold together with silicone spatula. Then pour into prepared pan and press lightly with wet hands to form an even thickness. Melt the butterscotch and chocolate chips together (I use microwave), then pour over pan. Let cool completely, then cut into small squares. These freeze wonderfully – I cut them first then freeze small quantities.
Holiday Goodies That Won’t Cost a Bundle
Gooey Butter Cake
Everyone will think they are lemon bars, and we think they are sooooo much tastier! This is one of those doctored cake mix recipes my family is crazy about, and there are all sorts of variations. For example, you can add a handful of chocolate chips on top before baking, but my family likes these as is. They are decadently rich! I bake it in a sheet pan then cut into small, very thin bars.
Preheat oven to 325 and adjust rack to bake it in top third of oven.
1 white cake mix
1 stick of butter melted
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 oz. powdered sugar, more for sprinkling on top
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Butter or spray a half-sheet pan with non-stick spray. In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, melted butter, and also one lightly beaten egg. Stir until smooth – then use wet hands to press to the edges of pan. (It takes a little while to press and spread it thin!).
In same bowl, use hand mixer to blend softened cream cheese with half of the powdered sugar. Add two eggs, and vanilla and keep mixing as you gradually add remainder of powdered sugar, blending until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Pour cream cheese mixture over cake mix layer and if necessary, spread to cover. Bake in upper third of oven 35-40 minutes, cool completely on rack, then cut into small squares.
Behind the Blog
Just a wee peek into my personal life since you’ll find me daily plunking out something on the old keys I have pounded since childhood.
More Delicious Recipes
I still make cinnamon bread from a starter and share it with family and neighbors since my husband can’t eat it, and I can only have a little.
In case you are looking for a healthy “bread” that won’t work for a ham sandwich but is just fine for toast or a PBJ, check out this gluten-free, vegan, flour-less bread recipe I tweaked and often bake.
If you had told me years ago I would be baking vegan g-free recipes packed with seeds and nuts, I would have called you NUTS. Auto-immune disease has altered my journey!
About Extra Calories…
I bought this beachy cruiser when neuropathy, osteoporosis and balance issues rocked my world. I highly recommend it as a gift that keeps on giving! The back storage basket is perfect for groceries or a pet, and if you are wondering whether you can still get exercise with it…the answer is yes!
I added a basket to my handlebars as well.
If you have a moment…play my video (kittens, you know I rarely make ’em!):
Thanks for reading and also making my day with your comments!
Do visit more holiday themed posts for inspiration and cheer.
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
Peace to you right where you are.
Thanks for shopping RIGHT HERE to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!
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