November 2023 – Christmas Cookies & Holiday Treats

Molasses Spice Cookies

Pat Roth, Ephrata

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ cup granulated brown sugar or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease cookies sheets (can also use parchment paper).

Beat granulated sugar and shortening about 5 minutes in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and egg; beat until fluffy.

Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt and mustard in a medium bowl. Add to the shortening mixture and mix until just combined.

Place the brown sugar in a shallow dish. Roll tablespoons of dough into 1” balls and roll in sugar to coat. Place 2” apart on cookie sheets.

Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cookies stand 2 minutes before removing to cool.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Cocoa Snickerdoodles

Pat Roth, Ephrata

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups uncooked old fashioned oats
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Beat the butter, brown sugar and 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.

Combine the oats, flour, 1/4 cup cocoa and baking soda in a medium bowl. Stir into butter mixture until blended.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa and cinnamon in a small bowl. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons into the cinnamon mixture. Roll to coat. Place 2” apart on cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are firm in the center. Do not overbake. Remove from sheets to cool.

Makes about 4½ dozen cookies.

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Pat Roth, Ephrata

“These cookies are delicate & delicious.”

  • 2¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking rolled oats

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, beating well. Beat in the zest and juice. Gradually add the flour mixture, then stir in the oats.

Chill the dough thoroughly for at least 2 hours.

Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls and place onto greased cookie sheets, allowing room for the cookies to spread. Using a flat-bottomed glass or custard cup that has been greased and dipped in sugar, flatten each ball to 1/4” thick (dip the glass in sugar each time).

Bake at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool for 1 minute, then carefully remove from the cookie sheets to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars

Marilyn Bashore, Lititz

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup cranberry curd (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Lightly grease and line a 9”x9” square pan with parchment “sling” so bars can be lifted out cleanly.

Put walnuts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Divide the nuts in half and set aside.

Put flour and sugars in processor and pulse to combine. Add in the soft butter and half of the nuts. Process briefly to bring dough together, and until no dry flour is left. The mixture will have a coarse crumble texture.

Measure out 1/2 cup of the dough and set aside for the topping. Pat the rest of the dough in the bottom of the pan. Use your fingers to distribute the dough evenly. If necessary, take some from the topping to fully cover the bottom.

Bake the crust for 15 minutes.

Mix reserved dough with remaining nuts to form a coarse crumble.

Carefully spread the cranberry curd over the warm crust. Sprinkle crumble topping over the curd. If desired, some extra walnuts can also be sprinkled on.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Cranberry Curd

  • 4 cups cranberries
  • ½ cup water
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
  • pinch of salt

Place cranberries, water and orange juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally, until cranberries pop.

Press cranberry mixture through a fine sieve and discard solids.

Add cranberry pulp back to the saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk in butter, sugar and salt, stirring until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.

Whisk eggs yolks and egg in a medium bowl, then slowly into cranberry mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, pour into bowl, and press plastic wrap on surface to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold.

Butterscotch Cookies

Marilyn Bashore, Lititz

“This is a family recipe passed down since the 1920s. When I helped my grandmother bake them in the 50s, my job was to put the walnut on!”

  • 1 lb. dark brown sugar
  • 1 lb. light brown sugar
  • 1 lb. butter (brown half to a golden brown)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a little hot water
  • 7 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • egg (for egg wash)
  • walnut halves (for garnish)

Cream butters and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and baking soda. Add flour.

Divide dough in half. Form each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove one disk and roll on a floured board to 1/8” thickness. Cut with a 2½” round cookie cutter.

Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg and top with walnut half. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes.

Michigan Rocks

Marilyn Bashore, Lititz

  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 lb. chopped dates
  • 2 cups black walnuts, chopped
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs (separated)

Beat egg whites and set aside.

Combined dry ingredients.

In another bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Stir in walnuts and dates. Lastly, fold in the beaten egg whites.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes.

Almond Joy Stuffed Dates

Gloria Dougherty, Akron

  • 10 dates
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 10 whole almonds
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chips
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • sea salt
  • coconut flakes

Cut a slit in each date lengthwise and remove pit if not removed.

Fill each date with almond butter (1/2 teaspoon), and press in whole almond. Gently push the sides together to enclose. Set aside.

Place chocolate and olive oil in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until smooth and shiny.

Place date onto fork tines and lower into chocolate. Completely cover date. Transfer to foil lined pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and coconut. Repeat with all dates.

Note: For Snickers stuffed dates, replace almond butter with peanut butter and whole almonds with peanuts.

Pistachio Thumbprint Cookies

Jean Wissler, New Holland


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup 10x sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 box instant pistachio pudding
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups 10x sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons milk


  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all cookie ingredients (dough will be thick). Roll dough into small balls. Make a thumbprint in each dough ball.

Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool.

Mix all filling ingredients well. Put a small amount on center of each cookie. Sprinkle with 3 to 5 mini chocolate chips.

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

Anna Oberholtzer, Lititz

  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 7 oz. instant vanilla pudding
  • 4½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 16 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix butter, sugar, brown sugar and eggs. Add pudding, flour, baking soda and vanilla. Beat well. Add white chocolate chips and nuts. Mix.

Bake at 350°F. Do not overbake.

Cherry Coconut Treats

Mary Ann Dell, East Earl

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted


  • 4 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • (2) 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
  • (2) 10 oz. jars maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (can use red and green cherries to look festive)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a small bowl, mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar , baking powder and salt. Stir in melted butter. Press mixture onto bottom of a greased 13”x9” baking pan.

In another bowl, mix the filling ingredients. Pour over crust.

Bake until edges are lightly browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

Refrigerate, covered, for 4 hours before cutting. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 dozen.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Mary Ann Dell, East Earl

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 21/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 6 packages (1½ oz. each) peanut butter cups, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, milk and vanilla.

Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the chips and peanut butter cup pieces.

Drop by heaping tablespoons 2” apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake until set (do not overbake), 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 4 dozen.

Cranberry Bog Bars

Mary Ann Dell, East Earl

  • 1¼ cups butter, softened, divided
  • 1½ cups packed brown sugar, divided
  • 3½ cups old fashioned oats, divided
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 14 oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • confectioners sugar (for garnish)

In a large bowl, cream 1 cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

Combine 2½ cups oats and flour. Gradually add to the creamed mixture until crumbly. Press into a greased 13”x9” baking pan. Spread with cranberry sauce.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining 1/4 cup butter. Stir in the pecans and the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup oats. Sprinkle over cranberry sauce.

Bake at 375°F until lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Cut into bars. Sprinkle the bars with confectioners sugar before serving.

Makes 2 dozen.

Rosemary Shortbread

Tera McFarland, Reinholds

“Easy and so delicate and light.”

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.

Combine flour, rosemary and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape into two 8¼” rolls; securely wrap each roll in wax paper. Refrigerate overnight.

Cut into 1/4” slices. Place 2” apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350°F for 11 to 13 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing from pans to wire racks or paper towels. Store in airtight container.

Yield 5½ dozen.