Holiday Baking: A Family Affair


For as long as I can remember my mom has been a prolific holiday baker. Once my siblings and I could measure and stir we would help out with the production of dozens of different kinds of cookies, bars, breads, and kuchens. Now my mom, sister, nieces and I crowd into the kitchen on Black Friday and go into a one day baking frenzy and divide the results up. In the next couple of years my daughter will pull up a chair and join us in the fun. It’s an exhausting day, but we have such a wonderful time doing it all together!

I love to carry on the tradition even when I don’t get to spend the day baking with my mom and sister. If I can’t make it up to the home kitchen for the day, I invite others to join me in my own kitchen. While there have been years that it just wasn’t feasible (hello, late November baby!), I make every effort to assure gainful employment for my husband and I by taking heavy trays of goodies into work. Whether you go all in with a dozen different treats, or just make one or two things to share, the holidays seem happier with a hefty dose of sugar, butter and flour.

To get you in the baking spirit, we have provided favorite recipes from several of the bakers here at Colorado Springs Moms Blog. We have you covered with cookies, bars, breads, caramel corn, fudge, pie, and more. The recipes range in effort from really easy to slightly more advanced. All are practically guaranteed to be hits with whatever crowd you are sharing them with!



From: Betty Crocker Cooking American Style


1 cup sugar

½ cup shortening

1 cup dark molasses

½ cup water

4 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Sugar to sprinkle on cookies


Mix 1 cup sugar and shortening until creamy.  Stir in remaining ingredients except for the sugar reserved for sprinkling on the cookies. Cover and refrigerate dough at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough ¼ inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered board. Cut into 3 inch circles; sprinkle with sugar. Place on well=greased baking sheet.

Bake until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly in center – 10 to 12 minutes. Cool about 2 minutes on baking sheet before removing to cooling rack.

Makes about 3 ½ dozen cookies.


½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

11 ounce box Vanilla wafer cookies crushed to coarse sand consistency

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 beaten egg

1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder


Put butter, sugar, and cocoa in a saucepan on medium heat and stir until it begins to boil mildly. Add vanilla and egg quickly until blended in. Remove from heat and pour mixture over crushed wafers and mix well.

Butter a 9×9 pan and press the mixture in. Chill until firm.  Keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.



2 ½ cups all purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

½ cup sugar

½ firmly packed brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest (the zest of about 2 oranges)

2 cups white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.

Drop rounded teaspoonfulls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.


1 cup butter, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

½ cup powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and granulated sugar, using an electric mixer on high speed. Add water and vanilla; mix wel. Add flour and nuts. Chill for 3-4 hours. Shape into 1-inch balls and place on parchment-paper lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place on wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.


2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 egg whites, slightly beaten

¾ cups walnuts, finely chopped

¾ cup seedless jam, such as raspberry, strawberry, or apricot


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and granulated sugar, using an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Add yolks, vanilla, and salt. Beat well, then switch to low speed and gradually add flour until dough forms.

Shape into 1-inch balls, dip them in the egg whites, and then roll balls in the walnuts, covering the entire surface of each cookie. Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Press center of each cookie with thumb to make imprint.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Let cookies cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack. While still warm, fill imprints with jam. Let cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.



1/3 cup butter

1 (10 ounce) package regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows

1 teaspoon green food coloring

6 cups cornflakes

Red cinnamon candies


In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.

Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in food coloring.

Add cornflakes cereal. Stir until well coated.

Using ¼ cup dry measure coated with cooking spray, evenly portion warm cereal mixture. Using buttered fingers, quickly shape into individual wreaths. Dot with cinnamon candies.

Yields 16 wreaths.


Bars –

3 cups frozen or fresh cranberries

1 8-ouce package pitted dates

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups dry oatmeal

Glaze –

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons orange juice.


Combine washed, drained cranberries and dates in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until berries pop and are tender. The mixture will be thick. Cool the cranberry and date mixture.

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually blend dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Stir in oats.

Pat slightly more than ½ of the oat mixture into a greased 15” x 10” x 1” pan. Spread with cranberry and date mixture, then sprinkle remaining oat crumbs evenly over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until crumb topping is lightly browned.

Cool. Combine powdered sugar, vanilla, and orange juice to form a glaze and drizzle over the top of the cooled cranberry date bars.

*This recipe freezes well.


1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 10-12 ounce jar lemon curd

2/3 cup flaked coconut

½ cup slivered almonds


Beat butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Add flour and baking powder. Beat just until combined and mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Reserve 2/3 cup of crumb mixture.

Press remaining crumbs into bottom of a greased 9” x 13” pan.

Bake at 375 degree oven for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from oven, spread the curd over the crust leaving a 1/2” edge around the crust.

In a bowl mix the reserve crumb mixture, coconut, and almonds.

Sprinkle over lemon curd.

Bake 18-20 minutes until edge is golden and topping is brown.

Store in refrigerator.



1 cup flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup toasted pecans, chopped coarsely

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces

Pecan Filling:

½ cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon bourbon or dark rum

2 teaspoons vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 cups toasted pecans, chopped coarsely.


Grease 9” x 9” square pan. Then fold two 16” pieces of foil or parchment paper in the pan making sure the foil or parchment paper comes far enough up the sides to make handles. Spray with cooking spray.

Place flour, brown sugar, pecans, and salt in food processor and process until it resembles corn meal (5 x 1 second pulses). Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand (8 x 1 second pules). Pat mixture into pan, bake at 350 degrees until crust is light brown – about 20 minutes.

While crust bakes, mix everything for filling BUT eggs and nuts until just combined. Add egg and whisk until incorporated. Pour filling on hot crust, sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Bake until top is brown – 22-25 minutes.

Cool for 1 hour then lift out of pan. Cut into 1” x 2” bars.

Dough Ingredients

2/3 cup shortening

1 cup hot water

1 cup cold water

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, well beaten

2 packages yeast (4 ½ teaspoons) soaked in ½ cup warm water

7-8 cups flour

Custard Ingredients

12 eggs

2 ½  cups sugar

2/3 cup flour

2 pints cream

32 ounces sour cream


Add hot water to shortening; let melt. Then add cold water, sugar, salt, eggs, and yeast. Add flour 1 cup at a time, until dough holds it’s shape, is soft but not sticky. It may take more or less flour. Roll dough into a ball, spray with non-stick spray, cover with plastic and put in warm place for approximately one hour until double in size.

While the dough is rising, make the custard. To make the custard, whisk the custard ingredients together and heat (on the stovetop or in microwave) until thick.   

Once the dough has roughly doubled in size, divide dough into 6 equal parts.

Roll dough into circle to fit pie pans. The dough should not be too thick.

You can make a plain kuchen by filling the pie pan with custard. You can also make fruit kuchen by placing sliced fruit on top of the dough before adding the custard. Fresh or canned peaches or pears work well.  Apples work well if they are cooked in afrying pan first with a little butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Fresh or frozen raspberries sweetened with a little sugar can be used. Toasted almonds also work well.

Once each kuchen is assembled, sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Let rise for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes until crust is nicely brown and custard is set.

Baked kuchens freeze well. No need to reheat them, simply thaw out a frozen kuchen and enjoy!   


1 stick butter, softened

1 ¼ cup sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup = about 3 very ripe bananas (frozen over-ripe bananas work well)

4 tablespoons sour cream

½ cup chocolate chips

½ cup nuts (optional – pecans or walnuts work well)

1 teaspoon vanilla


Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix.

In small bowl, mix baking soda and sour cream. Add sour cream mixture to creamed butter mixture.

Alternately add dry ingredients with bananas. Add vanilla, chocolate chips, and nuts. Beat well.

Grease and flour 9” x 3” x 5” pan. Pour batter into pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes until no longer doughy in the middle.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then cool on rack.


2 cups brown sugar

½ cup Karo syrup (light or dark)

½ teaspoon salt

2 sticks of butter or margarine

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

8-9 quarts popped corn, preferably unsalted or low salt (roughly 3-4 bags of microwave popcorn)


Mix sugar, butter, syrup, cream of tartar, and salt together in a 2 quart (or preferably larger) pot. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil for three minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda and stir well. It will foam up quite a bit, so stir quickly and over a big cookie sheet in case it boils over. Keep stirring until soda is mixed in well. The syrup and foaming will die down and turn a different color.

Pour popped corn into a very large bowl. Shake to move unpopped kernels to the bottom of the bowl and remove as many as possible (Or, use a salad spinner to do this). Dry- roasted peanuts may be added, if desired.

Pour coating over popcorn and mix with wooden spoon until corn is evenly coated. Pour into greased, large pan(s) with sides high enough so corn won’t spill out when stirred. Place in 200 degree oven for 90 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so. It will eb very sticky, but will gradually dry out. Remove from oven, quickly spread out and separate on waxed paper before it hardens. Let cool and store in a tight plastic bag.

Make at least a double batch – it goes fast!



3 cups white sugar

¾ cup margarine

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

1 ( ounce) jar marshmallow crème

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan.

Mix sugar, margarine, and evaporated milk in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a full boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and thoroughly combined. Beat in marshmallow crème, walnuts, and vanilla extract. Transfer fudge to the prepared pan and let cool before cutting into squares.



1 cup Karo ® Light or Dark Corn Syrup

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups (6 ounces) pecans

1 (9-inch) unbaked OR frozen** deep dish pie crust


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.

Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes (see tips for doneness, below). Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

**To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.

Recipe tips: Pie is done when center reaches 200 degrees. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If crust is over-browning, cover edges with foil.

High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

COSMB’s Guide to the Holiday Season!