The pictures and the story may be a wee bit late, but the cookies were right on time and enjoyed by many.

Our marathon was different this year, as little a and I bid a sad farewell to our treasured baking buddy who moved to a warmer climate.  We were fully prepared to carry on as a dynamic duo, but little a came up with the brilliant suggestion to invite her best friend, Khalil Hymore, to join in the cookie chaos.

Besides being extremely talented and kind, Khalil is an associate food editor at Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine, where he helps create scrumptious seasonal recipes.  (Sorry, Martha, but today he’s ours!!)

So, which cookie will Khalil contribute?  Will he choose one of my tried-and-true favorites, or perhaps one that has been handed down in his family?  No.  He reaches for this book, instead.

(Surprise, surprise.)

BUT…..see that beauty on the front cover?  (I mean the cookie)  That’s the one he made!  It’s called Chewy Chocolate-Gingerbread and it is really, really good.  I admit to being a bit skeptical, as chocolate and gingerbread just didn’t seem a likely combo.  (what do I know.)  These cookies are deliciously tender and spicy, and they looked just as good!

Khalil was thrilled to bake some traditional cookies and he had lots of creative fun:

And so did his family!!

Scott had fun teaching Norah some cookie-baking basics with homemade gingerbread play-doh, and she was loving every minute:

Here are the recipes:

1.  Better Homes and Gardens Spritz

2.  Mom’s Best Peanut Brittle

3.  Hazelnut Raspberry Almond Thumbprints

4.  Pignoli Cookies

5.  Vanilla Drop Sugar Cookies

6.  Almond Diamonds

7.  Susan Branch’s Lemon Squares – this was the first time I added a lemon square to the tray, and it was tasty.  I couldn’t stop eating these!

8.  Sugar Crusted Snowballs

9.  Italian Christmas Cookies

10.  Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

11.  Molasses Sugar Cookies

12. Toffee Turtle Bars

13.  Double Coconut Biscotti

14.  White Chocolate, Cranberry, Pistachio Biscotti – this was Martha Stewart’s Pecan Mandelbrot recipe.  We eliminated the chopped pecans and threw in a 1/4 cup Craisins, 1/4 cup shelled pistachios and 1/2 cup Nestle’s white chocolate morsels.  I especially like this recipe because the biscotti has a soft and tender crumb.

So, this year, a new tradition was born.  Thank you, Khalil, for bringing smiles where there might have been tears and for sharing your time, talent and beautiful family with us.  We hope you’ll all come back next year!  (not that you have a choice 😉


0 thoughts on “Annual Christmas Cookie Baking Marathon – 2011

  1. Carol Brunick says:

    Your generous gift didn’t even last a day in our house! Yum yum! Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

    • Ann says:

      Oh…we rationed yours!! So pretty and every cookie sooooo delicious. Rich was in heaven 😉

      I’m going to need a few of those recipes…we’ll talk soon!


    • Ann says:

      Well, in Rich’s world, your cookies disappeared much faster than mine! (they WERE phenomenal 🙂 I’ll need to get some of those recipes, especially the chocolate, chocolate chip. yummm. It was so great to see you. Come by soon!!