Cookie Contest Winners: Lots of Crunching and Munching

Ginger Cookies Recipe |

It wasn’t very tough, the assignment of judging holiday cookies. Especially since the Make It Better contest asked for easy cookies—the kind you want to make with your children.

No elaborate gingerbread houses that require hours of assembly and tears. No sugar cut outs that won’t roll out properly and leave mommy a sweaty, trembling mess.

We celebrate the cookie that’s delicious and homemade, but simple. Thank you to all our entrants! Here are our top recommendations:

Cherry Almond Biscotti
submitted by Katie Hauser

Makes about 4 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour


  • 1 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2  3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries

1. Preheat oven to 325°. In a dry frying pan, lightly toast the almonds. Set aside to cool.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, orange rind and almond extract.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Stir in the cherries and almonds. The dough will be stiff.

4. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, form the dough into two flattened logs, each about 12 x 3. Bake about 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn the oven down to 300°.

5. Let the logs cool 10 minutes, then slice into 1/2 inch cookies. Place cookies cut side up on the sheet pan and bake for about 25 minutes. The cookies might not be crispy yet, but they’ll firm up as they cool.

Chocolate Pixies
submitted by Maureen Smith

These are also called chocolate snowflakes because the confectioner’s sugar makes the baked cookie look very snowy.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes to chill)
Baking Time: 1 hour

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1-2 cups confectioner’s sugar for rolling the cookies

1. In a large sauce pan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the confectioner’s sugar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (but can be longer).

3. Preheat oven to 300°. Shape cookies into balls and roll in confectioner’s sugar. Bake on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet for 18-20 minutes.


submitted by Sarah Jacobs

Sarah’s family has made this recipe for years. She describes it as easy and decadent! We like it because getting your hands covered in peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs is required.

Makes 4-5 dozen
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 box powdered sugar (16 ounces)
  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/8 cake paraffin*

1. Mix sugar, graham crackers, coconut, peanut butter and butter with your hands until ingredients meld into a light brown dough. Roll into 1 inch balls. (Wash your kids’ hands and put them in charge!)

2. Melt the chocolate and paraffin in either a double boiler or the microwave. If using a microwave, cook for 30 seconds at a time then stir. When half the chocolate is melted, just stir and the residual heat will finish the job.

3. Use a toothpick to dip balls in melted chocolate and let cool.

Cook’s Note: If you can’t find paraffin, you can leave it out or substitute 1 teaspoon of margarine or shortening. Older recipes tend to call for paraffin to make the chocolate shiny and help it set, but as chocolate has gotten better, it seems to be less necessary. BTW paraffin is perfectly safe to eat.

Other recommendations:

No Bake/Almost No Bake
Chocolate Balls – Susan Noyes
Chocolate Turtles – Kelly Konrad
Christmas Belly Buttons – Anne Marie Scheidler
Oreo Truffles – Jill Ciminillo

Chocolate Cookies
Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – Julie Chernoff

Holiday Cookies
Spice Balls – Debbie Shepherd
Ginger Cookies – Margaret Smith