Christmas Traditions: Cookies, Candy, & Connection

In an earlier post, Soul Food by my friend, Pati, she describes the connection she and I have had cooking together the past twelve years. In addition to the monthly cooking, we also set time aside to make cookies and candies each year at Christmas. My friend, Donna, who joined our cooking adventures along the way, was quickly conscripted into our cookie tradition too.

This candy collaboration is no small undertaking when baking, dipping, and sorting for three families and their planned giveaways. We learned the overachiever lesson of sacrificing joy for production a time or two, settling on the favorites: Russian Tea Cakes, Sugar Cookies, Grandma’s Molasses Cookies, Chocolate Covered Almonds, Turtles, Peppermint Bark, Toffee Bark, and Chocolate Pretzels.

Judy, Pati, Donna

Armed with ten pounds of Ghirardelli dipping chocolate and enough confection to make children swoon, we laugh, lament, and share stories for hours on end.  We have worked around bum shoulders and knees, emotional burnout, life crisis, and overloaded schedules to make sure it happens every year.  The chopping, mixing, baking, and dipping are simply the backdrop for fellowship and friendship, which is the sweetest gift in all of it.

Russian Tea Cakes
Serves / Yields: Approximately 4½ dozen cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • *additional powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Mix butter, ½ cup powdered sugar and the vanilla. Mix in flour, salt and nuts until dough holds together.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake until set but not brown, 10-12 minutes.
  3. Remove from pan and cool slightly; roll in powdered sugar while still warm. Cool completely and roll in powdered sugar again.


Peppermint Bark

Decorating Sugar Cookies

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Hearth & Soul Hop
Premeditated Leftovers Gallery of Favorites


  1. Ann says

    I loved your post about baking for Christmas. I, too, have a tradition like this with some friends, and it is one of the best times of the year. We make various kinds of cookies, and this year, we added truffles. Yum!

  2. says

    I think it is wonderful that you all get together to bake for Christmas – what a lovely tradition! Your Russian Tea cakes look so delicious – I’m hoping to try making them this week. Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Hop and the Gallery of Favorites.

  3. says

    We get together with friends each year and make cookies. It is tons of fun, but our cookies do not look nearly as pretty as your cookies! What delicious cookies and candies you make! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Hop and the Gallery of Favorites.


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