It’s the baking season, and we’re super excited about some new dessert recipes we’ve found. These three recipes from Southern celebs and cookbook authors James Farmer, of James Farmer Designs, Kimberly Schlapman, of Little Big Town, and Carrie Morey, of Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, are sure to become your family’s new seasonal favorites! So turn on the holiday tunes, break out the sugar, flour and butter and let the memory-making commence!
Holiday Cookie Recipes
James Farmer’s Iced Sugar Cookies
From James Farmer’s A Time to Celebrate: Let Us Keep the Feast, these iced sugar cookies are as delicious as they are adorable. We all know the difference between a good iced sugar cookie and the kind you can’t stop eating … these are the latter. Bring out the Christmas colors and throw a seasonal spin on them.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract *(optional)
- 2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- FOR THE ICING:
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- ½ teaspoon or more almond extract (optional)
- Food coloring and other cookie decorations to your liking
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and salt, then stir it into the butter-sugar mixture. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured surface or board, roll out the chilled dough to the desired thickness.(I like a thicker cookie, but a thinner (1/4-inch) cookie is a great thickness and not too puffy.) Cut out with cookie cutters of your choosing, or simply cut into rounds.
- Place the cookies on the cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 9 minutes.(I like to take them out just as the edges are turning brown.) Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely while you're making the icing.
- For the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add the milk and almond extract. Stir until smooth. You may need another splash of milk (about 1 teaspoon). Divide and dye the icing to your desired color. Ice cookies with a knife or pipe on using cake decorating tools. Add decorations to your preference.
- * You can substitute lemon for a citrusy spine. If you prefer only vanilla extract, use a total of 3 teaspoons for the recipe.
From the kitchen of Carrie Morey, chief proprietress of Charleston, SC-based Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, these pecan sands are as enticing as they are heartwarming. It’s a family recipe straight from the pages of Carrie’s cookbook, Callie’s Biscuits and Southern Traditions. They are exactly the recipe you want to create and have powdered sugar dusting your jeans, as each bite is so worth it.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ½ pound (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into cubes
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 Tablespoon ice water (optional)
- Powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour and white sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your hands to mix together. Work in the vanilla and the pecans, adding ice water if needed for the dough to come together.
- Shape the dough into balls using 1 teaspoon batter for one-bite cookies or 1 Tablespoon batter for two-bite cookies. Place on the baking sheet ½ inch apart.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The dough will not brown.
- Transfer the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to a cooling rack. When cool enough to handle, roll the cookies in sifted powdered sugar. If baking multiple batches on the same baking sheet, make sure the baking sheet cools before you put the dough on it. Store the sands in an airtight container.
Schlap Happy Bars
We spotted these tasty treats in Oh Gussie!: Cooking and Visiting in Kimberly’s Southern Kitchen, the new cookbook by Kimberly Schlapman of country’s Little Big Town. A little bit of chocolate, a little bit of toffee … YUM!!! Talk about a cookie bar that will be talked about!
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2¼ cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
- 1 cup butterscotch baking chips
- 1 (12-ounce) bag miniature toffee bars, broken into pieces
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
- Beat together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring to combine after each egg is added. Add the flour a little at a time and stir to combine after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips and toffee chunks. Evenly spread the dough in the baking pan.
- Bake until golden brown around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into 12 bars and enjoy.