Holiday Open House Recipes

Ginger Cookie Gift Jar

Yield 24 cookies

Ingredients for the jar:

  • 2 cups all–purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1T ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped crystal ginger

Mix together:

  • 4 oz melted butter, cooled to room temp
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T grated fresh ginger (optional)

Preparation:

  • Combine the ingredients in the jar with the wet ingredients. Stir well with a rubber spatula. The dough will be soft and sticky so you'll have to put plastic wrap over the bowl and chill 2 hours or overnight.
  • When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scoop the cookies into granulated sugar and toss to coat. Bake on sheet pan for 15 minutes.

Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies

Yields 24–36, depending on scoop size

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all–purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 8 oz unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups old–fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 ounces good–quality white chocolate, chopped
  • ½ tsp flaky sea salt

Preparation:

  • Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
  • Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture and mix until just blended. Add oats and white chocolate and mix until blended. Finish the mixing with a spatula or wood spoon to ensure your cookies aren't over–mixed.
  • Scoop the dough with a small ice cream scoop and chill until firm (at least one hour or overnight). You can also shape these by hand if you don't have an ice–cream scoop. Just make sure they are uniform in size and shape.
  • When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F and remove cookies from refrigerator and space apart on baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on each cookie.
  • Bake until cookies are golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.

Nutella Hazelnut Cookies

Yields 24 cookies

Ingredients for the jar:

  • 6 oz butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¼ cups all–purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup toasted & chopped hazelnuts

Preparation:

  • Mix together all–purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  • Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • Add Nutella and cream again until fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, scraping between additions. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  • On low speed add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Mix in chocolate and nuts.
  • Scoop and chill before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies about 12 minutes rotating the sheets halfway through baking. These cookies should be removed from the oven while soft as they harden as they cool. Be careful to not over–bake.

Audrey's Family EggNog Recipe

This beloved, treasured recipe was shared with me by my Aunt Theresa. She was from Caracus, Venezuela and served this every Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve prior to serving her festive holiday feast at midnight. This drink looks beautiful, like frothy white clouds, when served in a large clear glass bowl. We let guests grate their own nutmeg on top. Very tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups brandy
  • 11⁄3 cups Jamaican rum
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • nutmeg

Preparation:

  • Separate eggs.
  • Heat yolks on very low flame in a large pot until lightened in color, then add sugar. (Do not heat too much or you will cook the yolks!)
  • Lightly beat cream.
  • Stir in liquors, milk, and lightly beaten cream into the yolk/sugar mixture.
  • Beat the whites until stiff then fold into mixture.
  • Pour into punch bowl & top with freshly grated nutmeg.

Clay's Family EggNog Recipe

My “family” tradition was actually from another family, but I enjoyed it every year just the same. My best friend's family would make this nog and “rest” it for a week or two before serving, which was always a little daunting since you had to make it in advance — but that was part of the ritual. It's loosely based on an old Fanny Farmer recipe, but that recipe wasn't followed closely, changing from year to year depending on who made it, and what type of bourbon, rum or brandy they liked, plus any new creative additions. I learned a couple tricks from them — don't skimp on the quality of the bourbon, since that makes all the difference. And shake vigorously before serving, it adds froth and makes the nog fluffier. You can top with fresh whipped cream, but it is very rich (and strong) anyway, so it always came straight from the “jug” for us. A word to the wise — since this uses raw eggs, caution should be taken as with all raw egg recipes (we always felt that the 1 quart of bourbon kept everything quite safe).

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 1½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 quart heavy cream beaten
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 quart high–quality bourbon whiskey (Jim Beam Black Label or Maker's Mark)
  • 1 cup rum (rum can be substituted with brandy depending on taste)
  • nutmeg

Preparation:

  • Beat egg yolks with 1 cup sugar and add salt until very light.
  • Beat whites until stiff and add ½ cup sugar.
  • Combine and beat until blended.
  • Beat in cream and milk. Lightly stir in whiskey and beat well, then add rum (or brandy).
  • Pour into sterilized gallon jug and seal tightly. Store in a cool, dark spot, not too cold, for at least a week up to 3 weeks to mellow.
  • Shake very vigorously before serving.
  • Dust with nutmeg.