Mmm, Holiday Baking

My post yesterday about doing some holiday baking has become my obsession. After reading everybody’s favorites and family traditions I began to crave–and I mean pregnant lady CRAVE–some of the recipes I used to make with my mom and sister as a little girl. I’ve made most of them as an adult, and many with and for my kids, as my oldest son enjoys baking with me, but there are a couple I don’t make often as I’m not quite sure that I’ve got the recipe down right.

I, too, usually make fudge at Christmas, three varieties from traditional creamy, to Rocky Road, to peanut butter.  I also make Spritz cookies, roll out sugar cookies which we frost and decorate, an amazing melt in your mouth cream cheese horn with a bit of jam at the end, apricot bars, Butterscotch ‘scotties’, and the recipe below for peppermint spirals. Growing up, my mom whose family is Southern also used to make the most wonderful pralines (had to make them on the very dry, cold days so they’d set) and then my grandmother Porter made divinity. I don’t make candy other than those easy fudge recipes but wish I did when it’s this time of the year.

Now, with my mouth watering and my fingers itching to begin measuring flour and sugar, I’m posting one of my favorite recipes, one that I’ve made for years. This cookie tastes best when its baked a little crisy and then to make it absolutely perfect, chop up a candy cane and sprinkle each pink and white spiral cookie slice with crushed peppermint before baking. That way hhen when it comes out of the oven, it sparkles and is as festive as the season itself.

You are the most wonderful group of women. I wish I could have you all over this weekend for a good old fashioned tea and a holiday cookie exchange. It’d be such fun to get us all in my living room talking around the Christmas tree! Enjoy my recipe and if you’ve got one to share and you’re not shy, do!! I love hearing from you and learning new things.

Peppermint Spirals

1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 ½ c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
red food coloring

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and peppermint extract; beat well.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture, beating just until blended.

Divide dough in half; tint one portion with desired amount of red food coloring. Cover and chill both portions.

On sheets of floured waxed paper, roll each portion to a 16 x 8-inch rectangle. Invert plain dough directly on top of red dough. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, beginning with long side, removing wax paper while rolling. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into ¼-inch slices and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes (check after 6-7 min.—they burn quickly!). Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: about 5 dozen. (Or 3 doz. Bigger cookies)


  1. Oh Jane! Wouldn’t a tea and cookies with you and everyone be such fun?!?!?!?! I would love to do that if we weren’t across the country from each other!!

    Enjoy your cookies and tea and baking!! I am going to enjoy my Jane Porter candle!!

  2. Oh, a party around your tree sounds like fun. I also would love to do that but I also live on the other side on the country.

    The cookies sound divine. I just might have to try them.
    I love anything with peppermint.
    I also love the Twisted peppermint lotion from Bath and Body.
    I will try and choose a recipe to add to the post a little bit later.

  3. Oh Jane, your cookies sound delightful. I try not to do to much baking during the holiday because I eat it and have a weight problem. I do still make pecan pies for the dinner and banana pudding. I used to make a lot of candies,like peanut butter, choc fudge, pecan deviny rolls which took about all day to do. As long as I don’t make it I don’t eat it.

  4. Hi Jane! The Peppermint Spirals sound YUMMY!!! Today is my birthday (AAAHHHGGG….48!!!) and I don’t have cakes anymore, so maybe I will make myself some of these 🙂

    A cookie & tea party would be so much fun, but I, like others on here have said, live on the other side of the country…BUMMER!!! Have a GREAT day!! 🙂

  5. Happy Birthday, Holly!!

    I am baking cookies this morning but just my regular oatmeal chocolate chip. It’s snowing quite hard which is fun for the NW and I’m thinking about making some cinnamon rolls (or just lighting a cin. raisin bun candle… that is easier! ha!)

    If the roads were better, I’d zip up and see you but I better stay put and enjoy the snow!!

  6. Oh Jane these sound yummy!!! I wish we could all get together for some tea and cookie swapping! This is a great group of women on here and I’m glad to have “met” so many wonderful new friends:)

  7. I do agree…. an afternoon of tea and a cookie exchange would be fun and that your peppermint spirals sound delicious. I have a very decadent brownie recipe that is so rich and chocolaty. The batter is so thick and fluffy, it’s like frosting. I’d be happy to share the recipe but it sounds like most of are trying to avoid sweets this year. Let me know.

    Happy Birthday Holly!!

    PS I’m looking forward to hearing your stories from the Nutcracker, Jane. Did your kids enjoy it or did you cut out early at intermission??

  8. I am so making these cookies!!!
    We are having a Washington day here in California!! Rain, wind!! I am loving it!! perfect baking and reading weather.

  9. Hi everyone,

    Last night I finally got around to making fudge and Spritz cookies and today after kids get home from school we’ll roll out the chilling sugar cookie dough to make, bake and frost. I’m also hoping to make the Peppermint spiral dough today as well as Rocky Road fudge, but I’m tired. I forget how much work this is, but it’s also worth it. The boys just love it. They’re so happy seeing me ‘in the kitchen’ and away from my desk. 🙂

  10. Hi Jane,

    Thanks for the recipe. Made them last night – well, made the dough and then chilled overnight. This morning we baked them since Matthew is on a two hour delay.

    On Sunday, Matthew decorated sugar cookies. I rolled out the dough for him and he cut out the cookies and then sprinkled them. We did Christmas and Hannukah ones!

    Thanks for the Peppermint Spirals recipe!

  11. Sorry this took me so long – I finally found the recipe that I LOVE! If you love shortbread cookies, give these a try – they are really easy!

    Brunakakor (Norwegian Short Bread Cookies)

    1 c butter (I don’t like the taste with margarine)
    1 c granulated sugar
    2 c flour
    3/4 tsp vanilla (a little extra doesn’t hurt)
    2 tsp light corn syrup
    1 tsp soda

    Mix in order given: Cream the butter and sugar, then add flour, vanilla, syrup and soda.

    When mixed, divide into four equal parts. Roll lengthwise, like a rope, to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Put all four rolls on a cookie sheet.

    Bake 15-20 minutes (maybe shorter depending on your oven) until they are golden brown and flattened. Remove from oven and use a spatula or knife to cut them into strips.

    Let them cool on the pan. Once cool, remove and eat or store.

    I love this recipe, which my Grandmother brought with her from Norway.


    🙂 Wendi

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