Cooking With Liz: Holiday Cookies

Taken From:

Liz Berndt, Editor-in-Chief

In years past, my mom has hosted an open house cookie party. This was a way to bring the neighborhood together and celebrate the glory that is the holiday season. However, we haven’t been good about keeping this tradition during my high school years. First, my my younger siblings play more sports than I ever did. My nine-year-old brother seems to be busier than me and my mom runs around, keeping up with everyone’s schedules.

But this is the year; I’m a senior. It’s time we invited everyone in Orinda to our house again. Who knows whether or not we will actually follow through, but the thought of baking always excites me. In the spirit of this party, I would like to share some cookie recipes I find wonderful.

First, I love coconut macaroons. Ask Jack Kovalik, they are delicious. For Valentine’s Day last year, I made pink ones and gave them to everyone I saw. It was a fun time, but Valentine’s Day is years away.

I use this recipe from

Macaroon Kiss Cookies

Makes approx. 48 cookies

2 1/2 cups All purpose flour

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

2/3 cups butter, softened

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon juice from a fresh orange

10 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided into 6 cup and 4 cup portions

1 bag Hershey Kisses (48 pieces)


Step 1:  In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Step 2:  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, vanilla and orange juice and beat till smooth.

Step 3:  In 1 cup increments, mix flour in to the butter mixture.  Add the 6 cups flaked coconut and beat to combine.

Step 4:  Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. While dough is chilling, remove wrappers from the Kisses.

Step 5:  Preheat oven to 350.  One at a time, scoop dough into 1.5″ balls (about the size of a large walnut, roll between your palms, then roll in the bowl of remaining coconut (4 cups).  Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, at least an inch apart (cookies will spread slightly).  A standard cookie sheet should accommodate a dozen cookies at a time.  Bake 12-14 minutes, until the cookies puff and are very lightly browned.

Step 6:  Remove from oven.  Immediately press one Kiss into each cookie.  Return pan to oven and bake for an additional minute.

Step 7:  Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.  With a thin spatula, gently move cookies on to a rack to finish cooling.


Also on the menu, although not technically a cookie, is decadent fudge. I love fudge; nothing is better than a cup of tea and a piece of fudge after school during December. Fudge is surprisingly easy to make and also a great gift for family and friends.


From Martha Stewart (a personal icon, though I know how cheesy that is):



Note: The Fudge will keep for quite a while in the fridge or freezer, so don’t be afraid to double the recipe.


  • Butter an 8-inch square baking pan; line with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Butter paper.


  • In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, cream, and salt; cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until marshmallows are melted, 8 to 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla, chocolate chips, and 1/2 cup walnuts until chocolate is melted.


  • Pour fudge into prepared pan, and smooth top; sprinkle with remaining walnuts. Let cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.


  • Using overhang, lift fudge onto a cutting board; cut into squares (6 rows by 6 rows).


We will likely have a wide variety at the get together. Here are some other options:

  • Classic Chocolate Chip

  • Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

  • Pecan Sandies

  • Gingerbread- Decorated of course

  • Snickerdoodles

  • Orange Cranberry Sugar Cookies