On the first day of the Christmas Cookie Challenge ...

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I gave in to peer pressure.

Today was a rough day – and not just for me. It seemed everyone on the features desk was putting out small fires, so when someone mentioned craving a cookie, I mentioned that I had considered taking on a 12 Days of Christmas Cookies challenge for Everybody Eats.

“That’s a great idea!”

“You should do it! And bring the cookies to work!”

I told them I’d have to start today if I was to do this.

“And the problem is?”

OK. It looks like I’m taking on a Christmas cookie challenge.

To be honest, I’ve had a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year. Our house is decorated and all my shopping is finished, but without any snow on the ground, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. Maybe baking a different type of cookie for the next 12 days will help.

Or it will lead into my New Year’s Resolution – lose the cookie challenge weight.

Recipe No. 1 --- Cherry Pecan Chews – was chosen because I knew I had everything I needed to make these cookies at home. Plus the red tint of the cookies just looks festive.


  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ? cup finely chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup toasted and finely chopped pecans

Note: The dough must chill before baking; preheat oven to 350º F when ready to bake.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt togther; set aside. Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla and almond until fluffy. Beat in egg. Mix in cherries and pecans. Add flour mixture, mixing until well incorporated. Pat dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, and chill for at least 1 hour, although overnight is best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray. Using a small cookie scoop, portion dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing cookies 2” apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. Allow cookies to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Source: The National Cherry Foundation at www.nationalcherries.com

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