Christmas Cookie Recipes!

Southern Maryland nonprofit leaders share their favorite cookie recipes.

Nothing beats being in the kitchen and preparing holiday goodies unless, of course, it’s seeing how much family, friends and co-workers enjoy the fruits of your labor. And speaking of hard work, the organizations — represented by the people who submitted these recipes and their employees — offer myriad services that help local residents and work to improve the general welfare of the community. We have provided some information about the work they do and contact information if you are interested in learning more about their missions.

We thank them for all they do to make Southern Maryland a great place to live.

St. Mary’s County Arts Council

240-309-4061; Recipe submitted by Barbara Bershon. The St. Mary’s County Arts Council supports artists and arts activities in St. Mary’s County to enhance the quality of life for our community and all of its citizens.



Graham crackers, 6 oz. chocolate chips, ½ cup chopped pecans, 2 sticks unsalted butter, ¾ cup light brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350°. Place a layer of graham crackers on a cookie sheet with sides. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Melt butter and brown sugar on low heat until sugar and butter are melted. Turn up heat to medium and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, and then pour over graham crackers. Bake 10 minutes. Cool (refrigerate) and then break apart. Yield 30 depending on size.

Historic St. Mary’s City

240-895-4990; This recipe has been used in on-site cooking demonstrations and highlighted during the Hearth and Home event annually held the weekend after Thanksgiving. Historic St. Mary’s City is an outdoor museum of living history and archaeology, located on the original capital in beautiful Tidewater Maryland. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark since 1969, HSMC is one of Southern Maryland’s leading tourism attractions.


This recipe is from “The Compleat Cook,” Rebecca Price, 1681. “Take halfe a pounde of suger, and halfe a pounde of almons, blanched and beaten small with rose water; a pinte of creame, ye Crum of a peny-lofe [bread] soaked in the Creame and small broken; mingle them together with the yolks of six eggs; and so bake them in a little fine past [paste].”


1½ cups blanched almonds (about 5 ounces), 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting, ¾ tsp. baking powder, ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. salt, 1½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (¾ cup), 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 large egg yolks, 1¼ cups raspberry jam


For a modern kitchen: Preheat oven to 350°. Spread almonds in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast, stirring occasionally until skins begin to split, about 15 minutes. Immediately rub almonds vigorously in a clean kitchen towel to remove skins (as much as will easily come off). Let cool. In a food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground. (Be careful not to over-process; you don’t want the mixture to become a paste.) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nut mixture; set aside. In a bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks and beat 1 minute to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add ground nuts and flour mixture all at once. Divide dough in half. Set a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using your fingers, press 1 dough half into the tart pan. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, roll the remaining dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour to a 12-inch round; place on a baking sheet and chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Spread jam evenly over chilled dough in tart pan; set aside. Lay a chilled round of dough on top of the jam. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Bake tart, rotating pan halfway through, for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

Leadership Southern Maryland
Erin Melanson, project manager of the Emerging Leaders Program of Leadership Southern Maryland, submitted this recipe. “We do a traditional Greek cookie at Christmas time at our house,” she writes. “We put red and green sugar sprinkles on them instead of sesame seeds to make them Christmas-y.” She says it is a family tradition is to bake them on Christmas Eve and walk around and deliver them to neighbors.

Koulourakia are traditional Greek Easter cookies that are infused with orange zest and perfect for dunking in coffee.
¾ cup granulated sugar, Zest of 1 orange, ½ cup unsalted butter, 2 eggs, ¼ cup milk, 1½ tsp. vanilla extract, 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp. salt, For the egg wash: 1 egg yolk, 1½ tsp. water
In a large mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub together the sugar and orange zest until all of the sugar is evenly moistened with the zest. Add the butter and beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally, until the mixture is pale, light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a full minute on medium speed after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the dough a little at a time and beat on low speed until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to give the dough a final mix and incorporate any pockets of flour. The dough should be soft, but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Using about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time (or a medium cookie scoop), roll the dough into 7-inch ropes and then shape as desired: braids, circles, pinwheels, “S”s, etc. Place at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water for the egg wash. Brush over the shaped cookies. Sprinkle red and/or green sugar sprinkles on the cookies. Bake, one sheet at a time, until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet, then store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Yields 24.

Hospice of St. Mary’s
This recipe was submitted by Katy Crowell, volunteer coordinator of Hospice of St. Mary’s. The mission of Hospice of St. Mary’s is to provide care and comfort to terminally ill persons and their families, and bereavement support to those families and to the community.
1 lb. salted butter room temp, 1 cup sugar, 1½ cups powdered sugar, 2 T. vanilla or Princess Cake Emulsion, 4 cups all-purpose flour, For the Filling: 1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped, 1/3 cup milk or cream, ½ tsp. vanilla, 1 T. coarse sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator. Bake crust until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approximately 20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes. While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth. Once the caramel is melted add in 1/2 tsp. vanilla and stir until combined. Pour the caramel filling over the crust. If you are going to salt the caramel sprinkle it on caramel layer now. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares. Yields 24 two-inch bars.

240-461-4361; Keith and Maria Henneck sent in this recipe. The Down Syndrome Association of Southern Maryland is a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization. The organization increases awareness and understanding of the physical, mental and emotional aspects of Down syndrome, and to expand the public’s conception of the capabilities and social value of individuals with this condition.

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped, 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped, ¼ cup half-and-half, 1 cup butter, softened, 1 cup finely chopped dried red tart cherries, ¼ cup cherry-flavored brandy or liqueur, 2 ½ oz. white chocolate baking bar, finely grated cocoa, if desired 48 small (1 inch) paper or foil candy cups
In medium saucepan, combine semisweet chocolate, bittersweet chocolate and half-and-half. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. With a wire whisk, beat butter, one tablespoon at a time, into chocolate until smooth and creamy. Beat in cherries and liqueur. Cover; refrigerate 1 1/2 hours, stirring twice, or until mixture is thick and can be molded. Spread grated baking bar on sheet of waxed paper. Drop teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture over grated baking bar; roll each to coat and shape into rough ball. For variety, roll some of the chocolate mixture in cocoa. Place truffles in candy cups. Refrigerate until serving. Prep time is 40 minutes. Ready in 2 hours 10 minutes. Makes 48 truffles.

410-535-0892; Amanda Peterson, communications and volunteer coordinator at Calvert Hospice, submitted this recipe. “These are gluten-free. They also happen to be dairy-free and paleo.”
Calvert Hospice believes in helping patients and families make the most of every moment they have together. The group provides expert, compassionate care to people at end-of-life as well as support to their family members. Calvert Hospice also provides grief support services for patients’ families and for those in the community who have lost a loved one.
1 ½ cups almond flour, ½ cup gluten-free oats, ¼ – ½ cup dark chocolate chips (to taste), ¼ tsp. baking soda, 1/8 tsp. sea salt, ½ tsp. cinnamon, 1-2 T. maple syrup (to taste), 1 ¼ cups overly ripe mashed bananas (about 4 medium bananas), Chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the almond flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chocolate chips together in a large mixing bowl. Mash the bananas and add them to the dry ingredients (make sure you measure out 1 ¼ cups). Add maple syrup to taste. Mix everything together until well incorporated. Scoop dough onto baking sheets in a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop. Gently flatten the cookies with a fork or the back of a spoon. Bake 26-30 minutes (28 minutes was perfect with my oven). The middle should be set and not wet. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool. Makes approximately 1 dozen large cookies. Enjoy!

WALDENWISE; Kathleen O’Brien provided this recipe. WaldenWise endeavors to provide the best possible childhood experience for kids. Their vision is to create an unwavering culture of emotional health; mission is to convene and facilitate a community of Champions dedicated to designing the lives of our children in alignment with their social, psychological and neural development. WaldenWise is the next chapter for nonprofit Walden which was acquired by Pyramid Healthcare to expand its behavioral health service delivery continuum throughout the state.
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, 2½ cups dried coconut, 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheet with wax paper. Sift flour and salt, stir in coconut. Pour in condensed milk. Add vanilla extract, continue stirring. Bake 20 minutes until golden brown. Yields 12.

301-609-4844; Donna Retzlaff, executive director of the Spring Dell Center, shared this recipe along with Spring Dell client John Henderson. Retzlaff says, “I love baking them and he loves eating them!!”
Spring Dell truly enjoys supporting people to choose their best life in their community. “We are one of the awesome providers in the community that helps make dreams come true for people with varying abilities,” she says.
1 ½ cup flour, ¾ cup brown sugar, ¾ cup sugar, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. salt, 1 cup shortening, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. hot water, 2 cups Quaker oats, 16 oz. package chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside. In a separate bowl mix shortening, sugar and brown sugar together until creamy and light and fluffy. Add eggs and hot water. Then slowly add dry mixture that was set aside. Add oatmeal, chocolate chips, vanilla and blend well. Drop tablespoon of mix on cookie sheet. Bake at 350. Cook 9-12 minutes (depend on type of pan used).  Pull from oven before golden brown so you do not over bake. Yields 36.

410-257-6306; Mary Ann Munn of All Saints Church submitted this recipe. “My mother and Grandmother Milano made these Italian cookies every Christmas. Now I do, using Mom’s pizzelle iron,” she writes. The cookies will keep for several months, so they can be baked well ahead of the holiday rush.
All Saints Episcopal Church in Sunderland is one of the original Anglican churches established in Calvert County in 1692 and still going strong. Its motto “Loving Our Neighbors” manifests itself in many ways as it supports the greater community and each other.


¾ cup butter, 6 large eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tsp. anise flavoring, 4 tsp. baking powder, 4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, Pizzelle waffle iron
Melt ¾ cup butter. Set aside to cool. Beat together the eggs. Gradually add the sugar, anise, cooled butter, baking powder and flour. Plug in and heat pizzelle waffle iron. Grease well. (I use spray canola oil before every other batch.) Drop batter by teaspoonsful or by a 2 teaspoon disher/ice cream scoop on to each side of pizzelle iron so you make 2 at a time. Close lid.  Pizzelle are ready when steam stops. Remove carefully with a fork and place on cooling rack. When cool, store in tightly covered tin. Sprinkle with powdered sugar when you store them or before you serve them. Both ways work. Makes about 6 dozen.

844-432-2337, ext. 5949; Deborah Faller, co-president of the St. Mary’s County chapter submitted this recipe. SHP volunteers build beds for children ages 3-17 who do not have a bed of their own in St. Mary’s County and southern Calvert County. All twin beds are delivered with new mattresses, pillows, sheets and comforters.

1 cup sugar, ½ cup Karo syrup, 1 cup Spanish peanuts, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. butter, 1 tsp. baking soda
Mix the sugar and syrup and cook 3 ½ minutes in microwave. Remove and add peanuts. Mix well. Cook 3 minutes in microwave. Add vanilla and butter. Mix well. Cook 2 minutes in microwave. Add soda. Mix well and pour onto greased cookie sheet. Cool one hour and then break into pieces. Yields 24.

410-562-6516; Ellen McCormack of The SPOT sent this recipe. Southern Maryland Spay & Neuter is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the euthanasia of all healthy companions through low-cost spay and neuter. The group operates the Stop Pet Overpopulation Thrift Shop in St. Leonard.
1 1/4 cup butter, divided, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup dark corn syrup, plus 3 T. 2 eggs, separated, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 2 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup chopped pecans
To make filling: In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 3 T. syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Stir in pecans. Cool slightly. To make dough: Beat together 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup syrup, 2 egg yolks. Stir in flour. Roll 1 T. dough into balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Brush each ball with egg white. Bake at 375° for 5 minutes or until top is set. Make a thumb impression in each ball. Fill each thumb impression with pecan mixture. Return to oven 5 minutes until lightly browned. Yields 24.

Mary Jo Geisz of the Southern Maryland Community Resources sent in this recipe. SMCR is a private nonprofit organization that promotes the inclusion of persons with developmental differences into the life of our community.


1 cup butter, ½ cup sugar, 2 tsp. water, 2 tsp. vanilla (or maple flavoring or almond extract), 2 cups flour, 1 cup ground pecans (or walnuts or almonds) 
Cream butter and sugar; add water and flavoring; mix well. Blend in flour and ground nuts; chill at least 4 hours. Shape into balls. (I use a #60 portioner.) Bake at 325° about 20 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool; roll in confectioners sugar. Makes about 3 dozen.
Note: I make an assortment of nuts and flavors. Pecan with vanilla, walnut with maple and almond with almond. Dough freezes well. I use a Ziplock bag with confectioners sugar to coat cookies. It’s faster and no mess. Yields 36. 

410-535-2413, 410-474-7710; This recipe came from one of the group’s residential homes, McIntosh house in Hollywood.
“The staff and people we support in this particular home absolutely love to bake and are always sharing yummy
recipes and treats with others in our agency,” says Lyndee Waldbauer, marketing coordinator. The Arc Southern Maryland is creating opportunities for independence and personal success for people with different abilities in inclusive
4 1/2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, 2 cups butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 (3.4 oz.) packages instant chocolate pudding mix, 4 eggs, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°. Sift together the flour and baking soda. Set aside. In large bowl (mixer is best) creme together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix the pudding in until well blended.  Stir in eggs and vanilla. Slowly blend in flour mixture. Finally, stir in chocolate chips. Drop cookies by round spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes until edges are brown. Yields 72 cookies.

HELPFUL HOOVES Provides monthly social and uplifting parties for children and adults who have mental disabilities including Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and brain injuries and other mental challenges.
Crust: 1/2 package cream cheese softened, ½ cup softened butter, 1 cup sifted flour, Filling: 1 egg, ¾ cup brown sugar 1 tsp. softened butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, Dash salt, 2/3 cup finely chopped pecans


Blend cream cheese with 1/2 cup softened butter, mix in flour and form into ball. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate 1 hour. Shape into 2 dozen 1-inch balls and press into miniature muffin tins to form bottom and sides. Next combine egg, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and 1/3 cup of pecans. Fill each cup with teaspoon of mixture, top with remaining pecans. Bake at 325° for 25 minutes. Yields 24.


410-610-3322; This recipe is provided by Vickie Kite Milburn,
founder of the scholarship. We provide scholarship funds to nursing students at the College of Southern Maryland. These cookies are so easy to make… and great for presents. They are a neighborhood favorite. They are referred to as “Crack” because they are so addictive! I normally double and triple the recipe for this…this will make one batch, but one batch will not be enough.
2 sticks of butter, 1/2 cup of sugar (you can mix brown and cane sugar together, or use sugar in the raw), 1 package of graham crackers, 1 cup of chopped pecans (you can also use a combination of almonds, walnuts and pecans)
Line a pan with aluminum foil. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in the pan. On the stove in a separate pan, melt
butter and add sugar and nuts. Boil one minute. (If you like a lot of topping, make double!) Pour mixture over graham crackers. Using a wooden spoon or spatula spread the topping over the crackers. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes, making sure not to burn them. Let them cool, then break into pieces. Enjoy! Yields 36.

301-373-2280; This recipe comes from Nancy Easterling, executive director of Historic Sotterley Inc. Sotterley is a 300-year-old National Historic Landmark that is dedicated to using the powerful stories of its land, lives and labor in order to bring American history to life. Sotterley is dedicated to serving its community by being an exceptional educational and cultural resource, and by promoting equity through such initiatives as Common Ground and Growing for Good.  “And now to the cookies! It was a hard choice (I do love baking), and while there are Easterling staples that I must make every holiday season, there is a cookie that I have rarely seen elsewhere but which is special enough to share with your many readers. It takes a little more effort, but they do melt in your mouth!” she writes.
1 cup butter, 1/3 cup whipping cream, 2 cup flour, Granulated sugar for rolling, Creme Filling: 1/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla. Cream ingredients, and tint if desired. Spread frosting on a cookie and top with second cookie to create perfect creme cookies.

Mix butter, whipping cream and flour thoroughly, and roll into a ball with your hands. Chill for one hour. Preheat oven to 375°. Roll dough to 1/8 inch on a lightly floured board. Cut into 1 ½-inch rounds. Transfer rounds to wax paper covered with sugar and turn to coat both sides. Prick 3-4 times with a fork to form a grid pattern. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 7-9 minutes until slightly puffy. Cool. Yields 24.

301-475-8966; Here is a family favorite cookie recipe submitted by Beverly Stickles, president and CEO at Cedar Lane. Cedar Lane is an affordable apartment community serving seniors 62 plus, and adults with disabilities. Housing you can afford – a community you will love!
1 cup butter or margarine, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, beaten, 2 tsp. vanilla, 5 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. cream of tartar, ½ tsp. salt
Cream together the butter and sugars. Beat well. Add eggs, oil and vanilla. Combine flour with remaining ingredients and beat into batter. Mix well. Roll into balls the size of a large walnut, or the size you desire. Press with bottom of a glass which has been dipped in granulated sugar (nutmeg may be added to the sugar, if desired). Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350° for 10-12 minutes. Store in a
covered tin or freeze if desired. Yields 48. Note: I usually use fresh lemon or orange juice for flavor.