This whimsical illustration is by Karyl Bannister, longtime Boothbay Region resident and author of the 2001 cookbook “Cook & Tell.” The illustration accompanied her recipe for Cardamom Refrigerator Cookies. Courtesy of Amie McGraham

Cookie swaps are yet another holiday tradition upended by the pandemic. Even though we can’t have a traditional swap of our favorite treats in person, 2020 is a year that cries out for good cookies, especially as we head into the long, dark winter.

So we asked Mainers to send us their favorite Christmas cookie recipes, and they came flooding in like letters to Santa, from all corners of the state. The remarkable thing is that there were only one or two duplications, mostly old standbys like gingerbread men and snowball cookies. Our inbox was filled with recipes for cookies like chocolate cherry crinkles, cranberry nut swirls, triple ginger cookies and peanut butter balls. Joanne Sullivan of Harrison even sent in the recipe for a peanut butter cookie she makes for her granddogs – Lily, Chloe, Tucker and Olaf – during the holidays.

Wendy Martin of Kennebunk sent in a tip instead of a recipe, one that will add a little jingle jangle to your favorite chocolate chip cookie. Swap out the chocolate chips for chopped-up slices of a Terry’s dark chocolate orange ball, she says, using the same volume. Then add 1/4 teaspoon of ground rosemary.

We know you all are baking a lot more this year, so here’s a chance to put those newfound (or sharpened) skills to good use. Bake a batch of cheery cookies and deliver them to an elderly neighbor who is spending the holidays alone, or to the postal worker or delivery person who is working harder than ever this year to be sure you get your packages on time.

Cookies make everything better.

Recipes have been edited for clarity and style.

Susan Guare’s Angelica cookies in her mother’s 1950s-era cookie jar. Photo by Susan Guare

ANGELICA

Susan Guare of Bangor sent in her mother’s 1960s-era recipe for Angelica cookies – also known as snowballs or Russian tea cakes. This recipe has a long, slow baking time, and the cookies come out delicate and crisp, Guare said, but you must be sure to use butter and not margarine. Guare’s favorite memory of this cookie: Her brother, who was five years older and loved these cookies, used to tell her they had “Russian tea” in them and that Russian tea was vodka, so if she didn’t like vodka she shouldn’t eat them. “I avoided them for five years,” she said.

Makes 5-6 dozen

1 cup butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 cup nutmeats, finely chopped

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream butter and granulated sugar. Add remaining ingredients, except confectioners’ sugar, and mix well. (Guare uses her hands.) Form dough into balls the size of small walnuts. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour – watch, for sometimes it takes less time. When the balls are light brown on the bottom, they are done. Roll the cookies in confectioners’ sugar when hot and again when cool.

Doreen Jamieson says these Chocolate Mint Cookies are a family favorite during the holidays. Photo courtesy of Doreen Jamieson

CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIES

Doreen Jamieson of Portland got this recipe from a coworker in the 1990s and has made these cookies ever since. “It is a family favorite,” she said.

Makes about 4 dozen

¾ cup margarine

1½ cups brown sugar

2 cups chocolate chips

2 eggs

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2  (4.67-ounce) packages Andes Mints

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt margarine in pan. Add sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Add chocolate chips. When the chips are partly melted, remove the mixture from stove and stir until fully melted. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Beat in 1 egg at a time. Add dry ingredients and mix. Drop batter by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Put mint on each cookie while still hot and spread around a bit as mint melts. Mint will reharden once cookie has cooled down.

The recipe for these Christmas Coconut Balls was passed down to Pam King of Rockland from her mother and grandmother. Photo courtesy of Pam King

CHRISTMAS COCONUT BALLS

Pam King of Rockland says this recipe was passed down from her mother and grandmother.

Makes 30

2 egg whites

½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the balls

1 cup snipped dates

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup shredded coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually beat in ½ cup sugar. Gently fold in dates, nuts, coconut and extracts. Mix well. Spread the batter in ungreased 8-by-8-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove mixture from oven, and turn into a bowl. Add cherries. Let mixture cool until it can be handled.

Form into small balls, and roll each into granulated sugar.

ITALIAN ANISE COOKIES

Gladys Martin of Tenants Harbor says an Italian friend gave her this recipe.

Makes 2-3 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup shortening, melted and cooled

2 teaspoons anise extract (or vanilla or almond extract)

2 eggs, beaten

Colored sugars for decorating

FOR THE GLAZE:

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon extract of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cookies, mix dry ingredients together. Add cooled shortening, extract and eggs. Mix well. Roll the cookie dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

To make the glaze, combine glaze ingredients with a little water and mix until smooth.

Dip the cookies in glaze and sprinkle with colored sugars.

CORNMEAL COOKIES WITH APRICOT AND SAGE

Marion York of Scarborough isn’t sure where this recipe came from, but she makes it for the holidays – and sometimes throughout the rest of the year.

Makes 18 cookies

½ cup butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup chopped dried apricots

2 tablespoons thinly chopped fresh sage leaves

½ cup cornmeal

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet.

Whisk together butter, sugar and egg until smooth. Sift in flour and baking soda. Mix in the apricots, sage and cornmeal.

Drop tablespoons of dough on cookie sheet about 1-inch apart. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool before serving.

RASPBERRY PINWHEELS

Stephanie Lichatz of Boothbay has been making these cookies for 20 years. The recipe came from the Hartford Courant. “If I don’t make them every year, it’s not Christmas,” she said.

Makes about 50 cookies

1 cup butter, softened

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup raspberry preserves

1 cup minced walnuts

FOR THE FROSTING:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3-4 tablespoons milk

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Beat in sugar. Stir in flour until well blended. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Wrap each loosely in waxed paper. Shape and flatten each quarter into a 6-inch square. Wrap airtight. Chill overnight or until firm enough to roll.

When you are ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove 1 portion of dough from refrigerator. On lightly floured pastry cloth, roll out to 12-inch square. Trim edges with pastry wheel or sharp knife. Cut into 2½-inch squares. Slit corners of each square down 1 inch toward center. Drop ¼ teaspoon of raspberry preserves in center of each square. Fold every other tip toward center to form a pinwheel. Pinch firmly in center.

Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake cookies 10 minutes or until tips are golden. Cool on racks.

When cookies are cool, mix frosting ingredients together to consistency of thick glaze. Drop 1 teaspoon of frosting in center of each cookie. Sprinkle with nuts. Place on racks until frosting is dry. These cookies keep well in a Tupperware container.

CARDAMOM REFRIGERATOR COOKIES

Amie McGraham’s mother, Karyl Bannister, a longtime Boothbay region resident, wrote and illustrated a monthly newsletter on cooking and island life for 30 years. According to McGraham, her mother’s subscribers – nearly 10,000 worldwide – often shared recipes that Bannister would then publish in the newsletter. Ultimately, the recipes became part of Bannister’s cookbook, Cook & Tell, published in 2001 by Houghton Mifflin.

In celebration of the cookbook’s upcoming 20th anniversary, McGraham shares a favorite holiday cookie recipe – one her mother made every year – from the book’s “Best Wishes, Best Dishes” chapter. Bannister, who will turn 85 in January, still lives in Maine.

Makes 8 to 10 dozen cookies

3½ cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1½ cups packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped pecans

Sift the flour, cardamom, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the butter, and brown and granulated sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla. Gradually stir half the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture, then stir in the rest of the flour to form a stiff dough. Add the pecans and mix thoroughly.

Transfer the dough to a floured board, divide it into thirds, and form each third into an 8-by-10-inch log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate until firm, or freeze for up to 3 months to bake another day.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the logs crosswise into ¼-inch-slices. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack. Store in airtight tin for about 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

CANADIAN HONEY DROPS

Marguerite Desrochers of Saco says this recipe for soft, brown sugar cookies that look like children’s yo-yos came from the 1972 edition of the “Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book.” Desrochers discovered the recipe when she was working as a cook at a convent. She tweaks the recipe by flattening the cookies with a glass dipped in sugar before baking. The cookies freeze well, she said. “It’s a good cookie to give as a gift,” she said.

Makes 3 dozen 2-inch cookies

1 cup shortening (part butter or margarine)

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Apricot jam

Mix shortening, sugar and eggs thoroughly. Stir in honey and vanilla. Blend together flour and soda; stir into batter. Chill cookie dough until firm, several hours or overnight.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough in 1¼-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Flatten with a glass dipped in granulated sugar. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until almost no imprint remains when touched lightly. When the cookies have slightly cooled, put together in pairs with apricot (or other) jam.

Holly Korda of Old Orchard Beach makes these traditional Danish Brune Kager every year for a Danish Bazaar held in the Washington, D.C. area. Photo by Holly Korda

BRUNE KAGER

Holly Korda of Old Orchard Beach bakes these traditional Danish Christmas cookies, also known as Brown Cakes, every year for the Danish Bazaar in Washington, D.C. – and drives from Maine to deliver them. “Despite the name ‘cakes,’ these are crisp rolled cookies with an almond in the center,” says Korda, who is of Danish descent. “They also include cardamom, like many Scandinavian baking recipes, and they are not too sweet.”

Versions of this cookie are popular throughout Scandinavia. They taste a bit like gingerbread, but contain no ginger – only cloves, cardamom and brown sugar. The recipe calls for circles of dough, but Korda uses a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

Makes about 2 ½ dozen

½ cup dark corn syrup

5 tablespoons dark brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon baking soda

1¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

1¼ teaspoon grated lemon peel (optional)

3 ounces whole blanched almonds

Heat the corn syrup, brown sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. Do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool. Meanwhile, sift the flour, cloves and baking soda together into a large bowl. Add the cardamom, lemon peel and the lukewarm syrup and combine. Knead the dough well by pressing it down with the heel of your hand, turning it, until the dough is smooth and shiny. Wrap in wax paper and set aside in a cool place for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a sheet 1/8-inch thick, then with a cookie cutter or small wine glass cut into 2-inch rounds (or hearts). Grease a cookie sheet and lay the cookies on it about an inch apart. Lightly press 1 almond into the center of each and bake 6 minutes, or until the cookies are a light gold. Cool the brune kager on the cookie sheet. The cookies can be stored for several weeks in tightly sealed tins.

Madeleines made by Jennifer Wolcott, a food writer who lives in Portland. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Wolcott

MADELEINES

“Every year around the holidays, I dust off my madeleine pan to make traditional French madeleines,” says Portland food writer Jennifer Wolcott. “I’ve tried several recipes, but the one I like best is from Ina Garten’s book ‘Barefoot in Paris.’ (Bien sur!) I tweak her recipe by skipping the coconut and instead adding lemon zest and juice, and to half of the batter, minced lavender. (Some people prefer to limit lavender to lotions and potions.) Of course, they’re best just after they’ve emerged from the oven and are still warm.”

Makes 24 madeleines

1½ tablespoons melted butter, to grease the pans

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 lemons, zested and juiced

Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thoroughly grease and flour madeleine pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add the butter and mix. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, and stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.

With a soup spoon, drop the batter into the pans, filling each shell almost full. Bake the madeleines for 10 to 12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed. Tap the madeleines out onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and allow to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

HOLLY COOKIES

Cathy Larkin of Old Orchard Beach has had this cookie in her recipe file for about 40 years. She made it every year when her daughter, Deb, was young. Last year, Larkin dusted off the recipe and made the cookies again, this time for her daughter’s family. Deb, now 48, reveled in her childhood memories of “Granny’s Christmas cookies,” and her two sons, ages 8 and 15, also fell in love with them. “These are particularly eye-catching when placed strategically on a plate with other cookies,” Larkin said.

Makes 16 big or 30 small cookies

½ cup butter or margarine

30 marshmallows

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Green food coloring

4½ cups cornflakes

Red cinnamon decorations

Carefully melt butter/margarine and marshmallows together (Larkin uses a double boiler). Add vanilla and coloring to desired green. Remove from heat and fold in cornflakes until colored thoroughly. Spoon by tablespoons onto greased or parchment paper-covered cookie sheet and add a couple of cinnamon reds to each cookie. Cool in refrigerator or cold room.

Peanut Butter Balls, made from a recipe that’s been handed down in Jean Ginn-Marvin’s family. Photo courtesy of Jean Ginn-Marvin

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS

Jean Ginn-Marvin, innkeeper at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, says her mother used to make these for her when she was a child. “They freeze beautifully,” Ginn-Marvin said, “so my mom would make a double batch and put them in the freezer so they were at the ready when we had company. My brother, sister and I quickly figured out that they are actually really good frozen!”

Makes about 50

2 cups crushed Nilla Vanilla Wafers

2 cups crunchy peanut butter

½ cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

20 ounces bittersweet chocolate (or whatever chocolate you prefer)

Mix the wafers, peanut butter, butter, sugar and extract together well in a bowl. Put the cookie dough in the fridge for a couple of hours. When the mixture is chilled, roll it into walnut-sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then freeze for another half hour. (When Ginn-Marvin makes these at Christmastime, she just put them out on her porch at this stage.)

Melt chocolate in top of double boiler. Pour a small amount of the melted chocolate in a small, deep cup. Use a toothpick to dip each ball in the chocolate. After dipping each ball, let the excess chocolate drip back in to the cup, then place the ball back on the parchment-lined baking sheet. You might need to use a second toothpick to remove the first one.

CREAM CHEESE COOKIES

Sundie Gentry of Kennebunk says this is her favorite recipe for any holiday. “It is a great recipe to do with kids because the dough is easy to work with,” she said. “It is always a favorite treat when I bring it to holiday parties.”

Makes about 2 dozen

3 ounces cream cheese

Dash of salt

½ cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla or any other extract

½ cup brown sugar

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Flavoring, such as cordials

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients well until they form a dough that can be shaped. Roll the dough on floured surface to desired thickness and use cookie cutters to make shapes. You can also hand mold shapes or make balls and push candies into center. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness or until lightly browned. Cool, frost if desired; Gentry often sprinkles the cookies with colored sugar before baking.

Carol Beyna of Cumberland says this is her all-time favorite cookie recipe. Photo by Carol Beyna

CRANBERRY-NUT SWIRLS

Carol Beyna of Cumberland says this is her all-time favorite cookie recipe. “I can never get enough of these,” she said. “They are a bit of work but well worth it!”

Makes 2 ½ dozen

FOR THE DOUGH:

½ cup margarine, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

FOR THE FILLING:

½ cup ground fresh cranberries

½ cup finely chopped walnuts (or pecans)

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons milk

To make the dough, combine the margarine, sugar, egg and vanilla in mixer bowl. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the filling, combine the cranberries, walnuts and orange peel in small bowl. Combine sugar and milk in separate bowl.

Roll chilled dough into 10-inch square. Spread with milk/sugar mixture and then sprinkle evenly with berry/nut mixture, leaving clean 1/2-inch edge on 2 sides of dough square. Roll up, beginning with a clean side. Wrap the roll in wax paper and freeze until firm. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice 1/4-inch thick cookies and bake on greased cookie sheet for 13 minutes. Remove to rack and let cool.

CHRISTMAS SPRITZ COOKIES

Jane Legard of Bath says she has made these cookies for her family for many years. “Every year they look forward to it,” she said. “It’s nice to have these traditions to keep us grounded when the world seems to be tilting.” You’ll need a Spritz cookie press to make these cookies.

Makes about six dozen

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1 teaspoon flavoring (almond or vanilla extract)

2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour

Red and green food dye, optional

Combine the butter, sugar, egg yolks and flavoring and mix thoroughly. Using your hands, work in the flour. At this point, you can color the dough: green for a Christmas tree or wreath, or white for a star or snowflake. Next, force the dough through a cookie press onto an ungreased baking sheet in whatever shape you have chosen. Bake until set but not brown, usually 7 to 10 minutes.

Pair these almond biscotti would with a cup of coffee on Christmas morning. Photo by Brenda Broder

OLGA’S ALMOND COOKIES

Brenda Broder lives in Westbrook, but she grew up in Houlton, where she and her late mother made these biscotti every year to give away to family and friends. Broder’s parents moved to Houlton in 1963, and Olga’s daughter Marie was her mother’s first friend in town. “They connected because of the Italian heritage, and that’s how we got the recipe from Olga,” Broder said.

Before Christmas Eve, Broder’s mother only allowed her children to eat the ends of the log, or broken cookie pieces. These cookies are crispy on the outside, chewy inside and lightly sweet. They are perfect to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea on Christmas morning.

Yields 2 logs per batch, about 20 slices per log

1 cup granulated sugar

2 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk for brushing

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1/3 cup Crisco oil

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons orange juice or water

cups sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together but the almonds, then stir those in. Shape dough into 3 logs and place on ungreased, parchment-lined cookie sheet. Combine egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water. Brush top of each log with egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and slice.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CRINKLES

This “very chocolatey” recipe comes from Linda DeFelice of Kennebunk, who says she has been making Christmas cookies since she was 17. She calls this cookie a hybrid of a crinkle and a chocolate biscotti. She has tried making it with both cranberries and blueberries, but prefers cherries – or actually, cherry-flavored cranberries. “Cherries seem very festive,” she said. “I associate cranberries with Thanksgiving.”

Makes about four dozen cookies

½ cup canola oil

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur (can substitute regular or low-fat milk)

2½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/3 cup cherry-flavored sweetened dried cranberries

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Mix oil with sugar in large mixing bowl. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating to combine after each egg. Add vanilla and chocolate liqueur; beat to combine. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa) with whisk. Add combined dry ingredients to wet ingredients slowly; mix thoroughly. Mixture will be thick. Add cherry-flavored cranberries and stir until well-blended. Chill the dough 3 to 4 hours.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 11-by-17-inch cookie sheets.

Lightly spray hands with no-stick cooking spray before handling chilled dough. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in confectioners’ sugar and place on lightly greased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheets to wire racks to cool completely before serving. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

GRANDMA’S GINGERBREAD MEN

Courtney Kennedy of Portland, nutrition and education manager at the Good Shepherd Food Bank, is a big fan of cookie swaps. This gingerbread recipe was passed down to her from her grandmother, Dorothy Tatgenhorst.

Makes 2 dozen

1 cup margarine (must be margarine)

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup molasses

1 egg

3½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

Raisins (optional)

Cream together margarine and brown sugar. Add the molasses and egg and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, sift flour, ginger, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Mix flour mixture into butter mixture. Form dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut out cookies using your favorite cookie cutter. Bake on a parchment-lined tray for 7 minutes for a soft cookie. You can also add raisins for buttons before baking.

TRIPLE GINGER COOKIES

Tammy Wilson, a former baker who now works as a travel agent in Brunswick, says this is one of her favorite cookies to make for a Christmas cookie tray or swap. “If you like ginger, you’ll love it,” she said. “They are an easy icebox/freezer cookie so they can be made ahead and baked as needed, or baked and stored for a week or two. The recipe also can be doubled and still works well.”

cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Stir together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, fresh ginger and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix just until dough begins to come together. Add chopped ginger and mix just until a nice dough has formed. Shape the dough into a log, wrap well and freeze until very firm.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cookie log from freezer and slice into 1/4-inch cookies. These cut much easier when frozen, but you may need to let the dough soften slightly before slicing. Bake on parchment paper-lined sheets for 10 minutes, until slightly firm and barely starting to color around the edges.

PEANUT BUTTER “RUFF AND ROLL”

Joanne Sullivan of Harrison made these cookies for her dog, OZ, before he crossed the rainbow bridge in August at the age of 14. OZ loved them, she said, and so do her granddogs – Lily, Chloe, Tucker and Olaf.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ cup peanut butter

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with Pam or other spray. Combine oil and peanut butter with 1 cup water. Add flour a little at a time. Knead into a firm dough. (Add a little more water if necessary.) Roll into 1/4-inch thickness and cut into shapes. (Sullivan makes stars for Christmas.)

Bake for 20 minutes (check after 12). The cookies should be light brown on the bottom. Cool on wire racks for 1 hour.

Since there are no preservatives, keep out enough cookies to last a day or two, and place the rest in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

Keep in mind pandemic safety when making and delivering Christmas cookies this year. Washington Post photo by Monica Rodman


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