our traditional holiday cookie receipt!

our traditional holiday cookie receipt!

As one of our holiday gifts to you (and to thank you all for following along with “the cookie diaries”), we’re publishing our traditional holiday cookie receipt. This receipt was developed over the last few years by Mike and Kathy, who discovered the base of the receipt on a lining paper for a cookie sheet made by “The Bake King Company”, which at the time was a brand of The Chicago Metallic Bakeware Company.

The innovation of this receipt is twofold: First, instead of refrigerating the cookie dough and then flattening and cutting out shapes, we cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, then scoop out balls of dough onto the cookie sheet and top them with red sugar sprinkles before baking.

Second, we add two ingredients to the dough mixture which scream “holidays”–slivered almonds and Guittard’s mint chocolate chips. Combined with the altered procedure, these additional ingredients help create a fluffy, crunchy cookie that we’ve been told is “absolutely addicting”. (One of our friends tell us, “Those cookies keep calling my name.” We tell him, “Keep listening!”)

So without further ado, here is our traditional holiday cookie receipt. Enjoy, and have a happy rest of your holiday season!

(Don’t forget, tomorrow we reveal our vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt!)

Holiday Sugar Cookies with Slivered Almonds and Mint Chocolate Chips ~ a newdeal kitchen receipt ~

  • Servings: Yields 20 cookies
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

This holiday cookie receipt has been developed over several holiday seasons, and it started with a recipe we found on a paper insert for a sheet pan made by the Bake King Company. Our take on the basic receipt is to let the dough at room temperature, then to spoon on balls of dough instead of rolling it flat and cutting shapes. Oh yes, the slivered almonds and mint chocolate chips are different, too.


2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon lemon extract

½ cup slivered almonds

½ cup mint chocolate chips (for best results, use Guittard® Mint Chocolate Chips)

red sugar sprinkles, to taste


  1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine vanilla and lemon extracts, beaten egg, and milk. Add to butter and sugar and blend together.
  3. Add in dry ingredients slowly and blend until batter is thick.
  4. Fold in slivered almonds and mint chocolate chips until the batter is well combined.
  5. Cover the batter with a towel and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375º.
  7. While your oven is heating up, place a sheet of parchment paper or a silicon pad on a cookie sheet.
  8. With a  #30 disher/ice cream scoop, create a rounded ball of dough (approximately 1¼ tablespoons) and place it on the cookie sheet. Flatten the ball slightly with your fingers until it resembles a hockey puck.
  9. Repeat until you have approximately a dozen or so balls of dough on the cookie sheet.
  10. Sprinkle cookies with red sugar sprinkles to your look and taste.
  11. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes (or until they smell ready). Then remove, let cool several minutes, and enjoy!

Note: Guittard® is a registered trademark of Guittard Chocolate Company and is used here for informational purposes only. newdeal kitchen does not have an advertising relationship with Guittard Chocolate Company.


the cookie diaries: lessons learned

the cookie diaries: lessons learned

The story so far: Once Mike perfected his vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt, he turned his attention to producing batches of his traditional holiday cookies to give to family and friends. It was smooth sailing up to Traditional Batch #06…and then things got interesting. Today in the cookie diaries: lessons learned.

Another season of holiday baking is almost over, and after developing a vegan, gluten-free version of our holiday cookie (and grinding out roughly a batch a day of traditional cookies), we feel like we learned some important lessons about baking cookies and writing food blogs:

  • For vegan, gluten-free baking, our new go-to flour is Bob’s Red Mill® Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. Once we started using it, the quality of our dough improved greatly. The secret? This flour has xanthan gum already blended in, which helps the dough achieve the stickiness that gluten provides to traditional flours. (Note: This is a free plug for Bob’s Red Mill®; we don’t have any advertising relationship with them.)
  • Be ready to improvise and always have backups: this was the lesson of Traditional Blend #06. First, we constructed the batter only to realize we had forgotten to buy one of the ingredients; luckily, we found enough in the freezer to be able to continue. Second, the plastic ice-cream scoop we’ve been using for years SNAPPED IN TWO while making the balls of dough; however, we were able to find another ice-cream scoop to complete the process.
  • Finally, after almost a year of blogging, we realize we have a lot to learn—and a lot to be grateful for. Thanks to all who have followed our progress and have liked what we’ve done. We liked the “diaries” format so much, we’re going to continue to use it—there are more receipts to come!

(Don’t forget…tomorrow we reveal our traditional cookie receipt—a holiday gift to you!)

the cookie diaries, day eight

the cookie diaries, day eight

The story so far: Now that Mike has come up with a vegan, gluten-free version of his holiday cookie receipt, it’s time to start making cookies with his traditional holiday receipt. We’re talking a lot of cookies…like 41, to be exact. Today in the cookie diaries: Traditional Batches #01 and #02.

Mike has baked these cookies and given them out as holiday presents for several years, and his mission this time is to make enough cookies to send back to family members in the Midwest. The traditional receipt is based on an old sugar cookie recipe, but with significant changes.

(Don’t forget…if you’ve been following along with our cookie diaries, your reward will come on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when we reveal Mike’s holiday cookie receipts!)

Baking this first batch was pretty much like getting back on a bicycle after a long time away. Plus, working on the vegan, gluten-free receipt got Mike up to speed on the basic procedure, which is pretty much the same for both receipts.

The only real drama in the batch came when Mike applied a new brand of red sugar sprinkles to the top of the cookies before putting them into the oven; they seemed to bounce off of the dough and all over the cookie sheet.

Mike knew he was back on familiar ground when he began to smell that old aroma…that smell of love, of comfort, of home. Of the holidays.

Out of the oven, the new red sprinkles looked (and tasted) great.

Mike’s using a slighly smaller ice-cream scoop for the traditional cookies, so the yield is somewhat greater: Traditional Batch #01 was 20 cookies; Traditional Batch #02 was 21. More than enough to send back home.

Now it’s full production mode: a batch or even two every day until Christmas. Good times.



the cookie diaries, day seven

the cookie diaries, day seven

The story so far: Mike is keeping a running diary of his holiday cookie efforts. Right now, he’s on a mission to create a vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that emulates his traditional receipt. Today in the cookie diaries: Vegan Batch #06.

Let’s head straight for Mike’s notes:

“Vegan Batch #06: Made with ingredients and procedure of working receipt, just as confirmation that THIS is the receipt.

“The oven has been set to 375º. Confirmed!

“Dough is resting comfortably. Worked together very nicely.

“I took a lot more care with shaping the balls of dough, trying to make sure they had the right balance of chocolate pieces and not too many chunks of peppermint candy. The dough handled very well, and now’s the time to put on the crushed peppermint candy topping and then put it in the oven.

“I also took greater care in placing the pieces of crushed peppermint candy on top of the cookies. I placed the big chunks directly on top where they could be seen. I also tried to make sure there was some of the red striping on each cookie. Finally, I sprinkled some of the candy dust on the cookies.

“This batch yielded 11 normal-sized cookies and one slightly smaller squib (which got extra peppermint pieces as compensation).

“They’re in the oven now. All appendages crossed.

The low, artsy view of the finished cookies. Note how the peppermint candy melts into the crust.

“Out of the oven, they look and smell great. The toothpick test confirms they are DONE. Now to let them cool…

“Five minutes cool, and they are very good. Not too sweet, not too strong on the peppermint or the chocolate. It’s moist and chewy, not grainy; the peppermint pieces give it a little crunch factor.

“Kathy the Chief Taster has already eaten three as of the morning after. I guess she likes them.

“I’ll be taking this batch to work tomorrow, making my vegan co-worker (and my boss) very happy.

“THIS is the vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt I’ve been looking for.

“Now it’s production time. I have 42 traditional cookies to bake and pack for shipment by Friday.

“We’re just getting started.”

the cookie diaries, day six

the cookie diaries, day six

The story so far: Mike is keeping a running diary of his holiday cookie efforts. Right now, he’s on a mission to create a vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that emulates his traditional receipt. Today in the cookie diaries: Vegan Batch #05.

“Vegan Batch #05: Made with CORRECT ingredients from base receipt, plus 1+ Tablespoon crushed peppermint candies, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces.

“This time we’re trying for much less chocolate. I’m using only 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate pieces, which are smaller than the dark chocolate chips in used Vegan Batch #04. The dough mixed well—even the crushed peppermint candies played nice.

“The batch yielded 11 normal sized cookies and one smaller squib. The dough seemed stickier than the other batches.

“I’m definitely not getting the overwhelming chocolate aroma this time. There actually seems to be more of a peppermint aroma.

“Out of the oven, they look a little paler than user, but they smell great. Just gonna let them cool for a few minutes…

After cooling five minutes: it’s chewy and moist. The big chunks of peppermint candy on top may be off-putting—we’ll see. But this baker thinks it’s a pretty good cookie.

“Later that evening, Kathy the Chief Taster liked it, but I’m having second thoughts. Somehow it tastes like the cookies weren’t completely baked.

“I took a batch to my day job. My vegan co-worker liked them (again) but said they tasted a bit ‘flour-y’—which makes me think this batch may have been a bit underbaked.

“My boss, however, loved it. ‘You can bring me a platter of those any time,’ she said.

“So, for all intents and purposes, we’re there. We have our vegan, gluten-free cookie receipt. Just have to use the correct ingredients and the correct procedure (and maybe small pieces of peppermint candy) on the next batch to confirm.”

the cookie diaries, day five

the cookie diaries, day five

The story so far: Mike is keeping a running diary of his holiday cookie efforts. Right now, he’s on a mission to create a vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that emulates his traditional receipt. Today in the cookie diaries: Vegan Batch #04.

This batch was epic…as in twists-and-turns, ups-and-downs, take-up-an-entire-page-of-notebook-paper, go-over-our-blog-post-word-limit epic. It was made with the ingredients and procedure of Vegan Batch #03, but with 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 1+ Tablespoons crushed peppermint candies, and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. If this works, Mike will have a flavor combination that is close to his traditional receipt.

Mike’s notes can take it from here:

“The dough mixed well with the additional ingredients. We’ll see if I put too much peppermint in the mixture.

“(Pro Tip: Don’t crush peppermint candies with a hammer while your spouse is taking a nap.)

“I’m using the crushed peppermint candies two ways: 1 Tablespoon mixed in the batter and a pinch of the pieces on top of each cookie. Let’s hope it’s not peppermint overload.

“As it’s baking, I’m smelling more of the dark chocolate—I wonder if 1/2 cup was too much.

“Now that they’re out of the oven, I think it was too much chocolate—it basically melted all over the cookie and the cookie sheet.

“They taste almost more bitter than sweet; the dark chocolate really dominates. Good texture and chewiness, though. And they pass the ‘milk dunk test’.

“My vegan co-worker tried one and liked it—and she’s picky. Her only comment was that there was too much chocolate, and that the chocolate should be in smaller pieces.

“…And after all this, I’ve just realized that I put only 1-1/2 cups of flour in the dough, not the 1-3/4 cups the original vegan receipt calls for. So I guess Vegan Batch #05 will have the correct amount of flour, plus a reduced amount of smaller bits of dark chocolate.”

Told you it was epic.

the cookie diaries, day four

the cookie diaries, day four

The story so far: Mike is keeping a running diary of his holiday cookie efforts. Right now, he’s on a mission to create a vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that emulates his traditional receipt. Today in the cookie diaries: Vegan Batch #03.

Vegan Batch #02 proved the old baking adage that you cannot mess around with the proportions of an established receipt without paying the price. In this case, using the proportions of Mike’s traditional holiday cookie receipt with vegan, gluten-free ingredients cost him the fluffy, rounded cookie he’s looking for. Instead, Mike got a flat, somewhat chewy but still delicious cookie that Kathy called “a breakfast biscuit.”

So Vegan Batch #03 was made with the proportions of the original vegan receipt Mike’s adapting, plus 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Mike’s notes on this batch are pretty to the point:

“They came out looking just like the traditional cookies–which is a good sign. Still warm, they are moist and chewy and not overly sweet.

Kathy loves them. This is the base receipt for the vegan/gluten-free cookie.”

Eureka, y’all. But now came another important question: what could Mike add to this cookie that would make it just as unique as the traditional cookie he created? We don’t want to give everything away just yet, but Mike’s traditional holiday cookie contains a couple of very cool (and somewhat unusual) ingredients.

Off to the Interwebs for a search of fun and interesting vegan holiday cookie receipts, looking for that certain combination that sings Christmas like a carol. There were many possible combinations, but one in particular broke out in “Joy to the World” as soon as Mike saw it.

We can tell you that the ingredients in question are peppermint and chocolate, and that Vegan Batch #04 was…epic.