Holiday Desserts

Lara Sinkus, Staff Writer

As the holidays approach, so do the delicious desserts that come with them. My family stocks up the table with many different varieties of desserts that are baked. Three of my family’s favorites are: 

  1. Italian Ricotta Cookies

The recipe is adapted from:


For 5 Dozen:

For the Cookies:

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 pound ricotta cheese

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

For the Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

Christmas sprinkles for decorating



1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2) In a large bowl, with a mixer at low speed, beat sugar and  butter until blended.

3) Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

4) At medium speed, beat in ricotta, vanilla, and eggs until well combined.

5) Reduce speed to low. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; beat until dough forms.

6) Drop dough by level tablespoons, about 2 inches apart, onto an ungreased large cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cookies are very lightly golden (cookies will be soft).

7) Bake all your cookies.


1) In a small bowl, stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth. With a small teaspoon, spread icing on cookies. Decorate with Christmas sprinkles.

2) Set cookies aside to allow icing to dry completely.


-Can also make with almond flavoring or lemon flavoring!

  1. Buttery Jam Thumbprint Cookies

The recipe is adapted from:

Servings: 24


1 cup ( 2 sticks/ 16 TB) salted butter, softened (soft enough that it will give when you lightly press it, but not melted.)

1/2 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, plus 1/4 cup more for dusting

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/8 tsp table salt

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup thick fruit preserves (i.e., raspberry, blackberry, peach)


1) Preheat the oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on high speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy and light, 2-3 minutes (do not rush this part, as it will determine how your dough turns out.) Add vanilla and salt, scraping down the bowl as needed. Switch to medium-low and gently mix in flour, just until combined. Dough should be somewhat sticky. Form into a ball shape, cover, and chill 30-60 minutes.

3) Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough balls on parchment-lined baking sheets or silicone baking mats. Press down the center of each ball with the handle-end of a wooden spatula or finger, making a deep well in the middle – deep but not too wide (it helps to hold the dough ball in the palm of hand while forming the well with your finger.)

4) Fill cookie centers generously with jam/preserves. I use either a very small spoon or a piping bag. Bake 20-25* minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Let cool for 5 min. on a baking sheet, then gently transfer to finish cooling on the wire rack.

5) When cookies are completely cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temp for a few days.


-This cookie dough is less sweet than others, making space for the very sweet jam/preserves and the generous dusting of powdered sugar at the end.

-Cookies will taste like the jam/preserves you use, so use a good quality, thick one (thinner jams tend to “run” during baking.)

-These cookies are not intended to brown much, as they’re more of a shortbread color; if you want more browning on top, bake on the upper middle rack.

-I like baking these 20 minutes for a softer, meltier texture. If you prefer a bit crisper/browned texture, bake longer up to 25 min.

  1. Soft Batch Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

The recipe is adapted from:

Servings: 36


1 Stick butter softened

1/4 Cup cream cheese softened

1 1/2 Cups granulated sugar

2 Large eggs

1 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour

2 Teaspoons cornstarch

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1/4 Teaspoon salt

1 Cup sprinkles nonpareils


1) In a bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl using hand mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and extracts until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes.

2) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt. Mix together on low/medium speed for one minute, until combined.

3) Refrigerate dough for two hours before baking.

4) When the dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

5) Pour the sprinkles into a medium bowl, and roll tablespoon sized balls of dough into the sprinkles.

6) Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.

7) Bake for 9-12 minutes. These should not turn golden brown, and will still look wet when they come out of the oven.

8) Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.


-Prep time listed includes two hours for the dough to chill.