Saturday, December 17

Hurrah for Christmas Cookies!

Last week's winner of an ecopy of my contemporary romance RESCUE ME was Mary Thornburg. Congratulations, Mary!

This week's winner of an ecopy of my novella CHILL OUT is Debby. Congratulations! Please email me at jana dot richards at hotmail dot com and I'll send you the novella ASAP!

Nothing says Christmas more to me than cookies, especially the ones I only make at this time of year. I’ve got a couple of my favorite recipes for you today. Wish I had more pictures. I will definitely take pictures when I make rum balls this year.

I started making these because my daughter has trouble digesting gluten, and my efforts to make a gluten-free shortbread were a disaster. These rum balls are a treat the whole family likes – nobody misses the gluten. The first time I made these, I misread the instructions and added all the rum to the almond mixture instead of saving some for rolling. I have to say, those were the best batch I’ve ever made!

1 cup icing sugar (250 ml)
1 cup ground almonds (250 ml)
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, grated (85 g)
1/3 cup dark rum (75 ml)
1 tsp. vanilla (5 ml)
½ cup chocolate sprinkles (125 ml)

Line trays with waxed paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk icing sugar, almonds and bittersweet chocolate. Stir in ¼ cup (50 ml) of the rum and vanilla until solid moist mass; press together. Chill until firm enough to roll, about 15 minutes.

Roll by rounded teaspoonfuls into balls, moistening and wiping hands with a damp cloth as needed. Place on prepared trays.

Pour remaining rum into a shallow bowl. Pour chocolate sprinkles into a separate bowl. Roll balls in rum, then in chocolate, pressing lightly to adhere. Let dry on tray, 1 hour. Refrigerate until firm. To store, layer between waxed paper in airtight container, and refrigerate or freeze for up to one month.


I found this recipe in my local newspaper during their annual ’12 days of Christmas Cookies’ feature. I love the fudginess of the dark chocolate with the creaminess of white chocolate.

560 ml. (2 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour
150 ml. (2/3 cup) cocoa
5 ml. (1 tsp.) baking soda
2 ml. (1/2 tsp.) salt
228 grams (1 cup) butter, softened
175 ml. (¾ cup) granulated sugar
150 ml. (2/3 cup) brown sugar, firmly packed
5 ml. (1 tsp.) vanilla
2 eggs
375 ml. (1 ½ cups) white chocolate baking pieces or chips

Preheat oven to 175 C. (350 F). In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla; beat until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in white chocolate pieces. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cooking sheets and bake for 9-10 minutes. Allow to stand 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets and cooling completely. Makes about 2 ½ to 3 dozen cookies.

Baker’s note: Makes a very stiff batter that’s hard to mix, but it all turns out okay in the end. I pulled the cookies from the oven when the tops were still slightly unset, which made a nice soft cookie. Gorgeously chocolatey!

Don’t forget to comment for your chance to win prizes! I'm giving away an ecopy of CHILL OUT, which is a Valentine's story, but but seemed appropriate because it's a cold weather story. Winners will be picked from the commenters on all the Christmas recipe blogs this week. But hurry! Winners will be picked tonight!

I want to know what your favorite Christmas cookie/sweet treat is. Or, have you ever tried to make a Christmas treat that went horribly wrong? What happened?  Mine was definitely the gluten-free shortbread. It required a special flour and xanthum gum, whatever that is. Both were very expensive. The cookies would not hold together no matter what I did, so I ended up with cookie crumbs. 

The contest is now closed and the winner of CHILL OUT is Debby! Email me at jana dot richards at hotmail dot com for your copy Debby!


  1. These recipes sound great, Jana! My favorite treat seems to be all of them, partially because Christmas candy, cookies, etc. all seem to bring up sweet memories. However, I'll go with Cherry Winks. As for things going wrong, this year--for the first time ever--I ruined the pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving, with no idea how I did it. Sigh.

    1. Stuff happens, Liz. Last Christmas my daughter made this beautiful apple/cranberry pie (she even made the crust), and I overbaked it. I felt terrible because she put so much effort into it. Sometimes we get distracted (at least that's my excuse).

  2. Jana -- I love your Rum Ball recipe! I have a Bourbon Ball recipe that calls for vanilla wafer cookies... I'll have to try yours! As for mistakes, I thawed a Mrs. Smith's pumpkin pie on its side once, not realizing it still needed to be baked! Runny pumpkin filling ran all over the inside of the box!

    1. That's funny about the pumpkin pie, Ava. Really sounds like something I'd do! I really do recommend the Rum Ball recipe, and if you "accidentally" add a little too much rum, it's quite delicious.