Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest winners sure to please

Wisconsin State Farmer

Looking for some new Christmas cookie recipes that will appeal to a broad spectrum of tastes? Then look no further. Here are the recipes from the winners and finalists in this year's USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest.

A panel of expert judges tasted and scored a dozen cookies prepared by Fox Valley Technical College culinary students. Why not give one or two of them a try, they're sure to please.

Jacqueline Jade Ganser, Appleton, won the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest with her Lemon Raspberry Holiday Delights prepared by Fox Valley Technical College culinary arts student Taylor Burkhalter.

Lemon Raspberry Holiday Delights

Jacqueline Jade Ganser, Appleton

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

1 c. frozen raspberries (defrosted)

1 T. warm water

2 T. honey

3 T. chia seeds

Lemon Curd

¾ c. sugar

2 T. lemon zest

4 T. butter, softened

4 eggs

½ c. lemon juice

⅛  tsp. salt

Butter Cookies

1 c. butter, softened

⅔ c. sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. flour

Lemon Drizzle Icing

1 c. powdered sugar

2 T. milk

½ tsp. lemon extract

Raspberry chia jam: Add defrosted raspberries, warm water and honey to a food processor and pulse until well blended with no chunks. Transfer mixture to a container and stir in chia seeds, mixing well. Cover and allow to set for about 1 hour.

Lemon curd: Cream butter and beat in sugar and lemon zest. Add eggs, lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined. Pour mixture into a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and cool then refrigerate.

Cookies: Beat butter, sugar and vanilla on high speed until creamy. Add flour and beat on low speed until well mixed and soft dough is formed. Cover cookie dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Shape the cookie dough into 1 inch balls. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb. If edges crack you can smooth out with your fingers. Bake cookies for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden on bottom.

Remove cookies from oven and immediately fill indentations with ½ tsp. lemon curd. Return to oven and bake 2 minutes to set curd. Remove cookies from oven and spoon ¼ tsp. raspberry jam over lemon curd. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack. Allow to completely cool.

For drizzle Icing, whisk powdered sugar, milk and lemon extract in bowl. Lightly drizzle over cooled cookies.

Jeanne Bloedorn, Fond du Lac, took second place in the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest with her Frosted Sour Cream Cookies prepared by Fox Valley Technical College culinary arts student Katie Raab.

Frosted Sour Cream Cookies

Jeanne Bloedorn, Fond du Lac, runner up

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

3 c. flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 c. sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla


1 c. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

4 c. powdered sugar

2 T. milk

Chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until combined. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Mix sour cream and vanilla in separate bowl. Alternately add dry ingredients and sour cream to batter until well combined. Drop batter onto parchment lined baking sheets, about tablespoon size, bake 12 to 18 minutes.

Frosting: Beat butter and vanilla until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk or cream and beat for about 4 minutes. Frost cooled cookies and dip in walnuts.

J. Loraine Barbeaux, Sheboygan, took third place in the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest with a recipe for Maple Pecan Tea Cakes.

Maple Pecan Tea Cakes

J. Loraine Barbeaux, Sheboygan, third place

1 c. butter, softened

½ c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. maple flavoring

2¼ c. flour

¼ tsp. salt

¾ c. pecans, finely chopped

Powdered sugar and maple sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 400 F. In a medium bowl beat butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and maple flavoring together with an electric mixer on medium speed. By hand, stir in flour and salt followed by the chopped pecans. Stir well.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls, and place them about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet; roll in powdered maple sugar. Cool completely on wire rack and then roll in powdered sugar. Yield: About 3½ dozen.

Barbara Mann, Green Bay, is a finalist in the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest with her Bourbon Cranberry Chippers.

Bourbon Cranberry Chippers

Barbara Mann, Green Bay, finalist

1 c. dried cranberries

¼ c. bourbon

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. brown sugar

½ c. sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2½ c. flour

1 c. regular rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

½ c. walnuts, chopped

Bourbon ganache

1 c. semisweet chocolate pieces

1 c. whipping cream

1 T. bourbon

Coarse sea salt, optional

Combine cranberries and ¼ cup bourbon in a small bowl, cover and let stand 1 hour. Do not drain. Heat oven to 375 F. Line cookie baking sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Add sugars and beat until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in flour, oats and baking soda until combined. Stir in chocolate, nuts and cranberry mixture.

Shape into 1½ inch balls and arrange 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Use your thumb to make and indent in the center of each ball. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Place baking sheet on wire rack. Use rounded edge of teaspoon measuring spoon to reshape indent and carefully press in edges as needed. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet then move to wire rack to completely cool.

Bourbon ganache: Place 1 c. semisweet chocolate pieces in small heat-proof bowl, set aside. In a small saucepan bring 1 c. whipping cream to simmer, pour over chocolate, let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir in 1 T. bourbon. Let stand 15 minutes to thicken slightly. Fill each cookie center with ganache. Let stand or chill in refrigerator until slightly firm. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, optional. Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

Jan Hall, Suamico, is a finalist in the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest with her Brazilian Jubilee Cookies prepared by Fox Valley Technical College culinary arts student Patricia Rodriguez.

Brazilian Jubilee Cookies

Jan Hall, Suamico, finalist

1½ c. flour

2 T. instant coffee

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

¾ c. sugar

¼ c. firmly packed brown sugar

½ c. shortening

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. chopped Brazil nuts

36 to 42 pieces milk chocolate candy kisses

In large mixer bowl combine flour, instant coffee, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, sugars, shortening, egg and vanilla extract. Blend well with mixer. Stir in ½ c. of Brazil nuts, mix thoroughly. Chill dough for easier handling. Heat oven to 350 F. Shape into balls, using a rounded teaspoon for each. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a candy kiss into the center of each hot cookie. When chocolate has softened, spread to frost. Sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts. Yield: 36 to 42 Cookies

Mary Bernier, Ripon, is a finalist in the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest with her Festive Almond Butter Cookies  prepared by Fox Valley Technical College culinary arts student Brianna Mielke.

Festive Almond Butter Cookies

Mary Bernier, Ripon, finalist

1 c. butter flavor shortening

1 c. white sugar

½ c. light brown sugar

2 eggs

1½ T. water

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. butter flavor extract

3 c. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ c. red maraschino cherries, quartered & patted dry

½ c. green maraschino cherries, quartered & patted dry

1 c. mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 F. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening and sugars; scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, water, and extracts; mix well, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well, again scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Gently stir in red and green maraschino cherries and mini chocolate chips just until combined. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1½ inch balls. Place on prepared cookie sheets, 1 dozen per sheet, and slightly flatten. Bake 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool 1-2 minutes on baking sheet, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Bittersweet Cookies

Chocolate Bittersweet Cookies

Barbara Martin, Wittenberg, finalist


½ c. butter

½ c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. salt

1 14 c flour

Creamy nut filling

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 c. powdered sugar

2 T. flour

½ c. chopped nuts


½ c. chocolate chips

2 T. butter

2 T. water

½ c. powdered sugar

Cookies: Heat oven to 350 F. Cream butter, add sugar, salt and vanilla. Cream thoroughly, gradually add the flour. Shape into balls, 1 teaspoon size, place on ungreased baking sheet. Use finger to make a hole in the center of each cookie. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Creamy nut filling: Blend sugar in softened cream cheese. Add flour and vanilla. Cream well. Stir in nuts.

Frosting: Combine chocolate chips, water and butter in saucepan. Cook over low heat until chocolate chips melt. Remove from heat, add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Fill cookies with nut filling and cover with frosting.