Early Start Holiday Recipes

YES! The Drummer test kitchen cooks are already planning their cookie trays.

Whether you are baking with a group or alone, now is the time to start planning so you can gather all of the ingredients needed, so you can purchase a bit at a time verses a large purchase at once.

We went through Darlene Dixon’s “The Cookie Book” and found some great additions to any cookie tray - give them a try!

If you have a tried-and-true recipe for the holidays, send it in for an entry into our next drawing for your chance to win Darlene’s “The Cookie Book!”

The winner will be featured in our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide (Nov. 19, 2023) and other recipes will appear in a future Now We’re Cookin’ edition.

Good luck!

Submit your recipe and register to win at: clickit.entries@gmail.com  

(All submissions will be entered into the drawing and need to be received by Oct. 25, 2023. Each winner will be announced and contacted. We do not ship the prizes, but are available for pick up Mon.-Thurs., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.) 

Frosted Orange Chippers


Yield: 5 dozen


3/4 C. butter (room temp)

3 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened

1-1/3 C. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 T. finely grated orange peel

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 C. flour

1 C. mini chocolate chips

1 C. chopped walnuts



2 C. powdered sugar

2 T butter, softened

1 tsp. finely grated orange peel

3 T. orange juice


In mixer bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar.  Beat in eggs. Stir in vanilla, orange peel, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the four.  Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheets.  Bake at 350° for 9-10 minutes. Do not overbake; bake just until slightly brown around the edges. Cool and frost.

For Frosting – beat ingredients together and frost.


Raspberry Filled White Chocolate Bars


Yield: 2 dozen


1/2 C. butter

12 oz. pkg white chocolate chips

2 eggs

1/2 C. Sugar

1 C. four

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. amaretto liqueur or almond extract

3/4 C. raspberry jam

1/4 C. sliced almonds


Preheat oven to 325°.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.  In a small saucepan, melt butter; add 1 C. of the white chocolate chips, do not stir, let stand.  In large bowl, beat eggs until foamy.  Gradually add sugar, beat at high speed until lemon colored. Stir in butter-chip mixture. Add the flour, salt and amaretto. Spread 1/2 of the batter into prepared pan.  Bat at 325° for 15 minutes.  Stir rest of vanilla and milk chocolate chips into remaining half of batter, set aside.  Melt jam, spread evenly over warm partially baked crust.  Gently spoon 1/2 teaspoons of remaining batter over jam (Will not cover completely.)  Sprinkle almonds on top.  Bake at 325° for 25 minutes.


Sugarless Oatmeal Cookies


Yield: 3 dozen


3/4 C. corn margarine or corn oil

1 T. liquid sweetener

1/2 C. Brown Sugar Twin

1 egg

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 C. water

2 C. quick rolled oats

1 C. crushed flake cereal

1 C. flour

1 C. chopped dates

1/2 C. cup up prunes

1/2 C. chopped raisins

1/2 C. chopped walnuts


In mixer bowl, beat the margarine, sweetener, brown sugar and egg. Then add the baking soda, salt, vanilla and water. Stir in the next 7 dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased baking sheet.  Flatten cookies just a little.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on edges.


Pumpkin Dreams


Yield: 4 dozen


1/2 C. butter (room temp)

1 C. brown sugar

1 C. canned pumpkin

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

2 C. flour

1 C. raisins or dates, chopped fine

1/2 C. chopped walnuts


3 C. powdered sugar

2 T. cream cheese, softened

2 tsp. butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


In mixer bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.  Beat in pumpkin, egg, vanilla, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in flour, raisins or dates and walnuts.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.  Bake at 350° for 9 minutes.  Mix frosting ingredients, frost tops of cookies.


Coconut Cranberry Bars


Yield: 3 dozen


2 C. vanilla wafer crumbs

2 tsp. sugar

3/4 C. butter, melted

1-1/2 C. vanilla or white chips

1 C. flake coconut

1 C. chopped pecans

1-1/2 C. dried cranberries

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk


Melt butter, add cookie crumbs and sugar.  Press into a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Top with chips, coconut, nuts and cranberries. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top. Bake at 350° for 22-25 minutes or until edges are browned.


German Chocolate Caramel Bars


Yield: 4 dozen 


1 (14 oz.) bag caramels 

1/3 C. cream or milk

1 (21 oz.) pkg. German chocolate cake mix

3/4 C. butter (room temp)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 C. chopped pecans

1/3 C. cream or milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 C. chocolate chips


In microwave bowl, melt caramels and cream, check often, stir smooth. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Set aside.  Meanwhile, mix cake mix with butter, cream and vanilla. Press half the dough into a greased 9x13-inch pan.  Bake at 350° for 8 minutes, spread caramel nut mixture over top, top with chocolate chips. Top with chocolate batter, dropping little amounts over the top (it will spread) return to oven and bake for 15-18 minutes.


Layered Chocolate Peanut Bars 


(No baking)

Yield: 4 dozen


First Layer:

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 C. butterscotch chips 

1/4 C. creamy peanut butter


Second Layer:

1/4 C. sugar

1/4 C. butter

1/4 C. milk

12 oz. jar marshmallow crème

1/2 C. creamy peanut butter

2 C. dry roasted, salted peanuts


Third Layer:

14 oz. pkg Kraft® caramels

2 T. water


Fourth Layer:

1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 C. butterscotch chips

1/4 C. creamy peanut butter


Layer one: In glass bowl, melt chips and peanut butter in microwave. Spread into a buttered 9x13-inch pan.  Tap pan on counter, place in refrigerator to chill quickly.

Layer two: In glass bowl, cook sugar, butter and milk in microwave until slightly thickened. Stir in marshmallow crème and peanut butter. Spread over chilled chocolate layer. Sprinkle peanuts on top.  Chill

Layer three: In glass bowl, melt caramels with water until you can stir smooth. Spread over peanuts.

Layer four: In glass bowl, melt chips and peanut butter as you did in layer one.  Spread over top. Chill and cut into tiny squares.


Nutty Chow Mein Noodle Bars


Yield: 4 dozen


1/2 C. butter (room temp)

1/3 C. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 T. vanilla extract

1-3/4 C. flour

10 oz. bag mini marshmallows

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 C. peanut butter chips

1 C. chopped peanuts

2 C. chow mein noodles, slightly chopped


In large mixer bowl, cream butter and brown sugar.  Stir in baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and flour. Press the crumbly mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes.  Sprinkle the marshmallows on. Return to oven, bake for 2 minutes or until they are puffy.  In glass bowl, melt peanut butter chips and sweetened condensed milk in microwave. Stir in peanuts and chow mein noodles. Spoon over top of bars, cool and cut.


Raspberry Truffles


1 T. butter

2 T. whipping cream

12 oz. pkg. semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

7-1/2 tsp. seedless raspberry jam

6 oz. white or chocolate candy coating 

2 T. vegetable oil

Foil lined miniature cups


In a small saucepan, combine butter, cream and chocolate chips. Cook over low heat, stir until melted.  Remove from heat, stir in jam.  Transfer to a small freezer container; cover and freeze for 20 minutes. Place foil onto a cookie sheet. Drop by tiny teaspoonfuls onto the foil. Freeze for 15 minutes.  Roll each into a round ball. Place in freezer again until very firm. Melt candy coating and oil together. Place each into a foil-lined miniature cup, drizzle a little melted candy coating over the top of each.


Quote of the Week:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes…” 

~ Marcel Proust


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313


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