Ritz Cracker Date CookiesHopscotch CrunchiesThe Most Wonderful Gingerbread CookiesSoft Molasses CookiesTurtle CookiesTake 5® Candy/Cookie"Earthquake" Cookies

Yummy Holiday Treat Recipes

This week, the cooks from the “Drummer Test Kitchen,” baked up some yummy holiday treats. All recipes here have been tasted and approved by our in-house bakers.

If you have a favorite dish, that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you! Recipes, with photo (and a short story/history), if available, can be submitted to ads@thedrummer.com.

Ritz Cracker Date Cookies

1 c. (8 oz. pkg.) dates, cut fine

1 c. chopped nuts

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Ritz crackers, approx. 50


Combine milk and dates in top of double boiler. Cook over hot water until creamy, but not too thick. Add chopped nuts and vanilla, stirring until well blended. Spread about 1 teaspoon of filling onto each cracker, keeping filling warm for easier spreading. Bake at 300 to 325 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting and decorate with pecans or maraschino cherries if desired. These freeze well.


Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 c. powdered sugar

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Milk, to thin to desired consistency

Few drops yellow food coloring (opt.)


Mix ingredients together.


Hopscotch Crunchies

Makes 30


1 c. (6 oz. pkg.) butterscotch morsels

1/2 c. peanut butter

2 c. chow mein noodles

1 c. mini marshmallows

1 c. peanuts (optional)


Melt butterscotch morsels and peanut butter over hot (not boiling) water and stir.

Stir in the chow mein noodles, marshmallows and peanuts.

Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.

Chill until set.


The Most Wonderful Gingerbread Cookies

Ready In: 2 hrs 23 mins

Yield: 24  cookies


3 c. all-purpose flour

1-1⁄2 tsp. baking powder

3⁄4 tsp. baking soda

1⁄4 tsp. salt

1 T. ground ginger

1-3⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves

6 T. unsalted butter

3⁄4 c. dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1⁄2 cup molasses

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (optional)


In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.

In a large bowl,  beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended.

Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.)

Preheat oven to 375 deg. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick. Use additional flour to avoid sticking.

Cut out cookies with desired cutter-- the ginger bread man is our favorite of course. Space cookies 1-1/2-inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the lower time will give you softer cookies-- very good!).

Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack.

After cookies are cool you may decorate them any way you like. I usually brush them with a powdered sugar glaze when I am in a hurry, but they look wonderful decorated with Royal icing.


My Favorite Royal Icing 

4 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 T. meringue powder

9 to 10 T. room temperature water

Optional for decorating: gel food coloring


In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat all of the icing ingredients together on high speed for 1.5-2 minutes. When lifting the whisk up off the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 5-10 seconds. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. (On particularly dry days, I use up to 12-14 tablespoons water total.) If it’s too thin, add a little more sifted confectioners’ sugar.

Icing completely dries in about 2 hours at room temperature. If you’re layering royal icing onto cookies for specific designs and need it to set quickly, place cookies in the refrigerator to help speed it up. Yield: 3 cups

Notes: When you’re not working directly with the royal icing (for example, you are decorating cookies but you still have some icing left in the bowl that you intend to use next), place a damp paper towel directly on the surface of the royal icing. This prevents it from hardening.


Soft Molasses Cookies

3/4 c. shortening

1 c. white sugar

1 egg, beaten

1/4 c. molasses

2 tsp. baking soda

3 c. flour (+)

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. salt


Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses; mix well. Sift dry ingredients EXCEPT SODA together. Add to molasses mixture. Dissolve soda in 1/4 c. (or less) boiling water. Add to mixture. Make balls the size of walnuts and dip in sugar. Do not flatten. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.


Turtle Cookies


1 c. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. cocoa powder

1/4 tsp. salt

8 T. butter, softened

2/3 c. sugar

1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white

2 T. Milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped


Caramel Filling:

14 soft caramel candies (I used Kraft Traditional Caramels)

3 T. heavy cream


Chocolate Drizzle:

2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used 2 sq. of Bakers’ Semi-Sweet baking Chocolate Sq.)

1 tsp. shortening


Prepare the Cookies: Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside. With electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 mins. Add yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour (very important step).

Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls (try to keep them smaller than a golf ball), dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2-inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.

Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.

Prepare the Caramel Filling: Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about ½ teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Chocolate Drizzle: Place chocolate and shortening in a small zip-top bag. Set bag in a bowl of warm water to soften. Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed. Snip a very small hole (very tiny) in the corner of the plastic bag. Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies. Makes about 30 cookies (depending if you keep to a 1-inch ball size).


Take 5® Candy/Cookie

96 pretzels (snaps or mini-twists)

48 Rolos®

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

1/2 T. powdered sugar

2 c. chocolate chips*

1 T. coconut oil


*You can use melting chocolate in place of the chips and oil.

Place 48 pretzels on parchment lined cookie sheet. Mix peanut butter and powdered sugar and place a dot of peanut butter mix on each pretzel.

Unwrap Rolos and place one on each pretzel, on top of peanut butter. Place under broiler for just a short time (maybe a minute), until you can cover each Rolo with another pretzel, pushing slightly. Cool completely.

Melt chocolate and oil in microwave or double boiler. When Rolos are cool/solid, dip in melted chocolate. Let set completely before storing.


“Earthquake” Cookies

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 c. sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar (for coating)


In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa powder, sugar and oil. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth and shiny.

In another bowl, combine together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the cocoa mixture with a wooden spoon just until smooth.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I chilled them overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1-2 inch balls. Coat each ball in icing sugar and place onto cookie sheets. Leave some space because they will spread.

Bake for 10-12 minutes for smaller (1”) cookies, and 12-14 minutes for larger (2”) cookies. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheets.

Makes about 50 large, 70 small cookies.


Tips: Use the best quality dark unsweetened cocoa powder.

Coat them in powdered sugar generously before baking.

Refrigerate AT LEAST 4 hours – preferably overnight – the longer the better!

DO NOT overbake. If you are making larger 2” cookies, it will take about 2 minutes more to bake. Don’t be afraid to take one cookie out of the oven after 10 minutes to test how much time they need to stay in the oven. DO take them out of the oven when their centers look underbaked. When you take them out of the oven, they will continue baking for a few minutes and their centers will harden a little bit.



Quote of the Week:

“When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.”

~ Zig Ziglar



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313


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