Welcome the Spirit of St. Nick with This Delicious (and Adult) Spin on Milk and Cookies

Season’s eatings.

Perfect for entertaining and lovely as gifts, these cookies can be modified to make a myriad of flavor combinations. The dough is egg-free and can be gluten-free. We have listed some of our favorite upgrades on the next page, but don’t let that stop you from crafting your own signature cookie.

Basic Holiday Cookie Dough 

Makes 24 cookies

  • 1¼ cups 1-to-1 blend gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill) or all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour (not meal)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar or muscovado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350º. Whisk flour, almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Reserve.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or  with a handheld mixer, cream butter, powdered sugar and brown sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add rum and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and add half of the flour mixture. Mix until incorporated and then add remaining flour. The dough will be slightly dry but hold together when pressed between two fingers.

Form dough into an evenly shaped cylinder 2½ inches in diameter. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze overnight.

Slice the dough into ¼-thick rounds. Place cookies on a sheet tray 1½ inches apart. Freeze for 5 minutes before baking.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Let cool for 8 to 10 minutes on a wire rack. Serve immediately or place in an airtight container for up to two days.

Flavor Upgrades

Toffee Almond Chocolate Chip

  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup toffee bits
  • ½ cup chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

In the basic cookie recipe, substitute almond extract for the vanilla extract. After the final mix, add toffee and chocolate chips and stir. Knead dough to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Proceed with the directions to shape and bake the dough. Serve cool or warm.

Almond Raspberry Jewels

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • ½ cup almond slivers, chopped into small dice
  • ¼ to ½ cup sugar-free red raspberry fruit spread

In the basic cookie recipe, add cardamon to flour mixture. After the final mix, stir almonds into dough. Knead dough to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Proceed with the directions to shape the dough. After removing dough from the freezer, allow it to soften slightly and make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie. Spoon ¼ teaspoon jam into the center of each cookie. Chill cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes. Bake according to the directions for the basic cookie dough. Let cookies cool before serving or storing.

Winter Spice Rum Almond Cookies

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar, or more as needed

Add ¼ cup powdered sugar to a bowl. Add warm (not hot) baked cookies to the powdered sugar to coat. Turn each cookie and add more powdered sugar as needed. Continue until all the cookies are dusted with sugar. Serve cool or slightly warm.

Cinnamon & Sugar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or dish. Once baked cookies have cooled, sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Serve cool or slightly warm.


Spiked Venetian Holiday Hot Cocoa

Serves 1 to 2

  • ¼ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, divided
  • 1¾ cups heavy cream, divided
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoon dark rum (use 1 tablespoon nonalcoholic rum or vanilla extract for kids)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided¼ cup high-quality bittersweet chocolate baking chips (65% to 74% cacao)
  • ¼ teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • To make the topping, whisk mascarpone with powdered sugar using a stick blender with the whisk attachment and a tall container, or a handheld mixer. Whisk until combined and whipped. Add ½ cup cream and whisk until soft, billowy peaks form. Can be made one day in advance and stored covered in refrigerator. Stir before using.

To make the cocoa, place 1¼ cups cream and water in a small pot. Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously. Stir in rum and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder. Stir until combined. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute so they begin melting. Whisk until combined.

Pour the spiked chocolate into a mug. Spoon the whipped topping on top. Add remaining 1 tablespoon cocoa powder to a tea ball or sieve and dust the top of the whipped cream. Sprinkle espresso on top. As the chocolate drink cools, the dark chocolate will settle at the bottom of the mug as the cream rises, creating a layered effect. Enjoy!

Join the Southbay Community

Receive the latest stories, event invitations, local deals and other curated content from Southbay.
By clicking the subscribe button, I agree to receive occasional updates from Southbay.