Cookie Countdown to Christmas & Cookbook Giveaway!

Since this is my first Christmas as a new blogger, I’ve decided to do Happy When Not Hungry’s Cookie Countdown to Christmas.  Because I love to bake Christmas cookies and because my sister and I have baked cookies every year with my mom since I can remember, I decided I’d share with you some of our favorite Christmas treats.  While we tend to bake some of the same cookies every year, we also like to try new recipes too.  Most recently, my sister and I decided to try to bake Italian cookies.

Italian cookies remind me of my grandparents and my childhood because every year, my grandfather would drive 40 miles away to Florentine Bakery to buy these treats.  This is an old-school Italian bakery that my grandfather always boasted had the best almond paste cookies and pasticiotte. (It’s so old-school I couldn’t find a website!) It was a tradition and one that I definitely looked forward to.  Many of you are probably very familiar with Italian cookies; you’ve probably seen them in glass windows at specialty bakeries or maybe your family likes to get them at Christmas time as well.  They are beautiful goodies that are made and/or filled with ricotta, almond paste, pine nuts, figs, etc.

I came across a wonderful Italian cookie cookbook that has become one of my favorite cookbooks.  It’s called Sweet Maria’s Italian Cookie Tray.  I came across it because I was specifically searching for an Italian cookie cookbook.  Sweet Maria’s is actually an Italian bakery owned and operated by Maria Bruscino Sanchez, located in Waterbury, CT.  I love this cookbook because it has wonderful, authentic Italian cookie recipes like amaretti, pignoli, taralle, biscotti, etc.  Because I love all my readers, I decided to order this cookbook and give it away to one lucky reader!  Details about the giveaway are below.

Since I’m giving away Sweet Maria’s Italian Cookie Tray, I decided my first Christmas cookie recipe would be Jelly-Filled Cookies from this cookbook.  These cookies are simple to make, but delicious.  You can use whatever filling/jam you’d like.  My mom cans a lot of her own jams, so I used her fig jam and one of her berry jams.  Hope you guys enjoy these cookies and good luck with the giveaway!

I will select one winner at random via  The lucky winner will receive Sweet Maria’s Italian Cookie Tray.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  1. Leave me a comment telling me what your favorite holiday cookie is to bake and/or eat.
  2. For 1 extra entry, “Like” Happy When Not Hungry’s Facebook page and leave a comment telling me you did.
  3. For 1 extra entry, subscribe to my blog via email and leave a comment telling me you did.
  4. For 2 extra entries, post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to this post.  Leave me two separate comments telling me what you did.

Giveaway ends Saturday, December 4th at 11am Eastern Time.  Good luck!

(Our Christmas tree!)

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


1 cup jelly, any flavor


  1. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and sour cream and mix until combined.
  3. On low speed, mix in flour, baking powder, and soda and mix until combined.
  4. With the kneading needle, knead the dough until for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Cut the dough in half and with a rolling pin, roll out dough onto a floured surface until thin, like a pie crust.
  8. Using a 2″ round cookie cutter or the bottom of a glass, cut out circles.
  9. Spoon 1/2 tsp of jelly into the center of each circle.
  10. Using a fork, seal the seams.
  11. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Cool and then dust with powdered sugar.


Filed under Desserts

22 responses to “Cookie Countdown to Christmas & Cookbook Giveaway!

  1. Mom Kenyon

    Every Christmas I bake alot of cookies and try to select a different one but my most favorite are the Italian Taralles. I remember when I was little doing them with my gramma. My girls gave me this cookbook when I was down for Thanksgiving and I’m very excited. So instead of one new recipe there may be several I make this year. Buon Natale!

  2. gingerbreadbagels

    What delicious looking cookies!! Not to mention, they’re so cute. I’m so excited that you’re doing a cookie countdown, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas cookies. I’m definitely looking forward to what cookies you’ll be making.
    Oohh that book sounds like it’s full of delicious recipes. 🙂

  3. I love your Christmas cookie countdown idea!! You can never have enough cookie recipes during the holiday. Your Italian cookie looks delicious!

  4. Great idea! Your tree looks awesome too 🙂

  5. Amy

    Great cookie recipe! I love anything which hides delicious filling, especially jam :)!

  6. Look forward to your cookie countdown. This cookie looks delicious, love anything with jam. My favorite cookie…I am so torn, Florentine, jam filled thumbprint, Danish vaniljekranse…I am not sure I can decide.

  7. My favorite holiday cookie is M&M Cookies – chocolately, brown sugary goodness.

  8. Chubby Hubby

    These look fantastic! I can’t wait to see all of the other Christmas cookies! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to taste, or make, some of them as well. I would have to say that my favorite Christmas cookie is the Rainbox cookie. I just love seeing all of those colors working together in harmony to please my taste buds! Keep those cookies coming!

  9. Don Cheech


    I literally have a cookie in my hand, and I’d rather have the one you baked. Your Italian cookie looks amazing, and I’m sure it tastes great!

    Keep up the good work! I’m really impressed you’ve been keeping this blog going for so long. And thank you! Whenever I don’t know what to make for dinner, I check out your blog for ideas (like the fettuccine with fresh oregano cream sauce :).

    If I win, please re-draw, because I’d feel bad taking a cookbook from someone who needs it (aka I know I’m inheriting all of my Mom’s cookbooks). See you in a couple week.

    Don Cheech

  10. my favorite cookie is molasses spice cookies!

  11. Lucy

    Kara, reading about the Italian Cookies and baking with your mom brought back so many great memories! I am so looking forward to seeing more great cookie and holiday recipes! I always look forward to your blog on my e-mail!

  12. Tiffany

    These look delicious and I love your presentation 🙂
    My favorite holiday cookies are the Venetians – known as the rainbow or three layer cookie. They are so time consuming to make but worth every minute spent on them. Pizzelles are another Christmas treat my family loves and they have a beautiful snowflake pattern that look beautiful for this time of year.
    Hope you and your family have a very Happy Holiday and keep up the great blogging!

  13. Michelle aka Belle

    My favorite cookies are rainbow cookies! or sugar cookies!
    But my favorite cookie that you make is the one with the oatmeal and chocolate chips in them!!! Now im hungry!!

  14. Nina

    What a great idea you came up with, your cookie countdown to Christmas just gave me that push I needed to go out and fill my cubit with some of the baking goods I will need to try out your cookie receipts. I just joined your blog and I love it. You are so creative with your dishes you make. Oh and by the way, one of my favorite cookies that my mom bakes at Christmas time are her fig cookies ( she actually uses a razor blade to get all those fancy cuts into the cookie). Buon Natale!

  15. Your cookies look great. I might have to try these out this year for my holiday baking spree.
    My favorite cookie to bake is my great-grandma’s recipe for Brown Edge cookies. They’re so simple to make and everyone loves them. But my favorite cookie to eat are the 7 layer cookies. My husband’s mom makes them and they’re the only cookie I can’t get enough of during the holidays. 🙂

  16. Cousin Gina :)

    Hi Kara,

    Just wanted to tell you I love the cookie countdown idea! My all time favorite cookie to make would probably have to be gingerbread cookies 🙂 . I also wanted to tell you that Sweet Maria’s is about 20 mins from my house in CT 🙂 ! Cant wait to go check it out, how exciting !!

  17. My favorite cookie to make is an Italian Flag cookie. It’s a three-layer soft almond cookie, with different preserves separate the layers. Then on top, is a layer of chocolate. We loved making this especially as kids when we got to have a batter-filled bowl to our own that we got to color white, green, and red. Very dense, but I can still eat half of them in one sitting!

  18. Barbara Palermo

    My favorite cookies are sugar cookies!

  19. Barbara Palermo

    I also “Like” Happy When Not Hungry’s Facebook page

  20. Barbara Palermo

    Alsdo subscribed to your blog via email

  21. Pingback: Cookie Countdown to Christmas Recap | Happy When Not Hungry

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