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A Perfect Hot Toddy & Family Cookie Recipes

Holiday cookies and a hot toddy! Mug and plate from the Target fall Threshold collection.

Over the years we’ve perfected our Hot Toddy recipe. This winter warmer is basically a cure-all! It’s a lovely nightcap or digestive after a big meal, it can soothe a sore throat or help put you to sleep on a cold winter night. It’s also a perfect sipper to enjoy while wrapping gifts or eating holiday cookies!


  • Two lemon slices, 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (perferably Penzeys or King Arthur Flour)
  • 2 oz whisky (we suggest Macallan 12 year single malt scotch whisky)
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Push the cloves into one of the lemon slices; set aside. In a heatproof mug, muddle the remaining lemon slice with the honey and cinnamon. Add whisky and hot water, stir gently to mix. Garnish with the clove studded lemon slice. Cheers!

Our Favorite Holiday Cookies

holiday cookie tray
Holiday cookies galore! Buckeyes, cream wafers and decorated butter cookies. Tray from Oh Joy! for Target 2014 holiday collection.

Baking cookies during the holidays is a cherished family tradition. Today we are sharing our tried-and-true Christmas cookie recipes. The cream wafer and Buckeye recipes come from my husband’s family in Ohio, who live on a beautiful dairy farm south of Cleveland. These recipes have been passed down from his grandma and mom, and we’ve updated them to include key details (somehow, that kind of information always seems to “not get written down” by previous generations). I’m excited to share these with you because they are pretty unique and incredibly delicious! Everyone always loves them! The other great thing about buckeyes (besides the fact that they are the perfect chocolate + peanut butter combo) is that they are no-bake and very kid friendly – mashing dough and rolling balls are great activities for little hands who want to get into holiday baking!

This year I also made a batch of homemade peppermint Oreos, which are my own riff on these homemade Oreos. I simply followed the Smitten Kitchen homemade oreos recipe and added 1/2 cup of crushed peppermint candies to the filling (candy canes would also work equally well). We also usually make a batch of butter cookies since they are super fun to decorate (this year I went a little overboard and used cookie butter on some of them!). I also like to try one new cookie recipe every year and this year I choose to make Christina Tosi’s Greta Cookies…which are so amazing (and easy!) that they are now on our favorites list.

All of these cookies will keep for a 1-2 weeks if stored in the fridge or freezer, tightly wrapped in plastic. If the cookies are frozen, simply let them sit overnight on the counter to enjoy (or gift!) the next day. Should you happen to live in a part of the country where winter is actually a thing, and fridge space is maxed out, you can also stash tightly wrapped cookies in your basement or garage (which are likely pretty chilly this time of year!).

CREAM WAFERS {makes about 30 sandwich cookies}

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups sifted Gold Medal All Purpose flour (note! if you use another brand of flour you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of extra cream)

Cream together the butter and cream using a hand-mixer. Add in the flour and continue to mix; once dough is somewhat together ditch the mixer and use your hands to bring the dough together. The dough should be soft and pliable. Form into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic and chill for 1 hour. Line two jelly roll pans with parchment paper.

Using a dough scrapper, cut the disc into four wedges. Roll out one section at a time between two pieces of wax paper (keeping the other wedges chilled) to 1/8 inch thick. Chill again. Repeat until all four wedges are rolled out. Working with one sheet of dough at a time, cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch circles and prick 3-4 times with a fork. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Chill and repeat with the other sheets.

Heat oven to 375 and transfer dough circles to parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 7-8 min; wafers should be cooked but not brown!!

Let cool on sheet for a couple minutes then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (use pasteurized eggs if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • food coloring

Beat all ingredients together till smooth. Add food coloring of your choice (we like to split the frosting in half and do one batch of green and one batch of red).


Carefully place 2 teaspoons of filling on one wafer and top with another wafer (sugar + pricked sides facing out). Be gentle as the wafers are very delicate! Keep refrigerated until ready to eat. These can also be frozen if tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed into plastic freezer containers – simply place in the fridge overnight to thaw.

BUCKEYES {makes about 40 cookies}

  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 3/8 of a slab household paraffin wax (such as ‘Gulf Wax’ brand, found in the home canning section at your grocery store)
  • 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • mini cupcake wrappers (I love the selections at Shop Sweet Lulu and Bake it Pretty)

Line two jelly roll pans with wax paper. Combine all sugar, butter and peanut butter in a large bowl and mix well with a rubber spatula. Once the dough starts to come together, use your hands to completely work it together. Roll into small 1-2 inch diameter balls and place on lined trays. Chill in fridge.

Microwave the paraffin in a glass measuring cup on 30 second intervals until melted. Set aside. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips. Add the melted wax to the chocolate and mix well with a rubber spatula. Turn the burner to the lowest heat setting to keep the melted chocolate mixture liquid. Using 1-2 toothpicks drop the peanut butter balls into the chocolate to coat the edges and bottom – make sure to leave the top of the ball uncoated so that it really looks like a buckeye! Place back on wax paper and repeat till all the balls are coated. Chill in fridge till set. Store in the fridge or freezer wrapped tightly in plastic. These also fit perfectly into mini cupcake liners, which makes for a cute presentation.

Clockwise, from left to right: Peppermint Oreos, Cream Wafers, Greta Cookies and Buckeyes.
Clockwise, from left to right: Peppermint Oreos, Cream Wafers, Greta Cookies and Buckeyes.


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Dior Kelley

Dior was born in Hawaii and spent her childhood in many wonderfully inspiring places including New Zealand, Sri Lanka and California. She studied Chemistry and Printmaking at UC Santa Cruz and got her PhD in Plant Biology from UC Davis. Her love for experimentation and precision (she studies hormone signaling in plants) carry over into crafted cocktails and homemade delights. Currently, she lives in Iowa with her husband, French Bulldog and a flock of hens.

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