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Molly's Sketchbook: Giving Holiday Cookies

Christmas can be stressful, but taking some time to bake with my friends and family is one of the great joys of the season for me. I use leftover yarn and fabric from Christmas projects to wrap up my goodies. I love transforming simple things like paper lunch bags and leftover yarn and fabric scraps to create charming gift packages almost as much as I love turning flour, butter, sugar, and eggs into cookies! It's a fun and inexpensive way to spread some delicious holiday cheer. Happy Holidays! --Molly


All you need to make cute cookie packages like these are: cookies (my Grammy's recipe is below), ziplock bags, paper lunch bags, fabric scraps, yarn scraps and tape.

Simply put eight cookies into a ziplock bag and slip it into a paper lunch bag that has it's bottom cut out.

Fold and then tape the paper bag neatly on the back of the package. Cut two strips of fabric with pinking shears, one wide (12-inches x 3-inches) and one narrow (12-inches x 1-inch) in contrasting colors. Wrap the fabric strips around the package, with the narrow one on top, and tape them neatly in the back.

To finish wrap a pretty piece of yarn around the fabric a few times and tie a bow. This is a wonderful way to use those smaller scraps we all have lying around and can't seem to get rid of!

Grammy's "Swedish" Pastries

These cookies are from a recipe my Grammy used to make around the holidays. They are called "Swedish Pastries". As far as I can tell they are not Swedish at all but rather very American (circa 1950). My Grammy's recipe box is full of things from this bygone era of American cooking such as "Cantonese Chicken", "Mexican Casseroles" and at least two different recipes for something called "Emerald Salad" which involves lime Jello, nuts, onions and mayonnaise!

While I might not be trying the Emerald Salad any time soon her Swedish Pastries are actually really good. They are the perfect cookie to make with friends and family, kids included, because they are simple, delicious and pretty!

The Recipe

To make about three dozen cookies:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries, drained of their juice
  • 1 bag of shredded coconut

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg yolks (but keep the whites for the next step) and the almond extract and beat to incorporate. Add the flour and salt and mix until ingredients are just holding together. The dough will be crumbly. Form it into a ball and refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut all of the cherries in half. Lightly beat the egg whites. Form dough into walnut sized balls. Dip each ball in egg whites and then roll in the coconut. Place onto the cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand (these cookies won't rise or spread much). Make and indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb and place a cherry half on it.

Bake for about 12 minutes, turning the cookie sheet half way through baking. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.

Reader Comments (27)

The cookies look very festive and yummy! I plan on making some tomorrow, no cherries in the house at the moment. Your package idea was inspiring and cute. Thank you for all that you share with us.

Merry Christmas - Alissa
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlissa
Great, just what I need. I'm collect recipes for homebaked gifts. Lovely wrapping idea as well, I always use brown paper and the fabric adds a real twist. Much better than my usual red string a parcel tags.
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJustine
I'm terrible at gift-wrapping, but I'm going to try this because it's so pretty!
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis
I'm baking cookies today! Love your presentation idea, it's so sweet. Your cookies are similar to something my aunt used to bake (I have some Swedish/Finnish ancestory). Thank you for sharing your recipe, and Happy Holidays!
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGaile
We love coconut cookies at our house, these look great. When I was little back in the days when you could still take home made gifts to school, my mother would make fudge and different flavored and colored divinity for my teachers. We used to use greeting card boxes wrapped in wrapping paper with waxed paper liners. Worked great and looked so nice.
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterConnie
What a lovely presentation, so fun, festive, and a delight to receive. You are so kind to include your recipe! I think I shall bake these next year for a cookie exchange in which I participate. I love the color choices in fabrics and yarns. Fun!
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDenise
This is so sweet and special. Thanks for sharing your family recipe.
Happy Holidays.
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNadine
I baked three batches of cookies yesterday for our holiday open house, and this lovely packaging would have made great party favors for guest to take home a few cookies! I love this idea so I will save it for another occasion. Thanks for sharing it.
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTerriaw
Thanks. I think I'll be trying this recipe.


December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSher's Creative Expressions
thanks for this, I can't wait to use your ideas for wrapping. I make an awful lot of shortbread as presents every christmas, and usually wrap it up in cellophane. Paper and fabric are much nicer!
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKate
I'm going to be packaging goodies up tomorrow and it just so happens I have all of these supplies on hand! Thanks for sharing :)
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNicki
Those look great! The ziploc bag is very important ^_^.
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStockton
I LOVE the photography on this post and also the spirit of sharing. Thanks Molly - your Grammy would be so proud. Happy Holidays to everybody at Purl, Purl Patchwork and Purl Bee.
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJosie (Molly's Mom)
My mom makes those cookies for Christmas every year. They are tasty.
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
I grew up with these cookies. They may have Swedish origins, but I know them as Coconut Macaroons from the classic Betty Crocker cookbook.
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterquilterlee
YUMMY! What a neat packaging idea! Thanks so much for sharing it. I have lots of scraps lying around now I know what to do with them.
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiff@Three Peas
I made alot of cookies this year too, so this tip might help you. I save crinkly clear plastic from packaged items. The bigger the sheet the better. Then, I sew baggies out of it on my sewing machine. I use colored thread and they look great.

I love your Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts. I have gotten this twice now and keep losing them. UGH. The first time I had to replace a library copy. I can't figure out why it's this book all the time and how it just disappears into thin air! I could cry.

Oh and on the cookies, I took my son and girls to the Nutcracker Ballet (4, 6, 8). I made 3 large gingerbread nutcracker shaped cookies decorated in piped royal icing. I sewed 3 cellphone bags with red thread in about 3 minutes. I put the cookies inside the bags,with white cardboard and red construction paper behind the cookies for support and tied with a red ribbon. I gave them the cookies to eat during the intermission. They ate the cookies while we waited in line for hot cocoa. It was so much fun to surprise them with those goodies!
December 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPage
I love these cookies. I remember these cookies as coconut macaroons. Pretty presentation.
December 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterquilterlee
Those look so cute and they are not known in Sweden, though we here have cookies called finnish sticks and they are not from Finland.
December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJenny
Thank you for your beautiful, original and very useful..keep in contact!
December 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbeatriz
How nice; I love using bits of fabric and other scraps for wrapping. My Grandma made Christmas cookies like that, too.
December 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbethgem
I just found your blog. It's lovely. The cookies look divine. I cannot wait to try the recipe, and I love the wrapping idea. Thanks!
January 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
Love the packaging! So bright and cheery!
January 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWhatever Dee-Dee Wants
This is a great idea! I want to try this. Thank you for the step by step guide. Your packaging is beautiful x
January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLewidoo
My grandma actually makes "Emerald Salad" -- I think it's a Betty Crocker thing. I have yet to actually taste it though.
January 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermeredith
I love the wrapping paper! I plan on wrapping everything this year in brown paper that my kids decorate, this is cute for all my tiny gifts! Thanks for teh idea and that delicious looking cookie recipe!
November 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz@LivingMySweetLife
Hi! Thank you for sharing with us this amazing projects!
I mentioned this post in my Italian Blog here:

If you want to visit us it will be an honour for us!

A big kiss,
December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLory

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