Taste of Franklin — Something sweet to eat

Franklin Living November-December 2022

Whether attending a cookie swap, creating goodies for friends and neighbors or preparing for Santa’s imminent arrival, cookies are bound to be on the menu at some point this season. While the classic chocolate chip is always an option, Amy McCollum has a festive selection of recipes to choose from that might help you whip up a new sweet treat for your holiday table – or else revive a long-forgotten favorite. It’s baking season in Franklin County.

Santa’s Red Coat Cookies
AKA: Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies
I am sure Santa would love these left out for him on Christmas Eve!


1/2 cup vegetable oil   

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt   

2 eggs   

15.25 oz. box of red velvet cake mix   

3/4 cup white chocolate chips   


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together oil, salt and eggs until well combined.
  3. Add the cake mix and mix until fully combined, about 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips.   
  4. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  5. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Portion out heaping tablespoons of dough and roll them in your hands to form round balls.
  7. Place the balls about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. The cookies will spread out considerably, so it’s important to leave plenty of space.
  8. Extra chips – To make your cookies look even prettier, after scooping the dough onto the baking sheets, lightly press a couple extra chocolate chips on top.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown slightly.
  10. 1Allow the cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Pecan Snowball Cookies


2 cups finely chopped pecans

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar for coating


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place chopped pecans in a 9×13-inch metal baking dish. Roast in the oven until the pecans are lightly toasted, 6-8 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
  4. Add vanilla extract and salt; beat to combine.
  5. Add flour and cooled toasted pecans and mix on low until thoroughly combined.   
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Scoop and shape dough into 1-inch balls, pressing the dough in your hands. The dough will be very crumbly, so you will be pressing the dough balls into spheres instead of rolling them between your palms.
  8. Place cookies a 1/2-inch apart on baking sheets.
  9. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
  10. Allow cookies to cool until just cool enough to handle but still quite warm. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar, putting the cookie back on the baking sheet after it’s coated in sugar. Allow cookies to cool completely before rolling them in powdered sugar again and then serving or storing in an airtight container.

Buddy the Elf Christmas Cookies
If you have seen the Christmas movie “Elf,” you know Buddy loved candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. He loved to add these to his food – especially his spaghetti. Here is a cookie that represents all the things Buddy loved. I think these cookies would the great to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve to take back to his elves – after all, they do all the hard work of making all the toys!


12-oz. package of white almond bark

3 cups crispy chow mein noodles

1/2 cup marshmallow bits

1 cup M&M’s

1 cup Christmas edition “candy corn”

Rainbow sprinkles

Chocolate syrup


  1. Melt white chocolate in 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between, until melted, about 2-5 minutes.
  2. Pour melted chocolate into a large bowl and toss the chow mein noodles until well coated.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  4. Place candy corn, M&M’s and marshmallow bits on each cookie.
  5. Sprinkle each with rainbow nonpareils/sprinkles.
  6. Drizzle chocolate syrup over each one.
  7. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies


1 stick salted butter, softened at room temperature

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)

2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. self-rising flour

Decorations: 40 mini pretzels, 40 semisweet chocolate chips and 20 red or brown M&M’s


  1. Start by placing your softened butter in a large mixing bowl and cream together with the creamy peanut butter using an electric mixer.
  2. Add in both sugars and mix together until creamy.
  3. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Next, begin adding in your flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated and cookie dough has formed.
  5. Cover cookie dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours or overnight to chill.
  6. Remove chilled cookie dough from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, form cookie dough balls. Roll each ball until smooth and pinch the sides to form an hourglass shape.
  8. Press down slightly on the top of each cookie with the palm of your hand and place, spaced evenly, on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Gently place the chocolate chips for eyes, pretzels for the antlers and brown or red M&M’s for the nose.
  10. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until the bottoms are lightly golden brown. Do not overcook. This will cause the “eyes and nose” to melt. Be sure to not use chocolate-covered pretzels or milk chocolate chips, as they will melt.
  11. Once fully baked, remove cookies from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Option: You can use Red Hots or similar for the nose and candy eyes in place of chocolate chips. Also, if you do not have time to make your own cookie dough, you can make these with slice and bake pre-packaged dough. 

Naughty Coal Cookies
Yields three dozen cookies


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups black cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed sheet pan with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, then set off to the side.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the butter and sugars on low to medium-low until combined.
  5. Add one egg at a time and mix after each addition.
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl before gradually adding the dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add in the chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.
  8. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, place rounded dough onto prepared sheet pan.
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes. If still soft after 8 minutes, bake for 1-minute increments.
  10. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Yields approximately three dozen cookies


2 cups sugar

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup real butter

1/2 cup milk

2 1/2 cups quick oats

3/4 cup peanut butter

2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a heavy sauce pan. Stir well.    
  2. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in oats, peanut butter and vanilla.
  4. Drop cookie mixture by heaping teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper.
  5. Cool thoroughly.

Mrs. Claus’ Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies have been around for years and are said to be one of Santa’s top favorites. You can make them with any flavor of jam; I have used raspberry!


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup assorted jams, for filling cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about three minutes.
  5. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  6. Add dry ingredients in two batches until incorporated.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop 1-inch balls onto prepared baking sheets.
  8. Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about half an inch deep.
  9. Fill indentation with a small spoonful of jam.
  10. Bake until edges of cookies are golden, 13-14 minutes. Cool on baking sheets before serving.

Tea Cakes


3 cups self-rising flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick of margarine, melted

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake approximately 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove immediately from pan and allow to cool.

Photos and recipes by AMY DOLAN MCCOLLUM


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