Baking with Love: #SpicyChat Holiday Cookies – Sweet, Spicy, & Sublime!

Happy December friends, the sweetest month of the year. We are smack in the middle of cookie season and ovens across the borders are busy baking up a storm. From classic iced sugar cookies to decadent layered Italian rainbow cookies, we all have our favorite cookies to share with our family and friends. #Spicychat is sharing recipes that are tried, tested, and adored by all for the entire month of December until New Year’s eve. I am starting this season with simple but utterly decadent Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies and Gingerbread Cupcakes/Muffins.

Since it’s the season for giving!! This Holiday Season #spicychat is combining our talents with the inspiring #gardenchat community (admin – Brenda Haas of BG_Garden)  to host an extra special virtual cookie party to share with your loved ones. Please join us TONIGHT at 8 PM EDT for our Cyber Cookie Party. More the merrier, so make sure to share this invitation with your family and friends.

R.S.V.P: Tweet ” I am Attending #GardenChat #SpicyChat Cookie Party this Thursday on Twitter”


Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

These simple and easy to make cookies are brimming with buttery goodness. You have been warned, you won’t be stopping at one….If hazelnuts are hard to find, feel free to substitute with cashew nuts or pecans. Personally, I like them straight out of the oven, warm and melting in your mouth. For that extra indulgence, dip them in dark chocolate and chopped hazelnuts for that extra crunch.



  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely ground husked toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces high-quality milk chocolate
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped husked toasted hazelnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add 1/2 finely ground hazelnuts and vanilla essence. Stir to combine.
  4. Gently add the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Roll the dough and cut into shapes as per desired. Bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes till light golden brown.
  6. Cool completely. Dip in melted chocolate and coat with chopped hazelnuts if desired.



Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing

Now how can we have a #spicychat post without something spicy. My family does love their holiday cookies, but they also crave some spice. This one is for all you spicy lovers out there, candied ginger cupcakes with orange: spicy, sweet, and utterly moist. I usually serve them for brunch since they taste like muffins too. You can even omit the frosting and bake them in a loaf pan to make gingerbread loaf.



  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or cardamom
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup minced dried crystallized ginger

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sieved or more to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Bring the rum and raisins to a boil, turn off the heat.
  3. Melt the butter and molasses until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and allow it to cool. Stir in the sour cream, orange zest, and extract.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and all spices. Mix gently with the molasses mixture until smooth. Drain the raisins and add it to the mixture with candied ginger.
  5. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 25 minutes in a muffin pan lined with paper.
  6. To make the frosting, stir the cream cheese, butter, orange zest, and extract until smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar to combine.
  7. For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter, orange zest and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
  8. When the cupcakes are cool, frost them generously and serve immediately.


For more delicious inspirations, join us tonight on Twitter at 8 PM EDT for our 2012 Virtual Cookie Party. RSVP: Tweet ” I am Attending #GardenChat #SpicyChat Cookie Party this Thursday on Twitter”

Join Us Every Thursday at 8 PM EDT for #SpicyChat Twitter Chat to bring some spice in your lives! We Love to share ALL recipes. Simply add the #Spicychat hashtag to your link, we will RT and also add your recipes to our Pinterest Board. For more spicy inspirations, join our #SpicyChat FB Page.

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