Top 3 Butler County-made cookie recipes that home bakers need to try

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

So many cookies were excellent in this year’s Journal-News Holiday Cookie Contest that the judges had trouble picking just one winner.

Gina Allen of Hamilton and Sandie Kelly of Middletown tied for first place with their entries of Vermont Maple White Chocolate Chip and Pecans Cookies and Milk Chocolate Florentine Sandwich Cookies.

Allen has made a habit of bringing in cookies to her coworkers at the Transportation Department at Hamilton City Schools, with some help from home.

“My husband is my best judge,” she said. “He will always tell me the absolute truth.”

Kelly entered a cookie contest for the first time, and she used a recipe that produces cookies she usually can’t keep in stock.

“My family eats them up.” she said.


• 2017 contest

• 2016 contest

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Vermont Maple White Chocolate Chip and Pecans Cookies

Tied for first place by Gina Allen of Hamilton

Prep: 20 minutes

Bake: 10 minutes/batch and cooling

Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies


1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. maple flavoring

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups while chocolate chips

1 cup pecan pieces

Maple Glaze:

1/3 cup butter

1 3/4 cup confectioner sugar

1/3 cup real maple syrup

1/4 tsp. maple flavoring

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and maple flavoring. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in white chocolate chips and pecan pieces. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. (I use parchment paper.) Bake for 10-12 minutes till golden brown (I like mine to come out at 9 minutes.) Cool on pans for 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For glaze, in a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Gradually beat in the confectioner sugar, syrup and maple flavoring until smooth. Drizzle over cookie. Let glaze set and dry completely. Store between pieces of waxed paper or parchment in airtight containers.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Milk Chocolate Florentine Sandwich Cookies

Tied for first place by Sandie Kelly of Middletown

2/3 cup butter

2 cups quick oats, uncooked

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1 package (2 cups) milk chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix well. Drop by level measuring teaspoons full, about 3 inches apart onto quick release foil lines cookie sheets. Roll each into small balls and flatten, but not thin. Bake 5-7 minutes. Cool and remove cookies from foil.

For filling: Melt over hot (not boiling) water, milk chocolate morsels. Stir until smooth. Spread chocolate on the one flat side of cookie. Match up with the same size cookie and place on top. Makes 3 1/2 doz. sandwich cookies.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Peppermint Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Second place, by Rachel Houser of Oxford

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup salted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 beaten egg

1 tsp. peppermint extract

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal

1/2 cup Rice Krispies

2 cups flour

1/2 cup of chopped pecans (measure after chopping)

1/2 cup of chopped peppermint candies (measure after chopping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take sugar and brown sugar in mixer and mix together until it’s really light brown sugar. Add the butter to the mixing bowl. Mix until it’s smooth. Pour in vegetable oil and egg. Mix it at slow speed. Add the oatmeal and Rice Krispies. Mix thoroughly. Add 2 cups of flour to your bowl in 1/2 cup increments. Mixing after each addition. Take the bowl from the mixer, give it another stir with a spoon, and mix in pecans and peppermint candies by hand.With your hands or small ice cream scoop, roll dough balls approximately 1-inch in diameter and place them on the cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling.

Other recipes included:

Mom’s Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Butter Almond Icing

Gina Allen, Hamilton

Prep: 20-25 minutes

Bake 12 minutes

Makes a bunch - depends on size of cutters


1 cup Crisco

4 cups self-rising flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla

5-6 Tbs. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl, blend together Crisco, sugar, eggs and vanilla until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the creamed mixture alternating with milk. Mix until you have a consistent cookie dough. Sprinkle small amount of flour on counter or table so that the dough does not stick to surface. Roll out and cut with your favorite cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Cookies will rise when baking. Remove cookies from cookie sheet. Allowing to cool completely. Frost with the butter almond frosting recipe.

Butter Almond Icing

2/3 cup Crisco

2 tsp. vanilla

2 lbs. powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 tsp. almond

3.5 Tbs. milk

Cream together Crisco, butter, vanilla and almond until fluffy. Work in the powdered sugar, alternating with the milk. Add milk as needed for the right consistency to spread the icing. You may wish to add a few drops of food coloring to the icing to make different colored icing. Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar.

Tips: Double the cookie dough recipe and make the icing recipe as stated. This is enough icing to do a double batch of the cookie recipe. The icing will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Little Gems/Orange Drop Cookies

Karen Gregosky, Middletown

1/2 cup butter

1 3-oz. package cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioner sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp. orange rind

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 6-oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Cream together butter, cream cheese and confectioner sugar. Add eggs, orange rind, and vanilla. Mix in flour and chocolate chips. Lightly grease baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Lightly sprinkle with confectioner sugar after cooled on wire rack.

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Billie Jo Abrams, Hamilton

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats


2 cups confectioner sugar

2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature

1 7-oz. marshmallow fluff

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add egg, butter and vanilla and mix with hand mixer till well blended. Stir in oats. Roll cookies into tablespoons size balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes on a slightly greased cookie sheet until edges are lightly brown. Cool completely. While cookies are cooling, mix all filing ingredients together with a hand mixer for 3 minutes or until completely mixed. When cookies are cooled, place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on one cookie and top with another cookie.

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