18 Dec2008


They look like something out of a Gourmet Magazine December cookie special photo shoot. Lined up on a diagonal are some 6 or 7 different cookies, as festive as the 200 year old, and massively heavy silver butler’s tray is stunning. And yes, you will often find this selection of cookies at Sister’s home during the holidays. She often bakes several hundred (over a thousand this year I hear) that she places in beautiful tins and sends to friends with fabulous apartments with kitchens larger than most New York City studios, but who wouldn’t dare mess up the carrara marble with flour and butter. Or other friends and relatives from around the U.S. that hope Sister is in a baking mood that year or else it’s Chips Ahoy to Bing Crosby on the CD player… Heeheehee, I jest of course. But imagine my incredible surprise and shock when sister sent several of her favorite cookie recipes and these wonderful photos (her son had to come over to take them, and please note, the different tablecloths, silverware, etc. from her vast collection) and said she was sharing them with all of Marketmanila’s readers! So Merry Christmas everyone from Sister in New York, she writes:


Cookies For Christmas

If you had to choose only one thing to bake for the holidays, choose a cookie. some years I make 13 different kinds for the Apostles, still including Judas, and other years I can barely manage one. So here are some of my recipes, tested through the years. My children’s favorite is the Ischler cookies, those we save for Christmas Eve, but the quintessential holiday cookie is of cours the sugar cookie, merry with colored sprinkles and shapes bound to delight the child in every one of us. Happy Baking!

From my kitchen to yours,



She continues with some tips for successful cookies:


Have at least three cookie sheets. Chill dough in the fridge. Have at least 2 cookie racks. Line with parchment paper or thin foil, can be re-used, but limit to one kind of cookie, then change. Use butter which should be still cool and malleable, but not spreadable or oily. Get unsalted if possible. Purchase the finest ingredients you can find, particularly butter (sister uses Plugra). Acquire several sized cookie scoops, 1″ and 1 1/4″ are the most useful-they will speed up cookie production and you will have the same sized cookies for even baking. Store cookies, each kind separately so flavors don’t migrate, in cans or plastic containers. Make cookies with children, they will long remember it. Follow cookie instructions (or Sister will show up at your door and thwack you silly)! Always make a test cookie before you chill the dough-take a tbsp of dough and flatten to 1/4″ and bake at 350F. Cool and taste. If it spreads too much add a couple more tbsp of flour to the dough. It it’s not sweet enough add a little sugar. If it’s too hard add a couple of tbsp. of softened butter. This is your chance to adjust the dough before you bake the rest of it.


Use margarine, it has an artificial taste. Be impatient, the chilling periods allow the flour to absorb the moisture. Add too much flour – cookies will be hard. Ask me about drop cookies for the holidays, those are for the lazy (can you tell MM and Sister possess the same genes?) even my chocolate chip cookies are portioned out with a scoop. Make cookies if you are rushed, choose a leisurely afternoon.

Let the cookie recipes begin…



  1. deirdregurl says:

    galing! you two definitely are peas of the same pod..
    the presentation was tastefully done. happy holidays everyone!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 11:41 am


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  3. anna banana says:

    whoa! those were great tips! I can’t wait for the recipes! Will also have a bit of baking marathon this holiday, am eagerly looking forward to trying at least one of your sister’s recipes!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 11:46 am

  4. Rico says:

    Can you feature the sugar cookies first? Please! We were supposed to give out cookies to friends for the holidays, and so my wife made a sample batch from a recipe in the Cookie Craft book. It didn’t turn out good. So we’re thinking of just buying cookies and bars at Classic Confections. But who knows? Your sister’s sugar cookie recipe might change her mind. Thanks!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 12:05 pm

  5. MarketFan says:

    A big, big thank you to Sister (now ours as well, not only MM’s)! I’m sure the recipes will be better than most because they have been tested over the years and the cookies look fabulous. Maligayang Pasko.

    And thank you MM, for sharing Sister with us.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 12:34 pm

  6. nina says:

    i’ll try your recipes…

    Dec 18, 2008 | 12:34 pm

  7. lyna says:

    thank you sister… from New York to Manila to Brunei.. The world is definitely getting smaller!!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 12:43 pm

  8. Lei says:

    a big thank you to sister. Can’t wait to read and actually use those recipes.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 12:44 pm

  9. tipat says:

    I love baking cookies! Merry Christmas to you, your family and your readers. And many thanks to Sister for generously sharing her cookie recipes. I can’t wait!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 1:19 pm

  10. Beng says:

    This is the best recipe tips that I ever, ever got, so far. :)

    Sister & MarketMan, you guys rock!!!

    I hope that 2008 has been a year of good health and great happiness for you all. I wish that your New Year will be filled with love, success and satisfaction in all that you do.

    A Very Merry Christmas to your and your families!
    God bless.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 1:40 pm

  11. Maricel says:

    Eagerly awaiting the recipes. Thank you Sister! God bless you for your generosity (seems to run through the genes). Merry Christmas to the MM Clan!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 2:13 pm

  12. det says:

    sister,can i send you my address?he,he,he.those cookies are sooooo yummy.thank you vey much for the tips.don`t know if ican bake some kasi be working christmas week.MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 2:16 pm


    thank you. merry xmas!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 2:26 pm

  14. Queen B says:

    Ooooo… those cookies look scrumptious! I can’t wait to see the recipes.. I might add some of those cookies to the gifts I’m planning to give to friends… if I can pull it off! Thank you very much for sharing!

    Happy Christmas to you and your families MM and sister!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 2:34 pm

  15. alicia says:

    Do I spy rugelach on that tray… my all-time, hands down favorite cookie!?!
    If so, I can’t wait to see sister’s recipe and process, mine come out a little more delicate than I would like.. if not, am still “with face pressed against screen” waiting for the other recipes!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 2:45 pm

  16. EbbaMyra says:

    thanks so much for sharing. Indeed Christmas is all about giving… God Bless You.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 3:00 pm

  17. ragamuffin girl says:

    beautiful sweets on a beautiful tray.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 3:01 pm

  18. noemi says:

    how sweet. As I am reading this entry and taking a break, I am baking Gingerbread cookies which should be out in a few minutes. It inspires me to bake more!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 3:42 pm

  19. titashi says:

    “Make cookies with children, they will long remember it” — this is the best cookie tip ever! thanks sister! i will bake with my nieces this Christmas : )

    Dec 18, 2008 | 3:50 pm

  20. mardie c",) says:

    daghang salamat for sharing. the presentation looks so cool!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 4:02 pm

  21. joyce says:

    sweet :)

    Dec 18, 2008 | 4:03 pm

  22. Alan says:

    Hi,MM and Sister!
    I am eagerly awaiting those recipes. Can you include some recipes that can be done in the toaster oven? Our oven is on the fritz, so I can’t use it. Thanks!!! For those of you who can’t bake as well, try making polvoron instead to give away.

    Happy Holidays to all!!!!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 4:12 pm

  23. millet says:

    whoaa! you are mrs. claus personified, sister! that’s a major baking career you have there!

    many thanks for sharing, and merry christmas to you and your family, sister!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 4:20 pm

  24. Mimi says:

    Sister, Thank You so much for the Christmas Gift! I will try them out as soon as MM has posted them. Wishing you a cozy, warm and toasty holiday! From here in sunny Singapore.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 4:24 pm

  25. mojito drinker says:

    thank you so much mm and mm’s sister! looking forward to trying out the cookies…

    Dec 18, 2008 | 4:39 pm

  26. mojito drinker says:

    re: baking with kids, it’s true! i have fond memories of baking cookies with my cousins during the many sleepovers we had while growing up.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 5:21 pm

  27. Gina says:

    What a coincidence. I had just read this article in The New York Times about the crucial role butter plays in cookie-making. I once used melted butter and, predictably, the results were disastrous. Here’s the article:

    Dec 18, 2008 | 6:04 pm

  28. Maki says:

    I miss my cousin who cooks cookies.. T___T she’s working in Dubai now…

    I will just buy cookies from the store…

    Dec 18, 2008 | 6:45 pm

  29. sister says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of MM’s readers. Thank you for all your good wishes and kind comments. It is very heartwarming to be part of a community of foodies.
    Yes, Alicia, there’s rugulach on the platter, I’ll send the recipe to MM. We’re the only ones in a building with 30 tenants who puts up a Christmas tree- we just wrestled a ten foot Fraser fir into the apt. last night. Over the years my rugulach has been taste tested and approved by a panel of very discerning neighbors who shop in the best stores and I definitely think it deserves a spot on the cookie list.
    Alan, get that oven fixed, a toaster oven eats up a huge amount of electricity. You can bake any of the cookie recipes in a toaster oven but you could be doing it forever as you probably can only bake 6 cookies on a toaster tray. Good luck. Cut the recipes in half.
    Happy Baking!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 6:47 pm

  30. marissewalangkaparis says:

    I salute your parents for raising fine children like you…you definitely come from the same pod. Good trees bear good fruit!!

    I look forward to your wonderful cookie recipes. You are to me—wonderful family!! God bless you dearly!!!
    You make us so happy just by sharing your talents in cooking and baking. Sigh..

    Dec 18, 2008 | 7:42 pm

  31. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Out of topic. BTW,got my little brown book MM yesterday!! Thanks for the heads up!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 7:44 pm

  32. Jun says:

    What else I can say? Thank you sister for passing the generation of goodies to us. We wish you and your family Good health and happiness for many many years to come!!!!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 8:36 pm

  33. kitkathie says:

    Yummy!!!…MM & Sis, thanks for the tips!!! I’m imagining if the there’s a 3D computer where I can put my fingers inside the computer and get the chance to taste the cookies…hehehe Yultide Cheers and God Bless!!!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 9:04 pm

  34. Rebecca says:

    From one New Yorker to another- thanks Sister! Very much looking forward to trying your cookie recipes. :)

    Dec 18, 2008 | 9:17 pm

  35. zena says:

    This is very exciting. I’m always on the lookout for great cookies but I can not test every recipe that I like else I’d be like the Pilsbury doughboy. Sister’s are kitchen- and neighbour-tested which means we know they have been perfected. Thank you for sharing. =) I am still on my quest for the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie that I can make.

    Dec 18, 2008 | 10:02 pm

  36. Jun says:

    To Marketman, Mrs MM, Teen and Crew,

    Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon. May you all have good health and energy so that you can all continue to enjoy God’s gift to mankind….Which is nature, good life and FOOD!!!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 10:26 pm

  37. kate says:

    these are all too beautiful to eat :) thank you for sharing :) Merry Christmas to you, MM and family!

    Dec 18, 2008 | 10:53 pm

  38. betty q. says:

    Very much appreciated, Sister! How I really wish you were my Ate, too!

    Mga Mrs. you know how you can end up with 10 different kinds cookies to taste…though you only made 1 kind? After you have mastered making one kind of cookie, call 10 of your friends and have a COOKIE EXCHANGE PARTY! Each lady brings 1 kind ..now dependiing on how many shows up, can be up to 6 dozens cookies she’ll bring. So the more people show up, the more different kinds of cookies you can bring home to eat ! Of course, you have to let each other know what cookie they will bring or you might end up with 10 dozens Spritz Cookie!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 1:17 am

  39. betty q. says:

    Hey Jun…did you receive my e-mail? I think i got the address right for it did not bounce back!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 1:58 am

  40. Sandy says:

    Beautiful! and I love the presentation–so elegant! Thank you to Sister and MM and Happy Holidays!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 4:02 am

  41. Avic says:

    Now i really have to get that oven pronto!!! Yummy cookies . . . sigh . . .

    Dec 19, 2008 | 5:25 am

  42. Maria Clara says:

    Sister, your cookie plating is just remarkable. Thank you so much for your unselfish sharing of your recipes. I consider myself a permanent resident of this quarter – where we all share the same passion and intuitiveness for food and all good stuff existing on the face of the earth. You, Bettyq, MM and my peers never-ending input contributes to the great success of this blog becomes an integral part of my life. This is the joy of blogging is all about. Thank you, thank you to each and everyone.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 6:10 am

  43. maria says:

    thank you sister and thank you mm for sharing your family and friends to your blog fans. it means a lot to us.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 6:23 am

  44. rose says:

    thank you sister for sharing your recipes….i will try them today.hope it turns out ok.thank you, thank you! merry merry christmas.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 7:08 am

  45. bluegirl says:

    Thank you Sister for your generosity. This is a wonderful Christmas gift! Happy Holidays!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 7:25 am

  46. Jun says:

    hi betty q, Thank you very much and merry christmas!!!! Wishing you and your family the best. I got 3 weeks of vacation so you and sister’s recipe will be my holiday task together with my wife and daughter. It will be fun !!!

    Once again thanks MM, Betty Q and Sister for feeding us all the good stuff!

    Dec 19, 2008 | 9:35 am

  47. Guia says:

    Dear Sister, MM & family,
    Maraming salamat po for your kind graciousness, sharing family recipes with open hearts. The world is a better place because of you. Maligayang Pasko at manigong bagong taon sa inyo. Peace, joy, health, good jobs, safety, and God’s graces and blessings to you and all.

    Dec 19, 2008 | 10:02 am

  48. san says:

    Wow…like all the others…I can not wait to see the recipes and try them out…rugelach is my favorite, too. Thank you so so much!

    Dec 20, 2008 | 6:08 am

  49. betty q. says:

    Zena…I am assuming you have tried the chocolate chip recipe MM posted, no?

    What texture are you looking for?…taste? appearance? Have you tried the one using finely ground oatmeal together with the flour?…Let me know if you don’t have it. I will go look in my Tupperware…

    Dec 20, 2008 | 7:23 am


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