Three seasons have come and gone here in the Blue Ridge mountains of Asheville, NC, and as winter settles in, it brings with it one of the most special times of year. 

As the holidays draw near, Montford and our bed and breakfast come to life. Twinkling lights illuminate the trees and streets, garland and holly line the windows of the inn, familiar jingles float through the air, and the sweet smell of homemade cookies waft through the kitchen.

With a wave of her whisk and an apron in tow, Shawnie transforms the inn into a place of cookie baking magic — pouring a little love, a lot of cheer, and a special sprinkle of sugar into each holiday treat. 

If you’re coming to stay with us, we invite you to help yourself to some of these homemade holiday favorites. And if you’re baking one of these recipes at home, we hope you enjoy having a little piece of the Inn on Montford with you as you pass a plate of cookies around your own family table. From our kitchen to you and yours — wherever you may be — we look forward to celebrating this holiday season with you.

After all, life’s most precious moments should be savored — with a little sweet treat to share. 

 

Oma’s Austrian Vanillekipferl

A sweet, Austrian classic. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup ground hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts (60g)
  • ¼ cup granulated white sugar (50g)
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 3 vanilla beans or for each vanilla bean, use ½ tsp of vanilla paste 
  • ½ cup powdered sugar sifted 

Instructions:

  • In a big bowl, combine egg yolks, ground nuts, sugar, flour, butter, and 2 vanilla beans* and mix with a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-low speed until the dough comes together. 
  • Knead a few times with your hand. 
  • Form to a hot dog shape and wrap in plastic. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour or overnight. 
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside. 
  • Cut dough in half lengthwise and put one half back in the fridge until you’re done with the first batch. 
  • Roll dough on a well-floured surface into a rope and cut into walnut-sized pieces. Roll pieces quickly with your fingers on a well-floured surface into small ropes with a bit thinner edges and a bit thicker middle part and form crescents. 
  • Place on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes until they look pale, puffed, and dry. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with second half of dough. 
  • Mix sifted powdered sugar and 1 vanilla bean* in a small bowl until well combined. Sift vanilla sugar on top of both sides of the Vanillekipferl. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week. 

 

A note from Shawnie: *First, cut off the straight end of the vanilla bean. Then place the tip of your sharp knife below the curled end and cut the vanilla bean through the middle of the bean lengthwise. Although you don’t need to cut it all the way through, it’s ok if you do. Then open the vanilla bean and scrape out the flavorful seeds with the back of your knife. Just use the seeds.

 

This Austrian Vanillekipferl recipe is authentic (Willy’s family are Austrian) and fully translated into English and adapted to US measurements. They are just loaded with nut and vanilla flavor. These cookies are the Gruber family FAVORITE …Time, Space, and Dimension!

 

Andes Mint Chocolate Chip

The perfect after dinner treat for that nagging sweet tooth.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. mint extract
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1 bag Andes crushed mint chips
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. 
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, and mint extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add the Andes mints and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. 
  • Bake for 8 minutes — gently flatten and then bake for another 6 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. 

 

A note from Shawnie: Butter should be softened only, put in mixer and blended for a couple of minutes till creamy. Eggs should be room temperature. I warm up the eggs in a bowl of warm water to speed up this process. They mix better with all the ingredients. Whenever possible, refrigerate your dough for a couple of hours (longer if possible) before scooping. The cookies will hold their shape better. Use a scoop #30 (1.25 oz) Ice Cream Scoop – Black Handle – your cookies will all be uniformly done.

 

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Cinnamon swirls made to warm up your palate. 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar 
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 2 large eggs

Topping Ingredients: 

  • 8 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a small bowl. 
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until creamy. 
  • Add eggs, one at a time, breathing well after each addition. 
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  • Drop by rounded scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets. 
  • Bake for 8 minutes — gently flatten and then bake for another 6 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. 

 

A note from Shawnie: Butter should be softened only, put in mixer and blended for a couple of minutes until creamy. Eggs should be room temperature. I warm up the eggs in a bowl of warm water to speed up this process. They mix better with all the ingredients. Whenever possible refrigerate your dough for a couple of hours (longer if possible) before scooping. The cookies will hold their shape better. Use a scoop #30 (1.25 oz) Ice Cream Scoop – Black Handle – your cookies will all be uniformly done.

 

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut with Coconut Cookies

Sail away to Hawaiian paradise with one bite. 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or the same amount of Pamela’s Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
  • ¾ of bag of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. 
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy. 
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
  • Stir in morsels, coconut, and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Pan Cookie Variation Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  • Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
  • Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. 
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. 
  • Makes 4 dozen bars.

Slice and Bake Cookie Variation Directions:

  • Prepare dough as above. 
  • Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* 
  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

For High Altitude Baking (5,200 feet):

  • Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17. 

 

Reeses Chip Cookies

Smooth. Sweet. Decadently delicious. 

Ingredients:  

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour or the same amount of Pamela’s Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup (1 -½ sticks) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 bag of Reese’s mini peanut butter cups, halved 

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Mix butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy. 
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  • Stir in the chips and the mini reeses. 
  • Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets. 
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, move to wire racks to cool completely. 

A note from Shawnie: Butter should be softened only, put in mixer and blended for a couple of minutes until creamy. Eggs should be room temperature. I warm up the eggs in a bowl of warm water to speed up this process. They mix better with all the ingredients. Whenever possible refrigerate your dough for a couple of hours (longer if possible) before scooping. The cookies will hold their shape better. Use a scoop #30 (1.25 oz) Ice Cream Scoop – Black Handle – your cookies will all be uniformly done.

 

Molasses Ginger Cookies

A winter treat with a subtle hint of spice to warm the senses. 

Ingredients:

  • 6 ¾ cups all-purpose flour or the same amount of Pamela’s Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 lb ( 4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cup packed brown sugar (dark brown preferred)
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ¾ cup crystallized ginger finely chopped (optional and to taste)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl set aside.
  • Mix butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time.
  • Mix molasses and warm water together and set aside.
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in the crystallized ginger (if you like). Dough will be crumbly looking, add Molasses and warm water to mixture while mixing dough.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Refrigerate Dough overnight.
  • Scoop dough into round balls and roll in cinnamon sugar onto parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. This recipe makes 5 dozen cookies!

 

A note from Shawnie: One of the best compliments I’ve ever received about a cookie was when a guest took a bite of this cookie and said it took her back to being 5 years old at her grandmother’s again. 

 

Butter should be softened only, put in a mixer and blended for a couple of minutes until creamy. Eggs should be room temperature. I warm up the eggs in a bowl of warm water to speed up this process. They mix better with all the ingredients. Whenever possible refrigerate your dough for a couple of hours (longer if possible) before scooping. The cookies will hold their shape better.

 

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