Benchmark Blog

A Sweet Surprise for the Holidays

Dec 20, 2022
Benchmark Blog

Holiday Cookie Recipes

The leadership of Benchmark Human Services is thrilled to share their favorite cookie recipes for the winter season. Happy Holidays and Merry Baking!

Doug’s Scotch Shortbread

From Doug Beebe, Benchmark President

“I’ll always go back for seconds on these cookies… maybe thirds.”


1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
1/4 C Powdered Sugar
1/4 C Sugar
1/4 t Salt
1 1/2 C Flour


Preheat oven to 300°.
Beat the butter, powdered sugar, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
Stir in the flour.
Lightly knead until blended. press the dough evenly into an ungreased 8-inch square pan (or a rectangular short bread mold). Pierce the dough deeply all over in a decorative fashion. If desired, sprinkle with 1-2 teaspoons of additional sugar.
Bake until the shortbread is lightly browned and darker at the edges, about 45-50 minutes.
Immediately cut into bars while still warm, then cool.

Karen’s Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

From Karen Shollenberger, Vice President
Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

“I love these cookies because the oatmeal and cranberries add some chewiness and fiber, which leads you to believe that they aren’t so bad for you! The white chocolate completes the cookie.”


2/3 C Butter, softened
2/3 C Brown Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 1/2 C Old-Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 C Flour
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1 package (6 oz.) Dried Cranberries
2/3 C White Chocolate Chunks or Chips


Preheat oven to 375°.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, mixing well.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture by quarter.
Stir in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.
Drop by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on wire rack and serve.

Margie’s Wheaties Balls

From Margie Cantey, Chief Compliance Officer

“Here is my mom’s recipe for Wheaties Balls. It’s simple, but these little things are so good! They’re best after they’re chilled in the fridge.”


1/3 C Peanut Butter
1/3 C Powdered Non-Fat Milk
1/3 + 1 1/2 C crushed Wheaties Cereal, divided
2 T Honey, more as needed


Combine peanut butter, powdered milk, 1/3 cup of crushed Wheaties and honey, mix well.
Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball using your hands.
Roll the balls through the remaining 1 1/2 cup of crushed Wheaties.
Chill in the fridge and enjoy!

Jeff’s No Bake Cookies

From Jeff Frady, Vice President

“What could be better than chocolate and peanut butter?”


2 C Sugar
1/4 C Cocoa Powder
1/2 C Milk
1/2 C Salted Butter
3 C Quick Cook Oats
1/2 C Peanut Butter
1/2 t Vanilla


Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, milk, and butter in a heavy saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a full boil. Stop stirring and let boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat and quickly add the oats, peanut butter, and vanilla.
Mix well and drop by tablespoon onto parchment paper.
Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Rick’s Monster Cookies

From Rick Adams, Vice PresidentRick Adams

“You could call these Krampus Kookies, but they aren’t quite as scary.”


3 Eggs
1 C Sugar
1 C Brown Sugar
1 T Vanilla
1 T white Karo Syrup
2 t Baking Soda
1 stick of Margarine, softened
1 jar (18 oz.) Creamy Peanut Butter
4 1/2 C Quick Cooking Oatmeal
3/4 C Flour
8 oz. Chocolate Chips
8 oz. Mini M&Ms


Preheat oven to 350°.
Cream together the eggs and sugars.
Add in the vanilla, Karo syrup, baking soda, margarine, and peanut butter and beat well.
Beat in the flour.
Stir in the oats followed by the chocolate chips and M&Ms.
Drop by tablespoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Anne’s Snickerdoodles

From Anne Titus, Vice President

“My grandma and I used to make snickerdoodles on Christmas eve. Such wonderful memories with her.”


Topping (mix and set aside)

5 T Sugar
1 T Cinnamon


3 1/2 C Flour
2 t Baking Powder
3 t Baking Soda
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Cinnamon
1/4 t Nutmeg
1 C Butter Flavored Shortening
1 1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Dark Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 T Dark Corn Syrup
3 1/2 T Vanilla


Preheat oven to 375°.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream the shortening and both sugars together.
Add eggs, syrup, and vanilla to butter mixture and combine.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until combined.
For best results, chill dough for a few hours.
Form dough into large balls, about two generous tablespoons. Roll dough balls in the cinnamon/sugar topping until thoroughly coated and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie slightly with a spatula to ensure even cooking.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Ragna’s Sugar Cookies

From Ragna Urberg, Corporate Counsel

“I love a good old fashioned frosted sugar cookie! Simple, and it feels like home.”



2 1/2 C Powdered Sugar
1/4 t Kosher Salt
~1/3 Heavy Cream
1 t Vanilla

Cookie Dough

2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
1 C Sugar
2 t Baking Powder
1 1/4 t Kosher Salt
2 large Egg Whites
2 T Heavy Cream
2 t Vanilla
2 3/4 C Cake Flour

Assorted food coloring, nonpareils, and sprinkles, for decorating (optional)


For the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine powdered sugar, salt, half of the cream, and vanilla. Mix at low speed to moisten, then increase speed to medium and beat until creamy and soft, about 5 minutes, adding some of the remailing cream as necessary to create a smooth, spreadable texture. Spread among separate small bowls to color as desired with gel paste. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature, up to 24 hours.
For the Cookie Dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°. Using the same bowl and paddle attachment used for frosting (no need to clean), combine the butter, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix at low speed to moisten, then increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, pale ivory, and soft, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk egg whites, cream, and vanilla in a glass measuring cup until combined. With the mixer still running, add the liquid in 4 or 5 additions, pausing to scrape the bowl and beater about halfway through. Decrease mixer to low speed, sprinkle in cake flour, and continue mixing to form a soft dough. Fold batter once or twice with a flexible spatula to make sure it’s well mixed from the bottom up.
Using a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, divide dough into 24 level portions and carefully drop onto 2 parchment-lined aluminum baking pans, leaving 2 ½ inches between each dough ball. Bake until puffed and pale overall, but just barely golden around the very edges, about 15 minutes. Cool directly on sheet pans until no trace of warmth remains, about 15 minutes longer.
To Finish: Working with one at a time, dollop a shy tablespoon of frosting over each cookie, spread into an even layer with a palette knife or butter knife, and top with sprinkles, if desired. Repeat with remaining cookies and enjoy immediately. Let remaining cookies stand at room temperature until frosting forms a crust, then transfer to an airtight container with a sheet of wax paper between each layer. Store up to 3 days at room temperature.

David’s Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

From David Ross, Chief Operating Officer

“These will always remind me of Christmas as a child.”


2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
1 C Light Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 C Sugar
1 large Egg + 1 large Egg Yolk
1 T Vanilla
2 C Flour
1 C Rolled Oats, old-fashioned or quick-cooking
1 t Baking Powder
1 t Baking Soda
1 t Kosher Salt or 3/4 t Table Salt
3 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips


Preheat the oven to 325°. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and then add to the butter mixture.
Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ between the cookies.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.
Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to wire racks to cool.

Jeff’s Jam-Filled Cream Cheese Thumbprint Cookies

From Jeff Harris, Vice President

“The first thing I reach for on the cookie tray is always thumbprint cookies. Easy to switch up the flavors with different jams.”


2 1/2 C Flour
1 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Salt
1/2 C Unsalted Butter, softened
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 C Sugar
2 large Eggs
1 t Vanilla
1/3 – 1/2 C Jam or Fruit Preserves
Powdered Sugar (optional)


Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, incorporating just until combined.
Chill the dough for an hour or up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
Using about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared pans.
Make an indentation in the middle of each cookie, using your thumb or a small measuring spoon.
Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam. If your kitchen is warm, place the pans in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
Bake one pan at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
Place the pans on wire racks and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies from the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
If desired, sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar before serving.

Kim’s Corn Flake Holiday Wreaths

From Kim Galaviz, Chief Nursing Officer

Here is one of my favorites that my grandma always made for us kids at Christmas time!


1/3 C Margarine
1 package (10 oz.) Marshmallows
1 t Green Food Coloring
6 C Corn Flake Cereal
Red Cinnamon Candies such as Red Hots
String Licorice
Cooking Spray


In a large pot, melt the margarine over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in green food coloring.
Add the corn flake cereal and stir until well coated.
Using a 1/4 cup dry measure coated with cooking spray, evenly portion the warm cereal mixture on parchment lined treys. Using fingers sprayed with cooking spray, quickly shape each quarter cup of mixture into individual wreath shapes.
Dot with cinnamon candies and place a red string licorice bow.
All wreaths to cool completely and firm up, then transfer to an airtight container with wax paper between layers.

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