It’s hard not to love a cookie that does it all. Big, buttery flavor? Easy to make? Lots of flavor variations? Stores well? A large yield — from a small pan? Classic Vanilla Shortbread, our newest Baking Together recipe from Abby Dodge, checks all the boxes. I made a batch weekend before last and stowed most in the freezer. We’ve been nibbling away at them, though, so I’m planning to make another round – either lemon or ginger this time. Or maybe coffee or chocolate chip?

With December flying by, it’s time to get serious about cookie baking. How many will we have time to bake – and which ones will they be? Setting priorities isn’t easy.

Susie Middleton

At the top of my list has to be Holiday Cut-Out Cookies. It’s a nostalgia thing with me, because my mother made them every year, and my best friend and I sat for hours decorating them. My recipe has a little orange zest and vanilla in it, flavors that zip up the sugar cookie dough.

Susie Middleton

If your decorating skills are a little better than mine (or even if they’re not), you could consider making these spicy Gingerbread Cutout Cookies from Ann DeWitt. By the way, Ann is teaching a cookie decorating class this weekend at The FARM Institute - find the information at the end of this newsletter.

Susie Middleton

But say you want to make something completely adorable – with no icing or messy decorations required? Jane McTeigue’s delicious and whimsical Gingerbread Buttons are just the thing.

Susie Middleton

You can pick from two kinds of oatmeal cookies – Bakeshop Oatmeal Cookies with Add-Ins or Chewy Oatmeal, Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Susie Middleton

I always want a chocolate cookie in the mix. For me that will be these Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. But if I were making cookie boxes to give away, I’d also make Abby Dodge’s Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Fudge Brownies and cut them into small bites.

Susie Middleton

Vineyard Salted Cranberry Bars are another great addition to the cookie box.


Hanukkah Menu Ideas

With Hanukkah starting tomorrow night, you could work backwards on your menus and make Cathy Barrow’s delicious Rugelach first.

Susie Middleton

And then pick and choose recipes for starters, mains and sides from our Hanukkah menu suggestions.




Susie Middleton

Larry's Latkes

Veggie Pancakes



Susie Middleton


Braised Short Ribs with Ginger, Coriander and Apricots  

Spanish Pot Roast

Braised Lamb Shanks, Hunters’ Style

Casablanca Chicken


Sides and Salads

Susie Middleton


Roasted Root Vegetables with Ginger Batons

Warm Wheat Berries with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Toasted Walnuts, and Dried Cranberries

Herbed Barley Salad with Dates, Pomegranates, Walnuts and Apples

Roasted Turnips and Pears with Rosemary-Honey Drizzle



Susie Middleton


Ultimate Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gluten and Dairy-Free Cocoa Banana Brownies


Those recipes should keep us all busy this week.

Don't forget to scroll down for a list of all food events happening this coming weekend. And I’ll see you on Instagram @cookthevineyard.


What's Open, What's Happening

If you're looking to make a dinner reservation or wondering which farm stands and markets are open, visit What's Open on Martha's Vineyard for regularly updated listings.




  • Salt Rock Chocolate Co. is popping up in Menemsha outside of Pandora's Box every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or until sold out) through December 20.