One of our favorite things about the holiday season is the traditions. It brings us so much joy to pass beloved recipes, customs and rituals on to our loved ones. That’s one of the reasons we love the new book A Very Prairie Christmas Bakebook, which is filled with traditional treats that are simple to make and dressed up for the holidays.

“I am unabashedly THAT person when it comes to Christmas. I start humming Christmas tunes in October while my Halloween decorations are up,” shares author Karlynn Johnston. “From the middle of November onward, I take great joy in planning, baking and freezing goodies for Christmas.” Try one of these festive bites this year!

Chocolate Truffles

(Makes 15)

1⁄2 cup heavy cream
8 oz. semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. extract of choice (such as mint, vanilla or orange)
Unsweetened cocoa powder, finely chopped nuts, shredded sweetened coconut or sprinkles, for coating


1. In a small saucepan over medium, heat cream, stirring until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate. Let stand until chocolate softens, then stir until smooth. Stir in extract. Cool, then chill 2 hours.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Form tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking sheet, handling them as little as possible. Chill 30 minutes.
3. Pour desired coating onto a plate. Roll balls in coating and return to baking sheet. Chill another 30 minutes.
4. Serve immediately, or store in a container with parchment paper between layers, in the fridge up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 3 months.

PER PIECE: 89 calories, 1 gram protein,11 grams carbs, 1 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar, 6 grams fat.

Traditional Whipped Shortbread

(Makes 24)

1 cup salted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
1 1 ⁄2 cups flour Glacé cherries, for topping

1. Heat oven to 275°F. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, mixing until fully incorporated. Beat on medium 6 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula every 2 minutes.
2. Using a tablespoon size cookie scoop, scoop dough balls onto 2 ungreased large baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart. Top each scoop with a cherry (if using).
3. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bottoms are nicely browned. Carefully transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
4. Serve cookies immediately, or store in an airtight container in layers, with parchment paper between each layer, at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

PER PIECE: 112 calories, 1 gram protein, 10 grams carbs, 0 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 8 grams fat.

Classic Holiday Sweets Recipes 720
Karlynn Johnston

Candy Cane Blondies

(Makes 24)

2 1 ⁄4 cups flour
1 1 ⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3⁄4 cup unsalted butter
1 1 ⁄2 cups packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. mint extract
3⁄4 cup finely chopped peppermint flavored candy canes
1⁄2 cup chopped white chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13 × 9″ baking pan. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in extracts. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture, mixing until incorporated. Stir in candy canes and white chocolate chips.
3. Pour batter into pan and pat into an even layer. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden on top and a tester in the center comes out nearly clean. Cool in pan, then slice into 24 bars and serve.

PER PIECE: 193 calories, 2 grams protein, 29 grams carbs, 0 grams fiber, 17 grams sugar, 8 grams fat.