Cherry & Pistachio Polvorones

Holiday Cookie Contest

Cookies and the holidays just seem to go together! Our contest proved to be very popular with well over 200 entries received. A favorite of young and old alike, cookies appeal to the Cookie Monster in all of us.

It was a difficult decision narrowing down the choices and the ultimate winners. Judges commented that the cookies in first, second and third places “tasted like Christmas.” First place goes to the Peppermint Mocha Cookies submitted by Julia Herschberger. Judges loved the combination of chocolate, coffee and mint making it the clear winner. The Stroopwafels submitted by Rachel Peterson and Gingerbread Macarons from Isabel Talamantes contain the warm winter spices appreciated by all.

Enjoy the eight recipes included in these pages and be sure to go to to check out all submissions. You just may find some new recipes for your Cookie Monsters.

Cherry & Pistachio Polvorones

Submitted by: Janice McNeely, Illinois Electric Cooperative
Course Cookies
Servings 80 cookies


  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar plus 1-14 cups for coating
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, about 4 ounces chopped
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries
  • 3-1/3 cups cake flour sifted
  • 1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour sifted


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and salt, then pistachios and cherries. Stir in flours, do not overmix.
  • Working with one baking sheet at a time, shape dough into tablespoon sized balls and place on prepared sheet, spacing 1 inch apart.
  • Bake until bottoms just begin to turn golden brown, 15-16 minutes. Let cool on sheet 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Meanwhile, place remaining powdered sugar in medium bowl. Working with 5 or 6 warm cookies at a time, gently coat in sugar. Transfer cookies to a piece of parchment paper to cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookies.


Makes approximately 80 cookies