Sweet Celebration

By: Shannon Smith | Category: Restaurants | Issue: December 2020

There’s only one time during the year that I get a craving for sweets, and that’s in December. I bake very seldom during the year, but I make up for it at the end by baking dozens of cookies all month long. I happen to think cookies are one of the best gifts for neighbors, teachers, friends, and anyone that needs some holiday cheer. This Christmas, I think we could all use a little cheering up, so why not turn up the music and start baking? We may not be gathering for parties this year, but there’s little harm in passing out plates of goodies on our friends’ doorsteps. You can even organize a cookie exchange with your friends and family, where everyone bakes his or her favorite cookies and shares them with everyone in the group. Just package a few cookies in a small bag or box, and include the recipe, if you want.

You don’t have to be a polished cook to bake something delicious, and you certainly don’t have to make everything look Pinterest perfect. In fact, I tell people I can make a delicious cake, but it won’t be pretty. I’m not interested in tedious decorating, and I think it’s more important that it tastes good. I feel the same way about my cookies, especially when I make my Celebration Cookies that aren’t very pretty, but they taste like a party in your mouth! They’re flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg, and the best part is the chunks of candy bar and corn flakes that give them a special crunchy texture. They keep well for a couple weeks in an airtight container, and can be frozen for several months. I also happen to know that Santa Claus is a big fan, and he requests them every year.

However you are spending the holidays this year, I hope you can make time to relax and appreciate friends and family, even if you can’t gather in person. It’s a good time to think less of ourselves and more about others. And what better way to share cheer than to make someone’s day by baking something sweet and delicious?


Crunchy Celebration Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen - One of my children’s favorite breakfast cereals was Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  I often grabbed a handful for a perfect snack.  These cookies remind me of that cereal, but on a much fancier level.  They may not be the prettiest cookies you ever make, but they are so perfect with a cup of coffee or cold milk.  I named them celebration cookies because there’s so much goodness inside, it’s like a big party!



  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs, room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 Skor candy bars, finely chopped

  • 3 cups cornflakes (cereal), lightly crushed

  • Course sprinkling sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper or butter.  In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until very smooth, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time and blend until well combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Add to the creamed mixture and stir until you can no longer see flour. 
Add  Skor candy, and gently stir to combine.   Form dough into 2” balls and roll in the crushed cornflakes, pressing gently into dough.  Place on prepared cookie sheets 3” apart.  Flatten each ball of dough lightly with the back of a spoon, and sprinkle with course sugar.  Bake 13 minutes, until edges of cookies are set.  Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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About Author Shannon Smith

I’m Chef Shannon Smith, creator of chefshannon.com, a website where I share my travel adventures, cooking experiences, jewelry creations, life stories, world travels, recipes, cooking classes, and jewelry art. In the past ten years, I’ve traveled to 52 countries, and I hope to add at least that many more over the next ten years. In every country, I am blessed to meet interesting people, learn new cultures, and try all kinds of delicious food. I take cooking classes, join food tours, meet with chefs, and often dine with people in their homes or restaurant kitchens. I’ve lived in Tulsa for over 30 years, and I love teaching people how to cook, especially dishes learned while traveling around the world. Some of my favorite cuisines are Indian, Moroccan, Turkish, Israeli, and Italian, although Indian is the cuisine that makes me the happiest. I’ve collected numerous recipes and methods for making delicious food, and I share those recipes on beadsandbasil.com. I teach classes several times a month when my travels allow. Those classes are advertised on the website but are almost always filled within hours after posting, so I also occasionally teach cooking classes to private groups. My readers and viewers get to learn about my cooking adventures, utensils and appliances. At last count, I have eight grills, two tagines, 22 knives, and ninety-four thousand serving dishes - at least according to my husband. My refrigerators are filled with nuts, cheese, and dried fruits I’ve brought from other countries. And my spice cabinets contain a menagerie of exotic and odiferous seeds, pods, and dried herbs that I use so many ways. Jewelry art is my other favorite activity. I create jewelry from beads and trinkets collected on my travels, including amber from Russia and Estonia, glass from Murano, Italy, paper beads from Rwanda, and old Yemen prayer capsules from Israel. I have an Indian friend who has some of the most beautiful semi-precious stones that he cuts into beautiful shapes. Several times a year, I attend national bead and jewelry shows where I search for unusual items to complete my creations. Many more adventures are planned for the future, and I’m excited to share them with you in my monthly column in Values Magazine, including recipes, cooking tips, interviews with my favorite Tulsa area chefs, cookbook recommendations, travel stories, my favorite local food trucks, and ways we can give our time and talents to our fantastic community of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Connect with me on Facebook and Instagram at Chef Shannon.

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