Fill your home with sweet eats this holiday season.

recipes by Candice Sanders

Whether you’re baking for the family or making cookies for Santa, the Christmas season calls for desserts of all shapes and sizes. Candice Sanders, pastry chef at The Grand Café in downtown JCMO, is a connoisseur of holiday baking. Let her recipes inspire your creativity, or give her a call at 573-635-7842 for a taste of the following recipes from the master herself!





Cherry Crumbles

Recipe for 8 8-ounce ramekins 


8 ounces cold butter cut into cubes

8 ounces brown sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Mix butter, sugar, flour, and cinnamon until crumbly. Add vanilla and mix slightly. Chill in freezer for 30 minutes. 


4 cups tart red cherries, frozen

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

1/2 teaspoon cinnamo


Mix sugar, starch, and cinnamon in a bowl. Toss over cherries and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Place in ramekins, top with handful of crumble topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, turn, and then bake 10 to 18 minutes more or until firm to the touch and brown.

Gingerbread Cookies

6 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup molasses

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup water

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


Sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until they are completely absorbed. Divide dough into three pieces, pat down to one-and-a-half-inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least three hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to quarter-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies one inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Egg wash the cookies before baking (if using sprinkles, this will help to stick).

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cookies are done, they will look dry but still be soft to the touch. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. When cool, you can decorate cookies with icing of your choice, or you can use sprinkles to coat the cookies before baking.

Chocolate and Peppermint Bark

Large baking sheet lined with foil, shiny side up

1 pound chocolate

1/2 cup crunchy chopped toppings (nuts, candy, etc.)

1/2 cup chewy chopped toppings
(dried fruits, mini marshmallows, candied citrus)


If using a block of chocolate, make sure to chop into half-inch pieces with a large knife.

Reserve one cup of chocolate.

Place the rest of chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds, stir, and continue to microwave in intervals of 30 seconds. Stirring until all the chocolate is melted.

Immediately add the reserved one cup of chocolate to the melted chocolate. Stir quickly to melt the chocolate and temper the chocolate for shine.

Pour the chocolate on the foil-lined baking sheet. Spread evenly, about a quarter-inch thick.

Sprinkle on preferred toppings.

Allow the bark to harden at room temperature for about one hour. If your kitchen is warm, it may not set right away. Place in freezer for a few minutes until set.

Break into little chunks and pieces. Store in airtight container at room temp for one to two weeks.

Peppermint Cake


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (plus more for the pans)

2 cups sifted white flour — sift first,
then measure (plus more for dusting)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large egg whites at room temperature


Position cake racks in the middle and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust with flour, tapping out the excess. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Combine the milk and the vanilla and peppermint extracts in a small bowl. Set aside.

Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth (about one minute). Gradually beat in one cup of sugar, then increase mixer speed to high and continue beating until light and fluffy (about five minutes).

Reduce mixer speed to low and alternate adding flour mixture and milk mixture in three additions (beginning and ending with the flour mixture) until just combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl, increase the mixer speed to medium, and beat until smooth (about five more minutes).

In a separate large bowl (using clean beaters), beat egg whites with mixer on high speed until foamy. Gradually add the remaining half-cup of sugar and continue beating until stiff, shiny peaks form (about six minutes). Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in three additions until combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake, switching the position of the pans about halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 15 to 20 minutes). Let the cakes cool 10 minutes in the pans, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto racks to cool completely. Peel off the parchment. Wrap in plastic and store at room temperature. The cakes can be made up to one day ahead.


1 pound butter at room temperature

2 pounds powdered sugar

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 to 4 tablespoons cold water


In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir and add peppermint extract and mix on medium-high for two minutes. Stir and slowly add water to thin out the cream. Beat for another two minutes.

Split the mixture in half.

Split one half between each layer of cake, finish the cake with the rest. Chill in the fridge 30 minutes to three days. Set out at room temperature to serve.

Yule Log

pumpkin roulade:

Softened butter for pan

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
(plus more for dusting)

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
(from a 15-ounce can)


16 ounces soft cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups mini white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate


12 ounces chocolate
(dark or semi-sweet, not milk)

6 ounces heavy cream
(heated until scalding)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a rimmed baking sheet and line with parchment, leaving a slight overhang on short ends. Butter the parchment and dust with flour.

Whisk flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. Lay a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface and dust the mixture with 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until pale, fluffy, and tripled in volume (about 10 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add pumpkin puree. Mix until combined (about two minutes). Turn mixer off and sift half of flour mixture over the top. Gently fold into the batter, and then repeat with remaining dry mixture. Spread evenly onto prepared baking sheet with an offset spatula and bake until the cake springs back in the center and begins to pull away from edges (about 12 minutes). Let cool 10 minutes then invert onto sugar-dusted towel. Fold the sides of the towel over the cake and gently roll the cake lengthwise. Let cool completely (about 20 minutes).

In a mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth, and then stir and mix another two to three minutes. Add the vanilla and white chocolate chips and mix on low until incorporated.

Unroll the pumpkin cake and spread the cream mix onto the inner side of cake. Roll back up tightly and wrap in parchment. Chill overnight or at least three hours.

Heat up milk in microwave or on stove to scalding hot, but do not boil. Pour over chocolate chips, stir once, and cover with plastic to melt (about five minutes). Whisk up the melted mix until smooth and shiny. Pour over cake and chill.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
to room temperature

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt


1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Make the topping. Toss a quarter-cup of granulated sugar with one teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

Make the cookies. In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter for about one minute on medium speed. Once it’s nice and smooth, add sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three different additions. The dough is quite thick, so you may have to stir the rest by hand.

Take one and a half to two tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the dough balls into the reserved cinnamon–sugar topping. Sprinkle extra cinnamon-–sugar on top if desired. Bake cookies for 11 to 12 minutes. The cookies will be very puffy and soft. When they are still very warm, lightly press down on them with the back of a spoon or fork to help flatten them out. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies remain soft and fresh for seven days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Mint Krinkle Cookies

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 eggs

4 ounces unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

1/2 cup shortening

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup powdered sugar


In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, melted chocolate, shortening, baking powder, and peppermint. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed to combine, scraping down sides a few times.

Slowly add flour until combined well.

Cover and chill until dough is easy to handle (from one hour to overnight).

Scoop or roll into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar, place on lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake at 375 degrees for about nine minutes or until edges are just set.

Cool completely and place in airtight container for three to seven days.