Christmas 2022: Tasteful Manners Chef Monica Hayes favorite family cookies, sweets recipes

ABC 7's weekend team shares their favorite holiday treat

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, December 24, 2022
Christmas 2022: Tasteful Manners Chef Monica Hayes favorite family cookies, sweets recipes
Chicago Chef Monica Hayes of Tasteful Manners shares her recipe for Thumb Print Cookies.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Holiday traditions often begin in the kitchen. And one way to start them or continue them is through the Christmas cookie.

Everyone has a favorite, from peanut butter to gingerbread. From Chicago to around the globe, each little morsel carries a special ingredient.

This year Chicago Chef Monica Hayes of Tasteful Manners was in the ABC 7 studio kitchen to share her favorite holiday treats and sweets.

And some members of the weekend news team made and brought in some of their favorites too.

Hayes combined her training as a speech pathologist and professional chef and her own personal experience as a mother to launch Tasteful Manners in 2009.

Her company is a cooking, nutrition and etiquette education company. Its mission is to bring families together and improve health by teaching children and parents how to create great-tasting, easy and nutritious meals at home.

Chef Monica's favorite Christmas cookie Recipe:

Thumb print cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened (227g)
  • cup granulated sugar (150g)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (360g)
  • cup fruit jam (strawberry, raspberry, or apricot jam, or chocolate.
  • Instructions

    1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.

    2. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt, and beat until well combined. While mixing on low, gradually add in the flour and beat just until combined. Stop and scrape down the bowl as needed during mixing.

    3. Scoop the dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls and roll into smooth balls between your palms. (If desired, toss in granulated sugar to coat the outside.) Place on a parchment- or wax paper-lined sheet or plate, and press your thumb or the back of a teaspoon into the center of each dough ball to create a cavity. (Press any cracks back together.) Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 1 hour.

    4. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

    5. Working with one sheet at a time, place the frozen dough on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Fill with about teaspoon of jam. (Thumbprints should be very full but not overflowing.)

    6. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 to 14 minutes or until the edges are just starting to turn brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.