Nutcracker Cookies



Some of you might remember that my Grandpa was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma right around this time last year. He had a rocky start to 2011, but his strength carried him through some very tough times and he enjoyed a happy and stable summer and fall season.

He has unfortunately encountered another set back with his health over the past week. He battled a blood infection which landed him back in the hospital. He overcame it with antibiotics, only to find himself with yet another mysterious blood infection, fighting for his life, as of yesterday. It’s been a shock to our family as the doctor said he was in remission just before this all happened.

All this has made me realize that every day we wake up in good health is a day to celebrate. Forget about being down on yourself for the number on the scale, the guilt over yesterday’s indulgences, and whether you think you look “perfect” in your holiday dress.

If you wake up healthy, it’s already a great day.

and my Grandpa would argue, even if you wake up unhealthy it can still be a great day.


This past summer, Grandpa was the best I had seen him since his diagnosis last December. He was vibrant, active, and loving life. Despite his cancer, he carried on life as usual working up at the cottage, visiting with family, and doing renos all summer long.

He’s taught me so much in my life, most importantly, with the right attitude and faith, anything is possible. He is a true role model in my life.


Did I mention he already beat cancer once in his life? He’s one tough cookie!


I actually made these cookies before I found out the news, but in a way, they oddly remind me of my Grandpa. They are both tough cookies.

And of course, I mean that in the best way possible. :)



The cookies come together very easy! Just toast the nuts, mix the batter, chop the dates, add flour and flax, and mix it all together.


Your dough should look like this…sticky!


The dough is really sticky to handle, so if you need to lightly dab your fingers in a bowl of water, feel free. When shaping the cookies, make them just smaller than golf balls and really squeeze the dough to compact it together.


I had to make quite a few trials of these cookies to figure out what the perfect temperature and baking time was. In my oven, 325F and 18 mins of baking time resulted in the perfect cookie. Depending on your baking sheet, oven, and altitude, this time may vary. To get the cookies cooked in the middle, I had to cook them until they were golden brown on the bottom.

This golden bottom, resulted in the perfect middle:


Perfectly cooked middle (after cooling):


If you don’t bake them long enough, you will have an undercooked middle, as shown below:


You don’t want that!

After cooling, they have this amazing toffee-like, chewy, and dough interior with a crispy and crunchy shell! We’re pretty much obsessed with them. For my first original Christmas cookie, I was really pleased with the outcome. Eric insisted I keep all the “failed” trials for him to eat! I’m also freezing a bunch and will give them to family members on the weekend.


Make these cookies for someone you love, maybe even crazy Uncle Ted.

Most of all, never forget your sense of humor during the holiday season.


My Grandpa still has his.

and I’m sure he would agree with me that Nutcrackers are really creepy.


Seriously, creepy.

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{ 137 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah December 22, 2011

sending my best wishes for a speedy recovery to your grandfather.. and love to you and your family!


katie@ KatieDid December 22, 2011

Very sorry to hear about your Grandfather. Your family will be in my thoughts!
Your description of the texture of these is so perfect I can just feel them getting stuck in my back teeth. Awesome flavor profile mmm!


Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning December 22, 2011

Warm wishes and hugs to your Grandpa and your family- he does sound like one tough cookie for sure! We all take our health for granted so often, and it’s important to be thankful for it (and treat our bodies with respect!)

Love the photo with the nutcracker about to chomp on the cookies!!


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 22, 2011

I’m so sorry to hear about your grandpa Ange. He sounds like a wonderful person with such a positive outlook. I hope he gets better soon!


tonya December 22, 2011

You have a knack for turning every day ingredients into awesomeness. So you mean I’ve had the ingredients for these cookies sitting deconstructed in my shelf for months?? A pity. I must unite them so they can fulfill their greater purpose ;-)


DessertForTwo December 22, 2011

Sorry to hear about grandpa. Best wishes & Merry Christmas!


Cheryl December 22, 2011

Your blog is such BRILLIANCE. It has been so exciting to click on and see what magic Angela has created. We are making your burritos with squash for the second time. I did them in the wok and my husband (a carnivore) picked out a handful and then filled his bowl. “YUMMY” he exclaimed. Your recipes have inspired a 13 year old
to eat less meat and a 41 year old the confirmation that a life of good eating has helped. My 9 year old daughter has ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia), so I know the journey. Your grandfather is in the picture of health and I am sending prayers for continued healing and peace for you family. Enjoy all the moments you have together this season.


Kathy December 22, 2011

Love nut cookies. Will have to give these a try. Can you tell me the difference between regular dates and Medjool dates? Can they both be used for baking in the same manner? I have wanted to try the Medjool, (for snacking) but didn’t know if I would like them.


Gail December 22, 2011

I’m so sorry to hear about your grandpa. My friend died last week of stage iv breast cancer. She battled it for 5 years. she was originally told that she was too young to have breast cancer (she was 26 at the time), and a year later was encouraged to get it checked out by another doctor, just to find out it WAS cancer, and it had developed into stage iv (incurable). She was a month shy of her 33rd birthday when she died. Just like you said, it really put a lot of things into perspective for me as well. I’m 45 and after her ordeal I’ve learned that there are more important things than how you look in clothes, what weight you are, etc. What’s important is the way you live your life, be happy, enjoy the little things, who cares if I indulge once in a while, make sure I form really good relationships, treat people so much better than I have, stop gossiping and being jealous of people, and start liking myself. Life’s too short, and you don’t know what lies around the corner, not just for you but for the people around you. One little gesture really makes a difference to someone. Anyway, I’m rambling. I hope your grandpa starts feeling better soon :0)


Audrey December 22, 2011

Your grandpa is such an inspiration. He will be in my prayers.

Yes, nutcrackers are creepy! Almost as creepy as clowns *shudder*


Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner December 22, 2011

Angela. I am so sorry to hear about your Grandpa and his step back. I’m thinking of you and your family. I hope he can pull through with his strength, love and determination. You are so right… so many people take their health for granted. Without our health, we have nothing at all.


Alex @ Raw Recovery December 22, 2011

Those cookies look delicious! I love the texture and taste of toffee so I’m definitely going to try these. I’m also going to try and make the vegan “egg nog” recipe that you posted last year I believe. Tomorrow as it happens, I’m going to see the Nutcracker ballet, which I find so beautiful and whimsical, however, nutcrackers themselves…DEFINITELY CREEPY (along with Furbies)


Alex @ Raw Recovery December 22, 2011

Oh and best wishes to your grandfather. I’ll keep him and your family in my thoughts


kaila @ healthyhelper December 22, 2011

YES!! I have a whole bag of dates that I have been trying to use up!!! These will be perfect!!! Can’t wait to try em out !


Amber K December 22, 2011

Nutcrackers are definitely creepy. So sorry that your grandpa is having some troubles, but he definitely sounds like one tough cookie :)


Jen December 22, 2011

Beautiful post, thanks for the reminder about our precious life. I’ll be thinking of your Grandpa and your family!


Ellie@Fit for the Soul December 22, 2011

Your grandpa seriously warms my soul, Angie! His smile is just so genuine….God bless him for reals. I was really touched by this part: “If you wake up healthy, it’s already a great day.
and my Grandpa would argue, even if you wake up unhealthy it can still be a great day.” :D


Char @ December 22, 2011

*big hug* to you and your family, Angela. I’m so sorry about your grandpa :( you’re right, though. I woke up healthy, so today will be a great day <3 It's so important to remember how precious life is.


Mandy Jo December 22, 2011

Thank you for the wonderful story AND recipe. My grandpa is sick as well and he has the most positive attitude. I think we can all learn from people like your grandfather and mine who always remind us what life is really all about.

The recipe looks fantastic! thank you for the idea! I am newly vegan (2 weeks now!) and I was dreading what to bring over for Christmas dinner!! This gives me a dessert idea, any dinner suggestions? I know my grandparents will be having pork, veggies loaded with butter and rolls. All of which I can’t eat! Help!


Angela (Oh She Glows) December 22, 2011

Thank you Mandy Jo…I am sorry to hear about your grandpa!

I would check out this post for ideas:


Katie December 22, 2011

Your grandfather is in my prayers. :)

This post really touched my heart. January of this past year, my dad was diagnosed with agressive prostate cancer. He had surgery and is now going through hormone treatment AND radiation and we are pretty confident he has beaten cancer. This year has taught me so much. Both my grandparents passed away and my mom had a breast cancer scare, but we stayed strong through it all. Granted there were times we wanted to throw in the towel, but we kept on waking up and making it a point to be aware of something that we were (and still are) grateful for each day. I’ve also learned how to slow down and not rush through life so fast. Learning how to appreciate the now instead of wishing for something better has really made a huge change in how I now live. :) This year for Christmas, we are giving each other one thing each and it all has to do with spending time with one another.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a healthy New Year! :) :)


Misty December 22, 2011

Sending love to you and your family and strength to your Grampa. XO


Rachel D. December 22, 2011

Your Grandpa sounds like a rockstar – you’re lucky to have him! Sending best wishes to him and the rest of your family.


Kimberly December 22, 2011

another yummy recipe!! they look great! I really want to try your broccoli cheese soup from the other day though – YUM!


Cait's Plate December 22, 2011

Yeah I’ve always found nut crackers a little creepy too. We have a ton of them lining our piano in our house and they always just creep me out a liiiiittle bit.

These cookies look amazing and I love your grandpa’s outlook on life!!


Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 22, 2011

Sending your grandpa lots of speedy recovery vibes xx


Caitlin @ Cake with Love December 22, 2011

Hi Angela, my grandfather was also diagnosed with cancer, but he is the most positive person I know, and also has a lot of faith, if you don’t mind give me your grandfather name, I will include him in my prayers, I know how important they are for us, and I hope God will help them.

Reply December 22, 2011

So sorry to hear about your grandpa. Cookies look super healthy and good, as always!


Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous December 22, 2011

Those look so good! You always have the best looking food pictures!


Lauren @ HugsKissesNDishes December 22, 2011

Best wishes to you, your grandpa, and family. It is definitely hard to deal with sickness during the holidays. I hope everyone stays in the best spirits and enjoys the miracles of the holidays! It definitely reminds us to be thankful for the healthy days we have!


Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco December 22, 2011

I am so sorry about you dad. I know how you feel, becaus emy mom is in radiation for breast cancer.

Those cookies look incredible! (No surprises.) Do you think I could use un-raw nuts? That’s all I seem to have on hand. Thanks!


Emily (Edible Psychology) December 22, 2011

Thinking of you and your family! I hope your grandpa stays strong and positive and that you all have a wonderful Christmas. I love what you said about enjoying each day. The cookies look amazing, and I think they would make anyone’s day a bit brighter!


Katie December 22, 2011

These were SO good! I’m a new vegan and your recipes have seriously been giving me so much to be excited about!! :)


Amelia December 22, 2011

Very sorry to hear about your Grandpa… wishing you both the best.

I made a half batch of this (living alone is dangerous for baking) and they are AMAZING! Thanks so much :)


Christine @ The Brighter Side of Life December 22, 2011

Your Grandpa has such a wonderful smile!

So sorry to hear what he’s going through – and you too – but glad to hear he’s a tough cookie. Attitude makes all the difference.

Thinking positive thoughts for you, your Grandpa and your family. Wishing you peace of mind this Christmas.


Olya December 22, 2011

I’m sorry about your grandpa Angela! I wish him to win this battle!


Alaina December 22, 2011

Haha, I love the picture of the Nutcracker moving in on the cookies! As much as I like Nutcrackers, yes, yes they are creepy.


Kate December 22, 2011

Sending all my get-healthy-and-well-as-soon-as-possible-kill-all-the-bad-germ vibes I can find to your Grandpa.


Michelle December 22, 2011

You look like your grandpa! Sending him healing thoughts for a quick recovery.


Jill December 22, 2011

Oh dear, sending positive thoughts to you and your family!


emma December 22, 2011

I love your piccies! I read the title and thought of the ballet…..I love the ballet :-)…..and then I carries on reading only to see the Nutcracker pop onto the scene – so cute! Great recipe. Can’t wait to get cooking after last weeks trip to NYC! Nicky and I went to Pain Quotidien every day on your recommendation….best porridge ever!!


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