Cookies and Cocoa with The Dunns

I love Christmas. The best memories of my childhood and my adult years are of Christmas. Christmas is more than just a holiday, it is celebrating the birth of Christ – a time to give (anonymously, if possible), share our blessings with others and show the people in our lives how much we appreciate them. I grew up in Malaysia and most of my family still lives there and when I think of Christmas back home, I think of great food, Christmas Caroling with friends from church, old friends, open houses where all our friends of other races/religions will come and celebrate with us. It was always a great time.

Some good friends of ours started a cool traditional Cookies and Cocoa with the Cates  We decided to steal (with permission) the idea.  It turned out to be a great success and was stretched out all weekend (both Saturday and Sunday). It was an open house where friends could stop by for cookies, treats, hot chocolate and cider. We saw friends (old and new), family and neighbors – it was so much fun that I am pretty sure we will try and do it every year – Cookies and Cocoa Open House with The Dunns.

I thought I would share a few of the recipes. Here is the first one …





 I must admit that I ran out of time and used a boxed mix for carrot cake – it turned out to be every bit as delicious as the made from scratch version. I made the icing from scratch and that made all the difference – at least in my mind.

DIRECTIONS: Make cake as per directions on the box. Pour batter into cupcake holders.

Be certain that the cupcakes are completely cooled before icing them.



  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Be sure to use real cream cheese and not the less fat versions. Also be sure to use real butter and not margarine for best results.