“Checking” Out


The mixer is back in the cupboard. The baking sheets are taking a rest. I’m ready for a martini—but it’s only 7 am. Okay so maybe some baileys in my coffee since I’m a lightweight.

The final count for the Cookie Challenge came in at 889 cookies, with 13 different batches. The lowest cookie yield was the Coconut Pyramids (27) and the highest was the Gingerbread Cookies (118).

So, the “best guess” cookies go to Mercedes, whose “final answer” was 864. Her next challenge will be to eat all the cookies before she heads off to New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Thanks to all who submitted a guestimate.

I’m wrapping up the cookie recipes with Checkerboards. There’s always a bit of curiosity about how they’re made. I’ve always claimed that I piece each one together by hand . . . now you’ll know the truth.



Checkerboard Cookies


  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate , chopped
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt


Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper or grease; set aside.

In bowl over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate, stirring often. Let cool to room temperature.

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in 2 of the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; stir one-third at a time into butter mixture, using hands if too stiff to stir.

Remove half of the dough for vanilla dough. Stir chocolate into remaining dough, using hands to blend thoroughly.

Divide vanilla dough in half; flatten each half into square. Place dough, 1 square at a time, between waxed paper; roll out to 7-inch (18 cm) square. Straighten edges with ruler. Repeat with chocolate dough. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes. Using ruler and sharp knife, cut each square into nine 3/4-inch (2 cm) wide strips.

Place 12-inch (30 cm) long piece of plastic wrap on work surface. Alternating vanilla and chocolate strips, place 3 strips of dough side by side (close but not touching) on plastic wrap. Whisk remaining egg; brush over sides and tops of strips. Gently press long edges of strips together to adhere. Repeat, forming second and third layers and alternating flavours of strips, to create checkerboard effect. Repeat to make 3 more logs, reversing colour pattern. Fold plastic wrap up to enclose logs; refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Or overwrap in heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 1 month.)

Using serrated knife, trim ends of each log; cut into 1/4-inch (5 mm) thick slices. Arrange, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart, on prepared pans. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Let cool on pan on rack for 3 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool completely. (Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month.)

Source : Canadian Living Magazine: December 2003


  • I find it hard to get the height of the chocolate and vanilla dough the exact same height because the chocolate is a different consistency. If my checkerboard is slightly uneven after being sliced, I just cut off the uneven bits.

18 Comments on ““Checking” Out”

  1. Mercedes B. Vescovi says:

    Oh, Yeah!!! ME LOVE COOKIES (insert Cookie Monster’s voice)!!!!!!

    Now I just need to guess the next lottery winner number and we’ll be set.

    Thanks, Barb! Gabi is jumping up and down with excitment. She also loves cookies. As to Jay, well, maybe we’ll let him have a couple.

    Happy Holidays and see you tomorrow!

  2. Charles says:

    These cookies are so pretty! I never saw them made in such a way – I guess you could make a giant chessboard out of it… maybe some pieces too, and each time a piece of captured you can eat it! 😀

  3. Ann says:

    Now that’s some cookie baking! I usually make a dozen or so different types, but this year, I limited myself! ….but they’re SO good! However, I gave most of mine away. If not, I’d eat them all until they were gone!

    The checker board cookies are amazing and thanks for the photos that explain the step-by-step process!

    • I’m right there with you in terms of giving them away to avoid eating them until they are gone! If I don’t get them into the freezer right away, I’m in big trouble. Nice to hear from a fellow holiday baker. I wonder if it would feel like the holidays if we didn’t bake? Perhaps that’s where the energy comes from every year….. Happy Holidays to you Ann. I’m enjoying your site and I’m impressed with how frequently you post!

  4. Really? You don’t assemble them all individually by hand? I am SO disappointed Barb. These little cookies will never taste the same.

  5. I love the look of these cookies…so pretty and graphic, and you just want to eat one to see how that chocolate and vanilla checkerboard tastes!

    • Thanks for the positive feedback. If only you lived close by, I’d be happy to share. I popped by your site and boy does it look like you’ve been busy. I’ve made thyme honey before, but never walnut thyme honey — that looks amazing. Thanks for the idea, as this is definitely on my must try list!

  6. Kristy says:

    I’ve never seen these before – they are great! My son would just love to “play” with these. (I’m sure he’d eat them too.) And I can’t believe you baked over 800 cookies! That is impressive.

    • Thanks Kristy. They’ve been a big hit with kids. One boy in the neighbourhood absolutely loves them. Everytime he drops by he asks me if I have any checkerboard cookies. I made a batch for his mother once, but otherwise I only make them at Christmas.

  7. Eva Taylor says:

    Hey Barbie,
    I have just received the Versatile Blogger Award again and I am nominating you as a recipient. Congratulations!

  8. Thanks very much Eva! I see that there are a few commitments that go along with this award, so I’ll be sure to follow up after Christmas! Talk to you soon,

  9. […] A big fan of coconut, Maria hides the Coconut Pyramids from her partner. Harry will only eat my Checkerboard Cookies, which always stir a debate on how the checkerboard pattern is really created. Mercedes likes to […]

  10. petit4chocolatier says:

    This looks so cool and delicious!

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