From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge

For Jessica Szohr, the holidays officially start a week before Christmas when she visits her grandmother Karen Szohr in Milwaukee and helps bake batches of cookies alongside her cousins. "We all sit around the table and work while listening to Christmas music," says the Gossip Girl star, 25. "It's so much fun!" Even if there's a strict no-tasting policy during the annual bake fest. "If everybody got to eat, there would be no cookies!" says Karen, 65. Szohr admits she's still an amateur, but learning: "I have to carry on this tradition or Christmas wouldn't be the same."

Silver Dollar Cookies



1 cup butter

4 tbsp. sugar

2 tbsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

2/3 cup finely ground almonds

Powdered sugar for sprinkling


1. Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. Stir in flour and ground almonds.

2. Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll up into a 10-in. sausage shape and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice into ¼-in. rounds. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake cookies for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with powdered sugar.