The Gossip Girl star shares her family's annual cooking-making tradition

By Liza Hamm
December 23, 2010 11:40 AM
Kenneth Chen

For Jessica Szohr, the holidays officially start a week before Christmas, when she visits her grandmother Karen Szohr in Milwaukee and helps bakes 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!” adds Karen, 65.

Though Szohr admits she’s still an amateur baker, she’s learning: “I have to carry on this tradition or Christmas wouldn’t be the same.”

WATCH: Jessica Szohr’s Bake Fest with Grandma

Makes 36 cookies

• 1 cup butter
• 4 tbsp. sugar
• 2 tbsp. vanilla
• 2 cups flour
• ½ cup finely ground almonds
• Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Kenneth Chen

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 350ºF. 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.