Christmas Cookie Secrets

Mario Martinoli '73 is a professional chef with more than 30 years of hands-on experience in busy and successful restaurants and kitchens. He's also a well-known figure in the Los Angeles area through his many appearances on TV and radio. A website about his work is at

"I cook because I love to eat," Martinoli says. "If we had a little more dining with friends and family in our lives, we'd all be happier."

When we told Mario our idea of including some of his favorite cookies in an issue of LMU Magazine, we said we would need to have some cookies to photograph. Fresh ones. We also knew that at the end, when the lights were turned off and the cameras carted away, there would remain only one problem to solve: what to do with the cookies. Rising to the occasion, we ate them, and we can testify that Mario's cookies, the recipes for which you will find at the right of the page, are delectable. Enjoy.

Moulding Cookie Dough
This is the workhorse of our cookie season, and everyone loves to jump in and help. The blending of the cream cheese and butter makes the dough silky and pliable, with the brown sugar and vanilla adding the flavor punch. Your favorite icing makes it yours!
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Biscotto (twice-cooked)
This is a cookie that you can bank on. The varieties are endless, but this basic recipe is the one that I come back to all the time. Full of natural flavor and easy to prepare, this is one of my top five cookies. If there is a cookie that proves “basic is best,” this is it!
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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Nothing beats the crispness yet chewiness of flavorful oats when married with raisins.
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Sesame Seed Cookie
This is truly a cookie for all seasons. Delicate and not too sweet, and full of sesame flavor. Perfect for breakfast, an easy snack or with an after dinner dessert wine.
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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
A perfect blending of two great flavors and textures: the sweet flavor of chocolate and the crunch of macadamia nuts. I love this.
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Butter Cookie with Confetti
No table should be without these colorful and festive cookies. This easy-to-make treat will liven up any holiday feast.
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Chocolate Chip Butter Cookie
This cookie is a hit all unto itself. Add the chocolate chips to make them irresistible.
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Linzer Cookies
Delicately crispy and filled with your favorite preserve, the Lindzer cookie takes a bit of prep time, but the results are well worth the effort. Your friends and family will seek these out, and your table will look more festive with every new batch.
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Raspberry Thumbprint Cookie
These cookies are, no doubt, traditional favorites. The thing I like the most is that you can change the filling as the seasons change.
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Mexican Wedding Cookies
This is a cookie that transcends all cultures. I have found these in most countries I have visited. The melting of these flavorful “snowballs” in you mouth doesn’t obscure the individual taste of nuts, butter and sugar. Sign me up!
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