Mario Martinoli’s Christmas Cookie

Moulding Cookie Dough

Mario Martinoli '73 is a professional chef with more than 35 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. “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.”

In 2011, we asked Mario about his favorite Christmas cookies, and first on his list was the moulding cookie dough. Here’s a seasonal favorite you can make at home. A website about Mario Martinoli’s love of cooking and well-prepared food is at

For 4 dozen cookies (2 ½ wide x ¼ thick)

6 oz. cream cheese, softened, at room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. your favorite flavoring: vanilla, rum, almond, peppermint
3 1/3 cups unbleached flour, sifted and set aside

Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.

Using a large bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients, making sure that they are all well combined.

Add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time to the mixture until fully consumed and well-mixed.

Remove to a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth, pliable and not sticky. If necessary add a bit of flour if dough is too sticky. (Dough must be pliable and not sticky.)

Note: Unlike other dough, this molding variety gets easier to handle the more it is kneaded.

After kneading, cut in fourths.
Using a lightly floured surface, roll to a thickness of a ¼ of and inch.

Cut into shapes.

Bake in a 350˚F degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Let cook and decorate.

Note: Dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Return to room temperature before using.