Would you like to earn brownie points with Santa? Maybe you just like brownies, or cookies… or peppermint bark! Are there foodies on your Christmas gift list that never have enough cookbooks?

If you’ve said yes to any of the above, there are two terrific cookbooks to help you out. These cookbooks are special because they were created by two philanthropic organizations here in Denver and the proceeds of each cookbook go back to support those in need in our own neighborhoods. You can do your holiday shopping, create the best-ever cookie exchange cookie, AND give back to the community.

Colorado Classique

Colorado Classique by The Junior League of DenverThe Junior League of Denver (JLD), an all-female volunteer organization founded in 1918, recently published their fifth cookbook, Colorado Classique, which was on the Denver Post’s best sellers list for months. (I am a member of the JLD, and was on the committee that published this latest edition – so I’m slightly biased, but for good reason.)

The book has a Colorado focus: Colorado landscape photography by John Fielder; wine pairings by The Vineyard; beer pairings by the Boulder Beer Company; culinary tips by Johnson & Wales University; and of course recipes from members of our own community (all of which were triple tested by hundreds of JLD members). It’s a glossy book with mouth-watering photos and was a genuine community effort.

Since its founding, the JLD has contributed over $6,000,000 and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours back to the Denver community in large part because of the success of its five cookbooks and the commitment of its volunteers.


Festival of Greek Flavors

The Ladies Philoptochos Society have published their first community cookbook. It contains 216 pages of fantastic Greek and Mediterranean inspired dishes.  You will enjoy authentic recipes like Spinach and Cheese Phyllo Triangles (Spanakopita), Greek Style Fish Tacos, and Chocolate Baklava, just to name a few. I stumbled upon their Octopus Salad recipe. Wild!

But if you need a cookie recipe, it has those, too.

Look for it at local book sellers such as Tattered Cover, The Peppercorn, and even Amazon.com

The Ladies Philoptochos Society supports many charities including The Children’s Medical Fund, The Autism Assistance Fund, Literacy Outreach and many local programs like Champa House and Families First.


Peppermint Bark from Colorado Classique, page 252


Makes: 12 cellophane gift bags, 4 servings per bag

Prep: less than 30 minutes | Cook: 30-45 minutes

2 pounds milk or dark chocolate
2 pounds white chocolate
11⁄2 cups crushed candy (about 12 candy canes or 60 peppermint candies)
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Melt milk or dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Place candy canes or peppermint candies in a plastic bag and crush into 1⁄4-inch pieces with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin; set aside. Pour melted chocolate into a 17×11-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper; cool in refrigerator.

Melt white chocolate in top of double boiler. Stir in crushed candy and peppermint extract. Remove from heat and pour mixture over cooled milk or dark chocolate. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until hardened, or overnight is best. Break into pieces with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer or a small hammer.

Nutrition Information: 215 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 34 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 21 g sugars, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.


Butter Cookies with Powdered Sugar from Festival of Greek Flavors, page 173


Kourambiethes Recipe


Patricia Bainter is a blogger and writer for 303magazine. She trained at Le Cordon Bleu London and shares her culinary musings and recipes at her own website ThePatricianPalette.com.