‘Tis the season: Holiday baking with kids! Recipes from Four Seasons Atlanta, Marrakech

‘Tis the season: Holiday baking with kids! Recipes from Four Seasons Atlanta, Marrakech

By on December 4th, 2012

Some of my fondest memories are spending the lazy Christmas vacation days in the kitchen with my mom, cooking and baking, baking and cooking. It was cozy and warm from the oven. We made cakes, fudge, toffee, gingerbread houses, iced sugar cookies, you name it. Why not whip up some of your own memories in the kitchen this holiday season?

Four Seasons Atlanta

Cookie exchange? School potluck? Relatives visiting? Try these cute-as-a-button checkerboard cookies, Chocolate & Orange Damier, from Sylvain Nicolas, executive pastry chef at Morocco’s Four Seasons Resort Marrakech.

Four Seasons Marrakech

Or for a festive family brunch, wow ‘em with Red Velvet Pancakes, a playful creation from Georgia’s Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta. Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker at the hotel’s Park 75 serves the sweet-savory treat on the restaurant’s acclaimed menu—intriguing guests with the unlikely combo of a classic Southern dessert and traditional breakfast entrée.

The chef tops the triple stack with powdered sugar, house-made pecan-cinnamon butter and a drizzle of Vermont maple syrup. (Add a side of applewood-smoked bacon and free-range eggs the way your family likes them.) Or serve it as a dessert, topped with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

Canadian by birth, but a Southern transplant for over a decade, Chef Robert wanted to combine the traditional Red Velvet Cake with one of his favorite breakfast dishes, buttermilk pancakes. The recipe was so popular with his family and friends, he introduced it at the restaurant.

Red Velvet Pancakes from Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta

Red Velvet Pancakes

Dry ingredients:

  • 1½ c flour
  • 3 TB cocoa powder
  • 3 TB sugar
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c confectioner’s sugar
Four Seasons Atlanta


Wet ingredients:

  • 1¼ c buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 TB red food coloring
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • 2 TB white vinegar
Four Seasons Atlanta


1. Pre-heat a griddle or heavy pan over medium heat. If using a non-stick electric griddle, set the electric griddle temperature to about 325 degrees F.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Whisk until all lumps are gone.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, vinegar, confectioner’s sugar and food coloring.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the buttermilk to the mixture. Stir until combined.

5. Add in the melted butter and fold gently to mix. Pour onto the griddle, cook until golden and flip to cook the other side.

Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta

Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta

Sweet Pecan Butter Topping:

  • 16 oz soft butter
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Crushed candied pecans
  • ¼ c powdered sugar
Four Seasons Hotel Atalanta


1. In a bowl, whip the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until smooth.

2. Make a pancake short stack while the flapjacks are still warm. Add a scoop of butter between each pancake and on top.

3. Sprinkle the pancakes with powdered sugar and serve immediately. Serves eight.

Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta

Chocolate & Orange Damier Cookies from Four Seasons Resort Marrakech

For the orange dough:

  • ½ stick butter (2 oz)
  • ¼ stick salted butter (1 oz)
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar
  • 2 TB almond powder
  • ½ egg yolk
  • ½ c all-purpose white flour, sifted
  • 1 drop orange essence
Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech

For the chocolate dough:

  • ½ stick butter (2 oz)
  • ¼ stick salted butter (1 oz)
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 TB almond powder
  • ½ egg yolk
  • ½ c all-purpose white flour, sifted
  • 1 TB cocoa powder
Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech

To prepare:

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten

1. Make each dough separately, using the same procedure. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar. Using a whisk, whisk until the texture is creamy.

2. Add the egg yolks, flour, almond powder (for the chocolate dough, add the cocoa powder as well). Mix until well-combined into a nice cookie dough.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours to harden.

4. Using a flour-dusted rolling pin, roll out the dough onto waxed paper to a half-inch thickness. Put back in the fridge to set, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove the dough from the fridge and place onto a flat surface. Beat the egg yolks, then brush over each rolled dough piece with a pastry brush.

6. Reserving some chocolate dough, place the orange dough over the chocolate dough and press together. Cut long strips and arrange together alternatively to make a checkerboard pattern.

7. Next, roll out the remaining chocolate dough to 1/8-inch thick. Lay the checkerboard-pattern dough over the top and press to stick together. (One side of the cookie will be brown; the other checkerboard pattern.) Slice the dough into squares 1/3-inch thick and place onto a parchment paper-lined cookie baking sheet.

8. Bake at 350 degrees F for about six minutes or until a light-brown color. Place on a rack for a few minutes to cool and enjoy!

Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech

Read more about Marrakech and Atlanta in Four Seasons Magazine.

Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech

Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech

Read our Concierge Recommendations for Marrakech in Four Seasons Magazine

Read our Marrakech Within Walking Distance tips in Four Seasons Magazine

Post Author

Michelle Pentz Glave is the Have Family Will Travel editor. Before diving into communications/PR, she was a journalist for 25 years in the US and Germany including stints with The Wall Street Journal Europe, Gruner+Jahr (Bertelsman) and the Albuquerque Journal. Her work has appeared in Outside, Wired, Travel + Leisure, Sunset and Fortune. She has a Bachelor's in English from Yale and a Master's in Journalism from Columbia University. Michelle is passionate about family, food, farmers, her garden and taekwondo. She lives on Bowen Island, near Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two kids: Sabrina, 12, and Duncan, 10.

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2 Response(s) to "‘Tis the season: Holiday baking with kids! Recipes from Four Seasons Atlanta, Marrakech"
Wholesale Gluten Free says:
December 14, 2012 at 1:37 am

Awesome blog..with nice recipe!

Marsha says:
December 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

What fun! I know some adults (myself included) who are really jealous of those children having such an up close and personal cooking experience with the chef! Nice!

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