Archived entries for christmas

Your Grandma’s Chirstmas Wreath Recipe

This is probably the most nostalgic holiday cookie of all time. For me, these glorified rice crispy treaties conjure up memories of 80′s grade school holiday parties.

These were never part of my family’s holiday cookie list, which is why I call this cookie “Your Grandma’s Christmas Wreath Recipe” because although my Grandma didn’t make these, yours did! Lets get green and sticky!

Your Grandma’s Christmas Wreath Cookies

  • 1/3 c. butter or margarine
  • 4 c. marshmallows  (10 ounce bag)
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 6 c. cereal of your choice
  • red cinnamon candies

In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Melt marshmallows into butter, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.  Mix in green food dye. Remove from heat.

Mix melted marshmallows into cereal.

Spoon cereal mixture onto baking trays lined with parchment or wax paper.  Using your fingers, shape cookies into wreath shapes.  Lightly coat your fingers with water to help shape the wreathes and keep the marshmallows from sticking to your fingers.  I suggest having a small dish of water near your work station.

Place wreaths in fridge until hardened.  Place in an air tight container layered with wax paper to keep from sticking together.  Good for up to 1 week.

Oatmeal Lace

Nothing fancies up a Christmas party like a little lace!  These delicate crispy confections are the perfect blend of cookie and candy.  Eat up!


Oatmeal Lace
makes 6 dozen

  • 1 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 3 c. rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • parchment paper

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowls, combine oats, sugar, brown sugar, flour and salt.  Add melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract.  Mix until blended.

Line baking sheets in parchment paper.  Drop rounded tsps of batter 3 inches apart on parchment.  Bake for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned on edges.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool for 1 minute.  Place tray in freezer for 5 minutes until cookies harden.

Place cookies in an air tight container and store in refrigerator or freezer.

 

 

Heirloom Maple Meltaways

Have you ever wondered if you would have had what it took to survive out on the homestead? Well, imagine yourself stoking the wood fire in your log cabin kitchen stove. You’re preparing to make your holiday cookies. You go to gather your ingredients. You may have fresh cream butter you just whipped up from your morning milking.  But, oh, no! Where is your processed granulated sugar? You forgot to plant a crop of sugar beats! Where is your Mexican vanilla, not to mention your cream of tartar?

Well, never fear. Here is a recipe, with only just 4 ingredients you would probably have in your food stuffs: butter, maple syrup, flour and salt. If you want to be real old timey, you can grind some wheat berries to get fresh milled flour. (A coffee grinder works well if you don’t have a flour mill). So get out your gingham apron and enjoy a taste of the good ol’ days.

Heirloom Maple Meltaways

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour-whole wheat pastry flour works great!
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Cream butter and maple syrup. Mix flour and salt. Mix together with butter.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment , drop dough balls by the tablespoonful 2 inches apart. If you want, top with a whole shelled nut.

Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Keep cookies chilled for best texture. They can get crumbly at room temperature.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

Every year I try to make a few new kinds of Christmas cookies to add to my tried and true. Sometimes I find amazing new cookies to add to my repertoire, and sometimes they’re a stink out. This year, I decided to try my hand at Martha Stewart’s Apricot Windows recipe. I put my own twist on them by using my homemade Pomegranate jelly.

While I wouldn’t describe these as a stink-out, as they are easy and very tasty, I learned through trial and error that if you don’t cut them while hot (not listed in the directions) you end up with a broken mess.  So here’s the recipe with a few of my own additions.

Christmas Pomegranate Bars

  • 4 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/3 c. cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 c. jam or jelly of your choice, I used Pomegranate
  • pastry bag with large round or star shaped tip

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment and generously grease sides; set aside.

Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients and set aside.  Add eggs one at a time to creamed butter mixture, beating until smooth after each addition.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined.

Remove 1 3/4 cups of the dough; use it to fill a prepared pastry bag. Fold the end over to keep dough from drying out; set aside.

Spread the remaining dough into the prepared pan as evenly and smoothly as possible. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and transfer to a heat-proof surface. In a small bowl, whisk jam until smooth.  Spread jam on top of baked crust in an even layer. Using the prepared pastry bag, pipe parallel lines of dough spaced approx. 1 inch apart over the jam. Pipe perpendicular lines of dough at 1-inch intervals over first lines. Place in oven, and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack.  Allow to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly, but while still warm, cut into bars. Store in an air tight container for two weeks or so.

Enjoy!

A New Take On Gingersnaps: Chewy Choco Gingersnappers

I love gingersnaps and of course nothing is more christmasy then a good ginger cookie. But if you find yourself getting bored with the same old gingersnap, why not try this delicious chocolatey take on the original. I guarantee you’ll love it!

Chewy Choco Gingersnappers
makes 4 dozen

  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 Tbs fresh grated ginger
  • 1 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 Tbs ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cininamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs boiling water
  • 16 0z. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4- 1/2 c. granulated sugar

Directions:

Make Dough: In a mixing bowl or using a stand mixer, cream butter and fresh ginger together until whipped, 2-4 minutes.  Add brown sugar and beat until mixed. Add Molasses, beat until mixed.  In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients and spices up until boiling water.  In a small bowl, mix together boiling water and baking soda.  Add half of flour mixture into sugar and butter; mix.  Add boiling water with baking soda and mix.  Add remainder of dry ingredients; mix. Add chocolate chips and mix.

Chill Dough: Separate dough into four balls and wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap.  Chill in refrigerator until firm: for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Assemble Cookies: Remove one dough ball, leaving the others to chill in the refrigerator.  Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheets lined in parchment paper about 2 inches apart.  Chill completed trays while rolling out other dough balls; about 20 mintues.  Roll chilled balls in sugar.

Bake cookies: 8-10 minutes until surfaces begin to crack.  Remove and chill on wire wracks.

Store in air tight container for 2 weeks.  Best served warm!

 

Our New Christmas Favorite: Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

These delicate cookies are my absolute new favorite holiday treats!  The light sugary wafers with a bold dash of cranberry are topped off with a very lemony cream center.  What could be better!  Lets get baking!

Lemon Cranberry Sandwiches

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries

    Filling

  • 2/3 c. butter, softened
  • 2-3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 Tbs lemon zest

Make dough: In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, lemon peel and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Bake Cookies: Roll dough into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Twist glass after flattening to keep cookie from sticking.  Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Assmeble Cookies: In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread on the bottoms of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies.

Think Outside the Box: DIY Food Gift Wrapping Guide

With the Occupy movement  really shifting focus to shopping local and boycotting large corporations this holiday season, I’ve had more requests then ever on good DIY foodie xmas pressies.  The number one most important thing when giving homemade gifts is the packaging.

Creative Packaging: Think Outside the Box


An Asian dumpling steamer makes a great cheap (and useful) container for this peppermint cheesecake via BHG.com

Creating little packaged recipes with ingredient mixtures is a great idea but can really flop if you don’t create an appealing appearance.  Sometimes the best thing to do is start with a container, and find the right food/recipe to fit inside.  Here are six great ideas for packaging.

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1)  Re-purpose A Useful Kitchen Item For A Creative wrapping:

Hit the thrift stores, vintage shops, or restaurant supply stores and explore the non-container container.  I love the idea of using an Asian steamer as a cake box as pictured above.  Vintage scotch glasses on a vintage platter make an excellent presentation for our Scotch Rosemary Biscuits.


Photo via BHG.com

This vintage casserole makes a sweet container for Chocolate Raisin Oatmeal cookie mix.


Via CountryLiving.com

And of course, an antique or thrifted tin is the classic container!

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2)  Recycle old condiment jars or cans

Scrub off the paper label on an old mustard, spice or olive jar and replace with a hand made label.  Great for custom spice mixes, or marinated goat cheese or olives. Try to find jars with no writing or images on the lid.

Or camouflage jars with old pickle or jam jars with printed lids with cute fabric swatches or paper circles and attached with ribbon or string.

I love Martha’s idea to bake muffins in a washed out tin can and wrap top with decorative paper and string!

Hide the logo on this mixed nut container with decorative paper for these quick and delicious nut clusters.

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3) Purchase cheap bulk jars

Pick up a few of these bulk spice jars ($4) to make this Fish Poaching kit (via CountryLiving.com).

Substitute the tins in this suggestion from CountryLiving.com for homemade tea mixtures with this bulk spice jar ($1.95) from Crate and Barrel.

Of course canning jars make affordable containers at about $12-$15 for a dozen.  You can give away preserved food or just use the jar as a container (just make sure to tell the person when you give the gift if it is not preserved).  Make a custom label and wrap with a ribbon, or another decorative object.

Check out our list of preserved foods as gift suggestions!

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4) Envelopes Make Great Containers

Purchase bulk plastic candy bags as cheap as 50 bags for $1.39 to wrap your cookies, candies or these cute cheddar herb bread mixture via BHG.com.

Follow this tutorial from Martha to make your own paper envelopes from cardstock.

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Fill your own tea filters (100 for $4.99) with a custom tea blend.

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5) Fill Up On Candy Boxes!

Another great tutorial from Martha shows you how to make this great slip out box!

You can also purchase cute pre-made fold-able boxes from Baley’s Boxes or Papersource.

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6) Wax Paper Rolls:


via CountryLiving.com

Wrap rolls of frozen cookie dough in wax paper and tie off at ends.  Make your own creative labels to finish off the design.

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Resources:

Gift Idea slideshows:

Recipe ideas:

Gift wrapping:

 

 

Gone In 60 Seconds: Mustang Cookies

You need some deliciousness FAST? A 200 horsepower V-8 engine in these vintage 66 fastback mustangs go from zero to chewy so fast and furious that they hit the vanishing point and are gone in 60 seconds. Lets hit the two lane table-top and get cookin!

Sugar Cookies
makes about 5 dozen

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Royal Icing
makes about 3 cups

  • 3 oz. egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 c. powdered sugar

Mix Batter: Using a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet batter until well mixed.

Chill dough: Seperate dough ball into two balls and wrap each in cellophane. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Cut Cookies:  Working with one ball at a time, roll dough out about 1/4″ – 1/8″ thick and cut using cookie cutters.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.

Make Royal Icing: In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired.  Use immediately.

Decorate how you prefer.  I coated my cars with a nice candy apple red coat and then black lines for accent.

Eat! Gentlemen, start your engines.  On your mark, get set, GO!

Coco Crackles

I always loved these cookies when I was a kid, but I always forget about them. When I stumbled upon the recipe in the Martha Stewart Cookie Book, I HAD to add them to this years list. Delish!

Coco Crackles
makes about 4 dozen

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups light-brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for rolling

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop bittersweet chocolate into small bits, and melt over medium heat in a heat-proof bowl or the top of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and light-brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk until just combined. Divide the dough into quarters, wrap with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. On a clean countertop, roll each portion of dough into a log approximately 16 inches long and 1 inch in diameter, using confectioners’ sugar to prevent sticking. Wrap logs in plastic wrap, and transfer to a baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes. Cut each log into 1-inch pieces, and toss in confectioners’ sugar, a few at a time. Using your hands, roll the pieces into a ball shape. If any of the cocoa-colored dough is visible, roll dough in confectioners’ sugar again to coat completely. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on a Silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake until cookies have flattened and the sugar splits, 12 to15 minutes.
  4. Transfer from oven to a wire rack to let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

How To Eat (and spell) Meringues: Peppermint Meringues

I decided to make meringues this year because

1. I had frozen egg whites left over from a recipe which required only yolks.
2. I really need to learn how to spell the word meringue.

This is a Martha Stewart (who I have decided to now refer to as only MSrecipe.  It is easy, fun and very pretty.  I shortened it slightly to make it easier for my lazy self.  The MS recipe has you make a ganache and make sandwiches.  Feel free to do this.  However, I am lazy and I believe these little bite sized bits make wonderful cookies on their own. So I didn’t.

Peppermint Meringues
makes 5 dozen

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • Red gel or regular red food coloring

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Using a double boiler technique, place egg whites and sugar in heat safe bowl over a pot of  simmering water.  If you have a stand mixer, use the metal bowl of your mixer.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes.

Transfer bowl to a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer with whisk attachment.  Mix egg whites until firm peaks form.  10 min or so.  Mix in peppermint extract.

Line a few baking trays parchment paper.  Set up a pastry bag with a star tip.  Larger or small works. I like the large one.  Paint stripes on the inside of the bag using red gel or dye going from the tip to the outer edge of the bag.  Fill with your egg white mixture.  Pipe meringues onto parchment.  You can do them pretty close together as they won’t expand while baking.  Refill bag as necessary, repainting the stripes each time.

Bake cookies until crisp but not brown, 60-90 minutes.  I know this is a large range, but its at a low temp.  Just check on them at an hour and if they’re not quite hard, keep them going.

(Tip: Don’t remove tray from the oven during the baking time.  I know you may be tempted to remove them to photograph them for your food blog, but don’t.  They will sink and look wrinkly. So don’t do this.)

So after they come out of the oven, let them cool on the tray before removing, and then you can just go ahead and eat that stuff!



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