Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Homemade Christmas Roundup!

December 24, 2009

Here’s a roundup of all the homemade items I (or my mom, in the case of some of the cookies…she did pizelles, rice krispies and chocolate chip :)) made for Christmas 2009!



Cookie Dough Truffles

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pittsburgh-Style Rice Krispie Treats

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Peanut Butter Hershey Kiss Blossoms

Italian Lemon Cookies

Pizelles (not pictured) in Lemon, Orange, Anise, and Vanilla

Homemade Gifts

This year for our holiday gift exchange with family/extended family/friends, my mom set the theme as “Homemade” — the gifts had to be homemade by you, or someone else.

I did a package containing the following items…and then discovered I had enough left of everything to do the same packages for my neighbors! So they got the same goodies. 🙂

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Homemade Barbeque Spice Rub

Homemade Cinnamon Roasted Almonds


Homemade Hot Chocolate

December 24, 2009

I used Annie’s hot chocolate recipe — it’s quite tasty!!

I packaged it up in Ball jars — but The Container Store has super-cute jars you can purchase for a prettier look!

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

(Annie’s Eats)
Yield: about 4 cups cocoa mix

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
1/8 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Whisk together until evenly blended.  Portion into gift packages as desired, and top each with a handful of mini-marshmallows.

Attach tags with the following instructions: “Mix 4-5 heaping tablespoons of cocoa mix with very warm water or milk to achieve desired flavor.  Top with mini marshmallows.  Enjoy!”

Cookie Dough Truffles

December 24, 2009

If I pack on any weight over the holidays, it will be a direct result of these pesky little buggers.

They are SO good!

Cookie Dough Truffles

(How Sweet It Is)

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

14 oz sweetened, condensed milk

3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

To coat:

1 1/2 lbs chocolate disks or chocolate chips


– In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed, until creamy

– Add vanilla, then gradually beat in flour and add the milk

– Add chocolate morsels, mixing well

– Shape into 1″ balls and place on waxed paper (to make it easier to shape them into balls, dip your fingers in flour)

– Chill for 2 hours (I put mine in the freezer)

– Melt chocolate disks or chips in a double boiler

– Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover

– Place on waxed paper and chill to set (Store in refrigerator for at least one hour)

– I kept mine in the freezer for awhile, and now they’re sitting on my cold, enclosed porch. Make sure you keep them chilled — they’re better that way!

Monkey Bread…

December 23, 2008

…pull apart loaf….sticky roll…

Whatever you call it, it’s delicious.

This item is one of my family’s Christmas traditions — we always serve it Christmas morning for breakfast after opening gifts.

Even though we celebrated Christmas with my family a week early, we still had our breakfast!

I’ve discovered our recipe is a bit different than most, because of the inclusion of the cook-and-serve vanilla pudding. But personally, I love the vanilla undertones in the ooey goodness.

Monkey Bread
(Family Recipe)
2 loaves frozen bread, thawed )but don’t let them raise)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 small cook-and-serve vanilla pudding (NOT instant!)
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, if desired
– Grease a bundt pan
– Pull 1 loaf of thawed bread into bite-sized pieces, and place in the bundt pan
– On the stovetop in a small saucepan, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla pudding, milk, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired
– Once everything is mixed and the consistency is smooth, pour over the bite-sized pieces of bread loaf in the bundt pan
– Pull the other loaf apart into bite sized pieces and place on top of the brown sugar/pudding mixture in the bundt pan
– Let raise on the countertop for 2-3 hours, or until bread reaches the top of the bundt pan
To make the night before and bake in the a.m.: cover the bundt pan with saran wrap after it rises, and place in the refrigerator. Remove in the a.m., remove the saran, and place in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes
To make right away: once bread reaches the top of the bundt pan, bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
– Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes, then invert it and “dump” it onto a platter.
– Serve immediately.

Christmas Cookies 2008: Cut Out Sugar Cookies

December 15, 2008

Katie and Ashlee are right — these ARE the best sugar cookies! They were super-duper easy to work with, roll out, cut, etc, and they’re very tasty as well!

I wasn’t thrilled with the icing recipe I arbitrarily chose for these guys…so if you have a royal icing recipe that’s tried-and-true, please pass it my way.

You’ll also notice I have no patience for decorating. I like to BAKE. Not DECORATE. This results in my sugar cookies looking like a 4 year old probably iced them 🙂

I’m okay with that.

The Most Fabulous Sugar Cookies
(Good Things Catered by way of Ashlee)

1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp lemon zest
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Cream butter and sugars in a mixer for 5 minutes.
-Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
-Add vanilla, almond, and lemon zest.
-Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt a little at a time.
-Do not over mix, this process should take about one minute.
-Chill dough for up to a week in the fridge, or roll out and cut right away.
-Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake cookies for 7-8 minutes.
-Wait until cookies are cooled before icing.

Ashlee says this makes 80, and Katie got about 30 on the recipe I saw on her blog. I did small-ish cut-outs and got about 50. It really depends on your thickness and the size of your cookie.

Christmas Cookies 2008: Peanut Butter Blossoms

December 15, 2008
These are a traditional Christmas cookie — but my family and friends LOOOOOOVE them 🙂

They’re very easy to put together, and there’s just something incredibly satisfying about squishing that Hershey’s Kiss into the hot cookie fresh from the oven!

Hershey’s Peanut Butter Blossoms
48 Herhsey’s Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

– Heat oven to 375°F.
– Remove wrappers from chocolates.
– Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.
– Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
– Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
– Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
– Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges.
– Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

*This recipe says it makes 4 dozen — but I got more like 3 dozen.

Completed Italian Cookies

December 15, 2008


Christmas Cookies: Spritz Cookies

December 7, 2008

I’d never made — never HEARD of spritz cookies until I got married.

I received a cookie press at my bridal shower, and quickly discovered the only “cookies” I could make with it were apparently something called spritz cookies.

Well, we got married in November of 2007 — and just now, this weekend, the cookie press made it’s debut. Surprisingly, it worked really well! I had the dough stick a couple of times, but all-in-all it worked out.

The cookies have a nice buttery/almond-y flavor to them. I like them and they’re easy to make!

Spritz Cookies
(Lovestoeat, by way of Wilton)

9 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

– Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
– Thoroughly cream the butter and sugar
– Add the egg, milk, vanilla and almond extracts and beat well
– Stir together flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough
Do not chill your dough!
– Place the dough in a cookie press and press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I added sprinkles to mine at this point before I baked them)
– Bake for 5-7 minutes, remove cookies from sheet, cool on rack

Christmas Cookies: Italian Cookies

December 7, 2008

I saw these and they were so cute, I had to have them. I admit it — I was swayed by good pictures!

But luckily, these little devils are delicious.

You’ll get non-glazed pictures for now — I always wait to glaze my cookies until closer to their serving date, so they stay fresh and delicious longer.

Italian Cookies
(Noble Pig by way of Bunny’s Warm Oven)

Approximately 100 cookies (this is according to the Noble Pig page — I only got 60 or so? I guess mine are bigger!)

For the cookies:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons lemon extract (okay to use anise or vanilla too!)

Directions for cookies:
– Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
– In the microwave melt butter and shortening (make sure the shortening is fresh or it will taste bad) together in a bowl.
– Beat the melted butter and shortening together until it is completely incorporated, about 2 minutes.
– Add granulated sugar and mix well.
– Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 1 minute each.
– Mix in lemon extract.
– Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture slowly, until fully incorporated. Don’t overmix.
– If the cookie dough is too sticky to roll in the palm of your hand, add a bit of flour. However, the dough should remain very soft, so don’t add too much.
– Roll the cookie dough in small balls (they puff up quite nicely) and place them on ungreased cookie sheets.
– Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes (mine took 8 minutes). The bottoms of the cookies should be lightly browned but the tops of should remain light in color.
– Remove cookies from the cookie sheet immediately and move to a wire rack. Cool completely before glazing.

For the glaze:
3-4 Tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract (okay to use anise or vanilla)

Directions for the glaze:
– Slowly mix milk with powdered sugar and lemon extract.
– The glaze needs to be thick to adhere to the cookie.
– Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze.
– Sprinkle each cookie with nonpareils and leave them to completely dry.

See Noble Pig’s glazed and finished cookies here — aren’t they cute?

Christmas Cookies: Russian Tea Cakes

December 7, 2008

Do you know the difference between Russian Tea Cakes and Mexican Wedding Cookies?

Most people think the names are interchangeable, but actually, Russian Tea Cakes generally contain walnuts, while Mexican Wedding Cookies generally contain almonds.

See? Now you’ve learned something. 🙂

Russian Tea Cakes

24 cookies

1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar for decoration

– Cream butter and sugar together
– Slowly add the flour until combined
– Stir walnuts in by hand until mixed
– Refrigerate the dough until chilled ( I don’t reccommend leaving this dough in the fridge long — maybe 1/2 hour. If you leave it in, it gets hard and is impossible to work with)
– Roll the dough into 1″ balls and bake for 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven
– Once baked, roll while still hot in confectioners’ sugar until coated
– Let cool, then roll in more confectioners’ sugar before serving/storing.