Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Goodies!

As you know, one of the fun extras of the winter holidays are the goodies  that everyone seems to love to make and share.  When I was a teacher, it was a daily treat to visit the teacher workroom and see what the mother's had left for us.......of course it came at a price......serious dieting in January!  I remember too, growing up, the wonderful smells coming from my mother's kitchen.  She didn't bake much during the rest of the year, but during Christmas.......oh my!

With that being said, I thought I'd share some pictures and recipes I've seen online lately.  I look for things that don't have a lot of exotic ingredients, or take special skills (I'm not much of a baker myself), so I hope you find something you'll enjoy making for your family during this special season.

 Holiday Tree Brownies

  How cute are these?  I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website.  The ingredients are really simple:

  • 1box (1 lb 2.4 oz) Betty Crocker® Original Supreme Premium brownie mix Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box
  • 2 or 3 drops green food color
  • 2/3 cup Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting (from 16 oz container)
  • Betty Crocker® Decorating Decors red and green candy sprinkles or miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits
  • Miniature candy canes (2 inch), unwrapped 
  •  http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/holiday-tree-brownies/058237a7-ae5c-435e-b9cc-b01af1d412e7  -->The instructions....so easy!!


    I'm not sure where this recipe originated, but I saw it on a post by Tommy Bunce who has an incredible shop on Etsy, called TJBDesigns.  It's not only adorable, but actually good for you!

    1 lb large strawberries
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    3-4 Tablespoons powdered sugar (or sugar substitute - to taste)

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top, (enough for a hat). Clean out the whole strawberry with a paring knife, if necessary (some of them are hollow already. Prep all of the strawberries and set aside.
    2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or Ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill the strawberries with cheesecake mixture.
    3. Once strawberries are filled, top with the 'hats.' Decorate according to photo.
    4. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.

    Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

    I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com .  I love the fact that it makes so many, and you can see by the ingredients is pretty simple to make.  It was handed down through one family, so no doubt these are good!

    Original recipe makes 72 servings 
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon
    baking powder 
    1/4 teaspoon
    baking soda 
    1 teaspoon
    1 1/3 cups
    1 cup
    packed brown sugar 
    2/3 cup
    white sugar 
    eggs, beaten 
    1 1/2 teaspoons
    vanilla extract 
    1 drop
    red food coloring, or as needed  
    1 drop green food coloring, or as needed

    Here's the link to the page for the recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Christmas-Pinwheel-Cookies/Detail.aspx  --  these would be great for a party, or maybe your children are having a little celebration in their classroom!

    Holiday Shortbread Cookies 

    I would be remiss to not include something from Martha Stewart.....the Diva of holiday entertaining.  I decided to use her Holiday Shortbread Cookie Recipe because it is probably one of the most favorite types of cookies that nearly everyone loves.  You'll be amazed how simple these are to make....and what great gifts they would make!

    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
    • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
    • 1/3 cup coarse or sanding sugar (optional), for decorating


    1. In a food processor, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt; process until smooth. Add flour and pulse just until combined. Form dough into an 8-inch-long round or square log; wrap tightly in plastic and freeze until firm, 30 minutes (or up to 1 month).
    2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Dip edges in sugar if desired and transfer to two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

      Cook's Note
      To store cookies, wrap them tightly with plastic and keep at room temperature, up to 1 week.
      I hope something here inspires you to make something special for your family, friends, and/or co-workers!  Bon Apetite!