Hey, Christmas cookie bakers - where you at? It's that time of year when even the most novice baker channels their inner Martha Stewart in the kitchen. It's time to roll up your sleeves, dig out your apron and dust off those old family recipes for Christmas cookies. 👩🏻🍳
You know the cookies that I'm talking about. The ones that your grandmother used to make every year. The cookies that your mom helped you roll in bowls of sprinkles and nuts when you were a kid. The cookies that you couldn't buy in a grocery store or a bakery, even if you tried, but you just can't celebrate Christmas without.
I would love to see your favorite family cookie recipes and I'm quite sure that there are others out there who would also love to have access to these tried and true Christmas cookie recipes. So... I'm asking for your help. I'm hosting a good old fashioned cookie swap on my blog. Well, it's not really like the "old fashioned" cookie exchange like my mom used to attend with the women in our neighborhood - it's more of an updated 2019 virtual cookie recipe swap. No cookies will actually be exchanged in this swap - just tried and true, family favorite Christmas cookie recipes.
Here's how it works. Email me your favorite cookie recipe and a picture of the finished creation, and I'll compile them all into one fantastic Christmas cookie blog post. This is your chance to have your recipe and photo featured in the blogosphere. (Not sure that's really a word.) So gather up your ingredients and start baking. You have until the 7th of December to email me your recipe and pictures (firstname.lastname@example.org) so you can be included in my virtual Christmas cookie swap. I'll turn you all into food bloggers yet. 😂
Just in case you need a little nudge to get into the Christmas cookie baking mode - here's a favorite recipe of mine. Chocolate Brownie Cookies are a hit at every event that I've ever taken them to. I make double batches of this dough to keep in my freezer for any last minute holiday gift emergencies. (ie. The SUPER tolerant and patient UPS driver that puts up with my mischievous dog deserves at least two dozen of these decadent chocolatey treats.)
Chocolate Brownie Cookies
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1 cup sugar
Cookie Toppings (walnuts, crushed peppermint, etc.)
Bake 16 minutes at 300. Let cool 30 minutes on baking sheet.
Find those recipes. Send them to my by December 7th and watch for your recipe to appear on my blog. 🤪
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I want to know - What's your jellied cranberry sauce? My mom served jellied cranberry sauce, straight out of the can, alongside the turkey and stuffing every year. I'm not sure how this tradition every started but no one ever questioned the presence of that jellied mass that maintained the shape and ridges of its original container. As far as I can recall, no one ever commented on how delicious it was or how it had the perfect "jiggle." That jellied cranberry sauce was expected to be on our Thanksgiving table just as much as the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes.
When, I got married and took over the responsibilities of making my own Thanksgiving meal, I didn't see the point in buying the jellied cranberry sauce in a can. I never really ate it anyway so I opted for a fresh cranberry sauce instead. In an unexpected plot twist, I really missed that strange, can-shaped jelly cranberry sauce when it was absent from the Thanksgiving table. Maybe it was the strange sucking sound that it makes when it releases from the can, or maybe it's just because I had never celebrated Thanksgiving without it, but our holiday meal just wasn't the same without it.
I truly believe that every family has a jellied cranberry sauce. What is yours? What is that food that mysteriously appears on your Thanksgiving table every year without question or invitation? Tell me about those odd Thanksgiving dishes that make your meal unique.
If you're on the hook for preparing the Thanksgiving turkey for your family this year - never fear - I'm here to help. 🦃 My first piece of advice is to try out your turkey recipe on a chicken first. Roasting a test chicken is a great way to try out a new turkey recipe and test your oven. It can take less than an hour to roast a chicken and it's a great way to work out the kinks before the big day. This Spice Cabinet Roast Chicken would make a GREAT Thanksgiving turkey recipe. 😉 Double the ingredients for the spice rub and increase the cooking time and you're ready to make a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving turkey.
Spice Cabinet Roast Chicken
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 whole chicken
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Serve sauce with chicken.
I'm happy to report that my Thanksgiving practice meal was DELICIOUS! Apparently, I can use all the meat carving practice I can get before I try and cut our Thanksgiving bird. 😂
Everyone has a favorite dish that makes or breaks a Thanksgiving meal. One year, I tried to replace the traditional bowl of mashed potatoes with an "Amy" version of twice baked potatoes. 🥔To sum up the responce to my swap - there was a Thanksgiving Day revolt that year. 😂 Just in case you're curious about how this meal ended: There was so much protest over the lack of mashed potatoes that I ended up delaying dinner for 30 minutes while I whipped up a batch of peace keeping potatoes. 🤷🏻♀️
Everyone comes to the Thanksgiving table with a different "must have" dish. I usually ask people to bring the Thanksgiving side dish they can't live without. It's saves me the hassle of trying to figure out if my guests like their sweet potatoes savory with streusel or covered in marshmallows for more of a dessert flare. I feel like people are as opinionated about Thanksgiving food as they are the football games that are played after dinner. 🏈
As for me, as long as there's turkey on the table - the rest of the meal is just "icing on the cake." I like to get creative with my side dishes. Don't judge me but I'm thinking about adding carrot souffle and baked avocado fries to our Thanksgiving menu this year. 😬
On Thanksgiving Day, I'm much more concerned with what is (and isn't) on the dessert table than the dinner table. (My loyalty lies with the sugar.) Pumpkin pie, pecan squares, apple pie and turkey sugar cookies are all Thanksgiving essentials in my book. I also like to sneak in pumpkin roll, mini pumpkin butterscotch cakelets, triple chocolate mousse and cheesecake squares. Yes, I've been known to over due it on the Thanksgiving dessert menu. (Are you really surprised?)
Every year, I add a new "must have" to our Thanksgiving dessert table. I'm going to have to start combining recipes before our dessert selection gets out of hand. This year, I'm going to combine three of my favorites (pumpkin pie, pecan squares and cheesecake) into one delicious Thanksgiving creation: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie with Pecan Streusel. How could any dessert with pumpkin, pecans and cream cheese be a fail?
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie with Pecan Streusel
1 pie crust
15 ounces pumpkin puree
10 ounces evaporated milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon + 1 pinch of salt
3 ounces cream cheese
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle filling over pie. Bake 15-20 minutes longer.
Cool at least 3 hours before slicing.
I want to know what Thanksgiving foods you absolutely "can't live without". Have you ever led an uprising over an improperly prepared green bean casserole or staged a protest over canned cranberry sauce instead of fresh? I want to hear about your recipe success stories and your Thanksgiving day disasters. 😉
It may only be November but Lifetime and the Hallmark channel have been showing Christmas movies for over a month already. I secretly love it because nothing keeps me company on a busy cooking day better than a great Hallmark Christmas movie. I know, I know. The movies have predictable story lines, cheesy actors and unrealistically happy endings but I can't help but be drawn into the Hallmark movie vortex. They're so sickeningly sweet that I'm fairly sure I've gotten cavities just from watching them but they're also a great escape from the stresses of holiday baking.
Let me be clear. I am under no disillusionment that there is a town somewhere in America that gets so wrapped up in a holiday baking competition that every single citizen is waiting with baited breath in the middle of the town square to hear which underdog will be crowned holiday baking champion of the Winter Carnival. But somehow, being drawn into that world for a few hours gives me the escape that I need when I'm standing at my counter decorating sugar cookies for hours at a time.
Maybe I'm paying attention to all the wrong details but have you ever noticed the cute little small town bakeries and coffee shops that are featured in all of the Hallmark Christmas movies? Seriously - the CUTEST. The counters are full of trays of freshly baked croissants, Christmas cookies, cupcakes and muffins and the bakers look well rested, relaxed, neat and tidy and always wearing a clean apron. Outside of the movies, there isn't a baker on the planet who looks like after a full day of baking that but I still like to escape to the fantasy Hallmark world for a while.
I think I'd just like to do the baking for a Hallmark Christmas movie some day. I certainly wouldn't look well rested or tidy by the time I finished but it would be fun to create the beautiful pastries that dawn the countertops of a movie set bakery. For all I know, they pastries in those glass cases aren't even real. They probably use plastic food so that it never looks dry or leaves crumbs on the plate but I choose to live in Hallmark utopia where all of the muffins and cupcakes are fresh from the oven and taste as delicious as they appear.
On more than one occasion, Hallmark movies have had me drooling over the buttery scones and crunchy biscotti that the actors are nibbling while trying to settle their conflicts over the corporate takeover of a small town bakery. One movie in particular, had the most decadent looking muffins that the urge to eat a warm muffin was so great that I just had to stop what I was doing in the middle of the afternoon and whip up a batch of blueberry muffins. I felt like these Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins might be worthy of being displayed under a glass dome on the counter of a Hallmark movie bakery.
Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup milk or milk substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 Tablespoons raw sugar
Bake 25 minutes at 350. (For jumbo muffins)
I have a lot of muffin recipes (42 to be exact) and a LOT of them have blueberries. So what makes this Oatmeal Blueberry Muffin recipe any different? For starters, this recipe can be made completely dairy free. It contains no butter and it can be made with almond milk instead of cow's milk. I also feel like these muffins have a healthy component because they have both flour and oats. I would really like to do some experimenting with this recipe to see if I could make it even healthier. My initial thoughts are to swap the white flour with whole wheat flour and substitute maple syrup for the white sugar. I'll keep you posted on the results of those tests in the future. 🤞🏻
We're still more than a week away from Thanksgiving and I know that there is a certain percentage of you out there who's homes are already completely decorated for Christmas. I see all of you early Christmas decorators out there. Sharing pictures of your perfectly festive living rooms adorned with the most adorably decorated Christmas tree on social media for all of your friends to drool over. I'm not here to criticize. In face, I admire your zest for holiday decorations and I'm inspired by your eagerness to extend the season as long as possible. 🎄
I'm a little envious because I would be right there with you if it weren't for the fact that we celebrate an early December birthday in this house. Any Sagittairus knows that December birthdays tend to get overshadowed by holiday festivities. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the greatest birth ever and get consumed with preparations. Consequently, we're left depleted and exhausted of adequate time and energy to devote to our loved ones who also celebrate December birthdays.
I've always tried to make a point of making a distinction between Christmas and December birthdays even though there are times when I fail miserably. As a general rule, in this house - we don't hang a wreath on the door or decorate a tree until AFTER we blow out the candles on the December birthday cake. 🎂
I've never wrapped December birthday presents in Christmas paper but I'm not as good at making a distinction between birthday and holiday desserts. I've been known to cut leftover gingerbread dough into cupcake shapes. 😂 Not proud of it - but you do what you gotta do. Am I right?
These turtle bars are a dessert that would be great for Thanksgiving, Christmas OR a birthday. (Or any other holiday for that matter.) Chocolate, caramel, pecans - oh my. These turtle bars are epic. Oh and a single candle can turn one of these decadent gooey bars into a festive birthday treat.
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons butter, melted
13.4 ounce can dulce de leche
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup corn syrup
8 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon flake sea salt (optional)
Use the foil sling to remove the bars from the pan.
Cut into squares.
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