Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Cookies!

December is one of the best months of the year but with this month comes the need to buy presents. Presents can make a huge dent in your pocket if you aren't smart and can't think of alternative, equally meaningful, and just as wonderful presents. So for this post, here are a few great, pocket friendly gift ideas:

Cranberry Hootycreeks

Servings: 18 cookies
These are great presents and relatively cheap and easy to make! Jazz up this recipe with a cool jar and some ribbon. The nutritional value for this include: 126 calories, 1mg cholesterol, .9g fiber, 105mg sodium, 21.s carboyhydrates, 4.2g fat, 1.7g. 


  • 5/8 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Layer the ingredients in a 1 quart or 1 liter jar, in the order listed.
  2. Attach a tag with the following instructions: Cranberry Hootycreeks 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. 3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Cool on baking sheets, or remove to cool on wire racks.

Meringue Mushrooms

Servings: 36 mushrooms.
If you are looking for a gift that requires a bit more effort and love in the creation, opt for this recipe. These are great gift ideas and are pretty awesome to make. The nutritional value for this recipe include: 39 calories, 0 cholesterol, 0.1g fiber, 22mg sodium, 7.1g carbohydrates, 1.3g of fat, 0.6g protein.


  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces chocolate confectioner's coating


  1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C). Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. In a large glass or metal bowl, use an electric mixer to whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Continue whipping until the whites hold soft peaks. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar so that it does not sink to the bottom, and continue whipping until the mixture holds stiff shiny peaks.
  3. Place a round tip into a pastry bag, and fill the bag half way with the meringue. To pipe the mushroom caps, squeeze out round mounds of meringue onto one of the prepared cookie sheets. Pull the bag off to the side to avoid making peaks on the top. For the stems, press out a tiny bit of meringue onto the other sheet, then pull the bag straight up. They should resemble candy kisses. Do not worry about making all of the pieces exactly the same. The mushrooms will look more natural if the pieces are different sizes. Dust the mushroom caps lightly with cocoa using a small sifter or strainer.
  4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the caps are dry enough to easily remove from the cookie sheets. Set aside to cool completely. Melt the coating chocolate in a metal bowl over simmering water, or in a glass bowl in the microwave, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  5. Poke a small hole in the bottom of a mushroom cap. Spread chocolate over the bottom of the cap. Dip the tip of a stem in chocolate, and press lightly into the hole. When the chocolate sets, they will hold together. Repeat with remaining pieces. Store at room temperature in a dry place or tin.

Holiday Cookie Tree

Servings: 1 cookie tree (2 dozen cookies)
This is such an eye catching present to make! It is both delicious and gift worthy. The nutritional value of this is 486 calories, 43mg, 0 fiber, 80mg sodium 59.6g carbohydrates, 24.8g fat, 4.1g protein.


  • 6 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 sticks Crisco Baking Sticks
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 (10) count star shaped cookie  cutters in graduated sizes (2"-8" diameters)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • Holiday decorator sprinkles


  1. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Beat shortening, sugar and vanilla in separate large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Beat in egg yolks and orange juice. Gradually stir in flour mixture to form a soft dough. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces, shaping each into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out dough, one piece at a time, to 1/4-inch thickness on floured surface.*** Keep remaining dough chilled until ready to use. Cut out a total of 24 cookies, using the 2 largest cookie cutters 4 times each and the 8 remaining cookie cutters 2 times each. Bake on prepared baking sheets, 16 minutes for small cookies, 18 minutes for large cookies, or until edges begin to brown and centers are set. (Group similar size cookies on same baking sheet for even baking.) Carefully slide baked cookies on parchment paper onto work surface. Cookies may be fragile while warm. Cool completely.
  3. Stir powdered sugar and meringue powder in large bowl until combined. Add water. Beat with electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. If necessary, add additional powdered sugar or water to reach the desired spreading consistency. (Keep frosting covered with damp cloth to prevent hardening.) Reserve one of the smallest size cookies for later use. Spread icing over remaining cookies, immediately topping with decorator sprinkles.
  4. Place one of the largest size cookies on decorative platter to begin assembly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon remaining icing onto center of cookie. Repeat to stack additional 22 cookies on top, by decreasing size, rotating each cookie slightly to stagger points of stars. To complete decoration, hold reserved small cookie by its edges and coat both side with frosting. Decorate as desired. Stand upright on top of tree, securing with a small dab of icing. Let stand until icing is firm.

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