Merry Christmas friends! May you feel the warmth, love, and hope of today’s true meaning.
Merry Christmas friends! May you feel the warmth, love, and hope of today’s true meaning.
Christmas is almost here! Do you know what you’ll be putting out for Santa to enjoy? I’ve got two very easy recipe for you, should you need them (and don’t we all need extra cookies recipes in our repertoire?).
The first cookie could not be any easier! I’m sure you’ve tried these at least once in your life. They are no-bake chocolate, oatmeal, and peanut butter cookies. The best of everything!
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
2 C sugar
4 T cocoa (using dark cocoa really changes the flavor and makes them so decadent!)
1/2 C butter (1 stick)
1/2 C milk (I used coconut milk)
1 C peanut butter
1 T vanilla
3 C oatmeal
Bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil. Let it boil for about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal. Drop spoonfuls onto a prepared sheet pan (waxed paper or Silpat). Let them cool and harden (you can do this in the refrigerator).
They are as equally good freshly plopped onto the pan…
…as they are from the refrigerator or freezer.
The second cookie is not as easy, because it is a baked cookie, but is equally delicious and completely customizable.
They are a basic brown sugar cookie with chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles. All in Christmas colors! I think Santa will be back for seconds (if you ask me, and I would know, wink wink).
Santa’s Chocolate Chip, M&M’s, and Sprinkle Cookies
Recipe adapted from: “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie”, www.dinnersdishesanddesserts.com
3/4 C softened butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
2 t vanilla
1 T vanilla bean paste
2 C flour
2 t cornstarch
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 C chocolate chips
3/4 C M&M’s (I picked out the red and green ones)
1/4 C sprinkles (I used Christmas colors)
Cream butter and both sugars together, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and vanilla bean paste. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes. I covered it, and left it in the fridge overnight. I had to let it thaw a bit before baking. Chilling the dough makes for a thicker cookie.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Scoop out dough. I rolled mine into balls. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
These were just a really fun take on the classic chocolate chip cookie, which goes over well with almost everyone I know. And to be honest, I’m not sure I want to know you if a chocolate chip cookie doesn’t go over well with you. #nooffense #moreforme
My boys loved helping with these, especially knowing that “Santa” would be enjoying them (and indeed SHE will). They dumped in all the chocolate and sprinkles.
Enjoy! Only a few days left to get your baking on!
Kristin (aka Mrs. Claus, aka Cookie Queen)
I made sugar cookies with my boys yesterday. They’re finally at the age where they can do it “properly” and enjoy it. Did I say “they”? I meant that my four and a half year old can do that. My two year old ate every sprinkle that crossed his path. And that was a lot of sprinkles. Enough to dye his mouth green for the duration of the day.
I only needed about 30 cookies for my church group ladies and this recipe made more than that. I gave each boy their own little sheet of dough, pan, and apron, and set up the cookie cutters and sprinkles.
Bigs sort of had an accident with the green sugar. Instead of opening the sprinkle cap, he unscrewed and dumped. Oops.
I think he’d call this a “happy” accident. It all worked out. They had so much fun and their little cookies were so cute.
They enjoyed eating them with big glasses of (coconut) milk.
While their cookies were baking, I got to work on mine.
I wanted to do simple cookies this year. I used a star, Christmas tree, and sleigh cutters, and made thumbprints.
I decorated them using my gold and silver sugars…
…green sugars, and Christmas colored nonpareils.
I have no idea what this thumbprint cookie is all about. I just went with it. If you squint, it could be a wreath-like thing.
Whatever, it’s a cookie.
I love the way they came out! And, as equally important, they were delicious! I think my church gals will really enjoy them.
These cookies are sturdy, but not overly-crunchy, and filled with vanilla and almond flavors. I added vanilla bean paste to amp up the vanilla flavor. I love seeing black speckles of vanilla beans in desserts.
To me, they taste of Christmas!
Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies
Adapted from: Perfect Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs, lovegrowswild.com
What a sweet week it’s been! And it’s not over yet. I’ve got more baking to do. So far this week, I’ve made Christmas Crack Candy, Christmas Chocolate Cake, Christmas Tree Brownies, and lastly, for now, Snowman Cupcakes!
I took the semi-homemade route, again, this time. So, these were pretty easy. Sort of. I’ll get to that. But if you plan to make them, they will be easy.
Aren’t they darling? I was in charge of dessert for my Bigs’ class’ birthday party for Jesus today. I thought about going the Jesus/religious symbol route when it came to decorating, but I was nervous about the kids having to eat Baby Jesus. It could go all kinds of wrong. I’ve seen some cute Jesus decorations, but knowing me, I’d make a disaster out of it.
So, I decided on snowmen.
I like the way they came out. I really enjoyed making these.
And just like real snowmen, they each have their own little personalities*.
These cheerful cupcakes were delicate and had a soft crumb, were rich in chocolate flavor (thanks boxed mix!), and covered in a delicious, fluffy, marshmallow-y frosting. The crushed peppermint added a refreshing, festive flavor. These were a hit!
1 box of your favorite cake mix (or one batch of homemade) – I used chocolate
ingredients used to make cupcakes
silver cupcake wrappers (other Christmassy ones would be cute too)
1 batch of 7 Minute Frosting (recipe below)
candy canes, crushed (I crushed up 12, but didn’t need it all)
Wilton Icing Decorations, snowman variety
Follow the directions on your cake mix box and bake cupcakes, as directed. Let them cool completely. You can expedite this process by placing the cupcakes in the freezer or refrigerator.
While those are cooling, make your 7 Minute Frosting (recipe, directions, and a short story below). I iced the cupcakes using a swirled effect, to make them look peppermint-y. If you want to do that, you’ll need to paint a stripe of food coloring (I used Americolor Red gel) on the inside of your icing bag, before filling it with the frosting.
Once the cupcakes were iced with the swirled frosting, I sprinkled them with the crushed candy canes, and placed one of the Wilton Icing Decorations on top.
I ended up making the frosting twice.
7 Minute Frosting – Recipe #1
Source: Paula Deen, Food Network.com
In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
In continued celebration of our Savior’s birth story, I came up with this angel themed lunch for my Bigs. I used my angel cookie cutter on a PB&J, and added yellow details (halo, wings, dress) with my Food Writer and sprayed this most important angel gold. I packed goldfish crackers, raisins, red, white, and green chocolate covered sunflower seeds, apple slices, half a mandarin orange, some red grapes, and an organic yogurt squeezy.
This is my last Christmas themed school lunch for this year. I’ll be doing fun “home” lunches from here on out!
May you feel the warmth of this heavenly story,
As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been a baking fool this week (in my defense, a “fool” isn’t all bad! for you non-Anglophiles out there, it’s also an English dessert made from a mixture of pureed fruit that has been folded into whipped cream.). I’ve made something each day and I’m so excited about these next two (SUPER easy!) recipes that I’m going to be sharing with you all!
Today’s recipe is not only stupidly easy, but adorable. It might be my favorite. It’s SO cute. I also love that this recipe can be changed around, so easily, for any kind of color scheme you want, or even just to use the decorating supplies you have on hand (I happen to be a decorating hoarder).
Christmas Tree Brownies
1 box of brownie mix (or one batch of your favorite homemade recipe)
1 packet of green cookie decorating icing
1 packet of white Wilton Candy Melts (mine had sprinkles in them, a bonus for these!)
various sprinkles (I used multi colored nonpareils and star shaped sprinkles)
1 13×9 pan
Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter
Prepare your brownie mix as directed and pour into a greased 13×9 pan. Bake as directed. I baked for a little bit less time because my pan was very shallow. Let it cool completely, once baked.
Place waxed paper on your counter top, under your cooling rack. Use your cookie cutter to cut out the desired amount of trees. Mine made 11 trees, with lots of scraps (you know, for snacking or whatever). Place on top of the cooling rack. Use your green cookie icing to make stripes on your trees. There is no wrong way to do this! Repeat with your Candy Melts (I melted mine in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, using 30 second increments, until fully melted). The Candy Melts look like fresh-fallen snow on these beautiful trees. Add your sprinkles in any pattern (or none at all!) that you wish. When I added the star atop the tree, I first added a small dollop of the green icing, to act as glue.
Place in the fridge and package up, if desired.
These came out SO cute and I think my Bigs’ classmates will really enjoy them.
I hope you give these a try! Enjoy!
So, I told you I made cake. Remember that? I’m sure you do. I mean, if you told me that you made a cake, I would not forget. Cake isn’t a flippant thought in my mind. Anywhoooo…
Isn’t this a sight to behold? A thing of beauty? A real looker? I used one of my two go-to chocolate cake recipes, this one being the one-bowl selection. To decorate, I chopped up those magical Ferrero Rocher candies (I used a pack of twelve, four each of three flavors, for this 9×13 sized cake). I distributed those around the edge of this beast and sprinkled some Christmas nonpareils on top.
Sure, my butter wasn’t fully softened and left little chunks in the frosting. Can’t win them all. But hey, when were chunks of rich, creamy butter a bad thing, in a rich, creamy chocolate frosting? Maybe you CAN win them all.
This cake is incredibly moist and the frosting equally smooth. It’s a winning combo, especially with the addition of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I realize this sounds like a sponsored ad, but it isn’t. Although, Ferrero Rocher, if you’re listening, I’m up for sponsorship. #pleasesponsorme #anyone #anyone? My Bible study ladies seemed to really enjoy it. I know I did!
I mean, lookee.
Here’s the original recipe:
And the frosting recipe:
I also made lunches for my boys (obvi).
For my Bigs:
It’s a wreath-shaped PB&J and a teeny little gingerbread-shaped PB&J. I also packed colby jack cheese, a few pretzels, half a mandarin orange, a few apple slices, and some of that freaking good cake. I promised my Bigs that I’d try to save him a piece. He’ll be so happy to have it. I also sprinkled on a few red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds just because. Unfortunately, he got sick in the middle of the night, so he’ll be enjoying this from home today. (if you think of it, say a little prayer for his recovery? he’s got a Christmas performance at school tomorrow that I know he’d really be sad to miss being a part of – thank you!)
And for my Smalls:
For him, I packed a PB&J in the shaped of a little tree and a little gingerbread boy (which I’ve ruined with a big ol’ face, but he won’t notice), colby jack cheese, apple slices, half a mandarin orange, honey-roasted peanuts, and a few of the chocolate covered sunflower seeds for his little dessert.
Many blessings to you!
Sounds like the stuff my dreams are made of!
I’m not even remotely kidding.
This has been such a sweet week – literally! I made some candy yesterday and baked a cake today, all of which I’ll be sharing with you. And I’ve made some really sweet lunches for my Bigs.
In appreciation of my sons’ school’s staff (most of whom have become lovely friends to me), I made candy. Crack Candy, to be specific. Have you tried this stuff?! It’s SO good, that it’s addictive, like, you know, crack. Eeeek. It could also refer to the ingredients, which include crackers. That seems like a safer name. Anyways, I Christmas-ized this Crack Candy.
I mean, really. Crunchy, crispy, salty crackers, enrobed in a homemade caramel sauce, baked until it’s soaked all the way through, and then covered in bittersweet chocolate. I can’t even. I mean, I can. But I resisted. Not that I wanted to. But I did. These are SO easy to make and they make such an impact. At least I hope they do. I doubled the recipe and added Christmas colored sprinkles.
O, Star of wonder, star of night
Star of royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
The birth of Jesus is an incredible story. To ponder what Mary (and Joseph!) was thinking when she was told by an angel that she would be with child and that her son would be called Emmanuel and be the King of Kings, is just overwhelming. She must have felt such fear, only to be comforted by the fact that her son would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And then to travel, heavily pregnant, and give birth in a stable – with only the peace from God to comfort her. Such courage. And that baby, that precious baby, who took his first breath, surrounded by animals and his two loving parents – that baby would would change the course of the world, as it was known, and forevermore. Mary and Joseph must have felt such pride, holding this wonderful gift from God. I can only relate on a worldly level, being a Mother myself. I cannot even imagine knowing that my child would have such an important destiny in His life.
I just love reading the story of Jesus’ birth. I love imagining Him as a sweet baby, an energetic child, a dedicated teen, a leader, a teacher, a Savior, all the while knowing His own purpose on this Earth.
I LOVE celebrating Jesus’ birth this Season. He is my Father, my Wonderful Counselor, my Mighty God, my Everlasting Father, my Prince of Peace. He is our reason for this season. CHRISTmas.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7
In thinking of how the Stars over Bethlehem showed the Wise Men their way to greet the new born King, I was inspired to make a Star lunch for my Bigs.
I made a gold star shaped PB&J (I used gold food-safe spray and used my yellow Food Writer to outline it). I packed goldfish crackers, yogurt raisins, red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds (dessert), grapes, apple slices, seasoned corn, and a cranberry oatmeal bar.
…WHEN I DIP YOU DIP WE DIP!!!
I packed a dippy lunch for my Bigs, can you tell? Or did you just think I was just singing you songs from the 90’s? Because that IS a possibility.
I missed my weekly grocery shopping trip, so unfortunately, super festive sandwiches are hard to come by (when you are out of bread, amirite?). So Bigs got Da Dip.
I packed carrots and ranch dressing, pretzels, melba toasts and peanut butter, raisins, dried cranberries, a mandarin orange, a squeezy yogurt, and a mini butterfinger.
Word to ya mutha.