I spent last week baking my little heart out. I love baking. Not the dishes so much, but they don't go away no matter how hard I try to ignore them, so I guess they come with the territory. It's so relaxing for me, and luckily the girls love to "help". Until they get bored and go make messes and change clothes a million times per day. (Sadie, at least)
I made a few different varieties of cookies, packaged them up and passed these treat boxes out to family and friends, and they were a hit, I heard! One family even called me a (and I quote) "freaking homemaking wizard". I'm actually thinking of having a name plate for my desk made that says just that:
"Freaking Homemaking Wizard"
It's one of the best compliments I've ever received. No kidding. ;)
These adorable treat boxes are from Martha Stewart's line. They sent me some to try out, and they were fantastic! They make it so easy to put together a gorgeous treat assortment, and to make you look like a "homemaking wizard". I just love the scalloped edges! Who doesn't love a good scallop? (and no I didn't really give the Griswolds those goodies. They probably would have destroyed them in about 2 seconds anyways.)
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I'll share the recipes below for what I made! They all turned out delicious.
I should know, I sampled them all.... a lot. ;)
Sugar cookies...of course! I love decorating sugar cookies so these had to make an appearance in my box! The recipe is below for the cookies, and I'm planning a post soon with more tips on royal icing so look for that...sometime. :D
adapted from Annie's Eats
Ingredients:2 cups butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs, beaten1 ½ t. almond extract
2 t. vanilla
1 ½ t. salt
5 c. sifted flour
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Mix well. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Roll to ¼” thickness in between sheets of parchment paper (sprinkle flour on both sides of the dough and paper), then chill dough in fridge until firm. Cut with cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheets. Repeat with remainder of dough, but keep in mind each time you roll it out they get tougher from adding flour while rolling. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Make sure they are not sitting on the counter very long before putting them in the oven, you want them to go in chilled. Cookies should not brown. Let cool for a few minutes on the tray then transfer to a cooling rack. I usually bake them a day before I decorate. Makes about 40-50 cookies, depending on the size of your cutter design.
Now onto the other cookies!
These cookies were so, so delish! I loved the texture of the pistachios and cranberries, and the colors were perfect for a Christmas cookie box! So easy to make, too.
1 (1 lb 1.5 ounce) pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 box (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixer add cookie mix, pudding mix, and flour. Add melted butter and eggs and mix until incorporated. Add pistachios and cranberries and mix well.
These are a classic Christmas treat for our family. Rory LOVES peanut butter and chocolate so these are the cookies he requests most often around the holidays.
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Additional sugar (about 1/3 cup, in a shallow bowl)
5 dozen kisses, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cookies and Cream Fudge
adapted from Chef in Training
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 (5 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 (12 oz.) packages white chocolate morsels
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow cream
3 cups coarsely chopped Oreos (about 25 cookies)
divided pinch of salt
Line a 9x13″ square pan with aluminum foil, grease the inside lightly; set aside. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan, then cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; cook 3 minutes, keep on stirring! Remove from heat and add the white chocolate morsels, marshmallow cream, 2 cups crushed cookies, and salt. Stir until everything melts together. Pour fudge into the 9x13" pan, then sprinkle remaining 1 cup of crushed cookies over the top of the fudge, gently pressing cookies into fudge. Cover and chill in fridge until firm. Lift fudge in aluminum foil from pan; remove foil and cut fudge into squares. Eat!
These cookies you don't even really need a recipe for, they are so easy! But really quick to make and festive! Sadie loved helping me sprinkle on the broken candy canes! (and then she stealthily stole the leftover candy canes off the tree and ate them in her closet. I kid you not)
White Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Cookies
Mint Chocolate cookies (aka grasshopper cookies from the Keebler brand)
white chocolate or almond bark
candy canes, crushed
Melt chocolate bark and dip each cookie in, lifting it out with a fork and gently tapping to get rid of the extra chocolate, then slide it off the fork onto wax paper. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes right away! Almond bark sets up fast if you're using that. Let cool and harden. Done!