Monday, December 15, 2008

Office Cookie Exchange

If you and your family love having (or giving) a variety of home-baked cookies for the holidays, but you just don't have the time or energy this year, here's the solution: a holiday cookie exchange!

You can bake just one large batch of your favorite holiday cookies, take them to the cookie exchange, and come home with several different kinds of freshly baked cookies! You'll be the family hero, with minimum effort!

Cookie exchanges can be done with friends and neighbors at home parties, or with co-workers at the office. Since the focus of this article is saving time and energy, we'll discuss the office version. Hey, you won't have to spend time cleaning up the house before and after the exchange!

Here's how to have a cookie exchange at work:

1. Pick a date. Plan ahead so you can give people plenty of advance notice... at least two weeks.

2. Reserve a conference room or other area for the exchange. Book it for an hour. You're probably safest to plan it for the lunch hour, when your fellow employees will be free to have some non-work-related fun.

3. Invite people to participate. Be careful how you do this at work. Some companies frown on sending personal emails or using the copier for unofficial fliers. Do what's acceptable where you work. You'll want a minimum of six people to make the exchange worthwhile, but less than ten so the amount of baking everyone will have to do is manageable.

Explain in your invitation that everyone will need to bake a dozen cookies per participant. So if eight people sign up for the exchange, everyone will need to bring at least eight dozen cookies (extras for sample tasting are encouraged!).

Emphasize that family favorites or traditional cookie recipes are preferred, so there will be less chance of two or more people bringing the same type of cookies.

Also ask them to bring copies of their cookie recipe for sharing. This is not only a great way for everyone to obtain new cookie recipes, it's a safety mechanism for people with food allergies. They can review the recipe before trying the cookies.

4. Ask everyone you invite to RSVP at least a week prior to the exchange and specify the type of cookie they'll bring.

5. Share the RSVP information with all participants, so everyone will know how many cookies to bake and bring (and how many copies of their cookie recipe). Ask everyone to bring their cookies already counted out, one dozen cookies per participant, packaged in sealable plastic bags (or other containers they don't mind giving away). If eight participants, they'll bring eight bags containing one dozen cookies each.

6. At the exchange (in a decorated room if you're ambitious), it'll be nice to provide coffee or water, and encourage people to sample the cookies. That way you can all rave about each others' culinary skills and have fun swapping stories about baking adventures, cookie recipe development, or the biggest nuts in the company. Relax for a while, have a good time, and take home some new and delicious goodies for the family!

(Source: Bonnie Lowe)

Gourmet Food Gifts

Shopping for gourmet food can be confusing. Many gourmet foods are produced in foreign countries and have foreign labels. The prices can be very high and you may not know what you are buying or why you are paying so much. And when you are a buying a gift for someone, especially a gourmet food gift, you will want to know whether you are giving something of true quality and class - not to mention whether the food is healthy and delicious. There are some tips in this article that can make gourmet food shopping easy for you.

irst of all, the Internet is a great resource for all type of gourmet foods. Look over various sites and get an idea of what you want. You can also browse through local gourmet shops, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Gourmet shop staff is usually pretty literate when it comes to gourmet foods.

Once you’ve done your research, you may be better able to select products that you are looking for and know what is good and priced reasonably. For example, you may need a good olive oil for a special gourmet recipe. With your homework done, you’ll know what is the best brand to buy and where to buy it. If you need further advice, you can go to the Internet and see what other gourmet fanatics think about what brands are best. If websites are recommending certain gourmet products, they are probably good choices as far as pricing and quality are concerned.

(Source: Jennifer Bailey) Back to Gourmet Cookies

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Unique Gift Idea of Gourmet Cookie Bouquets, Hand Painted With Edible Ink

Source: Mary Denis

A unique gift is at your finger tips. Buying gourmet cookie bouquets can be ordered online. Don’t spend hours of frustration looking for the “perfect gift” and settle with something that is just so-so. There is a simply amazing unique gift that can be ordered online to fit any age or gender in any walk of life. Gourmet cookie bouquets that are hand painted by professional artists with edible ink are a truly unique gift idea. These bouquets are simply amazing.

The business of hand painted cookies evolved when two talented ladies decided to leave their craft business and venture into something more unique. They started with stamping cookies with edible ink. After stamping the ink on these cookies, they felt it would be more artistic and personal if each cookie was freehand painted. After mastering an eleven step process to complete each masterpiece, they hired their own artists to make these creations.

There is a selection of cookie bouquets that can purchased online for almost any special event. Christmas is especially a great time because the arduous task of finding the just-right gift for everyone on your list is stressful and time consuming. Ordering online is so slick. It is hard to keep up with everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, housewarmings, new babies, and the list goes on and on.

Being the materialistic society we’ve become, it is hard trying to find a unique gift that the recipient does not already have. A gift such as handcrafted gourmet cookie bouquet really shows the recipient that it was given with just that special someone in mind.

Groumet Gift Baskets

Source: Jennifer Bailey

Gourmet gift baskets must come as a real surprise to someone who loves to eat. Anyone who passionately loves food is somewhat of a fascist when it comes to eating the best that is available. So, perhaps a gift unsurpassed for a gourmand is a scrumptious basket full of gourmet delights. Here are some suggestions and examples of gourmet gift baskets:

For those enthusiastic about Italian food, a bona fide Tuscan feast is an experience that can be singled out as one in a million. A sprinkling of roasted garlic vinaigrette for that o-so-crunchy Italian salad (made with celery, bell pepper, mushroom, black olives, onion, garlic and oregano) is an enticing appetizer. Follow that with some Fettuccini pasta (pasta with three flavors – egg, spinach and tomato-basil) and top of the line tomato and sweet basil sauce with Italian vegetables thrown in for good measure and you will be setting the pace for an elegant meal. The entire experience can come to a mouth-watering close with home-baked biscotti.

Another favorite is the gourmet snack basket with cocktail bites, raspberry-honey-mustard pretzels, cheese shortbread, maple sugar nut mix, chocolate almond cookies, cheese straws and potato chip cookies. This appetizing array of snacks will tantalize the taste buds and leave anybody craving for more.

A gift collection of teas is another gourmet favorite among tea lovers food lover. Try a collection of teas and chai that come with cookies and teacakes. This collection, fit for royalty, will contain English Breakfast, Earl Grey, spiced chai, vanilla chai, ginger bread tea, fruit-flavored iced teas with a bouquet of teacakes and cookies.

Ordering gourmet gift baskets is always easy, but creating your own custom-made basket is special and lots of fun.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Orange Almond Cookies

(written by Michelle)
Recently, I reunited with a childhood friend on Facebook. When we were young, Becky and I were inseparable, so catching up with her online has brought back quite a few fond memories. Becky told me that she checked out my blog in search of some cookie recipes and found that I only had the recipe for Fudgy Cocoa Brownies to offer her sweet tooth.

Gasp!It occurred to me that I had yet to transfer a cookie recipe I had posted to my personal blog back in July, so in honor of old friends, here's my recipe for Orange Almond Cookies, adapted from a recipe for Orange Poppy Seed Cookies on Simply Recipes.

Orange Almond Cookies (makes about 2 dozen cookies)(adapted from Simply Recipes)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature1 large brown egg, at room temperature1 tablespoon orange zest1
1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking sodaPinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toastedPreheat oven to 350°F. While the oven is preheating, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and orange zest.
Beat for 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl part way through to ensure even mixing.In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined. Fold in the toasted almonds.Place heaping teaspoonfuls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing the cookies ample space, as they will spread as they bake.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies just begin to turn golden around the edges. Remove from the oven. Let sit on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes so the cookies can solidify a bit, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Corporate Holiday Gifts

A lot of businesses love to give holiday gifts to their employees as a way of saying thank you. Some corporate holiday gifts include bonus checks, gift baskets with expensive items (such as quality champagne) or a selection of gift certificates from popular restaurants and other establishments. Giving corporate gifts is a way of showing your employees that you appreciate all the hard work they put in to your company each day.

You can give different corporate holiday gifts to different people. You may not know some of your employees as well as others. In this case, giving them a bonus check or a selection of gift certificates may be your best bet. However, someone like your secretary may deserve a more personal gift, because they are the ones who are closest to you. In this case, a more personal gift will be meaningful, because it shows that you truly do appreciate them.

Also, don’t feel as if you need to spend the same amount of money on all your employees. If you decide to give bonus checks for your corporate gift, you can calculate the amount based on how much an employee earns. The same rule applies when you give gift certificates.

What do you do if your holiday gift budget is pretty low? Then something like a gift basket is a great option. You can have some of your employees put them together to save money, or you can just pick inexpensive items to go in the baskets. You can also have an office-wide holiday party and offer drawings for a few expensive items and give everyone a smaller, token gift.
When it comes to giving corporate holiday gifts, the main point is that people like to feel that the company appreciates their hard work. Stay within budget and be as generous as possible. This will help make your corporate holiday gift-giving efforts a success.

Holiday Gifts

Are you tired of giving the same holiday gifts year after year? Do you feel like you are running out of gift ideas? If gift giving has lost its excitement for you, here are some tips that will help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Do you usually do your shopping in malls? Stores can be crowded any time of the year, but particularly during the holidays. Try finding your holiday gifts online instead. Online shopping is more relaxing, especially if you are looking for a particular item. Start shopping a month or so in advance, so you have plenty of time to scope out the best deals.

Making something from scratch is also a great way to spice up your gift giving. You can make your own homemade chocolates, bake an elaborate cake, create a ginger bread house or make someone an afghan. When you are trying to think of the perfect homemade, holiday gift consider the recipient’s interests. Homemade cookies won’t be meaningful to someone who dislikes chocolate.

Do you have a stash of gifts from last year that you won’t use? If you want to “re-gift,” make sure you keep track of where it came from. If not, this can lead to an embarrassing situation. Instead of recycling an unwanted gift, consider using your creativity to turn it into something different. A boring picture frame turns into a meaningful gift when you put a special photograph in it, for example.

Finally, understand that even though holiday gifts are an important part of the season, spending too much can also be dangerous. Make sure you shop smart and find the best deals. Someone else’s happiness is not worth a large credit card debt. Besides, a gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be meaningful.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cookie Gift Basket

Most often, when you hear the word "cookie", the first thing that enters your mind is a food that kids love, right? Although it is true that most kids love eating cookies, this treat is also loved by adults especially those who are into chocolate-chip cookies and ginger snaps. That is why nowadays, cookie gift baskets are one of the famous gift basket ideas that people choose to give for different occasions.

Homemade Cookies and Specialty Cookies
If you know how to make homemade cookies, then you can bake some to include in your gift basket. Chocolate chip-cookies, oatmeal cookies, and thumbprint cookies are just few simple recipes that you can make on your own. Perhaps, the person whom you'll give the basket has already tried and loved your cookies. So, he or she will sure appreciate the effort you will give by baking the cookies and give them as a gift for an important occasion like birthday.
Aside from the homemade cookies, you can also include specialty cookies like lemon bars, chocolate-raspberry bars, hermits, and seven-layer bars. If these are special favorites of the recipient, they will sure love to receive a gift basket full of these goodies.

Cookie Gift Baskets Websites
But if you hardly find time to bake cookies or drop by at a local bakery to buy some, then you should check gift basket websites that offer a vast selection of cookie gift baskets, which are specially designed for important occasions. But because there are so many options, you should spend time comparing products of different websites in order to find the best gift basket available. And once you found one, you can request what cookies you would like to include on your basket and have it shipped right to your home or office for convenience.

So, the next time you look for the perfect gift idea, you should consider a cookie gift basket. This is not only nice to look at but it is also a very delicious treat that the recipient will surely love.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday Cookies from Around the World

The holidays are all about traditions and in every corner of the world, the people mark the season with delectable cookies. Here are just a few of the traditional holiday cookies from around the world.

Scottish Shortbread Cookies - A simple recipe of flour, butter, sugar and cornstarch yields a delightful cookie that the Scots enjoy year round. However, they are particularly popular during New Year celebrations. There are numerous recipes for shortbread, but the Scots seem to know the trick for making them addicting.

Israeli Rugelach - This sweet Jewish treat has become a part of mainstream society in the US and throughout the world. The yeast based dough is cut in circles, covered with something like raisins or nuts, and rolled up to make crescent shapes.

Chinese Almond Cookies - The sweet almond has been cultivated in China since 600 AD making it a long term favorite in Chinese cooking. The Chinese often grind the almonds into a paste and combine it with milk to make sweet desserts such as these cookies that are enjoyed throughout the holidays.

Greek Melomakarona - These delicious morsels are made in a 2 step process. First, the cookies are baked until they have the texture of cake. Then they are liberally soaked in a mixture of honey syrup that is absorbed by the sponge-like cookie, creating a sweet treat like no other. During the Christmas season, these cookies are eaten all over Greece.

Mexican Wedding Cookies - These delectable cookies that are chock full of nuts and rolled in powdered sugar are known by many names in various countries throughout the world. They are usually shaped as crescents or round balls. The recipe may vary a bit from country to country, but the main ingredients are essentially the same. For instance, the people of Greece call them Kourambiethes and in the US, they are often known as butter balls or snowballs. In Mexico, these nutty delights are put in fancy paper holders and given out as guest favors at weddings. Whatever the name, they are delicious all the same!

Polish Thumbprint Cookies - These delightful little cookies literally have a thumbprint in the middle that is filled with apricot or other jam/preserves. Made with honey and almonds, these Christmas cookies capture the usual flavor of this region of the world.

German Chocolate Pretzel Cookies - These pretzel-shaped, chocolate shortbread cookies are a favorite in Germany at Christmas time. To make them look like authentic pretzels, they put on a light egg glaze and sprinkle the cookies with coarse sugar.

Swedish Pepparkakor - Also known as Swedish Ginger Thins, the Swedes often use cookie cutters to make these thin cookies into fun shapes like animals, people and stars during the holidays. It is a great family Christmas tradition much like making rolled and cut-out sugar cookies in the US.

Almond Cheesecake

"Wow" your guests with this fabulous cheesecake. Takes a little work, but the results are worth it. I haven't tasted an almond cheesecake like this before!

Graham Nut Crust

  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened Sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup ground blanched almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Praline topping
  • Oven: 350 degrees

Graham Nut Crust
Combine 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine, 1/4 cup ground almonds and three teaspoons of sugar. Press on the bottom and one inch up the sides of an eight or nine inch springform pan.

Cake
Prepare crust and chill. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in 2/3 cup sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then beat until smooth. Stir in almonds, almond extract, and salt. Pour into chilled crust and bake 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand on rack twenty minutes. Combine sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the vanilla extract. Spread on the cake. Return cake to oven and bake ten minutes longer. Cool on rack, then refrigerate. Run spatula around edge of cake to loosen, then remove sides of pan. Sprinkle with praline topping. Serves eight to ten (better make it ten; this is a rich cake).

Praline Topping
Melt 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When amber in color, stir in 1/3 cup whole blanched or unblanched almonds, coating well. Carefully pour onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and cool. Break praline into pieces, put into a towel, and crush coarsely with a rolling pin.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sugarless Almond Meringue Cookies

By: Jean Jitomir

Almond Cookies - Sugar Free

I developed the following recipe for mother's day when my mom was on a low-carb diet. Though I am not an advocate of the particular diet she chose, I wanted to appease her sweet tooth, which had been neglected for nearly a month. I found that I needed about double the Splenda sugar equivalent to get an acceptable taste; the texture of these meringues is more delicate that the traditional version, due to the lack of sugar in the recipe.

The following recipe will require making an egg white foam and a hand mixer.

Pre-heat oven to 275 F
Ingredients:
4 egg whites (fresh, room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1½ cups Splenda

Directions:
1. Beat egg whites and extracts at a medium speed until thick and foamy.
2. Add the cream of tartar.
3. Slowly add the Splenda about ¼ cup at a time until stiff peaks form (turn mixer on high about after all Splenda is added).
4. Place large spoonful of the mixture on a large cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden and completely dry*
6. Turn the oven off and allow cookies to cool in the oven for one hour.
Nutrition: Variable based on the size of the cookies, but the only nutrition in the recipe is from the egg whites (about 12g protein total) and some starch mixed with the sucralose sweetener in Splenda.

* Meringues cookies do not fair well in humid environments; do not set out on a plate. Will keep for a week or two in an air tight container.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cookie Bouquets

With so many different gift ideas and gift companies on the Internet, it can be a daunting task to pick one that is safe yet unique and one that is appealing and expressive of what you want to convey. Cookie bouquets are the perfect gifts to send to that special someone or group of people for all occasions and holidays.

Cookies are an all time favorite for anyone at any age. Cookie bouquets are ever increasing in popularity. Instead of the same old flowers and chocolates, try sending a cookie bouquet. They are the perfect gift for any occasion, conveying a message of warmth, love, and appreciation.
In addition to the holidays, cookie bouquets are the perfect corporate gift. Everyone at the office would love to share cookies compliments of you, of course. They leave a great lasting impression.
Another great time to send cookies bouquets is when you want to say sorry or offer condolences. The possibilities are endless and just about anyone "can" receive them unlike chocolates or flowers. Some online cookie companies now have pet gift baskets so your friend and their furry pal can both enjoy a nice treat!

Cookie companies are innovating new and unique designs to help you express your appreciation through sending cookie bouquets. Often, the bouquets will include keepsake items ranging from cups and mugs to more elaborate toys and goodies. Personalization is also included so you can send a custom message along with the special gift.

A great idea is to sign up for the cookie company's mailing list. You can opt out of their list anytime. This is a great way to be updated of specials, sales, offers, and new gift ideas. This way you don't have to go searching for a gift every time! Not only that, but they'll help remind you of upcoming holidays and occasions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Low Price Christmas Gifts

Christmas brings great pleasure to me every year, and the best part of the Christmas period is most definitely the atmosphere. With everyone getting into that joyful mood, the freezing evenings and burning log fires, families spending time together it’s a happy occasion. I think one of the main factors that makes Christmas is if you have kids, because you can keep up that hope of there being a St Nick. It’s also a time when young ones get animated and to be truthful the effect rubs off onto older generations. There is nothing more pleasing than seeing a kid open their presents on Christmas day, ripping apart the wrapping paper with a massive smile on their face as they can’t wait to see what’s hidden beneath, and even as a mother and an adult I am very much similar. Christmas turns everyone into a kid for that one day.

If you happen to be on a budget Christmas doesn’t have to be a demanding and perturbing time if you spend what budget you have wisely. Low prices gifts don’t have to be tacky and nasty; there are a lot of good quality bargains that can be brought if you surf online or go into the high streets. For example one of the best ideas is to purchase bottles of wine that you can get for $ - 12, then buy some wine presentation bags for them and your done, a low cost gift that will go down well and save you purchasing pricey items.

If you would rather, homemade goods can go down a storm, so if you are a whizz in the kitchen you could bake cookies, chocolate muffins or mince pies, carefully box them up, pop a bow on them, and they will look fantastic, again saving you money.

The Christmas holidays are about the thought of giving and most notably spending quality time with those close to you.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Minnie Beasley's Cookies - Best Christmas Gifts

If you are looking for a great idea for christmas gifts for friends, family members of even co-workers, Minnie Beasleys cookies make the perfect christmas gifts. Minnie Beasleys almund laced cookies are one of a kind, i've actually had nothing like them.

Minnie Beasleys cookies come in individual packages or you can buy them in bulk in tins. If you buy a tin of Minnie Beasleys cookies you obviously get a price break and is the best way to go if you want to buy them as christmas gifts. The cookies come in plain and chocolate are cost $8.95 for an individual pack.

For more information on Minnie Beasleys cookies, check out their website, www.minniebeasleys.com or give them a call (303) 327-8991

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Christmas Cookies: Santa's Favorites

Cookies. Who doesn't love them? We dip them in milk. We cover them with icing and sprinkles. We make them in various shapes and sizes and devour them with abandon, not giving a second thought to their caloric content.

Why? Because they're delicious!

We eat cookies year 'round and don't need an excuse to crave them, but the holiday season is the perfect time to overindulge. No cookie is better than a freshly baked Christmas cookie, after all. We bake them with our children while singing Christmas songs or decorating the Christmas tree. We sneak late-night bites while wrapping gifts and stuffing stockings. We leave a plate of cookies, along with a glass of milk, for Santa to nibble on during his Christmas Eve visit.

Of all the food and drink we associate with the holidays, none are more essential and revered than the Christmas cookie. Which is why we're bringing you a recipe you'll want to try in your kitchen come December. Not just any run of the mill cookie can be a Christmas cookie, after all. You want something special when you celebrate the occasion with family and friends, and we're happy to oblige by showing you how to make the best Christmas cookie on the block (no offense to your grandma's time-tested recipe!). And, to boot, they're easy and quick to make!

Santa's Midnight Snack (or Rudolph's Sugar Cookie)
3/4 cup butter-flavored shortening1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Icing and sprinkles

Mix shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large mixer bowl at medium speed with electric mixer. Mix until light and creamy. Next, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix on low speed until well blended. Cover dough and chill for one hour. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut in desired shapes (Christmas trees, stockings, Santas, gift boxes, etc.). Place on baking sheets and bake 8-10 minutes, until edges are golden brown. After cooling, decorate cookies with icing and sprinkles as desired.

Did you know that Santa's also a peanut butter fanatic? That's right, jolly ol' St. Nick can't get enough peanut butter fudge in that jelly like tummy of his. As long as you don't have any elves at home allergic to peanut products, give this recipe a try (not a cookie, we know, so we're fudging a bit on this one ... but, hey, this recipe is super easy and super tasty!):

Penultimate Peanut Butter Fudge
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 stick margarine
Pinch of salt
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, milk, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Boil, stirring frequently, until it forms a soft ball in cold water. Remove from stove and add peanut butter and vanilla. Beat until creamy and pour into buttered 9x9 pan. Let cool before cutting.

How to Make Painted Christmas Cookies

By: Sherry Frewerd

Who doesn't love the smell of fresh baked Christmas cookies? Part of the fun of Christmas for many folks is baking and decorating Christmas cookies. If you like to decorate sugar cookies during the holidays then you may enjoy letting your inner artist come out this year. How about trying your hand at painting your Christmas cookies this year? While at first glance they may seem difficult to accomplish, painting Christmas cookies is easy enough for children to help with.
Christmas cookie paint is actually a simple mix of egg yolk, water, and food coloring. After you've rolled out the dough and cut the shape you want, just paint on some playful designs, and bake your cookies as always. A couple of techniques can be used to place the designs on the dough. You can paint freehand or take a smaller cookie cutter and gently imprint or press the design to paint.

Making the paint is easy. Use one egg yolk for every two colors you plan on using. Add ¼ teaspoon water, and beat with a fork until smooth. Divide the yolk mixture into two cups and stir enough food coloring in to make your desired shades. Keep in mind that the paint will dry out fast, so keep it covered when you're not using it. Stir in a little water to keep the paint a consistency that you can work with.

Easy Painted Christmas Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda

Egg Yolk Paint
Cream butter at medium speed and gradually add sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Add milk and vanilla, and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, and soda; add flour mixture to creamed mixture, stirring until blended. Your dough will be soft. Shape dough into 2 balls; wrap each in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours. Work with half of dough at a time; store remainder in refrigerator. Roll dough to 1/8 inch thick on floured board or waxed paper; cut with 2 ½ to 3 inch cookie cutters and carefully transfer cut cookies to lightly greased cookie sheets. Paint various designs on cookies using a small art brush and our Egg Yolk Paint. Bake at 375F for 6-8 minutes; cook on wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen.

Easy Egg Yolk Paint
1 egg - beaten
¼ tsp water
Food coloring

Combine egg yolk and water; stir well. Divide mixture evenly into 2 cups; tint as you desire with food coloring. Keep your paint covered until ready to use. If paint thickens, add a few drops of water and stir well. Makes about 1 ½ tablespoons. Prepare this recipe for every 2 colors of paint you want to use.

Painting Christmas cookies is so much fun that you might decide to start a new family tradition. Create these pretty cookies to give away as special gifts or use as tree ornaments. This is a great holiday activity for older kids to make Christmas gifts for Mom and Dad too. If you decide to make painted Christmas cookies as ornaments, just cut a small hole in the top of the cookies before you bake them. Thread colorful cord or ribbon through the hole after the cookies have cooled. Have fun and use your imagination!

Peppermint Cookie Recipe

The peppermint cookie recipe has a rich flavor and a great looking pink glaze. A great way to use up all those leftover candy canes!

Ingredients
Cookie:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, softened1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract1
1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar2 tablespoons salted butter, softened1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract1-2 tablespoons milk2-3 drops red food coloringpeppermint candy canes, crushed

Hardware:
Large bowl
Medium bowl
Cookie sheets
Plastic wrap
Mixer

Step 1: In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, and peppermint extract. With an electric mixer, beat at medium speed until creamy.
Step 2: Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour and cornstarch, beat until well mixed.
Step 3: Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (30-60 minutes).
Step 4: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Step 5: Shape dough into teaspoon size balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Step 6: Bake cookies 12-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; transfer cookies to cooling surface.

Glaze:
Step 1: In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, peppermint extract, and enough milk for desired glazing consistency.
Step 2: Stir in a few drops of red food coloring. Drizzle over cookies.
Step 3: While glaze is sticky sprinkle with crushed candy cane pieces.
Makes 30 cookies.
For more information on baking procedures and hardware used in this recipe see our Baking Tips section.


For more great Christmas cookie recipes visit http://kicked-up-cookie-recipes.com/christmas-cookie-recipes.html

Refrigerator Cookie Recipes

I remember getting excited whenever we would get a box of Velveeta because that meant we would be getting one of mom’s refrigerator cookie recipes. She would always put the refrigerator cookies in the Velveeta boxes in the refrigerator. Probably a use for those boxes that we would never even think of today. It, of course, makes the cookies square, which allows for easier packing into containers. It also means that you do not have to mess with trying to get the cookies into a perfect roll. Also no danger of the kids putting something on top of the cookies and smashing them. I always liked coconut so the oatmeal refrigerator cookie recipe was one of my favorites.

Oatmeal Refrigerator Cookies
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup coconut

Cream together the sugars and the shortening in a large bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla to the creamed mixture. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) into the creamed mixture. Mix in the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut. Put wax paper or plastic wrap into Velveeta boxes and push the cookie mixture into the boxes. Refrigerate the cookies overnight. The next day take the refrigerator cookies out and slice them (about 1/8 inch thick). Then place the cookies on cookie sheets and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Peanut Butter Refrigerator Cookies
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup evaporated milk

Mix together the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar to this mixture. Add in the egg and mix well. Alternate adding the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda) with the evaporated milk. Put wax paper or plastic wrap into Velveeta boxes and push the cookie mixture into the boxes. Refrigerate the cookies overnight. The next day take the refrigerator cookies out and slice them (about 1/8 inch thick). Then place the cookies on cookie sheets and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.

If you work outside of the home, this is a great cookie recipe to throw together on Friday night. Then you can have a fun time baking the cookies with your kids on Saturday.