Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Treats! {Recipes #76-79}

For those of you ready to bake the last few days until Christmas away, here are a few recipes that we tried and liked this year! :)

Make them with your family, teach your kids to bake! Give them to a neighbor or co-worker. Take them to a party. Use them to spread little acts of kindness. The world really needs that right now. I have been inspired by the news and by people that I know who are doing what they can to make the world a better place in little ways. Like many people, I was devastated by the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I was so sad that I could only lay awake and pray about it. I prayed for peace and kindness in the world, for the victims and families, the first responders, for those who need to seek psychiatric help etc. I felt pretty helpless until I heard about Ann Curry's campaign for 26 Acts of Kindness for the 26 victims taken at the school. Click on the link and get inspired to participate. Giving back doesn't end with the holiday season, it's a way to live year-round. 

On to the recipes!

Spritz Cookies

Recipe Borrowed and Enjoyed from Redbook Magazine

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
Red and Green Sugar Sprinkles {optional} 

1) Beat butter, sugar and salt with a mixer until creamy. Add egg and extracts. On low speed, mix in flour gradually. Mix until a soft dough forms. 
2) Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and have ungreased cookie sheets ready. 
3) Fill cookie press with dough according to cookie press directions and press onto cookie sheets relatively close together. {These cookies don't expand much and are very small}. If desired sprinkle sugar sprinkles on top of the cookies BEFORE baking. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms. Cool for 1 minute on baking sheets and then transfer to cooling rack. 

Share & Enjoy!

As a child I would make these cookies with my family what feels like every year. They are so tasty and simple. They are nice and small which makes them perfect for eating and sharing, especially for kids! When Kyle and I got married I made sure to purchase a cookie press in advance so we could carry on the tradition to our little family! 

Peanut Butter Balls

Borrowed, adapted and enjoyed from Debbie Macomber's Christmas Cookbook

Makes 50 balls

2 Cups of creamy peanut butter
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softenend
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely crushed animal crackers or vanilla wafers
1 package (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2 T. shortening

1) In a large bowl beat peanut butter, butter, salt and vanilla until blended. Add sugar and cracker crumbs, beating until blended. Dough should hold together when squeezed. Ours didn't, so I would recommend at least 30 minutes of chilling it in the fridge and then rolling into balls.
2) After the peanut butter is in ball form, place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and let chill for at least 1 hour.
3) After peanut butter balls have been chilling for about 50 minutes melt chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler or microwave. Stir until completely melted and combined. 
4) Dip peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate. We had to use a spoon, which made less perfect balls, but they still taste amazing. If you can keep yours on a toothpick good for you! :) 
5) Return covered balls to parchment paper tray and refrigerate until chocolate is set. 

Share & Enjoy.

Sugar Cookies with Homemade Icing

Lastly I have am including a link to a recipe for sugar cookies and homemade icing that I tried at Halloween time, but that would be excellent cut into Holiday shapes! :) Plus kids LOVE to frost and decorate sugar cookies! Olivia had a blast at Halloween. We had colored frosting, chocolate chips and sprinkles everywhere! :) And yes, that is a good thing! Want proof?

Adorable and worth the mess right? :) 

Wishing all of you readers a wonderful, happy, safe and giving-filled holiday!

What is your favorite Christmas Candy or Cookie?

All for now,


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