Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Cookie Recipes for the Lazy (Busy) Mom!

December 13/2013

I love Christmas! Love Love Love!
I'm starting my enthusiasm a bit late this year because I just got back from a vacation (who doesn't need one just before Christmas?) but yesterday I got out the tubs of decorations and will devote the next few days to transforming the house into a Winter Wonderland. As I write this I have my inflatable snowman waving to my street on the front lawn, surrounded by a family of twinkly lit penguins. The lights will go up on the trees and house next week. I like to do a big reveal like that guy in National Lampoon's Vacation. Flip a switch and make my family say "ahhhh.."

This year on my blog, I thought I'd offer some of my favorite cookie recipes.I use the word recipe loosely, seeing they take very little effort. I used to go crazy with the Christmas cookies. Really, I did, but I'm a busy mother and don't have the time to bust a gut on cookies, especially when all my kids want is yummy, colorful reindeers or fun confections to munch on, not award winning works of art like these blue cookies.

Every year I host a Cookie Exchange at my home. If you've never done one of these, it's a fabulous way to get ten types of cookies and only actually bake five. You take plates of your cookies to an exchange and trade. You end up with the same amount of cookies but have different varieties so that your kids aren't eating the same Snickerdoodles and Santa shortbread throughout the whole holiday season.

The first year I did this I spent a hundred hours perfecting my cookies, rolling the fondant, making cute little Christmas characters with my decorating gun, placing garnishes just so, arranging them on Christmas plates or in darling decorated boxes and tying each grouping with a Christmas bow.
Not anymore! After seventeen years of kids,I make the easiest cookies that have the best appeal to children's simple interests, put my my exchanging cookies into fun containers and stick a pre-made bow on top. The effect isn't as magical but like that old Burt Bacharach song says "Make it Easy on Yourself." 
                     Not like in this picture. These cookies took someone ten hours to make!

Here's a recipe my kids LOVE that takes very little time and although they are called Reindeer Food, my darling children re-named them . . .

Reindeer Poop

Mix Cocoa Puff Cereal with Melted Marshmallows, Form into small balls, Sprinkle with Colored Sugar, cool. eat.
(See how easy that is!?)

We also like to make Fudge which happens to be the yummiest and easiest thing to make

Chocolate Fudge

Buy the Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk with the fudge recipe and follow.
(That saved e-space!)

          Now for something that is not chocolate. At least not brown chocolate...

Pretzel Canes

Dip Rod Pretzels in melted white chocolate, 2/3 way up the length, then sprinkle with Red and Green sprinkles, M&M's in the hardening chocolate, nuts or edable decorations. Or drizzle with icing.

Okay, now for non-chocolate. . .

                                                                    Melting Snowmen

Make sugar cookies, (see thumbprint cookies below, or buy plain cookies!) Paint them with white stiff frosting and secure a partially melted marshmallow at the top to simulate a melting snowman, with a toothpick and food coloring, make a snowman face and then top off the marshmallow with a hat made from a piece of Chocolate (oops-chocolate again!) If you're feeling fancy, make arms that melt into the icing in the cookie.
Personally, I find this cookie rather sad but it's all the rage this year.

And now for something with absolutely no chocolate!

Thumbprint Cookies

Makes about 20

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large egg yolks 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

2 large egg whites

3/4 cup finely chopped nuts of choice 

1/3 cup jam (any flavor) 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt. Gradually stir in flour. Form dough into 1-inch diameter balls. Dip in lightly beaten egg whites, then roll in nuts. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Press down center of each with thumb. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Just before serving, fill centers of cookies with jam. Or, fill centers with 1/2 teaspoon of jam before baking.

I have some cute decorating ideas, stolen from really clever women, on my Pinterest page if you'd like to see a Christmas Pizza or Christmas tree veggie platter. Or take one of these curly pretzels or the grid pretzel, melt a rolo candy on it, stick a green or red M&M on top and there you have it! Perfection. 
These little edible critters are cute too and I bet you could buy the chocolate covered pretzels (you would think I owned stock in the pretzel company?!) buy pre-made cookie dough, get chocolate chips and those red decorations they sell that taste like cinnamon. And suddenly you have reindeers. Heads anyhow.

Here's a great site to find cookie recipes.

                                  These are very cute but very time-consuming CAKE POPS

Whatever you do this year, remember the old Chinese Proverb, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" so pace yourselves and enjoy the season.

Kim Hornsby is an Amazon Bestselling Author. Her Christmas Novella Christmas in Whistler is climbing the charts this month in the anthology Christmas by Candlelight. If you need something to look forward to at the end of the day, download this book to your Kindle, phone, ipad or whatever and treat yourself to a little Christmas escapism romance! Click on the title above to see it on Amazon books.

Her novels are Amazon Bestsellers  Necessary Detour, a Romantic Suspense and The Dream Jumper's Promise, a Suspenseful Romance.
Visit her Amazon Author Page for a list of her novels. 

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