Friday, December 10, 2010

Cran-Pistachio Cookies- Week 11 of the 12 Weeks of Chrismtas Cookies

Week 11 of the 12 Weeks of Chrismtas Cookies

Cran-Pistachio Cookies

Picture from the Betty Crocker website (my computer lost my picture!)

Well, It's official I'm in holiday mode.  The mode I swore that I wouldn't get in because THIS year I would be more organized, Christmas presents would be purchased early(yeah, I'm still not done), baking would be done a little at a time so all nighters wouldn't have to be pulled, and I would commit to nothing so I could relax and enjoy the holidays.  NOT! 

I have found Christmas shopping with an almost 2 year old is not fun and when I say not fun I'm being nice people.  I had heard stories from my mother in law about my husband and his three brothers as children hiding from her in the clothes racks when out shopping, knocking down clothes racks, etc.  I thought... really?  I say this because being an only child, my mother would have tied me to the roof of the car all the way home if I behaved like that.  Okay not really I would have gotten the *look*... do any of you know which look I'm referring to?  I've heard some other moms in the world had the super power of the *look*.   I wish I had it.  I try and my kiddo just screams louder.  So, I have now realized that I am that mother the one that yes I admit I use to look at her children behaving badly and shake my head.  I'd think my mom would have killed me for that! 

He looks like he could never misbehave, right?
 Now realizing the difference between boys and girls and that I haven't a snowballs chance in hell of making my little tornado behave right now.  I simply look at those well meaning people starring at me, shrug my shoulders and offer and apology for my tantrum throwing child. 

On to the cookies, I am in a whirl wind of preparing for the holidays AND I've been receiving a few orders for cakes and goodies (which I'm happier than a pig in mud about!) so I confess I did not make these cookies.  I really meant to though and will in a few days for my holiday gift baskets. 

These are the cookies my mom brought to the cookie swap and I'm surprised I even got a picture of them.  I was inhaling them!!  They are such a nice change from the heavy, rich cookies we are all accustom to (not that they are a bad thing).  Cran-Pistachio Cookies are light and almost refreshing, and if you like pistachio flavor they are like biting into a tiny piece of heaven!  Plus, they look like Christmas on a plate, Bonus!  I recommend whipping up a batch for your holiday cookie platter!

Sorry! When I went to look for this picture I don't have it... my computer malfunctioned recently and apparently I lost my entire "blog photos" file... I promise these cookies are beautiful though!  Update! I found a pic on the Betty Crocker website! Thanks Betty!!

Cran-Pistachio Cookies    Printable Version

1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 box (4 serving size) Pistachio Instant Pudding
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Mix cookie mix, pudding mix, and flour in a bowl.  Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms.  Add pistachios and cranberries, blend well.  Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Press with fingers slightly to flatten.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes.  Cool for 2 minutes, remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely.  Store tightly covered at room temperature. 

Makes 48 cookies

And for some reason I am linky challenged so please click above to go to my friend Lisa's blog over at Sweet as Sugar Cookies to check out more Christmas Cookie recipes!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Espresso Thumbprint Cookies- Cookie Swap

Espresso Thumbprint Cookies

My friend and co-host of the cookie swap, Sarah, made these for our Christmas Cookie Swap.  They were so yummy and the crushed peppermint candies on top made them extra festive!

Espresso Thumbprint Cookies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3 tbsp. unsweetened baking cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
crushed hard peppermint candies, if desired

Espresso Filling

1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tsp. instant espresso coffee granules
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 tbsp. coffee flavored liqueur, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg with an electric mixer on medium speed or mix with a spoon until well blended.  Stir in flour, cocoa and salt until dough forms.  Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 1 inch balls.  On an ungreased cookie sheet, place 2 balls 2 inches apart.  Press thumb or end of a wooden spoon into center of each cookie; do not press all the way to the cookie sheet.  Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until edges are firm.  If necessary, quickly remake indentations with the end of a spoon.  Immediately remove cookies from sheet to cooling racks.  Completely cool, about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a 1 quart saucepan, mix whipping cream and instant coffee.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until steaming and coffee is dissolved.  Remove from heat, stir in chocolate chips until melted.  Stir in liqueur.  Cool for 10 minutes or until thickened.  Spoon rounded 1/2 tsp. of espresso filling into indentations in each cookie.  Top with crushed candies.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pina Colada Macaroons- Cookie Swap

Pina Colada Macaroons

One of my aunts made this cookie for our swap and it was delicious!  This cookie has not only coconut but candied pineapple as well and on top of that... cream cheese!  Yes, they are really tasty!!

Pina Colada Macaroons

3/4 cup sugar
 1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 oz. pkg Cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tsp. rum extract
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. candied pineapple, finely chopped
4 cups flaked coconut

In a large bowl, beat sugar, margarine, and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add rum extract and egg yolk; blend well.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture; mix well.  Stir in pineapple and 3 cups of coconut.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour for easier handling.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and gently roll balls in remaining 1 cup of coconut to coat.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets; bake 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Immediately remove from cookie sheets. 
Makes 5 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

1st Annual Cookie Swap!

This past Saturday my life long friend Sarah and I hosted our very first Christmas Cookie Swap!  We had a blast!!  We vowed we would definitely be doing this every year.  I made recipe books with all the cookie recipes from the party and will be sharing them with you!!  Here are a few pictures of the Cookie Swap!

Pesto Elephant Ears
Check out the Pepperidge Farms website for tons of recipes with puff pastry!!
Everyone, meet Sarah!  She is also mom to Princess Bella!

A few of our cookies on the sampling table.

This is my Mom! Love her!

Emily, Nicole, and Amy

Tanee, opening her ornament
Details of the cookie swap:
  • It was a cookie swap and ornament exchange
  • Everyone was asked to bring 7 dozen cookies: 6 dozen to swap and 1 dozen for sampling
  • Each person ended up with half a dozen of each cookie at least
  • Menu included: chicken salad (store bought), egg salad, tortellini, brie in puff pastry, several puff pastry appetizers, and much more!
  • Our signature drink was a Cranberry Cocktail: cranberry cocktail juice with champagne, yum! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Beautiful Holiday Party

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful lady named Diane Gottsman.  Diane is a nationally recognized etiquette professional and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, which is a company that specializes in corporate etiquette training.  She is also the author of Pearls of Polish, an etiquette guide for today's busy woman. Diane's website was named one of the top 100 websites for women by Forbes! I love her blog,, she offers little etiquette tips on different subjects.  To top all of this off, she is the sweetest, most down to earth person you would ever like to meet.  Diane is one of the people that immediately makes you feel better and happier when you are around them and I am happy to now call her my friend.

Diane had a Christmas tea at her house and I helped with the goodies.  We spent the morning doing one of my favorite things: preparing for a party!  Here are a few photos of all the goodies.

Coconut Cake makes a great presentation on a holiday table, very elegant.

Sugared cranberries add just enough color to look very festive.

No holiday table is complete without smiling Gingerbread Men!

Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies!

I love how Christmasy these look!

Add candy cane sticks to cake pops for a fun, festive look!

Diane and myself

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gingerbread Biscotti- Week 10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies

Week 10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies!!

Gingerbread Biscotti!

I apologize for missing last week.  Things got a little crazy around here for Thanksgiving, but I'm back with another yummy cookie!

Gingerbread Biscotti (Vegan)
Adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

1/4 cup molasses
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. ground flax seeds
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbsp. nondairy milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat together molasses, sugar, flax seeds, oil, nondairy milk, and vanilla with a wire whisk until smooth. 
Sift in the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. 

Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to form a smooth dough.
Form a log about 11 inches long by 4 inches wide, using a rubber spatula to even the edges and flatten the end sides of the log. 

 Bake for 28 to 30 minutes until the log is puffed and firm but not too brown.  It will spread a little, and some cracking is okay.  Place the baking sheet on a wire rack, turn off the oven, and allow the log to cool for at least 45 minutes.  If any edges of the log are too browned, gently trim them off with a sharp, heavy knife.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Very carefully, slide the log off the baking sheet and onto a cutting board.  With a sharp, heavy knife, cut log into 1/2-inch-thick slices, using one quick and firm motion, pressing down into the log. 

Very gently move slices to the baking sheet, standing them on their bottom edge if possible.  Rebake the slices for 22 to 24 minutes.  The slices should appear dry and slightly toasted, but do not allow them to get too browned.  Allow the biscotti to cool 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then carefully move them to wire racks to complete cooling (warm biscotti may be fragile).  Store in a loosely covered container.
Makes 18 biscotti.

Tips: Stir in 4 oz. of candied ginger for a little something extra.
Dip biscotti half way into a lemon glaze for a pretty presentation.

Click below for more yummy cookie recipes!

On a side note: Tomorrow I am co-hosting a cookie swap!  I will be posting pictures and recipes in a few days!!

-Lee Ann