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Creative Cookie Ideas For Parties

Creative Cookie Ideas For Parties

In a hurry? Did you know that you can use almost any packaged cake mix to create some delicious cookie treats. Here are a couple of ideas. 

Jiffy holiday cookie bites. 

To one package yellow cake mix add 2/3 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 egg and 1/2 cup of holiday colored m&ms. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on un-greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Place immediately onto wire racks to cool. While cooling, mix 1 cup of confectioners sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 to 2 teaspoons of milk to make a frosting that you can drizzle over the cookies. Frosting should flow freely from a spoon. 

Options: You can make many substitutions to this simple recipe. Try these instead of the m&m candies.

  • dried red and green cherries
  • raisins and nuts
  • dried cranberries and pistachios
  • chocolate chips
  • other flavors of baking chips
  • crushed hard candies
  • Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 

To one package chocolate cake mix add 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of milk. Stir in one cup of dark chocolate chips and one cup of milk chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets or line sheets with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Heat one small container of dark chocolate or white frosting in the microwave for about one minute. Stir. Frosting should be slightly runny. Drizzle over cookies. Optionally you could drizzle both light and dark frosting to create a pleasing pattern. Let cool completely before serving. 

Options: You can mix and match your chocolate chips any way you like. Try the mint chocolate chips for a surprising treat. You can also sandwich cookies using marshmallow cream or try peanut butter. 

Try these if you have a little more time. 

Oatmeal Cranberry Treats 

  • You will need
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel and
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla or white chocolate chips

 

Cream the butter, sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Combine dry ingredients in another bowl. Add in the fruit, peel and chips, stirring them in to be sure they are lightly coated and mixed well. I suggest doing this by hand as a mixer can turn the fruit and chips to mush. Add the two mixtures together. Drop by teaspoons an inch apart onto greased baking sheets or sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees about 10-12 minutes or until the edges have turned a golden brown. Cool on wire racks. These don’t need a frosting, but you could sprinkle them with a cinnamon sugar mixture while warm. 

BONUS: With guests pulling into the drive way, you can still put out a special treat. Keep several bags of inexpensive cookie favorites on hand for emergencies. Melt a bag of chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave as directed on the bag. While the chips are melting, get out that pretty platter and the cookies. Once the chocolate is melted, dip the cookies about half way up, into the chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool for a few minutes. You could also sprinkle shredded coconut or chopped nuts onto the warm chocolate. Or you could use white chocolate and sprinkle with colored sugars for a really festive tray. To hurry cooling, place in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Everyone will know what an amazing hostess you are when you emerge with a platter full of these ‘homemade’ treats. 

Cooking, while a science of sorts, is one of those places where you can express yourself and release your creativity. Any of these versions will make you the hit of the party, so go ahead. Grab your supplies and get baking. 

I have been working and playing online since about 1989. A Teacher and accomplished website designer, entrepreneur,and homemaker, I bring a wealth of information to the internet. 

At http://www.LifeWithBarbara.com, I am working to share as much information as I can find. I really feel it is time to get back to basics. People Helping People. It is what has made us who we are. 

Posted by admin in Articles and tagged with cookie articles, cookie recipes, party ideas

A Cookie Exchange Will Save Time At Christmas

A Cookie Exchange Will Save Time At Christmas

Cookie Exchange Will Save Time at Christmas

The weeks before Christmas are very busy for all of us. We want a variety of Christmas cookies and goodies, but where can we find the time? Trying to balance shopping, cleaning, wrapping and baking can cause a lot of stress. Some baking stress can be eliminated by organizing a cookie exchange with some friends.

A Christmas cookie exchange allows us to have a variety of Christmas treats while only baking a few kinds of cookies. It works by finding 4 to 6 friends who are willing to bake 2 large batches of cookies. If we get 5 friends to do the cookie exchange, and each baked a large batch of 2 recipes to share, then each of us will end up with up with a variety of 10 different holiday cookies for family and friends. The exchange works best if you triple the batch so each person can get 2 dozen cookies from the bakers.

Two large batch recipes, perfect for sharing with members of your Christmas cookie exchange group, are favorites with my family and are listed below. In my family, one recipe is made only at Christmas, which is listed first, called DIVINITY. Another favorite Christmas cookie, Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, is listed second. DIVINITY 8 cups sugar, 2 cups light corn syrup, 1 & ½ cup water, 6 egg whites, 3 teaspoons vanilla & 2 cups broken nuts. Stir first 3 ingredients in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Cook, without stirring, until a bead forms when small amount is dropped in cold water. Remove from heat.

In large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; slowly add the hot syrup, thin stream. Add vanilla, beat until mixture holds its shape, fold in nuts. Drop by buttered spoon onto waxed paper. Recipe makes 12 dozen candies.

Note: Use 3 tablespoons less water on humid days.

TOLL HOUSE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 6 & ¾ cups all-purpose flour, 3 tsp. baking soda, 3 tsp. salt, 3 cups (6 sticks, softened) butter, 2 & ¼ cup granulated sugar, 2 & ½ cup packed brown sugar, 3 tsp. vanilla extract, 6 large eggs, 3 (10 oz) bags of NESTLE TOLL HOUSE morsels, 3 cups nuts.

PREHEAT oven 350′. COMBINE flour, baking soda & salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar & vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. BAKE for 11 to 13 minutes, until edges are golden. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet then remove to cooling racks. Recipe makes 12 & ½ dozen cookies.

Note: If omitting nuts, add 5 tablespoons of flour.

Keeping with the Christmas spirit, it’s fun to make the exchange an “affair to remember”. Have a little party for fellow bakers with drinks and snacks.

About the Author – CDMohata writes for Myspace Comments.By CDMohatta
Published: 10/30/2007

Posted by admin in Articles and tagged with christmas, cookie articles, cookie exchanges

How to Make Your Own Homemade Cookie Bouquets

How to Make Your Own Homemade Cookie Bouquets

We’ve all seen them. Clusters of big, gourmet cookies, individually wrapped in shiny, colored cellophane, with bows and ribbons. They come in many styles and with different treats, toys or gift items attached to or inside a basket or vase of some sort. They make a terrific and edible gift idea. After all, who doesn’t love cookies? Sadly, they can be very expensive gifts, especially when considering that cookies don’t cost a whole lot to bake.

Here’s how to make your own cookie bouquets at home without spending a fortune!

What You Will Need:

* Chopsticks or Wooden Skewers – Make sure they are heat-proof. If you’re baking smaller cookies, then popsicle sticks would also work.

* Cookies – Find a delicious cookie recipe that makes larger size cookies, your favorite or your gift recipients favorite will do fine.

* Container – This needs to be a sturdy container that is a bit bottom heavy, especially if you plan to include more than a few big cookies. You can try putting some pebbles in the bottom to make sure the container won’t tip over, if needed. Some ideas for containers include: a coffee mug, a metal or plastic pail, a basket, a vase, a planter, cookie jar or glass jar, glass bottle, a toy or wood box of some sort, teapot, porcelain or pottery serving ware.

* Cellophane – The shiny, colored kind looks best, but the colored plastic wrap you get at your local supermarket would work too.

* Ribbon – The curly kind works well for this. Any colors you like.

* Decorations – Anything goes! What’s appropriate to the occasion and what does the gift recipient like? Some ideas include: stuffed animals, small toys, candy, balloons, fake or real flowers, stickers or whatever you find at the local craft store.

* Block of styrofoam or florists foam – You know that stereo you bought last December? You probably kept the box, just search your garage for some spare, clean, styrofoam.

* Something to cover up the styrofoam or florist’s foam – You can use a big ribbon, some moss, plastic grass, tissue paper crumpled up or whatever else you have handy.

Instructions:

1. When you place the cookie dough on the cookie sheet, press the dough down a bit to flatten it so that it doesn’t spread too much while baking and so that the stick can be inserted properly. Before you bake the cookies, you must insert the chopstick or wooden skewer into one side of each cookie. Push it in almost the length of the cookie without going out the other end. This is an important step, as if your cookie is too big and your stick is not sturdy enough, it simply won’t hold it and the cookie may fall apart when you pick it up. When baking big cookies, you probably won’t be able to fit more than 3 cookies with their sticks to a sheet.

2. After baking the cookies with their sticks, cool the cookies thoroughly, then wrap each one with the colored cellophane. A different color for each cookie would be ok, or all the same color appropriate to the occassion. Tie each one with some curly ribbon at the base where the stick comes out of the cookie. Tie it very tightly so the cookies will stay fresh on the stick. You can adorn each cookie with additional, larger ribbons or bows at this point. When using curly ribbon, don’t forget to curl it!

3. Now cut your styrofoam or florist’s foam to the size of the top of the container you chose. Then fit the foam in so it is nice and tight and near the top of the container. Remember, you can place something heavier in the bottom of the container so that it does not tip over. Small pebbles work well for this. Remember that the sticks will poke through the foam and into the bottom of the container.

4. Here comes the fun part, let’s assemble the cookie bouquet! Take each of your cookies and stick them through the foam so they go all the way through the foam and further, near to the bottom of the container. You can assemble the cookies in any manner you like, but most cookie bouquets have one cookie at the center that is taller than the other cookies, so keep that in mind. Decorate with additional ribbons, toys, candy, flowers, gifts etc. Each item can be attached with additional ribbon to the container or the sticks of the cookies or even with a glue gun (if appropriate).

5. Give your gift and watch the smiles! Make sure to give the bouquet as soon as possible after you have assembled it, you don’t want the cookies to go stale!

Tips:

Make sure you bake enough cookies for your container, if baking small cookies, you may run out if you are filling a large container. Always bake more than enough. Surely your extras won’t go to waste.

Bake both large and small cookies and use them both in the bouquet for a nice varied look like a more traditional flower bouquet.

More Ideas:

Some cookie bouquets use cutout cookies, these can be fun to make and decorate. Use your favorite sugar cookie cutout recipe and cut into shapes appropriate for the occasion. For cutout cookies to work, you may want to double your sugar cookie recipe as the cookies need to be nice and thick for the stick to go through them. For this type of cookie, wooden skewers will work best, chopsticks may be too thick. Then decorate the cookies with frosting. No need for colored cellophane with these cookies, use regular plastic wrap or clear cellophane so that the beauty of your hand decorated cookies shines through.

Remember, your cookie bouquet doesn’t need to look professional, it’s the homemade touch that makes it a truly special gift.

Ricky Alberta is the editor of Cookie-Recipes.net, the premiere website for cookie recipes of all kinds including chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter and Christmas cookie recipes, cookie baking tips, a cookie blog and message boards.

Posted by admin in Articles and tagged with cookie articles, cookie bouquets

What Makes A Great Cookie?

What Makes A Great Cookie?

Quality ingredients and quality bakeware are probably the two most important elements in making a quality cookie. I’ve noticed a lot of bakers will purchase store brand ingredients like chocolate chips, coconut, oatmeal, raisins, butter and other important cookie ingredients. Think about what you are doing. What would you enjoy more, a cheap store brand chocolate bar or an expensive top brand chocolate bar?By Frank H. Carter
Published: 8/29/2007

Cheap ingredients make a boring cookie. Like everything else in life, you reap what you sow. Why waist your valuable time and energy baking cookies no one will like, not even yourself. You can taste the difference. Cheap tastes cheap and quality taste like quality. When you purchase brand x Oreo knockoff cookies, do they taste as good as the real thing? I don’t think so.

I’m not a cookie chef, but I’ve tasted a lot of really bad cookies in my lifetime. Usually given as a gift from a neighbor with good intentions. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays our house fills up with goodies from neighbors and friends. Most of the goodies are cookies. Generally 50% of the cookies we get are not fit for human consumption. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the thoughtful gift, but let me make a point. If you take the time to follow a tried and proven cookie recipe and use quality ingredients, how much more enjoyment will come out of your gift.

The quality of your baking supplies play a part, although quality ingredients play a big part in delicious cookies. A good quality cookie sheet will give you an evenly baked cookie, unless you didn’t follow the baking instructions. The best cookie sheets are the heavy commercial ½ sheets. Take all your thin cheap cookie sheets and give them a toss in the garbage. You will always have a struggle realizing a perfect cookie from one of those devices.

Some of other devices used in baking cookies may or may not have an effect on the outcome of your cookie. If your time and effort is of any value, quality appliances and accessories can play a big part in an enjoyable baking experience. I don’t want to name names, but KitchenAid by far has the best stand mixer. The 5 quart or 6 quart mixers make mixing ingredients a breeze. They also have a great array of attachments and accessories.

Using a small ice cream scoop to measure out your cookie dough will give you professional looking results. There are many sizes and makes of scoops on the market. Buy a couple of different sizes; you will probably find a use for all the sizes.

Finally, let use put what I’ve said to practice. Again, I may not be a professional chef, but I know my cookies. So if you will follow these simple rules and advise your next batch of cookies should be a success. In fact try this recipe, which by the way is my favorite, and see and taste the results for yourself.

Susie’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 3/4 cups butter 1 3/4 cups brown sugar 1 3/4 cups sugar 3 eggs 2 tsp. vanilla

Cream together thoroughly and then add:

3 cups old-fashioned oats 3 1/4 cups flour 2 tsp. salt 1 1/2 tsp. soda 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup pecan or walnuts 1 cup coconut

To keep your cookie from spreading out too much place the cookie dough in the refrigerator of a couple of hours before baking. I like to make these cookies big. Scoop out by spoonful onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°. Place the cookie sheet on the middle oven rack. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. All ovens bake a little different so keep an eye on your cookies.

Susie’s web site is all about baking delicious cookies, like the peanut butter cookie recipe and her list of baking supply products. We give you all the kitchen utensils and recipes you will need to be a successful baker.

About the Author – Frank Carter is the husband of the greatest cookie baker known to man. At least he would stake his taste buds on it. He started this web site to share his wife’s wonderfully delicious cookie recipes and her passion for baking.

Posted by admin in Articles and tagged with cookie articles

The History of Cookie Decorating

The History of Cookie Decorating

We can thank the Swiss for bringing the cookie decorating tradition to life. Their now famous springerle cookies were the very first decorated cookies. These sweet, but hard, cookies are pressed into molds and pop out featuring the most intricately designed cookies you have ever seen. The first molds were discovered from the 14th century and are now considered national treasures and held in Swiss museums.

The Swiss also used rolling pins cleverly carved with designs to roll out highly ornate cookies. The images on these cookies rival the finest artwork of the master painters and sculptors. Decorators soon realized that they could combine egg yolks and food dyes to paint these cookies. Some even paint the cookies for decoration only with paint. Of course, you can’t eat these beauties, but they will last and last and become a favorite holiday decoration.

The first scenes on cookies were from the Bible. Because people were largely illiterate in ancient times, these cookies served as a way to tell important Bible messages to everyone. Even if you couldn’t read the words, you could look at these beautiful images and understand the concepts they portrayed.

The Germans were next to promote cookie decorating. Back in medieval times, they made gingerbread, called Lebkuchen. The cookies were so revered that a guild of artisans called the Lebkuchen Guild banned together to make a law that only their members could bake gingerbread. The ban was lifted each year for the high holidays of Christmas and Easter. The common people, if they could afford the ingredients, were allowed to make their own gingerbread at these two times of the year.

Gingerbread cookie decorating spread throughout the world and during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I gingerbread cookies adorned with gold were given to court visitors. Master gingerbread decorators started to promote their gorgeous creations as Christmas ornaments.

In 1812, the Grimm Brothers published their now famous story, Hansel and Gretel. This classic tale of two children who encounter a witch who lives in an ornately decorated gingerbread house in the forest inspired a new love of the gingerbread cookie. Soon tinsmiths couldn’t keep up with the demand for cookie cutters and molds designed to help bakers create elaborate gingerbread houses of their own. German cookie cutters are still prized today as among the best made and highly sought after by collectors.

Today cookie bakers can’t imagine the holidays without decorated cookies. The popularity of Royal Icing has made home cookie decorating fun. It’s easy to create interesting and realistic motifs on cookies using Royal Icing. This confectioner sugar-based icing dries rock hard, so once its set, it won’t smear or run. This makes it ideal for decorating cookies that need to last through the season on the tree or that need to travel. You can eat Royal Icing, of course, but most cookies that are heavily decorated in Royal Icing tend to be treasured as ornaments rather than eaten.

If you’re looking into cookie decorating this year for your own holiday celebrations, you have more resources than you could ever imagine at your disposal. Visit a craft store and browse their cookie and cake decorating aisle. You will marvel at the tools and colors available for you to get started with.

Betty Ann Sherman is a mother and a baker of tasty treats. She has a special passion for baking cookies, pies, cakes, and everything wonderful. Check back for updates from Betty on her delicious treat adventures.

Posted by admin in Articles and tagged with cookie articles, cookie decorating

An Easy Way to Dye Cookie Dough

An Easy Way to Dye Cookie Dough

Have you ever dyed cookie dough and found it incredibly hard to get it evenly incorporated into the dough? I have! And trust me if you have not had that experience, it’s not fun and really frustrating. Plus, when you are kneading the dough trying to incorporate the color, your hands get dyed with the coloring (if you are not wearing gloves), your hands start to hurt and your cookies come out spotty or marbled. So, this simple method should solve those problems for you.

Recently while making our annual plethora of Christmas cookies, my mom and I discovered that there is a much easier and simple way to dye your cookie dough and have the dough come out evenly colored. It is so simple that I wonder why I never thought of it before when it was staring me in the face. What is this method that I have to know, you ask. Well, let me tell you.

While you are assembling all your ingredients and you have your dry ingredients and your wet ingredients ( eggs, milk, extracts, etc.), simply add your food coloring into your wet ingredients. You can even give your wet ingredients a little stir to incorporate the food color to make sure that it’s thoroughly dispersed and mixed in. And there you have it, a simple and quick way to have evenly colored dough!

Note though, that some recipes you can not add the coloring in to the wet because you simply have no choice and it might alter the consistency or the final product of the cookie dough.

Vanessa Ghilarducci invites you to check out her blog, Love to Bake at http://bakingobssessed.blogspot.com and become a follower. For more tips, suggestions and recipes visit http://bakingobssessed.blogspot.com.

Posted by admin in Articles and tagged with cookie articles, cookie dough