Dec
11
2013

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Sugar Cookie

An Easy Cookie That Is Certain To Put You On The Nice List

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Sugar Cookie

Whether I'm baking for my children's school functions, birthday parties, or my daughter's recent Christmas Caroling Party, I love creating fun and easy treats that bring smiles to my children's (and their friends') faces. The key is EASY, and I have quickly learned that just because something looks Pinterest-worthy doesn't mean it has to take hours and hours of work.
 
 
For example, I turned this package of Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies...
 
 
...into these super cute Rudolph Cookies (complete with red noses!) with the use of one of those gel icing pens (available in the baking aisle), some leftover store-bought vanilla icing and red Smarties.
 
 
Now can't you just picture these on your Christmas dessert tray or left for Santa on Christmas Eve? They are certain to put you on the "Nice" list!
 
 
Directions:
 
  Bake cookies according to package directions. I used the President's Choice package because the recipe does not involve any rolling of dough except in sugar before baking which makes the cookie yummy!
 
  Once completely cooled, use gel icing pen to create eyes and antlers.
 
  Using plain old table knife spread a bit of icing onto your Smarties and affix one per cookie as the nose.
 
  Enjoy with my just-as-easy-recipe for Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate.
 
PS: Looking to see what else I can do with a mix? Check out my Red Velvet Cake Balls, my Oreo Brownie Cake Bars, my Cake Batter Cookies and my Simple Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake.
Dec
11
2013

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Perfect For Any Cold Weather Get Together

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate
 
Every year, we host a Christmas party for my now-ten-year-old daughter and her friends. This year she asked if they could go caroling in the neighbourhood, then come back to our house for hot chocolate and treats. It sounded like a pretty reasonable request, only with the weather we've been having, I knew the hot chocolate would need to be ready, waiting, and hot as soon as they walked in the door from their caroling adventures. The easiest way to do this is of course in the slow cooker with a table full of treats and hot chocolate topping!
 
Simply heat up your cocoa, water, and sugar.
 
 
Dump into the slow cooker and stir in your milk.
 
 
Cook.
 
 
Then serve!
 
 
Ingredients:
 
 
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups water (just the plain tap kind)
2L of milk (I used 2%)
 
  In sauce pan, mix cocoa, sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
 
  Continue to stir for 20-30 seconds then remove from heat and carefully pour into the slow cooker.
 
  Add milk and stir until combined.
 
  Set slow cooker to low and cook for 3 to 4 hours then leave on "warm" (if your slow cooker has this setting) until ready to serve.
 
  Be sure to serve with all the fixings like whip cream, candy canes, chocolate spoons and of course, marshmallows.
 
 
PS: If you're having a cold-weather get-together with friends and family, this is also a great serve-yourself beverage option and if you like, you can leave a bottle of Homemade Baileys Irish Cream and/or a bottle of whisky by the slow cooker should the adults like to have a spiked version.
 
PPS: Want to know what treats to serve along with your Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate? Try my Rudolph Cookies, my Cinnamon Sugared Almonds, my Mint Chocolate Bark, and my Grandma's Whipped Shortbread.
Dec
03
2013

Make it, Don't Buy it: Real Vanilla Extract

Only Two Ingredients To A Homemade Baking Necessity

Make it, Don't Buy it: Real Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Recipe

I know that vanilla is easy and fairly inexpensive to buy, but when paired with a cute gift tag and a family heirloom recipe for muffins or cookies, homemade vanilla makes a super cute DIY food gift for friends, neighbours, and colleagues.

Vanilla Sugar: A Sweet Treat With A Powerful Punch

Simply cut your vanilla bean in half.

Then cut it lengthwise and pull open a bit.

Drop into a glass bottle.

Pour in vodka (I use Alberta vodka because of this of course).

Let sit for a 25 to 30 days then it's ready to use!

Ingredients:

Note: amount of ingredients you require will depend on the size of bottle. For gifting, I would suggest a minimum sized bottle that would hold approx. 1/2 cup of vodka and a maximum size of bottle that would hold approx. 1 cup of vodka.

Vanilla Beans (I used 3 stalks per 1 cup of vodka)
Vodka (I used one cup of vodka)

Directions:

  Cut desired number of vanilla beans in half.

  Then cut each half lengthwise and pull open a tiny bit.

  Place desired number of vanilla beans into bottles and fill with vodka, seal and shake gently.

  Your homemade vanilla will be ready to use within approx. 30 days so if you're gifting and didn't start a month before simply include a "Ready to Use Date" on the gift tag.

PS: Looking for some of my other favourite food gifts? Check out my Top Five Easiest Holiday Food Gifts and my Homemade Baileys Irish Cream Recipe.