Holiday Web Bonus: 'Tis the Season for Cookies

From the November/December 2007 Issue of Simple & Delicious

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Recipe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Recipe

With all the other things we have going on in our lives, the holidays can sneak up on us. If you're in need of a few easy gifts or simple cookie recipes, we've got the solutions right here!

In this Holiday Web Bonus, you'll find never-before-seen dessert recipes that are perfect for sharing with others. Take your pick of Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy, Holiday Almonds, Nut Cookie Fudge and Toffee Peanut Clusters. Or try them all!

You can also enjoy simple gifts-from-the-kitchen recipes—including Chocolate Truffle Dessert, Molasses Sugar Cookies, Icebox Honey Cookies and Orange Spritz Cookies—along with great ideas for packaging treats.

As a special treat, you can make the season light and bright by decorating the path to your front door this winter. Check out the Holiday Luminary feature below.

We hope the ideas shared in this Holiday Web Bonus will fill your home with so much cheer, you'll have to pass it on to family and friends!

Don't let the cookie crumble!

After spending time baking cookies for a far away loved one, the last thing you want is for them to arrive in pieces. Use these tips to get them there fresh and intact!

  • Have two lines of defense. Fill an inner gift box with your treats, and then place it in a box for shipping with packing material around it.
  • Pack cookies or bars in a box that fits them. The less open space you have means less room they have to jostle about.
  • Try to have about 2 to 3 inches of packing material around your inner gift box or tin. Bubble wrap, air-popped popcorn, shredded paper, newspaper and foam peanuts work well.
  • If you'll be sending your goodies to a humid destination, consider wrapping a few layers of foil around your baked goods before placing them in a gift box. This will help protect them from moisture in the air.
  • Before sealing up the shipping box, give it a gentle shake. If you hear your gift box sliding around, add more packing material.

Looks as good as it tastes!

Make that home-baked gift look extra special with these pretty packaging ideas!

  • Unique or holiday-themed mugs, pitchers or teapots are lovely ways to present homemade drink or spice mixes.
  • Colored plastic wraps and gift bags jazz up any treat with a splash of color. Add a colorful bow and you're all set!
  • No matter the shape or color, baskets are a nice way to deliver freshly baked muffins, bread and cookies.
  • Shop flea markets and tag sales for cookie jars, decorative plates, pretty boxes and more. When the holidays arrive, you'll have one-of-a-kind ways to present your gift.
  • Dress up any gift box with shredded colored paper. Avoid placing any food directly on the paper.
  • Sharing a mix for a soup or sweet bread? Add in a ladle or a baking pan to make sure the recipient has everything they'll need.

In the mix

Looking for more mixes to give as gifts this season? Try Hot Cocoa Mix or any of these simple mix ideas you can create using your most-loved recipes:

Spice/Herb mix – use your favorite herbs or spices to create your own seasoning blend. Package in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag with tips on how to use it.

Dip mix – package up the fixings for a zesty ranch or Mexican dip with a note suggesting what to mix it with (sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese).

Trail mix – toss together some peanuts, raisins and chocolate-coated candies for a tasty snack to share with others.

Muffin or bread mix – give them all the dry ingredients they'll need with the recipe to bake a batch themselves.

Homemade pancake or waffle mix – assemble and package the dry ingredients with the recipe and a few tips on varying it (add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice or cover with apple pie filling).

Soup/Stew/Chili – get them all set with dried veggies, beans, pasta, seasonings and a recipe. They can take it from there!

Holiday Luminaries

candle in jar

As you and your neighbors make the rounds from house to house, light the way with these festive luminaries. They can be made well in advance. Simply light them just before your guests arrive.

  • Sand
  • Clear glass quart jars
  • Tea light candles
  • Red faceted plastic beads
  • Artificial wired pine garlands (13-inch lengths)

Place 1 cup sand in the bottom of each jar. Use a long-handled pastry brush to level. Place tea light candle in center of sand. Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of beads around each candle, using pastry brush to distribute them evenly. Wrap garland around outside bottom of jar and twist ends together to hold; arrange garland as desired.

candles lining path