Homemade Christmas

Almost Cranberry Bliss Bars

Since my last blog centered on coffee and a certain coffee house, it makes sense for me to continue with another coffee house themed post. For my 3rd day of Homemade Christmas, I would like to share my, Almost Cranberry Bliss Bars.

Almost Cranberry Bliss Bars | My Hot Southern Mess

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Peppermint Meltaways

It’s cookie season! Time to get out that parchment paper and line those cookie sheets and get baking! I have been testing so many different recipes lately to add to my homemade Christmas list that I cannot even begin to tell you how many cookies and treats I have made and my family has eaten. I can tell you my family has some new favorites that we will be sharing with our friends and family this year. Sweet treats like Peppermint Meltaways.

Peppermint Meltaways | My Hot Southern Mess

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12 Days of Homemade Christmas 2016

December is here once again and that means it is time to bring out the cookies and holiday inspired sweet treats! Everyone has their own favorite and my family is no different. Like, for my husband, it just isn’t Christmas without Buckeyes and we always have some classic sugar cookies for my kids to decorate for Santa. Over the past few years, I have shared many of our tried and true favorites, so many that I wasn’t sure what to put on the list for this year. It is getting harder and harder so I switched gears a little bit and have been searching for and testing out some new recipes for this years 12 days of Homemade Christmas.

Homemade Christmas 2016 |My Hot Southern Mess

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Cracked Sugar Cookies

For my last day of my 12 days of Homemade Christmas I made Cracked Sugar Cookies and had some fun with them. My family loves the Grinch. My husband has, Your a mean one Mr Grinch, as his ring tone. He will break out and start singing it too at any given moment. Then there is my current mood, quite grinch-y. I have yet to get in the Christmas spirit. Some years it is easier than others and it seems the older I get, the more trouble I have.I don’t know if it is the over commercialization of the holidays and the fact we have Christmas stuff in the stores starting in August and there is the constant rush from holiday to holiday. Maybe it is because I have been sick and trying to train for my marathon and have been very busy with my volunteer responsibilities. Then again it could just be the normal stress of the season and being an adult and knowing someone has to pay for this. For whatever the reason I turned to my baking and had a little fun. I took my normal cracked sugar cookies and turned them into Grinch Cracked Sugar Cookies.

Cracked Sugar Cookies | Country Girl GourmetAll I did was add some Neon Green food coloring (Americolor) and place heart shaped candies in the middle of each cookie. The hearts didn’t quite make it, they melted a bit but not so much that my oldest couldn’t immediately figure out what type of cookies I had made. I’ll take that as a success.

Cracked Sugar Cookies | Country Girl Gourmet

As for my mood it is still grinch-y I still have a little time before Christmas for the spirit to hit me. Hopefully it will soon!

Check out my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas for other great ideas!

Cracked Sugar Cookies
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
  2. Cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, and cream of tartar. Stir.
  4. Form dough into walnut size balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Don't flatten. Bake 10 to 11 minutes, until tops are cracked and just turning color.

From Allrecipes.com

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Since I became Gluten Free 2 years ago I have missed eating classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Rice cakes just don’t cut it and gluten free bread while excellent for grilled cheese are not the best bread for peanut butter and jelly. There is something about the childhood classic. This Christmas I decided to do something about that, I made peanut butter and jelly thumbprint cookies.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies | Country Girl Gourmet

While they are not sandwiches they have the flavor I am wanting from a classic PB&J. I thought they would be perfect for Christmas! My family gobbled them up! I went out to pick up some things for Christmas and they were all gone when I got home! I guess than means I need to make more cookies!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies | Country Girl Gourmet

Check out my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas for other great ideas!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter or shortening
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg to butter mixture and beat on medium speed until blended. Stir in and combine dry ingredients.
  2. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Scoop dough into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  5. Place raspberry jam in a bowl and stir until syrup consistency.
  6. With a spoon make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Fill each indentation with about 1 teaspoon jam.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

 

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

During the holidays there is always something going on where you need a special sweet treat and having a super easy shortbread recipe around can help in a pinch. Shortbread needs minimal ingredients. Just flour, sugar, butter and a bit of vanilla. All items I have on hand all the time. This year I decided I needed some shortbread cookies in my life so I converted a recipe and made a gluten free version.  The recipe only needed one new ingredient, xanthan gum and I swapped the all purpose flour for gluten free all purpose flour. These are simple alterations that will make the gluten free person in your life happy.

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies | Country Girl Gourmet

When making shortbread I like to make logs of shortbread cookie dough  that I then wrap in wax paper and store in a ziplock bag. This allows me to be able to slice and bake cookies whenever I need them. Then I like to drizzle my shortbread with melted chocolate and sprinkle with a few nonpareils or other seasonal sprinkles. It makes for a simple yet beautiful cookie that everyone loves.

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies |Country Girl Gourmet

Check out my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas for other great ideas!

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in vanilla; add flour and mix well.
  3. Put through cookie press and form cookies onto baking sheets. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.
  4. Alternative Method:
  5. Roll the dough into four logs, wrapped the logs in waxed paper, placed in the fridge to harden, and then sliced in about ½" slices when ready to bake.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

Chocolate Mint Crinkles

Every year for I try to make a new candy or cookie or two for Christmas. This year I decided to try Chocolate Crinkles. I don’t know why I have never made theses cookies before. Seriously what is not to love about a chocolate cookie that is covered in powdered sugar? Umm, nothing at all! So I got to work and made them with a twist making, Chocolate Mint Crinkles.

Chocolate Mint Crinkles | Country Girl Gourmet

Chocolate  Crinkles are a basically a drop cookie, you create your dough, scoop with a cookie scoop, roll in confectioners sugar and bake. They are a simple cookie to make. What takes these cookies to the next level is the addition of mint extract making these a Chocolate Mint Crinkle. With the exception of my husband we love the chocolate mint flavor combo in our house. My kids are cookie monsters and couldn’t wait for the cookies so I got to work.

Chocolate Mint Crinkles | Country Girl Gourmet

These cookies were perfect for us and were a welcome addition to my kiddos school lunches and after school snacks! My oldest has asked that we make them again and they are easy enough that I just may let him make them on his own. He can make a mean cookie. Heck it could be our new tradition that the kids make the cookies all by themselves for Christmas instead of mom, hmmmm. The way they like to eat cookies I am sure they would be all over that idea! They love to bake and I love to have them in the kitchen. I just need to work on getting them to clean up.

Check out my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas for other great ideas!

Chocolate Mint Crinkles | Country Girl Gourmet

Chocolate Mint Crinkles
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and mint extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. I like to use a number 50 size scoop. Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com 

Cut Out Sugar Cookies

I am so far behind on my 12 days of Homemade Christmas blogs that it isn’t even funny but I will be catching up as fast as I can before Christmas. I have been working on a huge project that was very close to my heart. As a community outreach director for Team RWB I am always looking for different ways we can give back to our community.  I thought what better way to give back to our community and help veterans at the same time than to visit the North Carolina State veterans home and since it was Christmas bring them some Christmas treats. Part one of the project was to have a cookie exchange and cookie decorating event. Classic Cut Out Sugar Cookies  were to be made and decorated.  I just had to figure out how to make it work.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies | Country Girl Gourmet

Since Team RWB is a volunteer led non profit organization I needed to find the most cost effective way of going about this. I looked at the cost of premade dough as well as cookie mixes and decided homemade cut out sugar cookies would be the way we would go. Next step was finding a recipe. I have a family recipe that we love but they often puff a bit and lose their shape. I wanted the cookies to hold their shape. So I asked my Allrecipes Allstar friends for their favorite recipe and I went to work on the King Arthur Flour Cut Out Sugar Cookies recipe.

Since I wasn’t making the cookies for myself I made them with regular all purpose flour. I had a ton of cookies to make too. All purpose flour was the most cost effective way to get the job done. I ended up making over 15 dozen cut out sugar cookies! My Allrecipes Allstar friends were spot on with their recipe recommendation too. These cookies perfectly held their shape! I then gave a few to my family to test out and they said they were perfect. Hopefully the veterans at the veterans home thought so too! We visited with them and delivered the bags full of treats on Sunday. Visiting with them was completely humbling and worth it overtime we saw a face light up.

Now that it is time for me to make cookies for my family for Christmas I will most definitely be making this recipe so my kids can make and decorate cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Cut Out Sugar Cookies |Country Girl Gourmet

Check out my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas for other great ideas!

Cut Out Sugar Cookies
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons salted butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
Instructions
  1. Combine the sugar, butter, egg yolk, salt, and flavor, beating until smooth. Add the flour, mixing until smooth. The mixture will seem dry at first, but will suddenly come together. If it doesn't, dribble in a tablespoon of water.
  2. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight. When you're ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and let it soften for about 20 to 30 minutes, until it feels soft enough to roll. It should still feel cold, but shouldn't feel rock-hard.
  3. Sprinkle your rolling surface with flour, and flour your rolling pin. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it ⅛" to 3/16" thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut shapes. Re-roll and cut the dough scraps. Place the cookies on ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets. They can be close together; they'll barely spread.
  4. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until they're set and barely browned around the edges.
  5. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool right on the pan. If you've used parchment, you can lift cookies and parchment off the pan, so you can continue to use the pan as the cookies cool.
  6. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough, rolling, cutting, and baking cookies. When cookies are completely cool, ice and decorate.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour 

Classic Chex Mix

On my next day of Homemade Christmas I have Classic Chex Mix

Classic Chex Mix | Country Girl Gourmet

Chex Mix was another treat that my grandma would send us at Christmas time. It is a treat that is easy to customize and everyone has their own favorite parts. My favorite is the classic that I grew up with. Chex, Pretzels and Peanuts… that is all I need. While I use to love those Rye chips in store-bought Chex Mix I have never added them to my own. The thing about Chex Mix is there is something for everybody in it. I use to be the person that ate all of the Wheat Chex. They were my favorite. If only they weren’t full of gluten now. I will miss eating them.

So, what is a gluten free girl to do when she “needs” her holiday Chex mix,she figures out how to make it gluten free! I started by cutting out the Wheat Chex. I just added equal parts of rice and corn Chex to make up the difference. Next I needed to find gluten free pretzels. This past year I have started cautiously trying out gluten free products. Pretzels were one of the foods I have tried. My favorite gluten free pretzels are made by Glutino.Well, Snyders of Hanover have some great flavored bits that would be good also. Walmart also makes their own line of pretzels that are so-so. Then I added the classic peanuts. All that was left was checking the ingredients of the seasoning mix. The only ingredient that threw up red flags for me was the Worcestershire sauce. Sometimes it is not gluten free because it is made with malt vinegar so you need to really read your labels. Then all that is left is to mix it up and cook it.  While I have used both the oven and microwave to make it, both methods being easy. The microwave method wins just because it is so quick!

I am happy to have this tradition back in our house. I just need to make sure I don’t eat my weight in Chex Mix, it is absolutely addictive!

Classic Chex Mix | Country Girl Gourmet

Check out my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas  for other great ideas!

 

Classic Chex Mix
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups Corn Chex® cereal
  • 4½ cups Rice Chex® cereal
  • 1 cup cocktail peanuts
  • 1 cup bite-size gluten free pretzels
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons seasoned salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
Instructions
  1. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, peanuts, and pretzels; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
  2. Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

 Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

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