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


Giving Back and Easy DIY Gift Bags

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WrapGiveRepeat #CollectiveBias 

How do you give back during the holiday season? Do you volunteer? Do you do small random acts of kindness? What do you do? While I volunteer year round I do extra during the holidays to help make sure everyone has a great holiday. Each fall I figure out and develop a plan that centers around our military members and veterans and what I can do for them.  It usually revolves on small homemade or store bought goodies of all types that let them know they are being thought about.  I learned that small stockings can be hard to find and when you do, they can get expensive but making my own DIY Gift Bags were a snap! Sure I could buy them but when you are needing a bunch it is often cost effective to make your own. Plus, I could have the sizes I need with all sorts of different patterns. They are a great way to wrap, give, and repeat during the holiday season.

Giving Back and Easy DIY Gift Bags | My Hot Southern Mess


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
  • 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
  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.


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
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  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

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax

On my 5th day of Homemade Christmas I have one of my second son’s favorite cookies, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax | Country Girl Gourmet

I have been making Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for years. I love oatmeal chip cookies. They are so much better than those ones with raisins. These cookies are the only ones I make that Mr Great requests on a regular basis and this year he told me that I need to make them for Christmas and Santa.

These cookies are his special cookies. When we lived in El Paso he participated in his school district’s special olympics every year. One of things was parents and the school would supply food and snacks for the kids. I wanted to bring something that was a bit healthier. So I made cookies! I know cookies don’t scream healthy but these are filled with wholesome oatmeal and flax. So they are a bit better than your traditional chocolate chip.
Well, my son ate probably too many cookies that day in addition to pizza and who knows what else but he still had to run. His run was one of the last ones of the day. I was fully expecting him to puke, start walking or worse have a meltdown. None of that happened though, he won his race! He was so happy and I was very proud of him. If you asked him about the race he would tell you it was all because of the cookies, his special oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Mr Great went on the following years to win again and again at the special olympics. He always had his special cookies too. The recipe has been tweaked a bit since those days to turn it into a gluten free oatmeal cookie but it is still delicious and we love it! Hopefully Santa will like them too! I have a sneaking suspicion that he will.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax | Country Girl Gourmet

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

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax
Serves: 3 Dozen
  • ½ Cup Butter
  • ½ Cup Shortening
  • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¾ Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract or Paste
  • 1½ Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup Flax Meal
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 2 Cups Chocolate Chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together butter, shortening, brown sugar and white sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir in flour, flax meal, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add Oats and incorporate well. Finally stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop by tablespoon or cookie scoop onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes

Caramel Corn

We have had a pretty busy weekend in our house. On Saturday my daughter and I participated in Wreaths Across America here  on Fort Bragg.
Caramel Corn | Country Girl Gourmet

This experience brought up a slew of questions as well as memories for my daughter of the only time she has ever been in a cemetery, after my grandmother’s death. This led into conversations about my grandma and all of our happy memories. One those memories was Caramel Corn. Every year during the holidays a bag of this was sure to pop up and a few years back when we were living in New Jersey my grandma was able to spend the holidays with us. On her list of things to make with her great-grandkids while she was visiting was caramel corn. My kid’s loved it and the tradition of Caramel Corn lives on in my family with us making her yummy recipe.
Caramel Corn | Country Girl Gourmet

My grandma’s recipe is pretty easy to make. In fact you do not even need the oven for it. The recipe is primarily made on the stove top and microwave. The recipe starts with making popcorn. While it is popping you can make the caramel sauce. The caramel sauce is made on the stove and takes less than 15 minutes to make. You do not need anything special for it other than a heavy bottomed saucepan. No thermometer, just bring to a boil on medium for 5 minutes and bam it’s done! Then all you do is pour the caramel over the popcorn and coat well and microwave the popcorn. Let it cool and then try not to eat it all. My family is addicted to it. Granted there are 6 of us but I can make up a bowl and it will be gone in a day! It really is good stuff! I am sure your family will love it as much as mine!

Caramel Corn | Country Girl Gourmet

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


Caramel Corn
  • 4 Quarts Popped, Popcorn
  • 1 Cup Peanuts
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup and 1 teaspoon Corn Syrup
  • ½ Cup Butter or Margarine
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  1. In a large bowl combine popped popcorn and peanuts.
  2. In a heavy saucepan combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt and cook on medium until it boils. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.
  3. Pour caramel mix over popcorn, mixing to coat well.
  4. Cook in Microwave on high for 1.5 minutes then stir well, then cook on high 1 minute and then stir, next cook on high 45 seconds and then stir. Finally cook on high for 35 seconds Stir and then spread out and cool on wax or parchment paper.

12 Days of Homemade Christmas 2015

I debated doing 12 Days of Homemade Christmas again this year. Honestly it is hard deciding what recipes to include especially since I like to make family favorites. I have so many cookie and other sweet treat recipes on the blog already but I went to work. I have been working on my list for a couple months now. I hope you and your family like the sweet treats I have chosen this year as much as my family does! Just like I have done in years past, check back here every day for the newest recipe!

From my family to yours i’d like to wish everyone Sweet Eats and a very Merry Christmas!

12 Days of Homemade Christmas | Country Girl Gourmet

12 Days of Homemade Christmas

Day 1: Vanilla Bean Scones

Vanilla Bean Scones | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 2: Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 3: Classic Snickerdoodle Cookies

Classic Snickerdoodle Cookie | Country Girl Gourmet

Day4: Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 5: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 6: Classic Chex Mix

Classic Chex Mix | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 7: Cut Out Sugar Cookies

Cut Out Sugar Cookies |Country Girl Gourmet

Day 8:  Chocolate Mint Crinkles

Chocolate Mint Crinkles | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 9: Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies

Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies |Country Girl Gourmet

Day 10: Sugar Cookie Frosting

Sugar Cookie Frosting | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 11: Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies | Country Girl Gourmet

Day 12: Cracked Sugar Cookies

Cracked Sugar Cookies | Country Girl Gourmet

What are you baking this Christmas?

2014 Homemade Christmas

2013 Homemade Christmas

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