What makes this the most wonderful time of the year? Well, besides, glad tidings, family and the holiday spirit, it’s gotta be Christmas Cookies! Nothing puts a smile on faces like a big platter of goodies decked out and adorned with glitter and glaze! These tri-colored cookies are among my very favorite to bake up, decorate and give as gifts for the holidays. Why do I love these cookies so much? First of all, this basic stocking cookie recipe is just right. With its combination of butter and shortening, you get the great flavor of butter and the shortening makes the cookies soft but still great for decorating. Second, they are so colorful, and that color is achieved in such an easy way! All you do is make one batch of batter and color two parts with green and red! Now you have a pre-decorated cookie that just gets a glaze and a tiny bit of decorating sugar. No fuss. No muss. Just gorgeous and scrumptious cookies that are fa-la-la-la lovely to eat and to share!
Watch my How To Video for Christmas Cookies here!
Pumpkin Cookies Three Ways
There’s something so wonderful about fall baking, and it all seems to kick off with pumpkin season! So here are three of my favorite cookies and bars with pumpkin as the star! Whether it’s for your Thanksgiving dessert table or Christmas cookie exchange, these treats will get you in the holiday spirit in the most delightful way!
Arkansas Pumpkin Cake
Let’s make fall official! If you’re crazy for an ultra-moist, rich-tasting cake with a mouthwatering frosting, the Arkansas Pumpkin Cake will help kick off this pumpkin harvest season in a big way! This is a dessert that I absolutely love, and I think you will too! The recipe was sent to me by Mary Koeplin of Glendale, Arizona whose husband John was making the cake for her birthday that day. Little did Mary know that her email actually came on my birthday, and it turned out to be a wonderful gift for me, too!
“Dear Jan, I’m having this cake for my birthday and I think you would love it. I got the recipe in 1973 from my cousin Vivian Hanson who lives in Marietta, Georgia. She gave it to me when I was first married 40 years ago. It’s a very unusual cake in that it stays moist forever! Fall seems to be the best time of the year for this spice cake. We’ve only made it as a Bundt cake and it always turns out well.”
I’ve made Mary’s Arkansas Pumpkin Cake in a large Bundt pan and in a 9X13 inch baking dish. I’ve also made the recipe and divided it into two smaller, 8×8 cake pans and froze one for later. The icing is fabulous with this over-the-top moist dessert, and it’s just as delicious refrigerated as it is room temperature. Thank you, Mary! Yet another reason to be thankful as we kick off the holiday season!
Grown Up Smore’s and Graham Cracker Cake Pops
Looking for just one more item for your New Year’s Eve bash? This idea will create a S’more-gasboard of treats! For fun and easy Grown Up S’mores Marshmallow Pops, I had to look no further than the back of a Honey Maid Graham Cracker Box. If you find the old fashioned Smore’s to be a little messy to eat, you’re going to love the modern day “cake pop” version. I found the perfect size (3 inch) pretzels at Cost Plus World Market. (UTZ All-Natural Butter Sticks.) Then, for New Year’s Day, if you have leftover graham crackers, try moist and flavorful Graham Cracker Cake. I found the recipe in the 1931 Searchlight Cookbook. It’s an 82 year old dessert that I’m guessing few people have tried, even though Graham Crackers continue to be one of America’s favorite snacks. For this recipe, the graham cracker crumbs replace the flour, and the folded-in egg whites make this cake light and fluffy. You can serve it with whipped cream, but I’ve also shared my favorite glaze that’s perfect for desserts like the Graham Cracker Cake. I hope you’ll enjoy both treats. May they add Smore to your life this New Year’s Eve and for 2020!