I have a fantastic beauty DIY project that turned out just great that I need to post; however, I’m giving it out as Christmas presents to my girl friends and family. So I need to wait until I give the gifts to post this but trust me, it’s good! I will definitely be making it again even if it’s just for me!
I went to a cookie exchange at a good friend’s house this past weekend. I had been searching all over for a semi-festive cookie that everyone would really enjoy. I assumed that most everyone would be doing really holiday-ish cookies and I wanted to do something a little different. I ran across this recipe for a basic Melting Moments cookie and adapted it to have some Christmas flair but not too much. These are really good and have a very unique texture. Very light and not too sweet.
2 cups Softened Butter
2/3 cup Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 cup Cornstarch
2 cups Flour
PS – this is doubled from the original recipe to make about 3 dozen little cookies. These four ingredients really did make a cookie!
1. Blend all ingredients thoroughly. This took at least 5 minutes in my standing mixer. You will notice a difference in the texture of the dough when it’s ready, it looks smoother and softer. If you don’t mix it long enough it will have a very chalky cornstarch taste…I may have tried the dough at this point and that’s how I know. Bottom line, blend it up well!
2. Chill at least 1 hour or in my case, overnight.
3. Form dough into small balls. The dough will be very stiff coming out of the refrigerator and it needs to stay cold and stiff in order to avoid spreading in the oven. Try not to handle them too much, use a spoon or something else round. Place them on a cool cookie sheet.
4. Warning – High Altitude Baking Directions – Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. The cookies should be barely brown on the bottom and still white on the top. If you aren’t at high altitude it’s better to bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.
5. When you remove the cookies from the oven let them cool on the cookie sheet completely. They are VERY fragile…I destroyed several cookies at this point because I hit them with my oven mitt. They had to be eaten…very unfortunate. Once they are cool they are still very fragile but then you can move them to a plate or other container. I had one literally dissolve in my hand while I was eating it so watch out.
Ingredients for Mint Chocolate Drizzle
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp Peppermint Extract
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Melted Chocolate Chips
Enough milk to make a pretty thin frosting
Directions for Mint Chocolate Drizzle
1. Blend all ingredients together, adding enough milk to make a fairly thin frosting…remember you have to drizzle this over the cookies.
2. Use a pipping bag or a plastic bag with a little hole in the tip to drizzle the chocolate frosting over each cookie. The frosting will dry pretty quickly so decorate fast!
These were a huge hit at the cookie exchange! I only ended up taking a few home with me, which is a good sign. To make the day even more fun, I had a surprise waiting for me when I got home. Gavin has occasional times when he decides to cook something amazing – lately it has been a progressively better version of BBQ Chicken Pizza. This one had french fries he fried himself and a homemade stuffed crust! It was soooo good! I need to get his recipe and put it up here.
I made these instead of buying expensive matching ornaments for our new little Christmas tree. They were really easy and turned out well! I was concerned (and Gavin was too since not all of my pintrest crafts have turned out lately) that they might look like a kindergarten art project but especially once they’re up on the tree they really look just fine. Best of all it only cost about $2.00 for the supplies for this project. Here’s the original post that I used for these Clay Ornaments.
1 cup Cornstarch
2 cups Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Water
PS – this is the original recipe doubled – it made about 30 ornaments of various sizes
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot and cook over medium heat stirring frequently on the stovetop.
2. Cook until the mixture resembles smooth, thick mashed potatoes. This took longer than I thought so be patient.
3. Remove the mixture from heat and place the dough ball into a separate bowl to cool.
4. Once the mixture is cool you can roll out the dough – use more cornstarch if the dough is sticking to the counter. Roll them out to about 1/4 inch thick. The slightly thicker ones seemed to hold up better in the oven – not as much cracking.
5. Use various cookie cutters to make the shapes you want and then use stamps or other items to make patterns on the dough. I used some tools I have for fondant cake decorating and they worked out really well! Use a straw to make the hole for the ribbon.
6. Bake on a cookie sheet at 175 degrees for an hour, turning them over halfway through. If they aren’t completely dry, you can continue to bake them at this low temperature until they are dry. I actually ended up baking them for an hour in the evening, turning off the oven and leaving them in overnight. They still weren’t completely dry so I baked them for another hour at 175 degrees the next morning.
7. Add a ribbon and hang on your Christmas tree!
As a new season approached I was once again confronted with the issue of how to decorate well on a budget. I managed to do it with just a few key pieces for the fall/Thanksgiving season but Christmas is much more specific. The weekend after Thanksgiving, Gavin and I broke out the Christmas tree. We got this little tree last year from Gavin’s aunt who was ready for a new tree. We gladly accepted this free tree but didn’t look at it until we opened the box a few weeks ago. We started to set it up and didn’t realize that only the bottom had branches to place into the base, the top was one whole piece. We ended up thinking that the tree didn’t have a top! I wish I had a picture at this point, because the bottom half of a tree is not pretty. However, we did eventually figured out our mistake and with a little fluffing, our tree looks great! It’s little but the perfect size for our little apartment. I’m surprised it fit anywhere!
Once we had the tree up we had the issue of ornaments…we had some random ones we’d been using in college but I wanted a few more on the tree that matched. The round ones are so expensive for just a few ornaments so I decided to make my own! Separate post on that to follow, they turned out great!
I did end up buying one set of silver ornaments from the dollar store! It came with about 10 of them for just a dollar…I love the dollar store! I used them to fill my apothecary jar and we’re currently using it as a centerpiece on our table. The apothecary jar is great since I can change it easily to adapt for each season. At least these few little changes added some Christmas flair to our apartment. I hope to do some Christmas clearance shopping at the end of the season to expand our decoration collection. My goal is to be even more festive with our decorations next year!
Last week I was in Sprouts and they were handing out samples! This particular sample was so amazing that I bought the ingredients on the spot and have since made this as a meal and snack three different times. It’s really easy and really good! Plus I think the aioli would be really great on other things like sandwiches…Enjoy!
Ingredients for Baked Yam Fries
1 Red Yam
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Directions for Baked Yam Fries
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Peel the yam and cut into thick slices (about 3/4″)
3. Place slices onto a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
4. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake an additional 10 minutes
Ingredients for Chipotle Aioli
1 cup Mayo or Miracle Whip
1 Adobo Pepper in a little bit of sauce
1 tbsp Lime Juice
1 tbsp Cilantro Flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions for Chipotle Aioli
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely combined. That’s it!