I have never tackled a holiday goodie (cookie) box. It’s a lot of work and I did not have the time in my schedule during previous years. Being that I was shooting a video for Nourish and Flourish magazine, and making goodie boxes for family, I decided it was the perfect time to test my skills. I like to figure out my own recipes but there are many amazing bakers out there that have inspired me with their creations. So, I’m showcasing a few of them here and encourage you to spend some time on their websites. Get to know them. All are very talented!
Chocolate-Pecan Fudge, Sugar Cookie Reindeer drizzled with Cinnamon Chocolate, Gingerbread Cookies and Vanilla Fudge.
Sugar Cookie Snowflakes dipped in White Chocolate.
I’m holding on to my Fudge recipe as it is a combination of mine and my Mamaw’s recipe. Maybe one day I’ll post it. A similar recipe I found is from The Food Charlatan. It’s very easy to make and makes a rich creamy fudge.
- In Karen’s recipe, to make Chocolate-Pecan, after stirring in the vanilla, add in 1 cup of chopped pecans. Combine, then pour into the pan.
- To make Vanilla Fudge, replace the semi-sweet chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. Use 2 teaspoons of vanilla. To keep the fudge whiter, you may use a clear vanilla. I use regular because I like that warm creamy look.
The recipe I used for the drizzled Reindeer and Snowflake cookies is from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I have learned so much from her website and recipes. I used the Maple Cinnamon Star Cookie recipe but made a few changes. I had a hard time finding maple extract during the time I had for shopping. So, I decided to leave it out and go with a bigger kick of cinnamon and vanilla.
- Add an extra ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to the cookie recipe, total 1¼ teaspoon.
- Add an extra 1 and ½ teaspoons of vanilla ( in place of the maple extract)…total 2½ teaspoons.
- I drizzled a few of the reindeer cookies with the chocolate and also dipped the bottom half in chocolate for variety.
- I then added the holly decorations I found at Michaels.
- Melt white chocolate and dip half of the cookie in the chocolate. Refrigerate to set.
- If you also want to drizzle them, drizzle on top with a spoon before putting them in to the refrigerator.
- Do not allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack. I see this a lot. The cookies will stick and you will need a hot knife to melt the backs to release them from the rack then smooth them out so they are flat. Instead, use wax paper on a tray after dipping to avoid sticking and make it easier to pop into the refrigerator.
Follow Sally on Instagram. There is always something new to see and learn.
The Gingerbread recipe comes from Food.com. It has a nice balance of spices. Once mixed, it must sit at room temperature for 2 – 8 hours so plan accordingly. I use cookie stampers to cut shapes because the dough has not been refrigerated and can be difficult to move from the rolling surface to the cookie sheet. I use this recipe for building gingerbread scenes and when serving hot chocolate. See my previous post on Peppermint Hot Chocolate for more info. You can decorate the cookies with royal icing or sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Bourbon Balls and Southern Pecan Pralines.
This was my first time to make Bourbon Balls. I do like cooking with bourbon and I wanted to add another candy to the box. This recipe is from Spicy Southern Kitchen. There is no baking involved…just combine, form into a ball and dip into chocolate.
- The vegetable shortening creates a smooth consistency so the chocolate is easier to dip.
- Make sure you refrigerate them first so everything holds together when dipping in to warm chocolate.
- I used a toothpick to dip the balls into the chocolate then sprinkled the top with chopped pecans.
These are sooooo good! They remind me of Buckeyes but with a punch of bourbon.
I grew up with Southern Pecan Pralines. My Mamaw made them all the time. Besides fudge, it’s the one candy that brings up a flood of memories of being in the kitchen with her. I have never been able to decipher her recipe, or handwriting, as she was already in her mid 80s when she wrote it down for me. However, I found a recipe from I Heart Recipes with Rosie Mayes that taste almost exactly like hers. Rosie has a great video on the post to help you through the process.
Sugar Cookie Snowflakes, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Hot Chocolate-Marshmallow Cookies
I LOVE Sugar Cookies! I could eat them any time…day or night. One of the most consistent recipes I have tested is from The Recipe Critic. I bake right at the 10 minute mark and the cookies are nice and soft, really melt in your mouth. Instead of cream cheese frosting, I used royal icing for the snowflake cookies. A great recipe for icing is from Taste of Home. It’s easy and only has three ingredients. Meringue Powder can be found at Michaels, Joann’s and Amazon. I grabbed lots of sprinkles on sale at Michaels…buy 2, get 1 free. How could I say no?
I probably make more Chocolate Chip Cookies than any other. Friends and family really love them! A great recipe you should try is from Savory Sweet Life. It really is a fantastic recipe. I have my own that I’ve tweaked but when asked, I pass this one on to anyone interested in making an awesome chocolate chip cookie. There is no better cookie than one that is more brown sugar based than white sugar based. It gives the bottom of the cookie a nice crunch. It’s a very specific recipe so try following it as listed, like you’re tackling a science experiment. Watch you’re baking time and don’t overcook. You definitely want them to sit on the baking sheet for two minutes to get that crunchy bottom. The cookies will naturally be darker because of the extra brown sugar.
Hot Chocolate-Marshmallow cookies taste just like they sound. I get lots of requests for these as well, and especially the recipe. Like Mother Like Daughter has a great one with easy to follow instructions.
- I bake mine for 10 minutes, then add three chocolate chips on top, then add the marshmallow over the chocolate.
- I bake another 3-4 minutes, then pop them in the broiler. I have a double oven so it’s easy to do. If you use the same oven, make sure you let the temperature lower, with door open, before baking the next batch. Or, you can knock out a couple of batches then broil.
- Turn the pan periodically under the broiler so the toasting is even. You may also use a chef’s torch, if you want to get fancy.
- Don’t over bake because the broiler will also bake the cookies a little. If the cookies spread and melt, you know it’s been in too long. Let them cool on parchment on a wire rack before trying to remove them from the paper. Otherwise, they will come apart.
- I use large marshmallows cut in half…one of the halves for each cookie top.
- Add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder for a richer cookie when mixing the dough.
Here is what my family received. I packed the goodies in individual bags so they would ship without breaking, then typed up a list of the contents. I found a free holiday design online to use as my background and made it more festive. An easier idea is to purchase large gift tags and write the contents on the back.
Ta-da!! My first goodie (cookie) box was a real challenge but I think it’s lovely and my family has enjoyed it. That’s really what this time of year is about, not what you can buy others, but what you can do for them…something that comes from your heart. So, make a cookie or two for family and friends, pay-it-forward and buy a stranger’s coffee, drop off goodies or a dinner to your elder neighbors who may not have help or family during the holidays. It costs very little to give your heart. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you all. Thank you for your support this year, for trying my recipes and giving your honest feedback. May you have a happy, safe and prosperous New Year!