Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Tis December

So now that it's December,
I can talk about Christmas openly. And decorate my front door.

And turn up the volume on my Christmas CDs. And bake Christmas cookies.

Doing so in November brings odd, disapproving looks from people who think October is Halloween, November is Thanksgiving, and December is Christmas.

I got out my holiday recipes to see what I was in the mood to make today and decided on "Peanut Blossoms." They're the peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kiss (or star) on top. I have made them every year for many years.

Except now I cheat.

I use a package of Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix. It comes in a pouch. So easy that I'll never make them from "scratch" again. I might try the same for sugar cookies.

Then I'll make turtle candy. And cheat again. Here's an easy way:

You'll need a bag of miniature pretzels. During the holidays, you can often find them in star and tree shapes, as well as the traditional knot shape. You'll also need a package of Rolo candies, and pecan halves.

Place the pretzels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Unwrap the Rolos and put one on top of each pretzel. Place in an oven pre-heated to 250 degrees for four minutes.

Remove from the oven and press a pecan half on top of the chocolate which will squish it down and cover the pretzel holes. Then put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for a short time. Waa-lah! Turtles!

Here is a tip that isn't really cheating. It's just getting the most for your effort. I make miniature cut-out gingerbread men with a small gingerbread man cookie cutter. Making them "bite-size" makes so many more out of a batch of gingerbread dough. I use those silver ball decorations for the eyes and add a couple for buttons.

So now that my oven is preheated, I'm ready to get started. And if anyone comes to the door, it's okay that I'm baking Christmas cookies.

After all, it is December.