Cookies & Cocktails 20

A fun holiday tradition amongst friends is a good ol’ cookie exchange. It’s a great excuse to get together and then return home with a plethora of sweet treats and festive goodies. I often want a big selection of baked goods around the house in December for family and guests, but often run out of time to make a huge variety, so a cookie exchange is exactly what I need.  When it comes to a cookie swap, the more really is the merrier, because it means more baked goods for everyone. To welcome the season, we hosted our own cookie exchange, and are sharing the recipes with you.

Amanda’s Sugar Cookie -no chill dough

(adapted from Wilton Sugar Cookie recipe)

Ingredients: Yields 24-27 medium cookies 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1/2 cup crisco 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla 1/2 tsp almond 1/8 tsp butter 2 3/4 cup flour 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 TBS of milk as needed * Preheat Oven to 400 degrees 1) Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. 2) Beat in egg and extracts. 3) Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large measuring cup. Add mixture 1 cup at a time to mixing bowl. 4) Do not chill dough, roll out to 1/8 to 1/4 in. thick on a powdered surface (1/2 flour, 1/2 powdered sugar), dip cookie cutter in flour/powdered sugar mixture before cutting out cookies. 5) Bake 5 1/2 to 7 minutes or until lightly golden brown on edges.

Wilton Royal Sugar Cookie Icing

(Stiff Consistency) Yield 3 cups Ingredients: 3 Level TBS Meringue Powder 4 cups (1 lb.) Sifted Powdered Sugar 5-6 TBS lukewarm water 1) Place Powdered Sugar and Meringue Powder in a bowl. Stir or mix on low speed until blended. Add water and mix 7-10 minutes. 3) Icing will be stiff consistency. Slowly add small amounts of water until desired consistency has been reached. For thin royal icing add 1 tsp of water per cup of icing. * I add to the recipe my desired flavoring. 1- 1/2 tsp total. Vanilla, Almond and Butter taste great.

Peanut Butter Balls


2 Cups creamy peanut butter

1/2 Cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 Cups Powdered Sugar

3 Cups Rice Krispies cereal

2 Cups Semi sweet chocolate chips or melting chocolate

optional: 1/2 tsp.almond extract


1) Melt peanut butter, butter and vanilla in a sauce pan over low heat.  In a large bowl, mix Rice Krispies and powdered sugar well.  Pour peanut butter mixture over cereal mixture and blend well.

2) Form into 1 inch or smaller balls, put on a baking sheet and chill (overnight if possible).

3) Melt chocolate in double boiler, being careful not to overlook.  Use teaspoon to dip balls into melted chocolate and put back on cookie sheet.  Keep chilled until firm.

Spritz Cookies


1 Cup butter, softened

1/2 Cup sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 Cups flour

1/4 Teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

You can also add food coloring if you like.


1) Heat oven to 400*F.  In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg with mixer on medium.  Stir in remaining ingredients.

2) place dough in cookie press.  On increased cookie sheet, press out desired forms.

3). Bake 5-8 minutes or until set but not brown.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen (small) cookies.

Grandma’s Caramel Cookie Bars

1 16oz. package caramels

2cups flour

1/3 cup milk

2 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar

1tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 cup soft butter

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts

Place caramels and milk in a double boiler, melt over low heat, stirring till the mixture is a smooth sauce. Set aside. Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, soda, salt,egg and soft butter until coarse crumbs are formed. Press half of mixture into greased 9×13 pan and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over the top. Pour caramel sauce over the chips and nuts. Then drop remaining dry mixture over the top. Bake an additional 20 minutes.

Turtle Fudge

(from Live Well Bake Often)


  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 30 soft caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal. Lightly grease the sides of the foil in the pan (to prevent the caramel from sticking to the foil) and set aside.
  2. Add the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter to a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring well until the mixture is completely smooth. Add in the chopped pecans and stir until fully combined. Set aside.
  3. Add the caramel candies and heavy cream to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each increment, until the mixture is melted and smooth.
  4. Add half of the fudge to the prepared baking pan and smooth it out. Add all of the caramel on top and evenly distribute it on top of the fudge. Add the remaining half of the fudge and spread it out evenly over the caramel.
  5. Transfer fudge to the refrigerator for 3-4 hours (or overnight) or until the fudge is solid enough to cut into squares.
  6. Cut into small pieces and enjoy!

Rosemary Pomegranate Mimosas


  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 6-8 sprigs of rosemary
  • pomegranate juice
  • 1 bottle of champagne
  1. Add 1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds, a rosemary sprig, and 1½ oz of pomegranate juice to each glass.
  2. Top with champagne.
  3. Serve!