Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I've Missed You...Sooooooooo Much!

Well, my "Staycation" is over...and it had it's ups and downs...just like any vacation would. (BTW, isn't this a cute photo!)
The first couple of days were dedicated to making cookies for the family holiday at Mothers. 
 I baked enough to fill a couple of box lids for Mom's, a one gallon tub each for son and daughter, and a large cookie tin for myself, and a shoebox full for the neighbor/son.
 All of these were fast to do...they were all done and packaged within 3 hours. And there was some "cheating" along the way...and loads of quick mix types...but all were tasty, and looked really great. Not fancy...but definitely like I had slaved in the kitchen for days baking. I'll share all the secrets of you can do these as well.
First...the cookie mixes. These were basically just ready mixes in a box...and you add egg, milk, butter, etc and mix...spoon out or roll out as the package requires. The trick is to add a little extra when you can.  Types: Oatmeal (Raisin Pecan) Cookies,Sugar Cookies,Gingerbread Stars
  The sugar cookies and oatmeal cookies were both mixes by Jiffy. The sugar cookies are a no brainer...just mix ingredients all together like the box says and spoon out and bake. A sprinkling of colored sugar on top and they are done...and that only takes plain sugar and food coloring. Or, do sprinkles which can be purchased at the grocery store...and you just shake them out before baking.
The oatmeal cookies were the second Jiffy type mix...and I added some raisins and chopped pecans because I had them available...and that made them special and extra yummy!
 Sorry, forget to get a picture of the oatmeal ones...but they were also my favorite. Just mix, spoon, bake...can't get much easier than that.
My secret sister had sent me a gingerbread mix...which just needed water added...and a little butter. Easy to mix up. These took a little more time since they had to be rolled out, cut, and then the scrapes all mushed back together for another roll and cut procedure. I took the easy route and did stars.
  I did have visions of gingerbread men with icing...but, then thought that speed was best since I was baking the day of the party. Yeah, I was...JUST On TIME!
And, see the "lemon cookies box" the photo above. I put it that just for you...on purpose. They are one of two true CHEATER cookies. I love these little lemon cookies...and get them at General Dollar for $2.50 a box. There are about 3 dozen in the box. Empty the box onto some waxed paper, a cookie sheet, or some freezer paper...and turn them all so that they are facing "heads up".  Mix a little home-made lemon icing (powdered sugar, a few drops of vanilla flavoring, and a spash of lemon juice; stirred until is looks like children's white glue consistency). Drizzle the icing all over the top of the cookies and let them set a few minutes until the icing gets a little hard...and they are done! (see photo below, cookie on the right is the lemon one)
There is also a good cheater chocolate cookie at the bottom left. These are right out of a package...$1 for a dozen...also at General Dollar. A little home-made vanilla icing was done with a half can of ready made icing left over from cupcakes...and a little warm milk to thin it out. Just mix until soft and put it into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag...filled...then snip off one tiny bottom corner). Add a little chocolate syrup over the icing piped on top.
The last little cookie on the lid pictured above is the RolloPretzelPecan. Just a mini pretzel with chocolate/caramel (Rollo Candy) atop...slightly melted (350 degrees for about 3-4 minutes)...and squished down with a pecan half...then chill the cookies in the fridge for about 15 minutes, or the freezer for about 5 minutes. Next was a quick cake-mix cookie.
 These are the chocolate "WhipperSnappers". (They can be lemon if you don't like chocolate.) The recipe is simple...a cake mix, one beaten egg, one tub of Whipped Topping (8 oz Kool Whip). Mix all those together, spoon this batter into a bowl of powdered sugar (about a cup)...roll the cookie around until it is all covered in the confectioner's sugar...then place them on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 14 minutes on 350 degrees. They do spread out a lot, and I'm always rushing they are never round when I get them off of the sheet...more like wrinkled up bow-ties...but, they are chewy and good!
So, the next time you need to make a fast and fabulous thing for your office party...girls brunch...large gathering...or sharing in general...think about some quick ready mixes "dressed up" AND some "cheater cookies" disguised to look home-made!
  Makes me hungry for more about you!
There is a lot more to tell you about my Staycation...but, I'll save that until tomorrow!


Sheila said...

Yummy looking cookies; the last ones look exactly like the chocolate crinkles that I made. Sounds like you had a great holiday. Happy New Years Kathy!

Melody said...

Everything looks delicious. Clever you.

Trisha said...

YUM...I MISS you sweet lady! Hugs!!!