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Good Cookin Ezine, Dec. 2012 --Holiday Cookie Recipes
December 06, 2012

"Good Cookin" Ezine Is Here!

Christmas Quote

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

Here's one you can share with your kids or grand kids:
Trey: What do you get when you cross a snowman and a dog? Brandon: I give up. Trey: Frostbite.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. I enjoy the lights, the music and the time we get to share with family and friends.

It can be a stressful time of year as well. So pace yourself, get plenty of rest and eat as healthy as possible.

In This Issue

Quotes and Jokes

Tip Of The Month

This Months Recipes

New YouTube Videos

A Little Gift To You

Tip Of The Month:

Here are 4 inexpensive decorating ideas you can do this holiday season with the simple ball ornament. Look for the unbreakable plastic ones. They even look like glass.

1. When you are having guests over for dinner, you can write each guests name on the ornament as a take home place card. Place the ball either in front of or on the dinner plate.

2. As an inexpensive centerpiece for your table: place greens in the center and the ornaments on top. This makes for a centerpiece that is low and doesn't get in the way of the conversation you are having with the person across from you.

3. Place some colorful ornaments in a hurricane vase and flank it with two votive candles for a warm shimmer.

4. Attach thick strands of ribbon to each ornament and hang them from the back of your chairs.

Here is another idea:

You know how great it looks when you arrange your buffet table with all those holiday goodies when food is at different heights? Well here is an inexpensive way to do it:

Use glass or white cake stands and cover the base with wire ribbon.

Another way to accomplish this is to wrap some thick books in color coordinating wrapping paper or fabric and place your plate of cookies/dessert on top. Use more or less books depending on the height you want to achieve.

This Month's Recipes

This month I am featuring cookie recipes. Every Christmas I host a cookie exchange so I suppose cookies are on my mind! :)

Have you ever thought of hosting a cookie exchange? They are a ton of fun, at least my guest think so.

Now if you are a guy, you might feel a little left out here. Here is what you do. Ask your wife to host a cookie exchange and then you can eat the cookies!

On to the cookies.

Italian Cookies


Nana's Butter Cookies

Nana's Italian Cookies/Biscotti

This is a recipe handed down from my husbands grandmother.


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup crisco shortening
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. anise extract
  • 1 ounce of whiskey or brandy
  • 1 ounce of sweet Vermouth
Cream the butter and crisco shortening either by hand or a kitchenaid mixer with paddle attachment.

Add sugar and eggs (one at a time) alternating until fully incorporated.

Double sift the flour (sift, measure, sift again with salt and baking powder added in last sift).

Add a little bit of flour and liquid flavorings alternating both until fully mixed into the dough.

Stir in the nuts. Spread parchment paper onto cookie sheets. Use tape if needed to hold parchment paper down while spreading dough.

Spread dough in "logs" in three rows down cookie sheet. The "logs" should be about 2 inches wide by 1/2 inch high. Use your spoon and finger to spread the dough out.

Bake @ 350 degrees F. high in the oven between 15 and 18 minutes. Remove when dough is a light golden brown.

Remove from the oven to cool for 10 minutes. Then slice the dough on a angle about 1/2 inch wide. Turn each slice on it's side and bake again for an additional 7 to 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn the pieces onto their other side to cook again for 7 to 8 minutes.

Cool completely and add chocolate if you want. Just melt 6 ounces chocolate chips and 1 tsp. shortening in a double boiler. Then either dip the cookies in the chocolate, or drizzle chocolate over the top of cookies with a spoon or take a spatula and "butter" the top of each cookie with chocolate. Yummy.

These should be stored in ziplock bags for up to 3 weeks or store in the freezer for several months.

I will be coming out with a How-to video soon, so stay tuned. You Can subscribe here so you won't miss any videos.

World's Best Toffee

This is the best toffee I've ever eaten! Given to me by a relative. She makes it every Christmas and gives it out as gifts. Those that receive it are very happy!

Nana's Butter Cookies

Here is another of Nana's great recipes, butter cookies. I remember these being so light and delicious. A wonderful cookie.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 3 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 egg

Cream butter with the salt. Blend in the sugar 1/4 cup at a time until mixture is fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, almond,and lemon.

Stir in flour until combined. Pack dough in a cookie press and press shapes onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F. 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 6 doz.

New YouTube Videos

Every month I create new cooking videos on my YouTube channel to help people learn how to make different recipes. I've been real busy last month creating 7 new videos.

Calabacitas is a delicious zucchini dish.

Mom's Yam's Puff A whipped yam dish my mom used to make for Thanksgiving.

Chile Relleno Casserole An easy, tasty casserole especially for entertaining.

Scalloped Potatoes With Pesto Sauce These are delicious too.

French Toast Inspired by my husband, and he knows how to make some really great french toast.

Caramelized Onions Make these and add them to all kinds of dishes. It's a mega flavor booster.

Kahlua Nut Brie A delicious appetizer you may want to try during the holiday's or anytime.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel. That way you won't miss any new videos coming out. Just click this Subscribe link and then click the subscribe button to get notified by email when I put out a new video.

A Little Gift To You

Christmas is a time of celebration and spending time with family and friends. As I mentioned earlier, I host a cookie exchange every year. It's not your average cookie exchange. Yes we exchange cookies, 6 dozen in fact.

My focus of the party is really about games. I want people to have fun.

I select about 4 active games for my guests to play and the winners get a little prize. And you know what? Everyone has a blast and every year they look forward to coming back because they have such a good time.

I want to share some of that fun with you. You don't have to host a cookie exchange, you can play these games with your family at Christmas.

Playing games with your family on Christmas can really make for some fun memories that your kids and you, will remember forever. It's a great way to connect and have fun.

So my gift to you this holiday is a couple of games I will be playing with my friends and family. Try a game or two and see how your family responds. I'm betting they will love it! Let me know, I'd love to hear.

Christmas Games

This game is inspired by the “Minute To Win It” Show.

36 red plastic cups (or any color) 18 ounce size, I got mine from Costco.

1 timer, a smart phone works.

A solid table to play on. A card table works too.

How To Play:

There are two ways to play this. The first way is what I will be using for my cookie exchange.

1. Participants will be stacking the cups as fast as they can. They will be timed and the fastest time wins.

They must start by placing 8 cups in a row, touching each other. The next row of 7 goes on top of the first row. The next row of 6 goes on top of that and so on. You are building a pyramid.

Once the stacking is completed and all cups are staying in place, the player then removes the cups and places them in two stacks on the table. Their time is recorded and play continues until everyone has a turn.

Fastest score wins a prize.

2. The second way to play this game is to only give everyone 1 minute to complete the entire task. The only problem with this is that it’s possible no one can complete it in under a minute.

Other Options:

If you have a very large group who wants to play, you could put players in two or more teams and make it a relay. Say you had 20 people, you would have two teams of 10, or 3 teams of 7 if you have 21.

You would then just say “start” and each person would go and they would complete their task and then their teammate would go. Which ever team finishes first wins.

Of course then you would have to come up with 10 prizes or you could just do it for fun.

Kids really love this game are are usually better at it than the adults!

Sliding Snowballs

This game is also inspired by the show “Minute To Win It”.

I am playing this as a relay. You can do it either way.

If you are playing this with one winner, you will have to time people to see who is the fastest.


Two large metal tape measures (25 ft. long)

10 ping pong balls, there is no real set amount that you need but more is better. People miss a lot!

2 small plastic cups about 8 ounce size

How To Play:

Divide your players into 2 teams. The first player on each team holds the tape measure in their hand and extends the tape to 6 ft. in length.

Players should only have their hands on the housing part of the tape measure. The cup is placed on a table, about 6 feet from the player.

The player then places a ping pong ball on the tape measure near his hand. The object is to roll the “snowball” down the tape measure and have it land in the cup.

Sound easy? Oh and the tape measure is never to touch the cup.

Once the player lands the snowball in the cup, play passes to his teammate until everyone has a turn.

First team to complete the task wins. You can award prizes if you choose. Take pictures and video for memories!

Do Me A Favor

If you like these games and use them for your celebrations please visit me on Facebook and “like” my page and leave me a comment and tell me how your family liked playing the games or what games you played.

Here’s Wishing You And Your Family A Very Merry Christmas!

Leave me a comment on my Facebook page or contact me on the website.

If you enjoy our newsletter please pass it on to your friends and family, especially those who love to cook. They can get their own copy here sent directly to their in box.

Happy Holidays,

Rockin Robin

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