home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes

Is it Christmas yet at your house? Make your visions of sugarplums come alive with holly jolly treats using your favorite candies--some in special holiday colors--that look as great as they taste. And the best part? Gathering your family around the table, sneaking a few bites (Santa doesn't mind as long as you've bought extra candy) and making wonderful memories together.

Your Gift-Wrapped Cake can be the centerpiece of the holiday table. Fun and festive sugar cookies a gift for that special teacher or neighbor.

For even more recipes, entertaining tips, decoration and gift ideas to help make your celebrations fun, effortless and unforgettable, visit www.brightideas.com.

Sweet Santa Cookie Pops

1 (14 oz) bag M&M'S Milk Chocolate Candies for the Holidays
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (18 oz) roll store-bought refrigerated cookie dough
1 (16 oz) can vanilla frosting
Red food coloring
1 bag mini marshmallows
10 large cupcakes, iced with red frosting (optional)
Reynolds Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheet pans with Reynolds Parchment Paper. Knead flour into refrigerated cookie dough until smooth. Roll out dough to scant 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out 10 triangles and 10 circles, re-rolling scraps if necessary. Line up circles on prepared pans, and press 1 lollipop stick halfway into each circle. Arrange 1 triangle on top of each circle, overlapping by 1/2 inch, with tip curved to resemble hat. Bake 12 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Tint 3/4 cup frosting light pink; set aside. Tint remaining frosting red and spoon into a resealable plastic bag; then snip small corner and pipe frosting onto each hat to cover. Decorate with M&M'S; place 1 mini marshmallow at very top. (For better results, work on one cookie at a time.) Spread pink frosting onto circle part, and arrange face with M&M'S for eyes, nose and mouth. Use marshmallows cut in half for beard, and whole marshmallows for brim of hat.

Tip: Presenting cookie pops in cupcakes is optional. If you prefer, simply offer them as pops. When serving them for a special occasion, consider wrapping each in a piece of cellophane (about 12 inches square), tied closed with a piece of curling ribbon. Makes 10 pops.

Gift-Wrapped Cake

1 (13 oz) bag Snickers Minis
1 (14 oz) bag M&M'S Milk Chocolate Candies for the Holidays
1 (13.3 oz) bag Starburst Fruit Chews
1 (13 oz) bag Milky Way Milk Chocolate Covered Caramels
1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 (16 oz) can plus 1 cup vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 8- by 8-inch cake pans with wax paper; grease and flour both. Roughly chop 20 Snickers; set aside. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Stir chopped Snickers into batter before dividing it evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack; cool about 10 minutes. Invert and let cool completely. To make ribbon pieces, soften 20 red Starburst chews in microwave about 3 to 5 seconds. Roll softened candy into 8- by 6-inch rectangle between 2 sheets wax paper. Cut candy lengthwise into 2 strips, each 1 1/2 inches wide. Fold both strips in half, making bow loops. Notch bottoms of 2 remaining strips, making bow's ribbons. Set aside. Place 1 cake layer on serving platter. Spread with 3/4 of frosting. Place remaining cake layer on top and cover with remaining frosting. Arrange unwrapped chocolate-covered caramels around the of cake. Gently mark top of cake with a cross, dividing it into 4 equal squares. Arrange M&M'S in 3 rows over marks, on top and down sides of cake. Arrange bow pieces on center of cake. Makes 16 servings.

Christmas Holly Cookies

1 (14 oz) bag M&M'S Milk Chocolate Candies for the Holidays
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (18 oz) roll refrigerated cookie dough
1 (16 oz) can vanilla frosting
Green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Knead flour into cookie dough until smooth. Roll out dough to scant 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out 18 holly-leaf shaped cookies, re-rolling scraps if necessary. Transfer cookies to prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Tint frosting green. Spoon into resealable plastic bag; snip 1 lower corner. Pipe outlines on the cookies, then fill in outlines with tight zigzag pattern. On about half of cookies, spread frosting smooth with small spatula or table knife. Attach a few green M&M'S to cookie tops, then place 3 red candies as berries on leaf tips. Arrange cookies on serving platter, overlapping slightly, in shape of wreath. Makes 18 cookies.

Tasty Table Lights

2 (9.5 oz) bags M&M'S Minis Milk Chocolate Candies
1 (18 oz) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 (16 oz) can vanilla frosting
1 (14 oz) package red licorice laces

Preheat oven to 350 F. Knead flour into cookie dough until smooth. Roll dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using printable pattern (www.brightideas.com/christmas/recipes/r_1363_1.jsp) or Christmas light cookie cutter, cut out shapes. With spatula, gently transfer cookies to baking sheet. Using drinking straw, press hole through bottom of light bulb "stem" for each cookie. Bake 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Separate out different colors of chocolate candies, and set aside. Spread vanilla frosting on top of each cookie. Arrange a single color of chocolate candies on top of each cookie. Let cookies dry 30 minutes. Run licorice laces through each hole, connecting cookies into 1 continuous strand. Makes 18 cookies.

Date: 11/27/06


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