Santa’s Cookies: Easy vs. Ornate

Is Santa visiting your home this Christmas? If your answer is yes, I’m sure by now you’ve heard once or twice that he should be met with an array of cookies and a glass of milk.

For many families, making Santa’s cookies with children is a yearly tradition filled with storytelling and decorating. Some of you may not bake as often and may be intimated by the fancy cookie recipes and decorations. For others, with holiday festivities to attend, time is an issue. Whatever your situation, don’t worry, you have options. Santa’s cookies don’t have to be time consuming; they can be quick, easy and fun for both kids and parents.

If you are comfortable in the kitchen and have a little extra time, a fun, ornate recipe for Santa is Buttery Sugar Cookies. The recipe combines sugar and butter, blended in a large bowl. Once blended, add some vanilla extract, eggs and Martha White® All-Purpose Flour. The key to this recipe is an hour of resting time in the refrigerator for easier handling. After cutting and baking is complete, decorate your cookies as desired.

If you prefer a quick and easy cookie recipe, pick up a pouch of Martha White Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix and try Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Surprise or Easy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. With the help of these simple recipes, preparing cookies for Santa will become a hassle-free tradition in your family. Not only will your children have fun but they’ll be to bed before Santa makes his way to your home.

Do you have a go to cookie recipe for Santa? I would love to hear it.

Holiday Upside-Down Cakes

Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes were one of my mother’s old standbys, always baked it in a cast iron skillet. As it came out of the oven, I still remember that feeling of anticipation just before turning it out of the pan. Would it really come out to reveal those perfectly round slices of pineapple with a bright red cherry in the middle and glistening with brown sugar syrup? I was never disappointed. Of course, occasionally a piece of fruit stayed in the pan, but that was easily remedied by gently removing it from the skillet and returning the piece of fruit to its rightful place on the cake.

Upside-down cakes are having a revival. It’s fun to resurrect recipes we remember from our childhood and reinvent them with interesting new flavor combinations. For certain occasions, an upside-down cake strikes a balance between festive and familiar. For a holiday brunch or casual dinner, Cranberry Pear Upside-Down Almond Cake is an ideal choice. Mellow pears and cranberries create a perfect sweet/tart topping when paired with a moist almond flavored cake.

For a different spin on the original, what about mini-upside down cakes? Mini Cranberry Chocolate Upside-Down Cakes look beautiful on a cake stand or cake plate and are easy to serve on a holiday buffet. Made in muffin cups, the topping is a combination of cranberries and white chocolate chips and the cake is a dressed-up Martha White Chocolate Chip Muffin Mix. A breeze to make, but your guests will never guess!

Pecans: A Gift to Southern Cooks Do you say Puh-kahn or Pee-can?

For generations, the pecan groves that sweep across the South have provided cooks with a wonderful ingredient to use in their holiday baking. If you are lucky enough to have a tree (or a generous friend with one), all you need is a nutcracker to reveal the treasure within.

Of course, pecan pie is one of the most beloved holiday dessert recipes. Some bakers enjoy the whole creative process of making a pie from scratch. Others like to take a few shortcuts to get an equally delicious finished product.

For purists, a homemade pecan pie is a testament to the way simple ingredients come together to create a classic. The filling is easy to stir up, but depends on good pecans to give it distinction. I personally think it’s the slightly salty flaky homemade crust that perfectly complements the sweet filling and makes the whole pie delicious.

A unique alternative to a homemade pie, is a bar that reflects the attributes of the pie, but is simple to make and easy to serve or share. You will be amazed at the crust a chocolate chip muffin mix makes for these Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars

Whether you love to bake from scratch or prefer to take shortcuts, the recipients of your efforts will always appreciate the time and care you took to bake something special for them.

Martha White® Pecan Pie

Martha White Pecan Pie
Martha White Pecan Pie

Martha White® Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars 

Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie Bars