Homemade Holiday gifts: Cookies, Bars and Chocolate Covered Pretzels

DSC_0849Too busy to write a post. So going to keep this really short. And sweet. LOL!  Yes Cookies and Fudge for extra sweetness.  This year having gotten a setback with my RA setting in , I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do homemade gifts. But here I am last minute mustering up the courage to devote an entire day to baking! Turns out that it was a great decision actually – the excitement of the kids, the non stop chatter of my daughter and the wonderful aroma in the kitchen is after all therapy that makes all my aches go away!

So I decided to do cookies this year. Did a batch of soft melt in mouth buttery cookies. These are kind of like the snowy pecan or mexican wedding cookies that I had baked earlier this year. This recipe does not require you to roll the dough but I  just made various shapes from a cookie cutter and used melted chocolate to do a Jackson Pollock on some of them 🙂 Lovely!

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Then I had to make these pumpkin date nut bars that I  recently happened to come across in one of my old recipes book (Betty Crocker Cookie book) that I absolutely needed to try! These bars end up being a little harder than a regular cake but definitely soft and not cookie like.

DSC_0847So I ended up baking these two and made my chocolate walnut fudge from last year and also made chocolate coated pretzel sticks. All these went into my holiday gift containers for all my friends and neighbors.  DSC_0851Talking about holiday gifts, I loved these two posts on holiday gift ideas:

http://shenannagans.com/edible-christmas-gifts/

http://www.healthy-holistic-living.com/hot-chocolate-mix-recipe.html

Recipe for ‘Melt in mouth’ soft sugar cookies

I got the recipe from http://www.swankyrecipes.com/soft-melt-cookies.html

Pumpkin Date Bars (Makes about 36 1 inch square bars )

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or allspice or cinnamon)
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

Heat oven to 375 deg F. Cream sugar and butter in a mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree and the eggs and mix again until well blended and smooth. On a tray mix the flour,slat,baking powder and the spices. Add this flour mixture slowly to the pumpkin mixture and continue mixing until you get a creamy batter. Add the dates and the walnuts. Pour in two 16 by 9 inches pan.  Bake for about 15-18 minutes until done.  Let cool and cut into squares. Dust with powdered sugar.

Chocolate Covered Pretzel sticks

Melt some semi-dweet milk chocolate (or chocolate chips ) in a bowl in a microwave. Dip pretzel sticks onto the melted chocolate and lay them on a sheet of wax paper. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

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