The big question many of us ask is, “What will I give to (insert name here)?”
Let’s face it, Pagan items are not very easy to find in your local box store, and many items cost more than our budget will allow. Sure you can give candles… but really, you did that last year and the year before. It’s getting a little old.
OH! Wait you can give them that cute (not really) poppet you made and didn’t really have a use for it in your treasure trove of supplies.
I have a simple and cost-effective solution. A solution that will not have your friends and family gritting their teeth as they say to you, “Oh how thoughtful.”
My solution? Make food items. Make foods that toast the season and bring comfort and joy to everyone’s downtime and tables.
I started this tradition when we were so poor we could barely pay our electric bill. So I did what I thought was the most thoughtful and budget-friendly thing I could do. NOW, after nearly 7 years I have people asking me in advance if I will make my biscotti or my chocolate chip cookies this year, and if they can have an extra 6 or so.
So I will share with you two of my seasonal favorites. So you too can start your own tradition of tasty gift giving.
Click the link to read more and get my Homemade Hot Cocoa Recipe
The Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) softened
- 1/3 cup cream cheese softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don't use fat-free, light or whipped)
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 large egg room temp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
- 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
To the bowl of a stand-up mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment; combine the butter, corn syrup, cream cheese, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well creamed, about 5 minutes (or for an electric hand mixer, about 7 minutes).
Stop your mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined about 1 minute.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
This dough needs to chill before it can go in the oven. If you place room temp dough in the oven the cookies will become a flat hard mess. Since I am unwilling to wait 3 hours for the dough to chill in the fridge, I place my dough in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes depending on your dough and freezer.
When your dough is ready, cover with plastic wrap and place the entire mixing bowl in the freezer for no more than 30 minutes; to ensure the dough is well chilled.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Take your cookie dough out of the freezer. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and measure out your dough using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon. Form the dough into balls and place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Smash the balls slightly when you place them on the parchment paper.
Bake your cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are slightly brown. Try to not bake them longer than 10 minutes since the cookies will firm up as they cool.
You may store baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also freeze any leftover raw dough so you can enjoy these cookies anytime.