Archives for December 2011

Christmas Cookies!

Last week, we talked about Christmas Cupcakes… and today, we’re continuing with the baking theme and looking at SUPER FAB decorated Christmas cookies photos. Well – we aren’t just looking – we have FAB tutorials… meaning, you can MAKE most of these cookies yourself!

From one of my very favorite cookie makers, Sugar Belle, check out the incredible step-by-step tutorial for making fun Santa cookies.  She also provides delicious royal icing recipe.  And – if that isn’t enough – check out her cooking decorating videos – pure awesomeness:

I am absolutely in LOVE with the idea of edible frosting sheets, and printing on them with edible color.  Check out what Sweetopia did with them!  And yes, you can make these, but only if you have edible frosting sheets and an edible color printer.  If you do a lot of decorating/baking, it might be worth getting – HERE is a link to a set at!  A bit too DIY?  Etsy’s Queen of Tarts offers several edible vintage Holiday transfer sheets for purchase!

Something a little different, but oh, so fab, are these Spiral Christmas cookies from Sprinkle Bakes.  These easy Christmas sugar cookies are sure to be a HUGE hit (and her pictures are gorgeous!).  I am definitely making some of these with my kids this week!

For a really FUN idea (again, especially for making with the kids), how about a Marshmallow Melted Snowman cookie, tutorial from Truly Custom Cakery:

White the next photo from All Sorts is not specifically a tutorial, I thought it might just be easy enough to figure out.  Heart shaped sugar cookies, decorated and sprinkled, and framed with candy canes!  LOVE!

Unfortunately, this isn’t a tutorial either, but rather just EYE CANDY of the most delish kind.  Who says Christmas has to be all red and green??  Photo from Kara’s Party Ideas:

We have one more holiday baking post coming… later this week!   Are YOU baking yet??

Greek Honey Walnut Cookies

Greek Honey Cookies

These luscious Greek honey walnut cookies have a fabulous  WOW factor to them.  Their presentation couldn’t be prettier and they are absolutely *delicious*.  At first I was put off by the recipe because it called rolling out the dough which often can be a sticky mess.  But that so wasn’t the case with this particular Greek cookie recipe.  And that’s because of the cream cheese in the dough – it makes it a breeze to work with.

I also purchase walnut bits, not pieces.  That’s a big time saver – no chopping necessary.  They are a bit more expensive but, if time is short, it’s worth the splurge.


Be sure to visit Diva Entertains for fabulous party favors!

December Parties for Kids (and kids at heart)

Anyone who has a December birthday (or early January, even) has experienced their birthday being overshadowed by the holiday season.  It’s not always easy to plan birthday parties in the midst of all the hooplah.  But today we thought it might be fun to highlight a few December party ideas… with ways to incorporate the holidays WITH the birthday.  (Of course – these are also great kids Christmas party ideas too:)

(And if you don’t have any birthday parties to plan, you can STILL use the ideas shown today for your holiday party!)

The links below are just INSPIRATION links.. no tutorials today, but rather just IDEAS to help you design your own party theme!

First up, a Hot Cocoa party theme, from the Hostess With the Mostess Blog.  Be sure to CLICK OVER to see ALL the fab photos:

How about a  Christmas Candyland Theme party, from Celebrations at Home.  Yes, it’s a holiday party idea, BUT it could be adapted as a CandyLand Birthday party theme!  Again, CLICK OVER to see more photos:

Another fab idea from the Hostess with the Mostess blog – a vintage Rudolph themed party.  I know, I know… it’s a holiday party again, but my kids LOVE Rudolph, and what a fun theme for a birthday party!  Once again, CLICK OVER to see twelve different photos:

Now, this next link isn’t for a party theme gallery, but rather a super cute cake pan for the railroad fan that you can purchase from Williams-Sonoma.  (My boys would FLIP over a “cake” like this!) Can you image the joy on a child’s face when they see this train birthday cake?  The cake pan makes NINE different little train car cakes, and you can decorate them… for the holidays, for a birthday, for… FUN!

And one LAST Hostess with the Mostess gallery link… another “candy-land” theme that could be easily adapted for a birthday, if you replaced the Christmas gingerbread with “candy land” gingerbread figures, and added in a few sugar plum fairies and more lollipops!

Do you have any unique ideas for December/January birthdays?  Feel free to post a comment and let us know!

Christmas Cupcakes!

December is the PERFECT month for baking… and we’ll be highlighting holiday baking in a few posts over the next week or so.  Today we’re talking about HOLIDAY CUPCAKES!  I’ve got some great tutorials and posts for you to check out:

From Sand and Sisal, step-by-step instructions with photos to make these gorgeous white ornament cupcakes:

From Better Homes and Gardens,  this delightful “Oh Tannebaum” Christmas Tree cupcakes recipe:

From Hoosier Handmade, the simple ingredient list and instructions to make some adorable Christmas ornament cupcake:

And some inspirational Christmas cupcake pictures, this time from Cupcake Envy:

While not TECHNICALLY a cupcake, I think these Santa Hat Brownies from Daisy’s World qualify for today’s post, don’t you?  Click here for the easy instructions on how to make these Christmas brownies.

And two more Christmas cupcake ideas for you… first, from Martha Stewart, elegant Christmas tree cupcakes.  A tad more complicated than the previous recipes, but worth it if you are crafty!

And from Bakerella, a simply sweet (you use sugar cones for the tree!)  Candy Cane cupcake; her instructions are great – pictures included!:

What will YOU be baking this holiday season?  We’d love to hear about it!

Hanukkuh Blog and Goodies

Are you looking for some lovely DIY Hanukkah decorations this year?  I’ve got a few ideas!!

Remember the post about garlands and bunting a few weeks ago?  Well, how about a blue and white pom garland to decorate your mantle?  Love it!

Looking for  Hanukkah crafts?  These  Star-punched Paper Hurricanes – a DIY project that will go together easily and add a wonderful effect to the table.  Click HERE to download the template for these:

Look at these DIY Hanukkah favor boxes!  You can download a template from Martha Stewart to make these:

And another stunner from Martha Stewart, a DIY manzanita branch menorah:

We can’t leave out the KIDS on a Hanukkah post.  Here’s a recipe for some fun candle Hanukkah cupcakes:

DIY Candles For the Holidays

Today’s post is all about holiday candles – specifically DIY Christmas decor!  Candles for centerpieces, candles for gifts, gorgeous holiday candles… and best of all, they are all DIY!

Teacup Candles make a lovely, unique gift… or decoration for your home.  Click to read TWO different tutorials on how to make these.. HERE and HERE.

Who knew it could be so easy to make frosted candles?  Martha Stewart shows how to use epsom salt to make GORGEOUS holiday candles:

And Martha ALSO has a tutorial for tree-shaped candles:

I love, LOVE the silver candlestick holders with those trees, don’t you?

Here’s an involved tutorial on how to make wine bottle candle holders.  I think these would be lovely surrounded by fake white snow on my front table!

And one last tutorial… lots of steps, but SO worth the final result! Personalized Candles made from plain glass containers:


And if you are just not in a DIY frame of mind, don’t forget you can get lovely tea-cup candles in the Diva Entertains shop!

Chocolate Peppermint Candy Cookies

York Peppermint Patty Cookies

These beautiful chocolate peppermint cookies are my new ‘annual’ Christmas cookies.   I tend to give homemade cookies and cakes to everyone – neighbors, the mailman, my doctor offices, my UPS and FedEx deliverymen, etc.  They are going to be delighted with this year’s choice!

I saw these cookies in the December 2011 issue of the Rachael Ray magazine and I only tweaked them a tad by adding a top layer of chocolate ganache because, well…what’s not better with more chocolate:)?  However, if you would like to save yourself this step they are still scrumptious without it (the cookie on the far left doesn’t have the added chocolate topping).

Chocolate York Peppermint Patty Cookies, 24 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz.) unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1 egg
  • 24 miniature (about 1 1/2-inch) peppermint patties, such as York, unwrapped and chilled
  • chocolate ganache frosting* (optional)
  • 6 oz. white chocolate (not chips), chopped
  • Peppermint candy canes or candies, crushed or finely chopped
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the flour, cocoa powder, both sugars, salt and baking soda on low speed. Beat in the butter, then the egg. Turn out the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk; seal. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment. Working with 1 tbsp. of dough at a time, use your fingers to evenly encase each peppermint patty with dough. Place on the prepared pans and smooth the dough with your fingers. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until just firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let cool slightly. Transfer the cookies on the parchment to a rack to cool completely.
  3. If using ganache (see recipe below):  using a spoon or frosting spatula, put enough ganache on each cookie so that when spread, the cookie is mostly covered.  Then proceed with step 4.
  4. Meanwhile, in a double boiler or small, heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt half of the white chocolate, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining white chocolate until smooth. Using a large spoon, drizzle the white chocolate over the cookies. Sprinkle immediately with the crushed peppermint candies. Let set completely before serving or storing.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz. chocolate (chocolate chips, etc.)

Pour whipping cream in a small sauce pan, bring to a simmer.  Turn off heat and add chocolate.  Shake pan to cover chocolate.  Let sit 5 minutes and then whisk until completely blended.  Proceed with step 3.

Fab Friday – DIY Holiday Wreaths

To go along with yesterday’s DIY Glam Ornament post, today I’m sharing some FAB Christmas Wreaths – in DIY and tutorial style, of course!

First up, from Pudel-Design, a stunning ball ornament wreath – that can be hung OR used as a centerpiece.

From I’m A Yarner, a gorgeous Rose Wreath, made from scrapbook paper.  The possibilities on this one are endless – only limited by your choice of paper and colors!

For those interested in snowflake decorations for home or a party, this seriously easy, AND fab, tutorial on making a snowflake wreath, from House of Noise…I Mean Boys.

For those looking zebra print decor, here is one I JUST found yesterday, from Amy at DIY Zebra Print Christmas Wreath made from napkins!

This isn’t exactly a tutorial post, but you simply MUST check out the Glitterfied Christmas Mantle post from cottage instincts.  Inspiration and ideas abound, especially if you are a fan of glitter!

Will you be decorating with a specific theme or color this year?  All gold and glitter?  Simple red and white?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Thrifty Thursday – Make Your Own GLAM Christmas Ornaments

I have so many lovely DIY Christmas ornament projects to show you today, I’m going to just hush and show you already!

Check out these gorgeous DIY Christmas ornaments from Better Homes and Gardens:

A post from Bower Power has several fabulous ideas for making handmade Christmas ornaments.  I think my favorites are the ornaments decorated with glass stones.  You could do a variety of colors for your ornaments if you prefer, since the stones come in all shades.  You can find these glass stones at Walmart, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Joanns.  They are also available online – click HERE for the red version.

From the Crafty Chicks, a VERY affordable, but gorgeous DIY Christmas crafts idea.  These are made from juice top lids.  Yes, you read that right!  Juice Top Lid Glam Ornaments:

From Centsational Girl, this DIY Christmas project, a lovely “kissing ball” ornament tutorial:

And also from Centsational Girl, glittery cookie cutter ornaments:  (Centsational Girl has several other fabulous ideas – be SURE to click on over)

How about a DIY Toile Ornament, from Better Homes and Gardens.

If you aren’t a fan of the toile, you COULD use this tutorial to make all kinds of variations.  Just find your favorite design on a paper napkin, and you are in business!  These glass animal print Christmas ornaments could be easily reproduced with animal print napkins, and a bit of glitter:

And finally, from Real Simple, this isn’t exactly a DIY on making an ornament, but rather a DIY on making an ornament chandelier.  Gorgeous!

Will you be making ornaments this year?  We’d love it if you leave a comment and tell us about *your* DIY projects!