Homemade Cookies that Make Great Christmas Gifts

Homemade cookies make the perfect Christmas gift. There are many people that one would like to give a little gift during the holidays. A bag of homemade cookies is not too expensive and it is a warm and thoughtful gift. You can hand them out to your children’s teachers, colleagues at work or even neighbors. People of different religions than yours will also enjoy this token of friendship during Christmas. If you have a good basic recipe, you can add different ingredients to make different variations of cookies. Also decorating the cookies in different ways will make the recipient feel as if you have slaved for hours to made his lovely bag of homemade cookies. Here is the recipe for the basic dough. 250 gram of butter half a cup of white sugar half a cup of brown or yellow sugar one extra large egg one teaspoon of vanilla extract two cups of flour a half a teaspoon of baking […]

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Nutritional Substitute for Chocolate the History uses and value of Carob

Carob versus Chocolate – Is the Former Better than the Latter? Carob is often considered to be a chocolate or cocoa substitute and is defined as “A powder or fine flour ground from the carob pod or locust bean. It is naturally sweet, low in fat and has no caffeine. It has a dark brown flavor and substitutes for chocolate, but lacks the characteristic bitterness of chocolate.” The question of whether carob is a better food choice than chocolate is a highly debatable one. Let’s take a closer look … A Look at the Origins of the Carob Plant Carob trees (Ceratonia siliqua) are very attractive looking evergreen trees that have compound leaves, which means that they consist of two to six pairs of oval leaflets. These trees, which originate from the eastern Mediterranean (the Middle East) and have been grown for over 4000 years, can grow as tall as ten to fifteen meters. Carob is now grown in abundance […]

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How to Make Candy Corn

Candy corn is a popular candy for the autumn season. This colorful candy is typically shaped in a cone-shape or triangle, but you can use your imagination and shape it however you choose. Homemade candy corn is easy to make and yummy to eat. Get your kids involved. Children can assist in the preparation of the candy corns. Here is what you will need to make your own candy corn for a tasty holiday treat. Stove Sauce pan Wooden spoon or large spoon to stir candy mixture Wax paper (for cooling the candy) 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup white corn syrup 1/3 cup butter 1 teaspoon vanilla several drops of food coloring (orange or any other color) 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup powdered milk Now combine sugar, corn syrup (white) and butter in a pan over high heat and stir constantly until it boils. Next reduce heat to low and boil for 5 minutes while […]

Home Canning Guide to Preparing Jars and Lids

With the ease of purchasing canned food home canning is not as popular as it used to be. However if you grow a garden it is wonderful to can the produce that is grown. There are so many different things that can be canned. There are steps to preparing the lids and jars that can make home canning much easier. First of all check the jars for nicks in the rim. If the jar has a nick in the rim it will not seal properly and the food could spoil. Be sure to check for cracks in the jar too. If it has a crack it will most likely break while being processed. Next wash the jars and sterilize them. It is important to use hot soapy water for the jars. Then rinse them in hot water. If you have a dishwasher, that is the best way to get them clean and be sure they are sterile. Once the jars […]

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How to Rescue a Failed Apple Pie

“As simple as Apple Pie” is a cruel misnomer as any novice cook can attest. An Apple pie is not simple or easy and even after all that peeling, slicing, rolling and fitting can go terribly wrong. But, to misquote Einstein, imagination is more important than culinary skills when it comes to creating a tasty dessert. Some imaginative solutions can save the desert in its original form as a pie such as replacing a burned top crust by removing it and replacing it with a crumb topping brown sugar, flour or oatmeal and a little a little vanilla cut into butter with a pastry cutter (or your hands if they are very, very clean). In fact, shortbread cookies, oatmeal cookies, stale muffins or anything sweet can serve as a crumb topping, mixed with some butter to give it holding power (“cut” into the butter as they say) and a few nuts can add a little something as well. This can […]

Tips for Decorating a Gingerbread House

One of the best things about Christmas is the decorating, as long as the decorations don’t get too costly and too much trouble.  One of the simplest and the most fun, especially for kids, is a gingerbread house.  The storebought kits are the best place to start if you are like most of us that are running around like chickens with our heads cut off during the holidays and not in the mood to do the whole thing from scratch.  Then with the basic house put together, comes the fun part.  Here are some tips. * Frosting.  The kit usually comes with powdered frosting that you mix with water to make something akin to concrete with which you can stick on your decorations.  An easier solution…and one that looks really nice, too…is to buy a can of white, pre-mixed frosting.  Slather the white frosting on the roof, sides, base of your gingerbread house.  The more the better.  It looks like deep […]

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When Chewy just Won’t do

Making soft, moist cookies it not all that hard but it requires that you use the right recipe with the correct ingredients. Once you have baked your cookies, keeping them moist is a whole other issue and if not handled correctly can turn those soft chewy gems into hard dry hockey pucks in no time at all. Review the recipe When you are choosing your recipe, look for one that promises moist, soft cookies. You will find that many recipes state that they produce crispy cookies which some people prefer. Follow the recipe exactly as written, at least the first time. Once you have determined that it produces the texture of cookie that you are looking for, then you can experiment with adding your own touches to the recipe. Ingredients Certain ingredients are important to the moistness and softness of cookies. When it comes to butter, it is better added to recipes cold than melted for the purposes of moistness. […]

How does a Cookie Exchange Work

Baking cookies is something many families do during the holiday season. There are over a hundred different types of cookies that can be made. Baking cookies can be expensive and often times, not everyone gets their favorite cookie during the holiday season. However, there are ways that a person can have everyone’s favorite cookie and still stay on budget. Having a cookie exchange can be a great way to bring family and friends together while having almost a hundred cookies. To take home Having a cookie exchange is about inviting guests over for a cookie party. Everyone buys their ingredients at a wholesale store that sells items in large lots. This makes it easier to save money for cookies. When the host of the party has a sign up sheet for the cookies, doing so avoids having two batches of the same type of cookie.. The idea is each person should bring at least twelve cookies for each guest and […]

Banana Bread

If you buy bananas on a regular basis, then you have probably had more than a few get brown and soft before you had a chance to eat them.  Don’t throw them away!  Those bananas are now perfect for making banana bread.  You can even save them for later use by throwing them in the freezer.  Then, when you are ready to use them, you can thaw them out, cut off the top and squeeze out the banana puree within.  That’s the perfect consistency for banana bread! Banana bread is not hard to make.  It does not require special equipment or mixers or even special ingredients.  I bet you have everything you need in your kitchen right now.  All you need is a large bowl, a spoon, measuring cups and spoons, and that loaf pan that came with the baking set your aunt bought you when you moved into your first apartment.    Do you have the equipment ready?  Now it’s […]

Egg Substitutes for Cake Recipes

Whether you are eliminating eggs due to allergies or other health reasons or you are simply enjoying the Vegan diet, there are several natural ingredients that you can use instead of eggs when baking cakes. Eggs serve different purposes for different types of bakery products. In cookies and muffins, eggs add moisture to the batter and can often be replaced simply by increasing the amount of liquid in the recipe. In cakes, the egg serves as a leavening agent. In other words, eggs are what make the cake light and fluffy. The less eggs in a recipe, the easier it is to substitute an ingredient for the eggs. The following ingredients can be used as substitutes for one egg in cake recipes:a banana a cup applesauce, pumpkin, squash, or pureed prunes One important thing to remember is that any of the above ingredients will add a touch of their flavor to the cake. These substitutes will tend to make the cake […]

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