Popcorn Balls

I haven’t had popcorn balls since I was a kid, and when they popped up as fun ideas for holiday gift baskets, I thought they would be cute! I found this recipe on My Baking Addiction, and I didn’t change anything at all. They were simple and were a hit especially with kids. We will definitely include them next year, and I think they would also be cute for summer parties with something like red, white, and blue sprinkles.


Chai Eggnog Cookies

This was another recipe I had saved from Southern Living because it looked like a winner for holiday cookies – and it was! This got a lot of thumbs up. I made some without icing as well, and I think people with a bit less of a sweet tooth preferred that version.

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Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods

I think these were the prettiest thing in our holiday baskets for sure, and SUPER easy to make in large volume. There’s no recipe here, bags of pretzel rods, melted chocolate chips – two bags of semi-sweet worked for one bag of pretzel rods – and decorative sprinkles. Once the chocolate has melted over a double broiler on low, dip the pretzels (I did need to spread the chocolate a bit with a spatula), put them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and decorate! They were fun to make and very pretty in clear cellophane bags.

Turtle Cookies

The first cookie for our holiday baskets was definitely a hit this year! This seemed to be everyone’s favorite, especially the chocolate lovers. It’s fairly easy, and you could probably get more cookies out of each batch than I did – I just made them a little larger. The original recipe, which came from an old Southern Living issue, called for chopped caramel squares, and they ARE delicious if you’re up for cutting up the candy. If not, I tried subbing butterscotch chips, and the cookies still got good reviews – even if they were no longer, “turtles.” As an aside, I did not modify anything in our holiday baskets, but you certainly could make these gluten free, though I’m not sure how well they would come out if you subbed out the butter to make them dairy free. Worth a try for someone who loves chocolate, though!

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Cinnamon Apple Cake

Well, we’ve gone and done it and bought the farm of our dreams! The horses are right out back now, so it’s a lot easier to cook.  Back to recipes.  It seems fitting that the first one I’m adding to the site is a cake we served at our housewarming party.  This is a 10+ year old Cooking Light recipe that always goes over well.  It is great for Thanksgiving, or any other fall occasion.  It also makes a great coffee cake!



Mini Pumpkin Pie Bites

Cute, easy, and disappeared fast!  These were a fun Halloween dessert, but could also be great for Thanksgiving if you don’t want to make a whole pie.  I would say don’t skip the butterscotch topping – really made it!  Also really portable – great for pot lucks!  I really liked these.



Pecan Pie

Although I am not much of a dessert person, I do try to have something on hand for our parties – and a pecan pie seemed just right for our Kentucky Derby party this year.  Easy and it makes a pretty pie, too.  This comes from Smitten Kitchen.



Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Any time these appear on a cookie tray, I have to restrain myself from eating all of them.  So I decided to go ahead and make them myself this year – definitely will be a regular addition in the cookie tins.  This is from Joy of Baking.




Mint Chocolate Cookies

This may be one of my favorite cookies I’ve ever done – but I love all things mint.  Definitely a popular one in this year’s cookie tins.



Cherry Chocolate Blossoms

Another new cookie in this year’s holiday cookie extravaganza, this one was cute and went over well.  A twist on peanut butter blossoms.