Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This Year's Holiday Cookie Exchange

On Sunday, my sister-in-law and I hosted a cookie exchange at my place. Everyone brought about three dozen homemade cookies each to swap, and I served up a few new appetizers. It was such a fun and "sweet" way to celebrate the holidays!

My cookie contribution... mini Caramel S'more Cups. Super easy recipe with a chocolate chip cookie base, a Rolo tucked inside, and mini marshmallows + chocolate on top.

Caramel S'more Cups
From Betty Crocker

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
36 round chewy caramels in milk chocolate, from 5 (1.91-oz) rolls, unwrapped
108 mini marshmallows (1 cup)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 36 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. 

Make cookie dough as directed on package, using butter and egg. Shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls. Place 1 ball into each muffin cup. 

Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove from oven; firmly press 1 candy into center of each cookie until flush with cookie top. Top each with 3 marshmallows. Bake 2 to 4 minutes longer or until marshmallows are puffed. Cool 30 minutes. Loosen edges of cookie with small metal spatula and remove to cooling racks. Cool completely. 

Place chocolate chips in small resealable freezer plastic bag. Microwave on High about 1 minute or until softened. Gently squeeze bag until chocolate is smooth; cut off tiny corner of bag. Squeeze bag to drizzle chocolate over marshmallows. Let stand until hardened, about 10 minutes.

Here are the appetizers I tried. I think I'll keep them in the mix for future parties!

Seven Layer Mediterranean Dip
From greens and chocolate; originally from Circle B Kitchen

20 oz hummus
1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 large)

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

2 large tomatoes, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

3/4 cup olives, diced

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Pita chips for dipping

In large glass bowl, spread the hummus in an even layer.  Then add cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, and cheese.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.  Serve with pita chips.

Prosciutto and Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms
From greens and chocolate

Makes about 20 mushrooms

16 oz package of whole button mushrooms
3 tbsp salted butter
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs (store-bought or homemade breadcrumbs seasoned well with Italian spices)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 thin slices of Prosciutto, sliced into small pieces
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup shredded white cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pop out the stems from the mushroom caps.  Finely dice the stems and set aside.  Heat a saute pan and add 2 tbsp butter.  Toss the mushroom caps until they begin to release their liquid, and are partially cooked.  Be patient, as the mushrooms might take awhile to begin releasing their liquid. Remove from the pan, and set on a baking sheet, open side up.

In same saute pan, add remaining tablespoon of butter and saute the green onions and garlic until softened slightly, about 3 minutes.  Add the diced mushroom stems and cook until all ingredients are softened.  Turn off heat.

In bowl, combine the mushroom and green onion mixture, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, add the grated parmesan and chopped prosciutto.

Stuff the caps with the mixture and top with grated white cheddar. 

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until cheese is browned.

Taste better than they look (greens and chocolate has much prettier pics!)
Artichoke Wonton Cups
From Taste of Home 
[My mom suggested mixing in some diced jalapeno for more flavor, and after trying the original recipe, I agree that it could use a little boost. But who can resist what's essentially artichoke dip in a cup?!]

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise 
1/2 teaspoon onion powder 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 
1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped 
1 package (12 ounces) wonton wrappers [I used mini fillo shells instead; find them in the freezer section]

In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, onion powder and garlic powder. Stir in mozzarella cheese and artichokes; set aside.  

Coat one side of each wonton wrapper with cooking spray; press greased side down into miniature muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

 Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon artichoke mixture. Bake 5-6 minutes longer or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: about 4 dozen.

Sweet & Tangy Meatballs [great crockpot recipe!]
From Table for Two

Large pack of frozen meatballs
1 16 oz. jar grape jelly
1 12 oz. jar of chili sauce [I used the Heinz version]

In a small pot on medium high heat, combine jelly and chili sauce until they’re combined and jelly is not chunky.

Put the entire bag of meatballs in the slow cooker insert and pour the jelly chili sauce on top, stir the meatballs around until they’re all coated.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Toss every couple hours or so to re-coat the meatballs in the sauce. Serve hot.

The picture's a little steamy...

 What are your favorite holiday cookies and appetizers?


  1. Those cookies look amaazzzinggg. Yum! You did a great job! :)

  2. Thanks for these, Melissa! I stole a few.

  3. Hi Melisssa,
    I had a wonderful time. It was so much fun listening and talking with all the young gals and hearing their stories. And the food was great! Thanks so much for having us.
    Hugs, Pat

  4. Great post. I will be going through a few of these issues as well..

    Here is my web blog ... garden tips


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