Christmas Cookie Swap Recipe: Candy Cane Blossoms

Cookie Swap Recipe: Candy Cane Blossoms

Whether you’re hosting your own Christmas Cookie Swap Party this year or attending as a guest, this Candy Cane Blossom recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser! Festively dressed in red, white and green, these cookies are delicious and unique enough that Aunt Ruth won’t show up with the same four dozen cookies! Just double the recipe and you’re all set.


1 bag Hershey’s Kisses Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons milk
Red and green colored sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Remove wrappers from candies. (approx. 35)
2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
3. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 – 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Yields approximately 35 cookies

Thanksgiving Sides: Savory Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing

Savory Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing

Savory Spinach and Artichoke Stuffing


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 ½ pounds spinach, washed (3 cups cooked and roughly chopped)

2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 tablespoon roughly chopped garlic

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Emeril’s Italian Essence, or other Italian seasoning blend

2 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

3 (8 ½-ounce) cans quartered artichoke hearts, any tough outer leaves removed

2 large eggs

1 ½ cups heavy cream

2 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons lemon juice

12 to 14 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old French bread (1 loaf)

1 pound Brie, rind removed and cut into ½-inch cubes

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves



Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Once cool, squeeze as much water from spinach as possible, then roughly chop, and reserve.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, 2 teaspoons of Italian Essence, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Combine the eggs, cream, chicken stock, lemon juice, remaining 1 tablespoon Italian Essence, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the bread, spinach, artichoke mixture, brie, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and parsley and stir to combine. If bread does not absorb all of liquid immediately then let rest until this happens, about 20 minutes.

Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve warm.

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Thanksgiving Sides: Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 chipotle pepper from canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of peppers

1 teaspoon salt



Put cubed potatoes into steamer basket and place steamer into a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inched from the bottom of basket. Allow to steam for 20 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Add butter to potatoes and mash with potato masher. Add peppers, sauce and salt and continue mashing to combine. Serve immediately.

Thanksgiving Sides: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, and Parmesan

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, and Parmesan

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Red Pepper Flakes, and Parmesan


2 ¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon water

Salt and pepper to taste


For garlic oil:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup Parmesan, grated



Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat to 500F. Toss Brussels sprouts in oil, water, ¾ teaspoon of salt, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper in a large bowl until sprouts are coated. Transfer sprouts to a rimmed baking sheet and arrange so cut sides are facing down. Cover tightly with foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook for an additional 10-12 minutes, or until sprouts are browned and tender. Toss with prepared garlic oil and grated Parmesan. Transfer to a serving platter and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

For garlic oil:

While Brussels sprouts are cooking, heat additional olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium high heat until oil is shimmering. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Toss with Brussels sprouts and cheese, according to above directions.

Recipe courtesy Cook’s Illustrated, 2011