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Holiday Cooking Tips

Read these 76 Holiday Cooking Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cooking tips and hundreds of other topics.

Holiday Cooking Tips has been rated 3.3 out of 5 based on 2873 ratings and 11 user reviews.
How do I make natural egg dyes?

Natural Egg Dyes

If you don't want to purchase dyes for coloring your Easter eggs, here are some natural substitutes... Orange: Paprika; 4 Tbsp per quart of water Blue: red cabbage; 4 cups, sliced, per quart of water Red: Pomegranate juice in place of water Pink: Cranberry juice in place of water Green: Spinach; 4 cups per quart of water Ocher: Onion skins; 4 cups of the dry outer skins Mocha: One quart of strongly brewed coffee in place of water To use: Combine dye materials, 2 Tbsp vinegar and water, in a large pot. Simmer 20-30 minutes, then strain and cool. Dip hard-boiled eggs in cold dye until desired color is achieved, soaking anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours in the refrigerator. Turn eggs occasionally to ensure even dyeing. Dry on paper towels or in egg cartons.

   
How do I make creamed onions?

Creamed Onions

3 cups pearl onions
4 cups water
6 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp flour
3 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste

Peel onions, and drop into boiling water. Cook until tender. Drain, reserving liquid. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Combine cooking water and milk, and add slowly to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add onions and cook until onions are heated through. Serve.

   
Do you have a recipe for snowball cookies?

Snowball Cookies

1 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
additional powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar; add vanilla and flour and mix well. Fold in chopped nuts. Shape into small balls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Roll in additional powdered sugar while warm. Makes about 3 dozen.

   
How do I make chocolate eggs?

Cherry & Nut Easter Eggs

1/2 cup milk
1/2 stick butter
2 (3 ounce) packages vanilla pudding and pie filling
1 (9 ounce) jar maraschino cherries
1 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
1 to 2 pounds powdered sugar
1 pound milk chocolate

Cut cherries in half, and drain well on paper towels. Cook milk, butter and pudding in a medium saucepan on low heat until well blended and thick. Remove from stove and add cherries, nuts and enough powdered sugar to make a thick consistency. Form the mixture into 8 to 10 egg shapes with hands coated in butter. Place on cookie sheet that has been covered with waxed paper. Chill several hours until firm. Melt chocolate, being careful not to scorch it. Frost egg with melted chocolate. Decorate with icing or small candies.

   
How do I make seven layer cookies?

Seven Layer Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1-1/3 cups shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place butter in 13x9" pan and melt in oven. Swirl to coat bottom and sides with butter.

Spread graham cracker crumbs evenly over bottom of pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut over condensed milk.

Bake until edges are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool, and then cut into bite sized squares.

   
Do you have a recipe for cranberry sauce?

Cranberry Sauce

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and sorted

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add 1/2 cup of fresh cranberries and boil until the cranberry skins burst, about 2-3 minutes. Continue adding cranberries, 1/2 cup at a time, until all the berries have been used and their skins have burst. Remove from heat and cool. Chill sauce before serving. You can add some grated orange rind or a Tbsp of brandy for a different flavor. This recipe makes 2-1/2 cups.

   
Do you have a recipe for a real chocolate lover?

Chocolate Snowballs

3/4 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts
1 (6 ounce) package chocolate chips
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine all ingredients except powdered sugar, mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar. Let cool, and store in an airtight container.

   
How do I make Snickerdoodles?

Snickerdoodles

2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup vegetable shortening
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar in a medium bowl; set aside.

With electric mixer, cream shortening; gradually add 1-1/2 cups sugar, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in flour mixture, mixing well.

Shape dough into 1" balls. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2-inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

   
Do you have a recipe for sweet potato casserole?

Sweet Potato Casserole

Topping...
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine ingredients and set aside.

Casserole...
6 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
4 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

After mashing sweet potatoes, add butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to a well buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over sweet potato mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

   
How do I store my leftover turkey?

Storing Leftover Turkey

To safely store your leftover turkey, remove the stuffing and carve the meat off the bones within 2 hours of roasting. Store turkey and stuffing separately in the refrigerator, or wrap in heavy foil to store in the freezer.

   
What's an easy way to decorate cookies for kids?

Decorating Cookies

Get the kids involved! Here's some fun holiday cooking tips: When frosting and decorating the holiday sugar cookies, make stations for your kids. One can frost, one decorates, etc. After a little while, switch places.

   
Do you have a recipe for a fun snack for kids?

Jack-O-Lantern Sandwich

Make your cheese sandwich special by cutting a jack-o-lantern face into one slice of bread, and use that for the top slice of the sandwich so the cheese shows through.

   
Do you have a recipe for oyster stuffing?

Oyster Stuffing

1 cup butter
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
5 cups prepared cubed stuffing mix
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint oysters, liquor reserved
1 cup half and half

Melt butter and saute celery and onions until tender.
Combine stuffing mix, salt, pepper and oysters in a bowl and mix well. Add the oyster liquor then slowly add enough half and half to make the stuffing moist. Place in turkey cavity and roast turkey as usual.

   
I´d like to make a heart shaped cake but I don´t have the right pan...

Heart shaped cake using regular cake pans

Bake one round and one square cake. Rotate the square cake so it looks like a diamond. Slice the round cake in half and position the two halves against the diamond's upper edges, fitting tightly. Cover the whole cake with frosting and you'll have a beautiful heart, without having to buy a special pan!

   
Do you have a recipe for sweet potato pie?

Sweet Potato Pie

3 large sweet potatoes; peeled, sliced, & boiled
2 sticks butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 homemade or pre-made pie crusts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In large bowl mash potatoes while still hot. Add butter and mix well. Stir in sugar and eggs. Add milk and vanilla, stir to combine. Pour into pie crusts and bake for 1 hour. Serve hot or at room temperature.

   
What is the best kind of pumpkin for cooking?

Choosing a pumpkin for recipes

When selecting a pumpkin for a recipe, choose a small, deep orange-colored pumpkin, that`s not too soft or discolored. The smaller pumpkins have a sweeter flavor, and are much better for cooking than the big "jack-o-lantern" pumpkins.

   
How do I make pumpkin pie?

Pumpkin Pie

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, egg yolk, white sugar and brown sugar. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Gradually stir in milk and cream. Stir in pumpkin. Pour filling into pie shell.

Bake for ten minutes in preheated oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F, and bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, or until filling is set.

   
How do I make pumpkin cupcakes?

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Cupcakes...

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin

Cream Cheese Frosting...

3 cups powdered sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
4 Tbsp butter
1 tsp lemon juice
Yellow and red food coloring
Pretzel nuggets (stems)
Green gumdrops (leaves)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set the mixture aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. Whisk in the eggs and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently stir the mixture until well combined. Stir the pumpkin into the batter until it is thoroughly combined. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle of one cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then remove to a rack to cool thoroughly.

Meanwhile, make the Cream Cheese Frosting. In a medium-size mixing bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, and lemon juice until smooth. Add about 12 drops of yellow food coloring and 4 drops of red food coloring and beat until the frosting turns orange.

Frost each cupcake, then drag a butter knife from top to bottom to resemble ridges. Use pretzel nuggets for the pumpkin stems and cut flattened green gumdrops into leaves. Makes 12 cupcakes.

   
How do I make turkey gravy?

Turkey Gravy

5 cups turkey stock (or chicken stock)
1 cup water
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Gravy Master (for color, optional)

In a medium saucepan, bring the turkey stock to a boil. Gradually dissolve flour in water. Slowly add the flour mixture to the turkey stock, stirring constantly. Stir in poultry seasoning, pepper, celery, and salt. Boil to desired consistency.

   
How do I plan a holiday meal?

Holiday Meal Planning

Looking for easy holiday cooking tips? The easiest way to have a fabulous holiday dinner is to get organized. Plan your menu, make a full shopping list from the menu, and make a cooking schedule for the big day. Figure out what you can make ahead of time to save yourself some cooking time (and oven space) on the holiday.

   
Do you have a recipe for Saint Basil´s Cake?

Saint Basil's Cake (for New Year's Eve)

10 eggs, separated
2 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
2 ounces Brandy
3 oranges
1 lemon
1-1/2 Tbsp vanilla
6-1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 coin (wrapped in aluminum foil)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whip the egg whites until stiff. Cream together the butter, sugar, and egg yolks; fold into the whites. Add the zest and juice of the oranges and lemon. Add the brandy and vanilla. Sift the flour and add it to the mixture. Place the wrapped coin in the batter. Grease and flour a round cake pan. Pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes, or until firm in the middle.

The person who finds the coin has good luck for the upcoming year!

   
How do I make cranberry bread?

Cranberry Raisin Bread

2 cups sifted flour
1 cup white sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup orange juice
1-1/2 cups golden raisins
1-1/2 cups cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one 9x5x3" loaf pan.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice; stir to mix and fold in raisins and cranberries.

Pour into loaf pan and bake for 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

   
How do I make almond roca?

Almond Roca

Almond Roca

2 (12 ounce) packages semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups butter
1 pound brown sugar
1 cup slivered almonds, divided

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Grease a 14x18" cookie sheet.

Sprinkle one package of chocolate chips onto greased cookie sheet. Place in warm oven until chips melt, about 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate over bottom of cookie sheet. Set aside.

In a large heavy saucepan on medium-high heat, combine butter and brown sugar. Stirring constantly, heat to 300 to 310 degrees F, or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard, brittle threads. Immediately remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 cup slivered almonds and pour into pan on top of melted chocolate; spread mixture evenly.

Sprinkle remaining package of chocolate chips over the almond layer. After chocolate layer melts, spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup almonds over chocolate.

Cut into squares, or allow to harden and break it apart like brittle.

   
How do I make corn souffle?

Corn Souffle

2 (15.25 ounce) cans whole kernel corn
2 (15 ounce) cans creamed corn
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp milk
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients, and pour the mixture into a souffle dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1-1/4 hours.

   
What can I bake fruitcake in?

Fruit cake Pans

Fruit cakes may be baked in a variety of pans - coffee cans, ring molds, casseroles, loaf pans, any shape metal can and tube pans.

   
Do you have a recipe for pecan tarts?

Mini Pecan Tarts

1/4 pound butter, softened
1 cup flour
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine butter, flour, and cream cheese; mix well to form dough, then divide dough to make 24 balls. Press dough balls into mini muffin pans. Mix egg, brown sugar, vanilla and chopped nuts and fill each mini muffin cup approximately 3/4 full with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

   
How do I make popcorn balls?

Halloween Popcorn Balls

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 (10 ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup M&Ms

Melt butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar, and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Pour popcorn and M&Ms into pot; toss well. With buttered hands, shape into 2-1/2" balls. Set on parchment-lined baking sheet to dry. Makes 12 popcorn balls.

   
how do I make Babka?

Easter Babka

1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp dried lemon peel
2-1/4 cups flour
1 cup raisins (black or yellow)
1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Scald milk in a saucepan. Add shortening, salt, and sugar; stir until shortening is melted and sugar is dissolved. Cool until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water; add to lukewarm milk mixture and mix well. Add eggs and lemon peel to milk mixture. Add flour; beat until smooth. Cover and let rise for 6 hours.

Punch down dough. Add raisins; knead until smooth and elastic. Generously grease brioche pan; sprinkle bottom with almonds. Pour dough into pan. Let rise, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Bake babka for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

   
Do you have a recipe for Hanukkah donuts?

Suphganiot

4 cups self-rising flour
2 eggs
2 (8 ounce) containers yogurt
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch salt
2 Tbsp vanilla sugar
3 quarts oil for deep frying

Combine flour, eggs, yogurt, sugar, salt and vanilla sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let the dough sit for 30 minutes. Form the dough into balls with 2 inch diameters (recipe should make 6).

Heat the oil to 365 degrees F in a deep pot (or deep fryer) over high heat. Deep fry the dough in the oil. Let the suphganiot cool and drain on paper towels.

If you want, you can fill the donuts with jelly, or roll in sugar.

   
What other fried foods can I eat besides latkes during Channukah?

A Sweet Alternative to Latkes

Though it may be traditional to eat fried foods during Channukah, after the first couple nights, the usual potato pancakes can get pretty tired. Try this fun alternative instead. Peel and core 4 Granny Smith apples. Slice crosswise into ¼ inch thick rounds. Next, whip up a batch of your favorite pancake batter. (A mix is fine). Then dip each round, a few at a time, into the batter. Heat a half-inch of vegetable or canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, until shimmering. Drop in the batter-coated apples, being careful not to overcrowd, and fry, turning once until golden-brown on each side. Remove to layers of paper towel to drain. Then place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm while you fry the rest. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. Makes 18-24 “donuts.”

   
How do I make cranberry sauce?

Cranberry Sauce Supreme

1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice; diced
1 orange; peeled and pureed
1 apple; peeled, cored and diced
1 pear; peeled, cored and diced
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to simmer and add remaining ingredients; stir. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the cranberries burst, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

   
Do you have a recipe for Wassail?

Wassail

6 cups apple cider
3 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp lemon rind and/or orange rind or juice
15 to 20 whole cloves

Bring ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve Wassail with 1 cinnamon stick in each cup.

   
How do I stuff a turkey?

Stuffing a turkey

Stuffing needs room to expand during cooking, do not over-stuff. Extra stuffing can be placed in a casserole dish and cooked separately. Don`t stuff the turkey in advance to save time, stuff it right before cooking. Cook stuffing to a minimum temperature of 165°F. Stuffing should be removed from the turkey to a separate dish before carving.

   
How do I make bread pudding?

Chocolate Bread Pudding

2-1/2 cups cubed stale bread
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2-1/2 Tbsp cocoa
2 cups milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place bread in a round, buttered, deep-dish pie plate. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, a pinch of salt, vanilla, cocoa and cinnamon. Add chocolate chips.

Pour over bread and gently mix. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until firm but not dry.

   
How do I make peanut butter kiss cookies?

Peanut Butter Kisses

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firm packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1-3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream together shortening, sugars, and peanut butter. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Blend at low speed until well mixed. Shape dough into balls by teaspoonfuls and roll in sugar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven. Immediately top each cookie with a kiss, pressing down firmly so cookie cracks around the edges. Carefully remove to rack to cool.

   
How do I make sweet potatoes?

Sweet Potatoes with Pralines

4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 pint heavy cream
1/4 pound butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
1-1/4 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2 quart casserole dish.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and cream. Blend well, and spread evenly in casserole dish.

To prepare the topping, combine butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans. Mix until crumbly, and sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

   
Do you have a recipe for a Halloween dinner?

Spaghetti and Eyeballs

2 pounds lean ground beef
1-1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 eggs
1 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1 (7 ounce) jar pimiento-stuffed olives
1 (26 ounce) jar prepared spaghetti sauce
1 pound spaghetti
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, ketchup, eggs and basil in a large bowl. Using the meat mixture, form about 30 small meatballs.

To make the eyeballs, press an olive into each meatball, pimiento side out. Place the eyeballs in a baking dish, cover with the pasta sauce and bake for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse the spaghetti, and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent strands from sticking together. Put it on a platter or in a large serving bowl.

Spoon the eyeballs onto the spaghetti, olive side up, and spoon the pasta sauce around them.

   
Do you have a recipe for candy cane cookies?

Candy Cane Cookies

4 cups flour
1 cup butter
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk
Red & green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl cut the butter into the flour. Mix in all remaining ingredients except the food coloring. Divide into 2 parts. Color half with red food coloring and the other half with green food coloring.

Form into balls. Roll each ball into a strip and twist together one of each color in the shape of a candy cane. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

   
How do I make cranberry chutney?

Cranberry Chutney

1/4 cup dried apricots; finely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 tart apple; peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup crystallized ginger; chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine apricots, brown sugar, raisins and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir while simmering for 5 minutes. Stir in cranberries, apple and lemon zest; simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in remaining ingredients just before removing from heat. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.

   
Do you have a recipe for no-bake cookies?

No-Bake Bourbon Balls

1 cup vanilla wafers
1 cup pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
2 ounces Bourbon
2 ounces white corn syrup

Place the wafers in a food processor and grind until fine. Place in a bowl. Add the pecans into the food processor and grind until fine. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into balls, roll in additional powdered sugar, and refrigerate.

   
How do I make pumpkin pie?

No-Bake Pumpkin Pie

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp white sugar
1-1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
1 cup cold milk
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin puree
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Whisk together cream cheese, milk and sugar until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread onto bottom of crust.

Pour milk into large bowl, and thoroughly mix in pudding mix, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. When thickened, spread over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate 4 hours, or until set.

   
How do I make mashed potatoes?

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic

6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
7 potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place garlic cloves in a small pan, and drizzle with the olive oil; cover and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm. Drain, and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add roasted garlic to potatoes. Add milk, cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Beat on medium speed of mixer until smooth.

   
How do I make a glaze for my fruitcake?

Fruitcake Glaze

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup orange juice in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, just until sugar dissolves. Brush over warm fruitcake.

   
Do you have a recipe for cranberry relish?

Cranberry Relish

2 medium oranges
1 pound fresh cranberries
1/4 cup dried currants
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds; chopped
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Finely shred 1 Tbsp orange peel; set aside. Peel and section oranges, removing seeds. Using a food processor, blend orange sections, cranberries, and currants until coarsely chopped. Stir in sugar, almonds, cinnamon, and reserved orange peel. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

   
How do I make corn casserole?

Corn Casserole

1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14.75 ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8.5 ounce) package dry corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients. Mix well and pour into a lightly greased 9x13" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

   
When do I make fruit cakes?

Fruit Cakes

For the best tasting fruit cakes, make them 3 to 4 weeks in advance. For a richer flavor, pour wine or brandy over the cake before wrapping.

   
How do I make stained glass cookies?

Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Cookies

3 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Multi-colored Lifesavers
Plastic sandwich bags (one for each color Lifesaver)

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture until just blended. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with aluminum foil; set aside.

Pinch off small pieces of dough and roll into strips about 1/4" thick. Use to make the cookie outlines on the prepared baking sheets. Pinch ends together well. Add a crisscross in the center of each outline with additional strips. Be creative and design any shape you want, leaving openings for the windows.

Sort the candies into plastic bags by color. Crush them with a wooden kitchen mallet or rolling pin. Use the crushed candy to fill the openings in the cookies.

If you want to hang the cookies on your Christmas tree, thicken dough at the top and punch a hole with a straw before baking.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely, then peel off foil. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

   
How do I decorate a Halloween table?

Edible Cobwebs

Here's a great tip for an edible decoration for your Halloween table...

Shred cotton candy into strands and place around your table for a cobweb effect. You can place some candy 'bugs' in the web for an added treat.

   
How do I make a fun treat for Halloween?

Werewolf Claws

Nonstick vegetable spray
10 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 (12 ounce) can large pitted black olives, drained
Ketchup
1 head of lettuce, shredded

Spray a cookie sheet with the nonstick spray. Slice the chicken into strips about the width of one bony finger, the more crooked the better.

Place the flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs into three separate bowls. Dust the chicken strips with flour, dip them into the eggs and roll them in the bread crumbs. You probably won't use all the flour or crumbs.

Place the strips on the cookie sheet and broil about 5 minutes on each side until brown. If chicken isn't done yet, lower the oven temperature to 350 and continue cooking for a few more minutes.

To make the fingernails, cut the olives in half lengthwise. Trim the halves into pointy nail shapes, and place one on the end of each chicken strip. Press them into the chicken and, if you need help in making them stick, use some ketchup as glue. Serve over shredded lettuce.

   
Do you have a recipe for snowdrops?

Snowdrops

3 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar 2 Tbsp at a time; beating after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet, and bake at 250 for 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave cookies inside for 30 minutes.

   
Do you have a recipe for fruitcake?

Bourbon Fruitcake

2 cups red candied cherries
1-1/2 cups white seedless raisins
2 cups bourbon
1-1/2 cups butter
2-1/3 cups granulated sugar
2-1/3 cups brown sugar
6 eggs, separated
4-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
4 cups pecans
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sifted cake flour

Combine cherries, raisins and bourbon. Cover and let
stand overnight. Drain fruit; reserving bourbon.

Cream butter and sugars together. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add 4-1/2 cups flour and bourbon alternately to butter mixture beating well after each addition.

Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Fold egg whites into flour mixture.

Combine 1/2 cup flour, nutmeg, baking powder and pecans. Fold soaked fruits and pecan-flour mixture into batter. Turn into a greased 10-inch tube pan lined with greased wax paper.

Bake in slow oven at 275 degrees for 3-1/2 hours. Cool and remove from pan. Fill center of cake with cheesecloth which is saturated with bourbon. Wrap in aluminum foil and store in a tightly covered container in cool place.

   
How do I store fruitcake?

Fruit Cake Storage

Fruit cakes keep well over a period of time. A wrapping of aluminum foil or plastic wrap is effective for storing cakes. Always cool cake first.

   
My cranberry sauce never seems to turn out right. How can I ensure it doesn’t mar my Thanksgiving dinner this year?

A Saucy Revelation

Did you know that sugar toughens cranberry skins if added before they soften? Keep this in mind if you're planning to make a sugar-sweetened cooked cranberry sauce this year: Cook cranberries in the liquid called for in your recipe until they pop (which usually happens in about 5 minutes.) Add the sugar last and stir until it dissolves.

   
How do I make a Halloween punch?

Dragon's Blood Punch with Creepy Ice

Apple juice
Cranberry juice
Ginger ale
New rubber glove
Red food coloring
1 pound Coffee can
Water

To make the hand, fill a new rubber glove with water.
Tie at the wrist with string and freeze one or two days. Unmold.

To make a base for the hand, fill a one-pound coffee can about 1/3 full with water. Insert the hand and freeze until firm.

To make the punch, mix equal parts of the apple and cranberry juice and the ginger ale. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, place half the mixture in the punch bowl.

Insert hand ice mold in the center. Fill bowl with remaining punch.

   
Do you have a recipe for mashed potatoes?

Holiday Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook and mash potatoes. Add cream cheese and butter. Beat until melted, then add the sour cream.

Mix eggs, milk, and onion together. Add to potatoes with salt and pepper. Beat until fluffy.

Cook in a 2 quart casserole dish for 45 minutes.

**These can also be prepared a day ahead, just prepare up to the point of baking, cover well and put in the refrigerator. When you want to serve it just pop it in the oven.

   
How do I make a jack-o-lantern cake?

Halloween Pumpkin Cake

2 packages (18.25 ounces each) devil`s food cake mix, batter prepared according to package directions.

1/2 tsp red food coloring
1/2 tsp yellow food coloring
2 containers (16 ounces each) white frosting
One 3-inch round cookie
1 tall green votive candle

Bake the cake batter in two bundt pans, according to the package directions. Let cool slightly, then remove from the pans and cool both cakes completely on a wire rack.

While the cakes are cooling, combine the red and yellow food coloring with the white frosting, mixing until the frosting turns bright orange, adjust color if necessary. Place 1 of the cooled cakes flat side up on a serving platter and frost the top. Place the second cake right side up on top of the first cake; line up the ridges so the cake resembles a pumpkin.

Place the cookie over the hole in the top of the cake and frost the cookie and the cake lightly with the orange frosting, make sure the ridges are still visible. Place the candle on top of the cake, like a stem.

If you want to turn your pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, you can decorate the cake with candies, or pipe a dark-colored frosting to make a face.

   
How do I make Halloween Makeup?

Halloween Face Makeup

2 Tbsp solid shortening
5 Tbsp cornstarch
5 drops of liquid dishwashing soap
4 to 6 drops of food coloring

Mix the shortening and cornstarch until creamy. Add the liquid soap and mix well. Add food coloring and mix to get the color that you want.

   
How do I make a fun treat for Halloween?

Brain Surgery Salad

2 small boxes lime Jello
1 (16 ounce) can fruit cocktail
2 surgical or rubber gloves

Prepare the Jello according to the package instructions. Transfer to a dome-shaped mold, such as a mixing bowl.

Drain the fruit cocktail and add it to the Jello when it is about halfway set.

When the Jello is completely set, unmold it onto a platter, and drape the surgical gloves on each side.

   
How do I make a pumpkin roll?

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup solid pack pumpkin puree (NOT the pie mix)
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp butter
8 ounces cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a jellyroll pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs on high for five minutes. Gradually add white sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice. Add flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and ginger. Spread batter evenly in pan. Sprinkle pecans evenly on top, and press lightly into batter.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it springs back when touched. Loosen edges with a knife. Turn out on two dishtowels that have been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Roll up cake, and let cool for about 20 minutes.

To make filling, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, and cream cheese together until smooth.

Unroll pumpkin cake when cool, and spread with filling. Re-roll, and push aside the dishtowel. Unroll long sheet of waxed paper. Put pumpkin roll on waxed paper. Dust pumpkin roll with powdered sugar. Twist ends of waxed paper like a piece of candy. Put pumpkin roll in refrigerator and chill overnight. Before slicing, dust with powdered sugar. Serve chilled.

   
How do I make decorative nests?

Easter Nests

1 (12 ounce) butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup peanuts
5 ounces Chinese dried noodles

Melt butterscotch chips, add the peanut butter and blend well. Add peanuts and Chinese noodles; stir. Form the mixture into nests on a cookie sheet that has been covered with waxed paper. Chill in refrigerator until solid. Fill with jelly beans, M&M's, or other colorful Easter candy.

   
Do you have a recipe for Glogg?

Glogg (holiday wine)

2 bottles red wine
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup raisins
1 stick cinnamon
10 whole cardamom
5 cloves
1 piece ginger root
12 lumps sugar
1 pint brandy

Tie raisins, almonds and spices in a cheesecloth bag; add bag to wine and bring to simmering, but do not boil. Remove bag of spices.

Next, take a "Glogg Grill" (or any piece of metal mesh
or strainer) and place it over the pan containing the wine. Place the sugar lumps on the grill. Pour brandy over sugar and as the sugar absorbs the liquor, set fire to it. As sugar melts, put out flame and dump remaining sugar into bowl. Serve in preheated mugs or glass cups with a few raisins and an almond or two in each cup.

   
How do I make candy?

Elf Candy

This recipe comes from Maddymoo, originally posted in the Cooking-tips forum...

1 pound of white chocolate bark
1-1/2 cups marshmallows
1 cup Rice Krispies
2 cups Christmas m&m's

Melt bark. Add cereal and marshmallows; stir until well combined. Add m&m's and stir until combined thoroughly. Spread on a greased cookie sheet and refrigerate until hard. Break into pieces.

   
How large of turkey do I need to buy?

How much Turkey?

When buying a turkey, purchase one pound of turkey per person to be served. This formula allows for the holiday meal plus a little left over for the prized turkey sandwich.

   
How do I make a Halloween snack?

Vampire Fangs in Blood

8 large Red Delicious apples
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1 (10 ounce) jar strawberry or cherry sauce

Wash, peel and core the apples. Then cut each apple into 8 pieces. Dip the cut apples into the lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.

To prepare the fangs, cut the apple slices into long, narrow triangles, making pointy toothlike shapes. Redip them in the lemon juice and lightly sprinkle them with sugar.

Arrange the fangs on a serving platter with the strawberry dipping sauce in the middle. Make sure you splatter some of the "blood" over the fangs.

   
How do I know if fruitcake is done?

Fruit Cake Doneness Test

The most sure testing method to tell if fruitcake is done, is to touch the top of the cake; if done, it should spring back readily.

   
How do I make carrot cake?

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe below

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans.

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Using 2/3 of the sugar, add gradually to the oil, beating well after each addition; set aside. Beat eggs until light; add remaining sugar and mix well. Slowly add egg mixture to oil mixture, continue beating until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.

Gradually stir in the sifted dry ingredients until well combined. Add carrots and nuts. Mix well.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for 60-65 minutes, until cakes are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool for 20 minutes, then invert onto baking rack. Once the cakes are completely cool, spread icing between layers, then ice top and sides.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3-1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the cheese. Blend in oil and vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt until smooth and spreadable. Spread on cooled cake.

   
How do I make cranberry relish?

Sweet & Sour Cranberry Relish

3 cups cranberries
1-1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup apples; thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins; chopped
1 Tbsp orange zest; thinly sliced
1 cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
2-1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the vinegar. Bring to simmer, stirring to combine. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until cranberries burst and mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in vinegar and cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

   
Can I freeze pumpkin pies?

Pumpkin Pies

Make your pumpkin pies ahead of time. Cool on a rack. Without wrapping, place in freezer just until frozen. Remove and wrap in aluminum foil or heavy duty plastic wrap and return to the freezer. Can be kept up to 4 to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature, or to heat baked pies, unwrap and let stand for 30 minutes; heat in 350 degree oven just until warm.

   
Can I make a turkey ahead of time?

Precooking Turkey

To save time, prepare your turkey ahead of time, slice the roasted turkey and place it in a foil-lined pan. Spoon chicken broth over the turkey to prevent drying. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Reheat in foil covered pan in 350°F oven until hot.

   
Any ideas for a good holiday drink?

Eyeball Punch

2 quarts red Kool-aid
1 liter 7-up or Ginger Ale
1 batch jello jigglers (prepared and set) in 11x14 pan
20-30 green grapes peeled or cut in half

Before serving cut jello jigglers into long thin strips. Combine kool-aid and 7-up in a punch bowl. Add jiggler strips and grapes and serve.

***Beware of the grapes if you are serving this to little ones. Might be a potential choking hazard.

   
How do I make crumbcake?

Cranberry Pecan Crumb Cakes

For the cake...
1 stick unsalted butter; room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dried cranberries

For the topping...
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease mini-muffin pans, or line them with paper liners.

Cream the butter until smooth. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar until mixed. Add the eggs and mix until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Sift together the sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Working in batches, add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating with dollops of sour cream. Mix in the cranberries. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling them no more than 3/4 full.

To make the topping, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the butter pieces and, using your fingertips, pinch the ingredients together into a sandy, crumbly mixture. Add the pecans and blend well. Sprinkle the mixture over the cakes. Bake until risen and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan.

Makes 40-60 mini cakes.

   
How do I make pinwheel cookies?

Pinwheel Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2-1/2 cups flour
Red paste food coloring

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt; beat until combined. Beat in the egg, vanilla and extract until well combined. Stir in flour until just mixed.

Divide dough in half. Tint one portion of the dough with paste food coloring. Knead coloring into dough until well mixed. If dough is too sticky to handle, wrap each half in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill about 1 hour or until easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each color of dough into a 12x8" rectangle. Using a large spatula and your hands, place one rectangle on top of the other. Press down gently with your hands to seal. Starting from a long side, tightly roll up jelly-roll style. Wrap the dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill at least 2 hours or until firm.

Using a sharp knife, cut log into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices about 1-inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and lightly browned.

Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

   
What is an easy dessert to make?

Pumpkin Cakes in a Pinch

Perfect for the holiday season, this pumpkin cake recipe requires minimal preparation time because it is not from scratch (though it tastes 100% homemade). Simply add one standard-size can of baking pumpkin (any brand) to one box of cake mix (any brand, any variety). Stir pumpkin and cake mix together until well blended and bake to the instructions on the cake mix box. Depending on your oven, pan and altitude, the pumpkin cake usually requires the longer time suggestion from the box. If you are at a high altitude or baking in a deeper pan, you might consider baking for a few minutes longer than the box suggests. Before removing from the oven, test your cake with a toothpick to make sure it is done. Stick the toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, you will know the cake is done.

Though spice cake traditionally pairs with pumpkin, other cakes also taste wonderful baked this way. Try devil's food or vanilla for some variety. Using pumpkin, your box cake or cupcakes will come out of the oven and stay moist for days. This is one recipe you will love to pass on!

   

Cranberry Squash

If you are looking for something different to serve this Thanksgiving, why not try cranberry squash. This simple dish goes great with turkey and stuffing. Cut a butternut squash in to four pieces. Make sure you remove the skin and the seeds (save the seeds for baking as a snack). Pierce the squash with a fork in numerous places. Open a can of cranberry sauce and cut it in to slices. Set the slices in a baking dish. Place your squash, cut side down, overtop of the cranberry sauce. Cover with tin foil and cook for 45 minutes at 375 degrees F. Then remove the tin foil and flip the squash over. Cook without the tin foil for another 15 minutes. Spoon the cranberry sauce over the squash and serve hot.

   

Pumpkin Sauce

Pumpkin sauce makes a great spread for any type of toast. It is plentiful in the fall and you can jar it after you make it. Take out a large bowl and add one and a half cups of canned pumpkin. Stir in a quarter of a cup of chunky applesauce, and two tbsp. of honey. Add one and a half tsp. of lemon juice, two shakes of nutmeg, two shakes of ginger, and two shakes of cinnamon. Stir until completely combined. Use immediately or refrigeratorate for use later on.

Tip: This sauce can also be served as a side dish for leftover turkey.

   
How do I make candy?

Snow Candy

This recipe is from Maddymoo, originally posted in the Cooking-tips forum...

1 pound white almond bark
1 cup peanuts
1-1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1-1/2 cups marshmallows
1 tsp peanut butter (optional)

Melt chocolate and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined and drop by teaspoonful onto waxed paper. Store in covered tins.

   
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