Little Hands A Big Help In the Kitchen

Reindeer Cupcakes

There’s nothing like . . . the soft glow of lights on the tree that illuminate a treasured collection of decorations . . . the excited giggles of delight that fill the air while snuggling with two sweet little ponytails to watch a holiday movie . . . the way that with each sip of wine, the tensions of the past year melt away . . .

It truly is a magical time.

Now that I’ve hung up my baking mitts for another year, it’s time to relax and enjoy my favourite holiday activities. I hope that you are able to do the same.

But I didn’t do it all alone this year. The ponytails were a BIG help during cookie baking season. So, for this last post before Christmas I thought I’d share a few of the sweet treats that the girls and I made together.

First up–Reindeer Cupcakes. My oldest daughter decided that we were going to bake Reindeer Cupcakes for the school potluck–and she sketched out how she wanted them to look. A couple of the materials were going to be a bit tricky to work with, so we negotiated between her ideas and one that I spotted on a Facebook foodie group that I belong to. Thanks to Sue H. for positng a link to With Spinkles on Top’s version of these Reindeer Cupcakes!

Decorating reindeer cupcakess

Decorating the reindeer cupcakes with: mini marshmellows cut in half (eyes), chocolate chips (eyes), pretzels, Nilla biscuits and Swedish Berries (nose). For the cupcakes, use your favourite cupcake and chocolate icing recipe.

Earlier in the year when I saw the beautiful ma’amouls that Fati at Fati’s Recipes and Betsy at Bits and Breadcrumbs had made, I knew that I had to try them . . . but I decided to wait until Christmas. The girls were quick to get into the action with these cookies and they got the knack of whacking the molds very quickly!

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The end result was well worth the effort. Look how beautifully they turned out:

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Our entire family fell in love with the Glaciers and Bear Paws from The Fudgery in Banff, Alberta this summer. So, we tried our hand at recreating them . . . it was as easy as making a small circle with five cashews and squishing a caramel on top. Mom (me) popped them in a 325 degree oven for 6 minutes. Then the girls drizzled with melted semi-sweet chocolate (for the Bear Paws) and melted white chocolate (for the Glaciers).

Bear Paws and Glaciers

Gingerbread and Sugar Cookies make the cookie list every year. My youngest daughter really enjoyed the rolling and cutting process of making both these cookies. Here she is in action with the Gingerbreads.

Ponytail gingerbreads

And here’s the final product of the Snowflake and Tree-shaped Sugar Cookies . . .

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Who knew that little hands could be such a big help in the kitchen? Now I certainly do and I imagine that these little hands will only be more helpful with each passing year. Baking for three weeks solid is always a lot of work, but memories like these make it all worthwhile . . . and so does a peek into one of the cookie boxes . . .

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Recipes

Reindeer Cupcakes — Use your favourite cupcake and chocolate icing recipe. For decorations: mini marshmellows cut in half (eyes), chocolate chips (eyes), pretzels (antler), Nilla biscuits and Swedish Berries (nose). We used white icing to “glue” the ingredients to the cupcake and it worked well.

Ma’amouls — I followed Betsy’s Recipe since I had bought the farina flour at a local specialty shop.

Bear Paws & Glaciers — Make a small circle with five cashews and squish a caramel on top. Pop them in a 325 degree oven for 6 minutes. Then drizzle with melted semi-sweet chocolate (for the Bear Paws) and white chocolate (for the Glaciers).

Sugar Cookies (used for Snowflake and Trees) Martha Stewart Cutout Cookie Dough

Gingerbread Cookies — From Martha Stewart; I double this recipe.

I wish you all a very happy holidays. I hope that they are filled with all the things that you love, like the soft glow of Christmas tree lights and treasured ornaments . . .

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My treasured Eiffel Tower ornament made by my friend Shailyn many years ago and a ballerina to commemorate a first Nutcracker performance for my oldest ponytail.

And sweet things, both big and small . . .

girls with cookies

Getting ready for Santa (Christmas 2011).

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