holiday sips n sweets

our favorite recipes for the season

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Tavis and Sophie and I hosted a holiday cookie swap party last weekend because, as of November, we've turned our imaginary creative commune into a real live physical two apartments next door to each other space and we are having the time of our psycho artsy homemaker lives. Sophie's poor video-game-loving roommate has no idea what he's gotten himself into. ANY WHO here are some of the recipes we used that were all quite a hit, if we do say so ourselves. Thanks, Betty Crocker!


1. Rosemary Citrus Cranberry Cocktail
I HAD NO IDEA until reading this recipe that "simple syrup" is just like some hot sugar water plus whatever flavor you want to add into it. I've confusedly read and avoided so many recipes that call for some sort of obscure simple syrup in the past!!! It's a whole new world for me now. (The cocktail is very good, by the way.)

2. Mulled Wine
Okay, honestly, we decided to do this one last-minute and skipped a lot of the ingredients and instructions. A simpler way to make mulled wine is just dump a couple good bottles of red into a crockpot or stovetop pot, throw in some of these spices in, and add some apples, oranges, or other fancy fruits if you're daring. Sophie did shove a bunch of cloves into oranges though which looked very legit and gourmet in the pot.

3. Oatmeal Cookies
Always use old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking, substitute chocolate chips for raisins, and use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose so that you can more easily convince yourself they're healthy whilst eating four at a time for "breakfast." 

4. Cardamom Ginger Spice Cookies
These are a great alternative to old-school gingerbread men, which are cute for decorations but often be hard to make and stiff to eat. But also here's a slightly newer-school gingerbread recipe if you still feel like trying.

5. Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
NEVER use whole wheat flour for these, plain sugar, or snickerdoodle cookies - too grainy. If you don't have kisses around or you're not a chocolate person, you can simply roll the dough into one-inch balls and use a fork to make a nice cross-cross pattern on them instead of doing the thumbprint for chocolate. Also try using margarine instead of butter if you can. Not a deal-breaker, but sometimes the buttery taste blends oddly with the peanutty taste.