Friday, December 23, 2011

The gift of food

Yes, of course I give food for Christmas! Not the traditional Christmas cookies, but a unique treat that rolls out of my kitchen only at this special time of year. I love giving food because it's an affordable way to give a heartfelt gift to lots of people and I get to pass on some delicious-ness!

One of my very favorites is this recipe for Spicy Cheddar Appetizer Cookies that I found in Southern Living Magazine's December 2010 issue. It's not necessarily a low-fat treat, but it's savory and satisfying, so you don't need much. Each "cookie" contains only about 30 calories! It's super easy to prepare and FUN because you get to use cookie cutters :) After the cookies are baked and cooled, I wrap them in little cellophane bags, tied with a silver twist-tie and gift tag. I stumbled upon these cute printable gift tags this year on Pinterest.  There's three cookies per person; just enough for a little 100-calorie snack. Find nesting star cookie cutters like I used at Bed Bath and Beyond or Michaels. It's a lovely-looking, festive gift that's easy to give to the masses.

Spicy Cheddar Cheese Dough
10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pulse first 5 ingredients in a food processor at 5-second intervals until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half-and-half, and process 10 seconds or until dough forms a ball.
Turn out onto a well-floured surface; divide in half. Roll each half to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2 - 3 1/2-inch assorted star-shaped cutters; place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 16 to 18 minutes; cool on baking sheets on wire racks 30 minutes.

Makes: 28 (3 1/2-inch) cookies or 72 (2 1/2-inch) cookies.

Recipe acquired from Southern Living Magazine, December 2010.

Do you give food gifts? What are your favorites?