Christmas Cookies 2015


Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw

Well, friends, ready or not, Christmas is upon us! I hope you are ready and relaxed! Every year the holiday season seems to fly by quicker than the last, but I try to fit in as much fun as possible in what little time we have.
As is our tradition, my Mom and I began our holiday season this year with our annual trip to New York City. For those of you who have never tried this particular excursion, it is something to experience! We board a motor coach about 10:30 on a Friday night, sleep away the travel time while the bus rumbles down the highway and wake up just in time to see the sun rise over the sky scrapers of Manhattan. Because I could easily sleep through a sonic boom, I wake refreshed and ready to hit the city! We have about 16 hours to fit in as many of the sights and sounds of Christmas in the city as we can, and boy do we make the most of it!!
This years’ trip was extra special because we were able to spend a few hours with my dear college roommate. Because she lives in New Jersey, we aren’t able to see one another often, but this year the stars aligned and found us able to meet for lunch. I knew Marlene was bringing her husband and son along for the visit, so I brought them some of our homemade cookies. Her son Jeremy was enjoying them so much, I’ll bet they were gone before they got back home! I believe homemade treats are always nice to give (and especially nice to receive!) because they have been made with love sprinkled on top!
When baking cookies to give as gifts, you will want to keep in mind how they will be delivered to the recipient. If you will be hand delivering them, simply placing them on a pretty tray and wrapping with plastic wrap will work. If, however you plan to ship them out of town, here are a few tricks to keep in mind:
Shape is important! Small round or flat cookies will pack most easily.
Texture of the cookies makes a big difference, so try to avoid very tender cookies…go for the firmer ones such as chocolate chip, peanut butter, or shortbread varieties, as they will be less likely to crumble.
Careful packaging of the cookies will keep them fresher and keep the flavors from mingling! Whenever possible, separate each variety by packing in separate zipper bags. Flat cookies can be stacked and round cookies should be laid flat.
When boxing the cookies, plan to use lots of bubble wrap! Place a layer of bubble wrap in the box first, then fit bagged cookies in box, layering alternately with more bubble wrap and packing as closely as possible as you fill your box (thus the importance of choosing firmer cookies!). Remember, you don’t want them to have any “wiggle-room”, so while you don’t want to crush them, do pack them tightly.
Finally, while it may be pricey, expedited sipping methods work best when shipping cookies! You don’t want the recipient getting stale, weeks old treats!
While the season is flying by, I recommend finding a few minutes when you can to sit back, grab a Gazette, a cup of coffee and a few cookies and savor the season!

Toffee Crack-Up

  • 50 saltine crackers
  • 1 C butter
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 C chocolate chips
  • ½ to 1 C M&M’s, crushed peppermints or chopped nuts

Pre-heat oven to 325*

Line a 9×13 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Line pan with the saltines.

Place butter and brown sugar in a medium pot and heat to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Carefully pour hot mixture over saltines. Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove and let sit until chocolate melts, then carefully spread to cover. Top with desired toppings.

Once cool, break apart to serve. Store in air-tight container.

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.