How to Make Perfect Soft Sugar Cookies


A basic soft sugar cookie with cream cheese frosting.
Category: Cookies
Serves: 4 dozen
For Cookies:
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups flour + more for rolling
For Frosting:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 T. butter, softened
  • 2 T. milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 drops food coloring
  1. Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt, soda, and baking powder, and mix well.
  3. Add flour, and mix just until combined.
  4. Wrap dough tightly in plastic, or place in a plastic zipper bag, and chill 8-10 hours or overnight.
  5. Roll dough to ⅜-inch thickness and cut out shapes. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.
  6. For frosting: Combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth. Frost cooled cookies.
  7. Store in an airtight container between layers of wax paper. Will keep best if refrigerated or frozen.

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100 DIY Food Gift Ideas


Christmas shopping can be a nightmare, large crowds, unruly children, unhelpful store clerks and that’s before you have to search out a gift for everyone.


However everybody loves a homemade gift and with 100 DIY food gifts, you’ll be able to find the perfect gift, while adding a personal touch too. Cookie mixes, or preserves, cakes, sweets or oils and extracts…the list keeps on going.

I think it is safe to say we have officially entered last minute territory when it comes to Christmas gifts. If you still have shopping to do, you better do it soon! And oh, it will be awful. There will be lines. Screaming children. The things you need to buy will be sold out.

But there is another way! You can make your own gifts. Everyone loves a homemade gift! (Well, maybe kids don’t. If you give your kids jars of Meyer lemon marmalade for Christmas, it will probably be something they tell their therapist about 20 years from now. Don’t give your kids homemade marmalade for Christmas.) And guess what? I have 100 DIY food gifts for the holidays in this post.


One hundred! Starting with my own food gift idea, a Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix in a jar. This mix is easy to make, reasonably healthy, and the addition of mini chocolate chips makes it a crowd pleaser too. Pack it in mason jars, print out the labels below, and package it up with a bottle of maple syrup. And then instead of going to the mall, you can chill out at home in your pajamas and watch Shahs of Sunset marathons while assembling your awesome homemade pancake mix gifts.

Click on the links below to download printable jar labels by Anna from In Honor of Design (cute little whisk drawing by Kaitlin Kostus!):


Download Front Labels Here
Download Back Labels with Instructions Here Print the labels on sticky paper or use rubber cement to affix them to your jars.



  • 3 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips (use more if you want!)


  1. Place oats in food processor. Process until finely chopped (not powdered!).
  2. Combine oats, flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in bowl of a stand mixer. Using paddle attachment, mix on low speed. As mixer is running, slowly drizzle oil into bowl. Continue to mix until well-combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Transfer to mason jars or other airtight containers. Mix can be kept for up to two weeks at room temperature or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.


To make pancakes: Whisk together 1 cup of pancake mix, 1 cup of buttermilk, and a large egg. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Heat a lightly greased griddle on medium-high heat. Drop batter onto griddle in 1/4 cup portions. When edges look dry and bubbles come to surface without breaking, carefully flip over pancake. Continue to cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately or keep in a warm oven until serving. (Yield: About 8 pancakes.)

So that’s one idea. Here are 99 more DIY food gift ideas from other blogs and websites. There is something here for everyone!

Drinks (Alcoholic & Otherwise)

Pomegranate & Vanilla Vodka [Ren Behan’s Fabulicious Food]
Vegan Salted Caramel, Peppermint & Mexican Hot Chocolate Mixes [The Sweet Life]
Peppermint Schnapps [The Boys Club]
Orange-Infused Bourbon [Martha Stewart]
Homemade Mulling Spices [30 Pounds of Apples]
Candy Cane Hot Cocoa Mix [Kitchen Treaty]
Limoncello [Smedette]
Key Lime Pie Bitters [Adventures in Cooking]
Homemade Tea Blends [The Kitchn]
Strawberry Vodka [Deliceux]
DIY Flavored Coffee Syrups [Annie’s Eats]


Mixed-Nut Brittle with Sea Salt [Will Cook for Friends]
Gingerbread Caramels [Good Life Eats]
English Toffee with Almonds [Noshings]
Homemade Peppermint Sticks [Martha Stewart]
Spiced Sweet Potato Caramels
Salted Caramel Fudge [Eclectic Recipes]
Candied Orange Peel [Yujai]
Bourbon Peanut Butter Cups [Food Nouveau]
Homemade Holiday Lollipops [Just a Taste]
Cashew & Cayenne Brittle [Martha Stewart]
Cranberry Fruit Jellies [Cooking Lessons]


Sugar-Free Chocolate Coffee Truffles [All Day I Dream About Food]
Crock Pot Candy [Cookies & Cups]
Double Layer Peppermint Bark [Oatmeal with a Fork]
Salty Hot Fudge Sauce [Cheap Recipe Blog]
Chocolate Covered Pretzels [Savory-bites]
Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Truffles [The Sweet Life]
Bailey’s Walnut Bark [Got Chocolate]
Red Wine Chocolate Truffles [Pastry Affair]
Salted Quinoa Chocolate Bark with Pistachios [Cooking Quinoa]
Five Minute Fudge Wreath [Tidy Mom]
Vegan Smoked Almond Dark Chocolate Turtles [Baker Bettie]

Soups, Sauces, & Chilis

Vegetarian Five Bean Soup Mix [Back to Her Roots]
Dal Mix in a Jar [Veggie Belly]
Hot Pepper Sauce [Southern Living]
Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup Mix [Eating Well]
Cranberry Chipotle Ketchup
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili Mix [Razzle Dazzle Recipes]
Curried Lentil Soup [Good Housekeeping]
Apple Brandy Mustard [Burnt Carrots]
Layered Patchwork Soup Mix [Waking Up Vegan]
Vegetarian Black Bean Soup Mix [Budget 101]
Homemade Sriracha [Reclaiming Provincial]

Baking Mixes

Monster Cookie Mix [Tidy Mom]
Blue Cornbread with Pineapple [Food Network]
Gingerbread Cookie Mix in a Jar [Food for My Family]
Holiday Panettone [Food Network]
Peanut Butter Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies Mix [All Parenting]
M&M Cookies in a Jar [Damn Delicious]
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Quick Bread in a Jar [Mel’s Kitchen Cafe]
Peppermint Brownie Mix in a Jar [I Heart Nap Time]
Rosemary Focaccia in a Jar [An Oregon Cottage]
Blueberry Muffin Mix in a Jar []
Cowgirl Cookies [Bakerella]

Oils, Vinegars, Seasonings & Extracts

Chili Salt [Feasting on Art]
Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar [The Kitchn]
Homemade Ranch Seasoning Mix [Bake Your Day]
Indian Spice Rub [Eating Well]
Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix [The Vedge]
Vanilla Sugar [Kitchen Konfidence]
Lemon & Orange Extracts [Akshayapaatram]
Infused Olive Oils [Just Putzing Around the Kitchen]
Vegetarian Furikake Rice Seasoning [The Kitchn]
Tangerine Sea Salt [Style Me Pretty]
Herb-Infused Vinegar [Whole Foods]

Quick Breads

Blueberry, Bourbon & Brown Butter Spiced Cakebread [Tasty Trix]
Vegan Cranberry Orange Almond Loaf [Vanilla & Spice]
Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf [A Cup of Mascarpone]
Chocolate, Nuts & Fruit Panettone [The Tummy Train]
Christmas Stollen [JungleFrog Cooking]
Vegan Citrus & Spice Tea Banana Bread [Healthy Happy Life]
Triple Chocolate Malt Bread [Dine & Dish]
Lemon-Glazed Eggnog Loaf [citronlimette]
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Loaf [Food Doodles]
Chocolate Cinnamon Bread [The Idea Room]
Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread [The Kitchn]


Sweet & Spicy Candied Nuts [A Thought for Food]
Curried Cashews [Eating Well]
Macadamia Butter-Crunch & Chocolate-Almond Popcorn Tins [Martha Stewart]
Brown Butter Sage Cashews [The Kitchn]
Christmas Morning Granola with Cranberries & Pecans [My Own Ideas]
Basil & Sun-Dried Tomato Crackers
Whole Wheat Cheese Straws [Apt. 2B Baking Co.]
Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow [Sally’s Baking Addiction]
Homemade Cheez-its [My Fair Baking]
Vegan Salted Caramel Corn [Princess in the Kitchen]
Roasted Almonds with Paprika and Orange [The Kitchn]

Jams, Jellies & Spreads

Cranberry Lemon Curd [Teaspoon of Spice]
Fig Anise Compote [Eating Well]
Carrot Cake Jam [MyRecipes]
Cinnamon Roll Flax Almond Butter [Healthful Pursuit]
Herb-Infused Caramelized Onion Jam [What about the food?]
Cranberry Pineapple Mango Preserves [Averie Cooks]
Clementine & Whiskey Marmalade [A Good Place to Gather]
Pear Ginger Jam [A Baker’s House]
Honey Roasted Peanut Butter [Red Shallot Kitchen]
Homemade Walnut Butter [Henry Happened]
Meyer Lemon & Vanilla Bean Marmalade [Epicurious]




Chocolate Peppermint Bread


This easy recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Bread is bursting with chocolate and peppermint flavors and is perfect for the holiday season.


  • 1/2 cup BUTTER, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups SUGAR
  • 3/4 teaspoon SALT
  • 1 teaspoon VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 1/2 teaspoon BAKING POWDER
  • 2/3 cup COCOA POWDER
  • 3 EGGS
  • 1 1/4 cup FLOUR
  • 3/4 cup MILK
  • 10 CHOCOLATE SANDWICH COOKIES, regular or peppermint version, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup ANDES PEPPERMINT CRUNCH CHIPS, plus more for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9×5 inch loaf pan with Pam Cooking Spray for Baking.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, salt, extracts, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour. Pour in the milk and then the remaining flour. Stop mixing when everything is just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate sandwich cookies if using.
  3. Pour into pan and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. If needed use a plastic or rubber utensil to loosen the bread from the edge of the pan (I didn’t have to do this when I made this bread, but you might depending on your pan) Remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
  4. If desired, melt peppermint crunch chips for about 30 seconds in the microwave, stir and heat about 20 seconds more. Stir until smooth and drizzle over cooled bread. Sprinkle with additional peppermint crunch chips. Allow the drizzle to harden slightly before slicing bread.

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Caramel Crunch Blondies


Yield: 24 blondies


  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups chopped Crunch Bars (about 18 minis), divided
  • 15 caramel squares (such as Kraft), unwrapped and quartered


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cream brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add baking powder, salt, and flour and mix.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of the chopped Crunch Bars and all of the quartered caramel squares.
  4. Press into prepared pan (dough is sticky, spray your hands with cooking spray to avoid it sticking to your hands). Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped Crunch bars over the top and press lightly to make them stick to the surface.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook – the center will still be jiggly when you take these out of the oven and they will finish cooking and firming up as they cool.) Cool completely before slicing into squares.

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Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake


Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake



  • 1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 2 stick(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 jar(s) (13-ounce) Nutella





  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
  3. Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix.
  4. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up, and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.