Memories Of A Lifetime – #CIJCookieExchange

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

We spent the months of November and December sharing holiday recipes during the first Christmas In July Cookie Exchange! Since the CIJ team is worldwide we held a virtual #CIJCookieExchange right here on our blog!

The Cookie Exchange began on Wednesday – November 19th, 2014 and concluded on Tuesday – December 23rd. As I mentioned the team is international and we received recipes from many countries!

We wanted to include as many of our talented team members as possible! The participation was fantastic! Our team members are creative bakers!

Each team member shared with us their recipe, as well as a little bit about their memories of holiday baking. I personally made a few of these new recipes this season! I added them to the assortment I bake each year! Please join me as we conclude the #CIJCookieExchange!ChristmasCookies_12.24.14

Here are the recipes:

1. November 19 – Struffoli /Ghirlandiamo – Lia
2. November 21 – Buns / fifirixtra – Ifigeneia
3. December 4  – Pumpkin Tikvenik / ElegantJewelryRMM – Rositza
4. December 9 – Pecan Nugget Cookies / Corkycrafts
5. December 10 – Habichuelas Con Dulce / TheLarimarShop – Angie
6. December 11 – Four Way Fudge / CrochetNature – Jessica
7. December 12 – Roasted Almonds: Bavarian Style / MermaidsHatBox – Barbara
8. December 16 – Saint Lucie Cats / Vamperstein – Kristin
9. December 17 – Stained Glass Cookies / StockLaneStudio
10. December 18 – Peanut Butter & Honey Dog Cookies (For your Furry Friends) / NauticoCreations
11. December 18 – Seven Layer Bars / designbcb – Beverly
12. December 19 – Traditional Greek Melomakarona /AJRusticCreations – Andrea
13. December 22 – Soft Gingerbread / ReDesignedandRecycled – Linda
14. December 23 – Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti /LollysCubbyHole – Becky
15. December 23 – Chocolate Dings / PlethoraGifts – Cindy

A special thank you to the blog contributors who were the hosts of the Cookie Exchange!

Megha from byTheArtBug
Alicia from AliciasFindings
Jessica from CrochetNature
Michelle from EviesToolEmporium

Please use #CIJCookieExchange on social media as you visit all the delicious recipes we shared with you!

Thank you so much for joining us on our #CIJCookieExchange!




#CIJCookieExchange – Chocolate Dings

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Let’s Make Chocolate Dings
– Recipe from Cindy of PlethoraGifts

1. What is your recipe?

“Chocolate Dings”
Recipe from Cindy – USA

Chocolate Dings (this is my grama’s recipe and as a kid I misread the name….it was really Chocolate Drops, but the “Ding” stuck)
1 c. peanut butter (smooth)
2 Tablespoon butter
1 c. icing sugar, sifted
1 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 to 1 c. dates, chopped fine

4 to 5 sq. semi-sweet chocolate
1 piece paraffin wax (size of a “walnut”…that’s about 1 Tablespoon)

Mix first 5 ingredients together and form into balls. (Size is up to you) Melt chocolate and wax together. Sitr well. Dip balls in chocolate and place on waxed paper to cool. Keep in closed container in refrigerator. I know it may seem weird to put wax in the recipe but it makes the chocolate harden. You can find this in the baking section.ChocolateDings (640x480)

2. What is it about this cookie that you love?

These are amazing. How can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?!

3. How did you learn to make this cookie?

My Grama used to make these so I have wonderful memories visiting her at Christmas time in Southampton, a town on Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada.

4. Please share a story or memory to go along with the cookie.

I’ve been making them since I was a little girl and as a mother of 2, they have been our family’s favorite Christmas cookie which were always left for Santa.

5. What are your social media sites?

Marsala Burgundy Ribbed Neckwarmer From PlethoraGifts

Marsala Burgundy Ribbed Neckwarmer From PlethoraGifts


#CIJCookieExchange – Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

Let’s make Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti – Recipe from LollysCubbyHole

1. What is your recipe?

Recipe – Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

1/4 C. Light Olive Oil ( only use the light, regular doesn’t work)
3/4 C. white sugar
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp. Almond Extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 C. All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 C dried Cranberries
1 1/2 C. Pistachio Nuts ( shelled)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F ( 150 degrees C.)

1) In a large bowl, mix together oil & sugar until well blended.

2) Mix in the vanilla & almond extracts, then beat in the eggs.

3) Combine flour, salt, & baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture.

4) Mix in cranberries & pistachio nuts by hand.

5) Divide dough in half. Form two logs ( 12 x 2 inches on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough may be sticky; so wet your hands with cool water to handle dough more easily.

6) Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

7) Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F ( 135 degrees C).

8) Cut logs on the diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay flat on sides on the parchment covered cookie sheet.

9) Bake approximately 8 – 10 minutes or until dry. ( I sometimes flip the slices during that time period.)

10) Cool on a baking rack. Enjoy!

Once they are completely cool, you can store in a canister or zip lock bag. In the refrigerator, they will last for weeks.B (250x250)

2. What is it about this cookie that you love?

I love this recipe because it is easy, children can help and it is so festive with the red of the cranberries, and the green of the pistachios!

3. How did you learn to make this cookie?

I made these after purchasing commercial grade biscotti and decided I wanted to try making them myself!

4. Please share a story or memory to go along with the cookie.

My mother still asks about these “cookies” and just recently told me she would really like some! So I guess I should keep the recipe on the counter and get some made and shipped out to her for a
pre- holiday surprise! I will send a photo when I get a batch made!

5. What are your social media sites?

Felt Hearts From LollysCubbyHole

Felt Hearts From LollysCubbyHole

#CIJCookieExchange – Soft Gingerbread

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

Let’s Make Soft Gingerbread
– Recipe from Linda of ReDesignandReCycled

1. What is your recipe?

“Soft Gingerbread”
Recipe from Linda – Sweden

1 packet of brown sugar (5 dl)
200g butter
4 eggs
3 dl sour cream
6 dl flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp bicarbonate

Grease and brothel the two baking tins. Melt the butter. Whip the sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add the rest. Bake the cake in the bottom of the oven for about 40 minutes at 175 degrees.SoftGingerbread

3. How did you learn to make this cookie?

This is my grandmas recipe.  It´s in Swedish measures cause I don’t know how to translate them, but there are conversion sites on the internet!

4. Please share a story or memory to go along with the cookie.

I love this recipe because it´s very simple and makes me think of Christmas. It´s my grandmas recipe and she taught me how to make it when I was little and now the tradition lives on.

5. What are your social media sites?




Saddle Cover Made Of Recycled Oilcloth From ReDesignandReCycled

Saddle Cover Made Of Recycled Oilcloth From ReDesignandReCycled


#CIJCookieExchange – Traditional Greek Melomakarona

Contributor post by Megha of byTheArtBug

Let’s make traditional Greek Melomakarona with Andrea Koutsonikola from AJRUSTICCREATIONSA1As with most holidays in Greece, Greek Christmas also revolves around food! Traditional Greek melomakarona! Melomakarona are my absolute favourite Greek Christmas treat. And how couldn’t they be! Greek melomakarona are incredibly soft, moist and flavoursome, soaked in a delicious honey syrup and infused with fragrant butter. For an authentic last touch sprinkle the melomakarona with chopped walnuts and just a pinch of cinnamon and clove. Once put in the oven, the intense aromas of the sweet spices permeates the house and brings back childhood memories. Just heaven!

Try out this traditional sweet delight and let the smell of freshly baked cookies, orange and cinnamon remind you it’s Christmas! Enjoy!
For the Melomakarona

1 1/2 cup oil (1 cup olive oil and 1/2 a cup sesame oil)
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 of a cup cognac
1/2 cup beer (blonde pale lager such as bottled Heineken or Mythos)
2 tsps orange zest
1/4 of a cup orange juice
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1kg all-purpose flour (8 cups/ 35 ounces)

For the syrup

650g honey (23 ounces)
420g sugar (15 ounces)
500g water (17.6 ounces)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)

To garnish

some chopped walnuts
powdered cinnamon (optional)
powdered clove (optional)


To prepare this melomakarona recipe, start by making the dough first. In a mixing bowl add the oil, butter and sugar and mix with an electric mixer at low-medium speed for about 10 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. (It is very important that the butter is at room temperature.)

In a large bowl, add the flour and the baking powder and blend with a spoon to combine.
Add the mixed oil, butter and sugar (from step 1) in the bowl with the flour and pour in the cognac, beer and orange zest. In a cup add the orange juice and baking soda and blend, until dissolved. Be careful when doing so, because the baking soda will start to foam out of the cup; so blend in a cup placed over the bowl with the rest of the ingredients, so that the foam will end up in the bowl. Pour in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and start kneading your dough. Knead the dough for the melomakarona using your hands, until the ingredients combine and the dough is smooth and soft. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Leave the dough to rest for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Layer the bottom of 2 baking trays with parchment paper and start shaping the melomakarona. Pinch a portion of dough about the size of a walnut (or bigger, if you prefer) and shape with your palms into a smooth oblong shape, like a small egg. Place on the baking tray, push lightly the top with a fork and make some holes on top (not all the way down). Continue with the rest of the dough.
Place the baking trays with the melomakrona in the oven and turn immediately the heat down to 180C. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes, until the melomakarona are lightly browned and cooked through.
A little bit before turning the melomakarona out of the oven, prepare the syrup. Pour in a pot the sugar, honey and water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved (do not stir the syrup).
When the melomakarona come out of the oven, float them in the hot syrup, flipping them with a fork to absorb the syrup. Remove the cookies using a slotted spoon, place on a platter and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.A2

Store the melomakarona at room temperature in an airtight container. They will last for all your Christmas Holidays!A3 (480x640)


New Year Burlap Wine Bags From AJRUSTICCREATIONS

New Year Burlap Wine Bags From AJRUSTICCREATIONS

#CIJCookieExchange – Seven Layer Bars

Contributor post by Alicia of AliciasFindings

Let’s make Seven Layer Bars – Recipe from designbcb

1. What is your recipe?

1.5 cups graham crackers
1/2 c. melted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cup chocolate chips
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans)

traditionally, butterscotch chips are added but don’t care for those, hence the two cups of chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for glass baking pan).

In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter; mix well.

Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom of 13×9-inch baking pan.

Layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly with fork.

Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over mixture.
Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or diamonds. Store covered at room temperature.SLB

2. What is it about this cookie that you love?

I love these because they are so flavorful and rich. When I was younger, I could eat a ton of them. Now one or two will go a long way for me.

3. How did you learn to make this cookie?

I first learned about these in college and spent the summer making them at home. Became my favorite cookie to make because they weren’t a lot of work.

4. Please share a story or memory to go along with the cookie.

I made these again recently and for some reason, they didn’t come out right and my husband asked, “Are you sure this is the right cookie?” I will make them again and get it right!

5. What are your social media sites?




Hand Knit Shawl From designbcb

Hand Knit Shawl From designbcb

#CIJCookieExchange – Peanut Butter And Honey Dog Cookies (For Your Furry Friends)

Contributor post by Megha of byTheArtBug

Let’s make Peanut Butter & Honey Dog Cookies (For Your Furry Friends) with Nautico Creations from NauticoCreations

1. What is your recipe?

Okay, you did say to be creative, so I hope this recipe counts. I was going to post my grandma’s sausage cookies (rolled like sausage – no meat in them). I love them and went as far as buying the almonds but never had time to make them (other family members usually do). Thus no photos to give you. What I am making is Peanut Butter DOG COOKIES and do have photos of those, so here goes. I hope there are some dog lovers out there that will enjoy the recipe.
I’m not too good at following recipes. I always figure let’s substitute this or that. And dogs love most whatever you cook, so I’ve taken a couple of recipes, made some substitutions and here it is. They are dog tested and approved by my two lovely dogs.d (640x478)

Peanut Butter & Honey Dog Cookies (For your Furry Friends)

2 cups flour (can use 1 cup whole wheat and one regular)
1 cup rolled oats
2 Tablespoons milled flax seed
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 squirt of honey (sorry, never measured)
1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.d1 (640x478)

In second bowl combine peanut butter, honey and hot water and stir until blended. Add mixture to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Roll out and use your favorite cookie cutters. I have a dog bone shaped cookie cutter and use the top off of a martini shaker for some bite size ones (what can I say? It’s the perfect size).d3 (478x640)

Cut and place on un greased cookie sheet. For the round ones, make criss cross with fork to look like regular peanut butter cookies.d4 (640x478)

Place in oven for 20 minutes. You can tell the are done when the bottoms are light to medium brown. Turn off oven and leave them in overnight to cool.d5 (640x478)

Serve to your dogs who have been patiently watching, waiting and smelling the yummy goodness.d6 (640x478)

2. What is it about this recipe that you love?

I love this recipe because it’s a healthy treat for dogs. If you look at the ingredients on store bought cookies, there are plenty of preservatives and other ingredients that you can’t pronounce. It also lets me experience the pleasure of baking without having a bunch of human cookies around to eat.

3. How did you learn to make this cookie?

I learned how to make these by trial and error. Last year I made them without the flax seed, oats or honey and used the two kinds of flour. This year, I think the extra ingredients make them even better. When I roll these out, I use my mom’s old wooden rolling pin and it reminds me of when I was growing up. Instead of having a bunch of kids waiting to gobble the cookies up, I have my dogs waiting instead.

4. Please share a story or memory to go along with the cookie.

Many times throughout the years, when our family opens gifts, I have had a gift for all of the dogs in the extended family. Last year, I made homemade dog cookies for all of the dogs I know, including neighbor dogs, friends dogs and family dogs. I like that they are being remembered too because we are all so busy and distracted getting ready for the holidays.
These really make a nice treat to share. All year, these dogs are either making me smile or taking care of my family and friends. I think it’s nice to give them a Christmas present too. From tiny Terriers to Great Danes, these cookies are a hit.

5. What are your social media sites?

Etsy is it on a business level for social media. I have twitter but am still trying to figure it out. I’ve got personal Facebook and Pinterest pages, but haven’t created either one yet for NauticoCreations.

Santa Ornaments - Set of Nine From NauticoCreations

Santa Ornaments – Set of Nine From NauticoCreations