at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Christmas Treats - Round One

I love to make Christmas goodies each year.  It’s just a fun tradition that I’ve had since I was a kid.  There are a few recipes that I make almost every year, and you can read about those from last year’s post.  However, sometimes I decide to make some new things, just to try them out or perhaps for a separate holiday event.  This year, I decided to try out some new recipes on the neighbors (risky, I know!) – plus, I’ll use some of the treats for some gatherings at our place over the next couple of days.  The new recipes I tried out today were both cookie recipes.  Oddly enough, I’m not a big cookie baker.  I’m not really sure why.  I guess cookies aren’t my favorite dessert.  And, my mom makes THE best cookies of anyone I know, so I’d rather just wait for hers :)  But, my mother-in-law got me this awesome magazine FILLED with delicious looking cookie recipes, so I just had to try a couple out…and I’m sure I’ll have to try a couple more later.  Here’s what I decided upon for today:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
*Original recipe from Taste of Home: Cookies and more! (2011)

-          1 cup butter, softened
-          ¾ cup sugar
-          ¾ cup packed brown sugar
-          1 egg
-          1 tsp. vanilla
-          2 cups flour
-          1 cup oats (recipe called for quick-cooking, but I just used regular)
-          1 tsp. baking soda
-          1 tsp. cinnamon
-          1 cup canned pumpkin (YES, a way to use my leftover canned pumpkin from fall!)
-          1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Add dry mixture and pumpkin into the creamed mixture and stir until well combined, then fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Peanut Butter, Maple, Butterscotch Cookies
*Original recipe from Taste of Home: Cookies and more! (2011)

-          1 cup butter, softened
-          ½ cup peanut butter
-          1 cup sugar
-          1 cup packed brown sugar
-          2 eggs
-          1 Tbsp. maple syrup
-          2 tsp. vanilla
-          2 cups flour
-          ¾ cup oats (recipe called for quick-cooking, but I just used regular)
-          1 ½ tsp. baking powder
-          1 tsp. baking soda
-          1 tsp. salt
-          1 ½ cups of butterscotch chips (recipe called for 10oz peanut butter chips, but I thought butterscotch sounded better)


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars with an electric mixer.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in syrup and vanilla.
  2. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add to the creamed mixture and stir until well combined.
  3. Fold in the butterscotch chips until well combined.
  4. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. (*note: these cookies REALLY spread out during baking so be sure to adequately space them – about 2” apart)

I have to say, I am really glad I decided to go with butterscotch on these.  I love butterscotch and these cookies were delicious!  The pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were good, too, but butterscotch is more my style.  Yum! 

Cookies weren’t all I made today, though.  I also made caramel corn and spicy peanuts!  I make the caramel corn a lot in the fall – usually for our Halloween party, and it also makes a nice gift for Christmas.  It’s very simple, too.  Here’s how I make it:

Caramel Corn

-          1 cup popcorn kernels, air popped
-          1 cup packed brown sugar
-          ½ cup of butter
-          ¼ cup light corn syrup
-          ½ tsp. salt
-          ½ tsp. baking soda


  1. Place popped popcorn in a large brown paper grocery bag.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan and stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt.
  3. Bring ingredients to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove pot from heat and add baking soda.  The caramel will sort of foam up as you stir it.
  5. Once well mixed, pour the caramel over the popcorn in the grocery bag.
  6. Shake bag well to coat popcorn.  Stir with a long handled wooden spoon to try to get the popcorn evenly coated.
  7. Spread popcorn in a single layer over wax paper to cool.  Once cool, break a part any large pieces and store in an air tight container.

And, finally, I will share my recipe for spicy peanuts.  I think this is actually my oldest Christmas recipe, as I think I’ve been making these since about middle school.  The original recipe that I used was from Girl’s Life magazine (remember that, anyone?), so I couldn’t have been too old!  I’ve since changed it around several times trying to come up with the perfect combination of spices…and something spicy, but not too spicy.  I think I like what I did this year, and you can change around the spice to your own taste!

Spicy Roasted Peanuts

-          2 lb. dry roasted peanuts
-          4 Tbsp. olive oil
-          4 tsp. chili powder
-          1 Tbsp. garlic powder
-          2 tsp. ground cumin
-          2 tsp. paprika
-          1 tsp. salt
-          1 tsp. ground black pepper
-          1 tsp. cayenne (red) pepper (you can adjust this up or down for more/less spice – at this level they aren’t too spicy)

  1. In a large bowl, combine olive oil and spices until well mixed.
  2. Add peanuts and stir until evenly coated.
  3. Spread peanuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Mix, then bake for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool; store in an air tight container.

Well, that’s it for round one of my Christmas cooking.  The cookies and caramel corn was mostly put into little gift bags for the neighbors, and we’re saving the rest for eating over the next couple of days.  The spicy peanuts will be taken to Christmas gatherings next weekend.  On Christmas Eve, my mom and I will do round two together – an old tradition that we haven’t been able to do in a few years!  Should be fun!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!