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Let's NOT Talk Turkey

Contributed by: Kristin Johnson

The carving. The leftovers. The endless stuffing. Actually, you love the stuffing, cranberries and turkey trimmings. However, it's been seven years and you know your family will throw the turkey out the window if they have to eat the bird one more Christmas (and never mind the lectures about starving children in Ethiopia---or better yet, send them the turkey if you can get it through security.)

Christmas Cookies Are For Giving
The Pilgrims and your third-grade teacher started something by preaching the turkey gospel. But if you didn't have turkey---as your vegetarian friends remind you, it's so much better than Big Macs--- what would you serve?

Some ideas:

  • Lasagna---it's always a crowd-pleaser.
  • Slice avocadoes and combine with sliced cucumbers, chopped green olives, diced tomatoes, and sliced onions for a winter red/green salad.
  • Serve Mexican and have a "Feliz Navidad" party.
  • Serve Holiday Noodles---Thai, lo mein, crispy, or egg noodles tossed with scallions and covered with red curry powder or red pepper.
  • Get your Omega-3 boost from salmon, made festive with salsa and guacamole toppings.
  • Make a "Christmas pizza": green peppers, tomatoes, goat cheese, green olives...let your imagination run wild!

Of course, don't forget the Christmas cookies!

Enjoy the turkey-free healthy and tasty holiday traditions you've created.

Cranberry Decadent Cookies

Dried cranberries and cinnamon transform this reverse chocolate chip cookie into a holiday favorite. The coffee granules enhance the flavor of the chocolate.

  • 2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) solid vegetable shortening, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (250 ml) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda, and set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter, shortening, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully combined before additions. In a small cup, mix together the vanilla and the coffee until the coffee is dissolved, then add to the butter mixture; beat to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing until combined. Stir in white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and dried cranberries.

Drop 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of dough at a time onto baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Let cool for 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 1 month. Makes about 48 cookies. These cookies are excellent for shipping.

**********

Kristin Johnson is co-author of the "highly recommended" Midwest Book Review pick, Christmas Cookies Are For Giving: Stories, Recipes and Tips for Making Heartwarming Gifts (ISBN: 0-9723473-9-9). A downloadablemedia kit is available at our Web site, www.christmascookiesareforgiving.com, or e-mail the publisher (info@tyrpublishing.com) to receive a printed media kit and sample copy of the book. More articles available at http://www.bakingchristmascookies.com


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