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Christmas Recipes

By: Paul Curran, Wed Jun 21st, 2006

Traditional Scottish produce and ideal in a box or tin for a christmas gift.

Christmas recipe makes: 2 to 3 dozen

Calories per biscuit: 180-270

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Not suitable for freezing

Christmas recipe ingredients:

* butter, 450 g (1 lb)

* sugar, caster 225 g (8 oz)

* flour, plain white 450 g (1 lb)

* rice, ground or flour 225 g (8 oz)

* salt, pinch

* sugar, colored granulated or golden

* sugar, caster for sprinkling

All these recipe ingredients must be at room temperature.

Christmas recipe instructions:

1. Mix the sugar and butter until a creamy and fluffy consistency. Mix together the salt, rice flour and flour. Now blend with the creamy mixture and mix until it is breadcrumb like.

2. Take some mixture in your hand and form a ball shape that can be rolled into a 2-3 inch (5-7.5 cm) tube shape. Enclose in cling film and cool till hard.

3. Cut the tube of dough into half inch slices (10 mm) and coat the edges with the golden or granulated sugar. Bake until slightly golden at 190 degrees centigrade(gas mark 5, 375 F) for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with caster sugar after removing from the oven.

4. After 10 minutes transfer to a wire rack for complete cooling.

Changes you can make to the recipe:

* Add a spice such as 'mixed spice' to the flours to make a Spiced Shortbread.

* To make a Ginger Shortbread add ground ginger to the flours and crystallized ginger to the dough from step 1.

* For Chocolate Chip Shortbread blend chocolate pieces into the dough.

* For Lavender Shortbread, add half a dozen lavender flower tops into the dough. This time roll the dough into thin pieces, cut intobiscuit shape and bake for about quarter of an hour.

* For Rosemary Shortbread, just replace the lavender with fresh chopped rosemary and carry on as above.

About the author: (c) Paul Curran, CEO of Cuzcom Internet Publishing Group and webmaster at Gifts-for-Chrismas.com, bringing you christmas recipes and unique gifts for Chrismas including their online home collectibles, russian gifts, cookies, jewelry.

This article may be re-published in its entirety as long as the author bylines in the resource box are included and urls kept live.




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Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes One Recipe - Many Variations

By: Karen Ciancio, Thu Oct 13th, 2005

There are so many Chrismas cookie recipes around but often so little time to bake during the busy holiday season.

The solution? A great tasting basic cookie recipe that quickly and easily turns into such a variety of easy to make Chirstmas treats, friends and family will think you poured over all your favorite Chrismas cookie recipes.

Let's start with the basics.

Basic Cookie Dough Recipe

1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter (or margarine) at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the flour. Beat with an electric mixer, scraping the sides of the bowl several times, until the mixture is light and fluffy. With mixer at a low speed, add the flour gradually, beating just until everything is well blended.

Place the mixture on a baking sheet using a tablespoon measure and press down with a spoon to flatten a bit. Or roll our and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350 F for about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden.

This basic cookie mixture is also the base for the following cookie recipes (all baked in a preheated oven at 350 F).

Orange Cookies

(Makes about 32)

Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest to the recipe. Shape into a log that is about 1 1/2" in diameter and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Slice dough into 1/4" thick slices. Place on cookie sheet. Cookies can be decorated with candies, rolled in colored sugar, or cut into pretty holiday shapes before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Cherry Coconut Chocolate Squares

(Makes about 54 squares)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups flaked coconut

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, well drained and coarsely chopped

Line a 13"x9" baking pan with foil.

Stir cocoa powder into basic dough mixture. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust looks dry.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, almond extract and baking powder until well blended. Stir in coconut and cherries. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top just begins to brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Lift it out on to a cutting board using the foil ends and cut into 1 1/2" squares. Squares can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Coconut Pineapple Cookies

(Makes about 36)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1/3 cup pineapple preserves (use raspberry or apricot if you prefer)

Add 1 cup of the flaked coconut to the basic dough mixture and mix well. Shape the dough into 1 1/2" balls and roll in the remaining coconut to coat them. Place the balls 1" apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie with your fingertip.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookie is firm and the coconut is lightly toasted. When cooled, fill each hole in the center of the cookies with the preserves.

You can vary this basic dough to make a wide variety of Christmas cookie recipes. Add other flavorings like maple, ginger or cinnamon. Add chopped dried fruits like apricots or dates. Or bake them plain in holiday shapes and decorate with colored icing.

Chrismas is such a wonderful time of year. Here's hoping these quick and easy Christmas cookie recipes help keep the pressure off the cook.

About the author: Karen Ciancio is a cook and lover of all things food and cooking related. Her website http://www.cookingnook.com contains easy dessert recipes, plus lots of other recipes, cooking tips, measurement conversions and kitchen ideas.




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Chrismas Cheesecake

By: Andrew Krause, Wed Dec 7th, 2005

This is a cheesecake that I have been making for over 20 years if you follow the recipe to the tee you won't have any problem, it is also colorful as well as the most lucious piece of pastry that you ever put in your mouth.

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs 2 tablespoons sugar 3 tablespoons butter ir margarine melted 2 pounds cream cheese 1 cup sugar 8 ounces sour cream 2 eggs 1 cup flour 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 2 cup in total chopped candied cherries, red and green raisins, walnuts, candied pineapple 1/2 cup small chocolate chips

In a 5 quart mixing bowl place 2 pounds of cream cheese and 1 cup granulated sugar and mix on low speed until cream cheese is softened and smooth, place in bowl 8 ounces sour cream and continue mixing until well blended, at this time add 2 eggs, mix for 2 minutes then add 1 cup flour, and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, mix on second speed until your cheesecake batter is smooth and creamy. At this time your cheesecake mixture should be fluffy like ice cream as it comes out of the ice cream machine. Add the candied fruit, raisins, walnuts, pineapple, chocolate chips, fold everything together.

Prepair your 10 inch x 2 inches springform pan, in a large bowl place your graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar, and your melted butter or margarine, then with a wire whisk, whisk them together until well combined, brush onto the sides of your springform pan a little softened butter so the crumbs have something to hold to, place the crumbs on the sides and bottom of the pan. Now you add slowly to the pan your cheesecake mix as not to disturb the crumbs too much, now you should have a full pan. The total weight of the cheesecake with the crumbs on the sides should be 5 to 5-1/4 pounds if you have some batter leftover just chill it, put some whip cream on it and enjoy.

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees and not more, when your oven is hot place the cheesecake in it and bake for 55 minutes then shut off the oven and let it in there for 3 hours, at the end of this time you should have the most beautiful cheesecake you ever seen, let the cheesecake on the table for 1 1/2 hours then place it in the refrigerator for about 2-3 hours. Now remove it from the pan and enjoy.

Before serving sprinkle some red and green edible glitter that you can purchase at any store that has cake decorating supplies.

About the author: Andrew Krause is a Chef and Pastry Chef for over 30 years, at persent I own a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner. You can visit my site at http://www.andies.cashhosters2.com

NOTE You are welcome to reprint this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the about the author info at the end), Please a send a copy of your reprint to pastrie@verizon.net




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Holiday Baking - The Easy Way

By: Arleen M. Kaptur, Mon Mar 27th, 2006

Baking to many of us is fun and form of therapy. Many frustrations have been worked out kneading and pushing that dough around. But to others, it may be difficult, or they are not sure of themselves around cookies, cakes, breads, rolls, etc. One quick-word of advice - just dive right in - its fun, and the more you bake, the better you become at it. With Chirstmas and get-togethers coming in bloom, sharing baking can be a fun event. Early in the Seaon, family, friends, neighbors, and offices and factories everywhere should have a Cookie Exchange - its not a lot of work - in fact, you only have to bake one kind of cookie - if there are ten guests, you will have an assortment of ten delicious treats to use for the Holidays. The more guests, the more of an assortment. There will be a lot of laughter, and no one will be counting calories. Ask each guest to bake one type of Chrismas cookie - a family favorite, or one that they found while surfing the net, or reading their favorite magazine. They can be drop cookies, filled cookies, or special ethnic treasures.

Your invitations should be small index-size bookets, with several blank cards inside, tied together with a festive ribbon. This way if your guests write out their recipes on - say six to eight cards, depending on how many guests you are inviting, everyone can get a recipe and keep it in their booklet not only to check back when they want to bake, but as a wonderful memento of a fun time.

If a lot of people are included in your cookie exchange, then printing the recipes for everyone to cut and paste in their booklets might just be a lot easier.

The decor for your party should be Holiday oriented, of course, but with a slant toward baking. Garlands of scented gingerpeople could hang from arches and doorways and a centerpiece could include miniature baking utensils found in toy stores. Tiny cake boxes, spoons, measuring cups, etc. add a whimsical touch.

To serve your cookies, divide a large table into sections with ribbons that have wooden spoons attached to the ends so that the ribbons are weighted down and don't move as people encircle the table. You could ask your guests to pre-package their cookies in individual wrap so that everyone can take just one - or in small packages as they see fit - just make sure that there are enough of each type of cookie so everyone gets to take some home.

Keep your menu simple and informal. You could provide decorative canisters or paper bags that you have enhanced with Holiday cheer for taking home all those goodies.

A cookie exchange is a wonderful way to get your Holiday baking started - and you get a wonderful array of cookeis to serve to your family and friends or just to munch on as you sit by a fire or watch the snow fall and the cold winds blow. ENJOY! Arleen M. Kaptur 2002 November

About the author: Arleen has written numerous books and articles - subscribe to her Holiday newsletters at: http://www.Arleens-RusticLiving.com http://www.arleenssite.com




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Grandmas Fruitcake

By: Andrew Krause, Fri Nov 25th, 2005

This is the recipe that my grandmother brought with her when she and her family left Russia in the early 1900"s. As a child around 1920's or so, while living on a farm in Pennsylvania which at that time there were a great amount of of people comming from europe, you needed to be able to do for yourself, she learned from her mother how to make a most delicious white fruit cake, a white fruitcake is a fruitcake that does not have any molasses, molasses which is very bitter, not having the molasses in the fruitacke gives it a lighter color, this gives it the name white fruitcake.

This fruitcake in the days in which my mother lived as a child with her parents this was only made during Christmas because the only time you could get walnuts, cherries, and some other ingrediance was in the fall of the the year, remember now they didn't go to the store to buy what they meeded, they had to grow them, raisins were dried by the people themselves, they even had to shell their own walnuts, and candy their own cherries,and such the pineapple and coconut I do believe they must have purchased.

To keep with tradition the only time of the year that I make or sell this fruitcake is during th Chrismas holidays, and In my mind you cannot get a better fruitcake.

Here we go now gather up your ingrediance and set them on your table, all ingrediance need to be at room temperature.

1 pound butter

12 eggs

1 pound sugar

1 pound flour all purpose

1 pound white raisins

1 pound walnut meats

1 pound red and green candied cherries

1 pound bakers flaked coconut

1 pound candies pineapple

1 tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

2 cups brandy--any brand

Soak the raisins, walnuts, cherries, coconut and pineapple with 2 cups brandy overnight in a stainless steel bowl.

In a 5 quart mixing bowl cream butter and sugar, then add eggs slowly, then add your flour and blend well, add the bakingsoda and water and mix a minute more, add all other ingrediance and mix until well blended.

Mow you are going to bake it in 2 pound pan, or in the pan of your choice, foil or hard pan, line the pan with wax paper or baking paper or better yet a pan liner the size of the pan.

For 2 pound pan:

Place 1 pound 12 ounces of the mixture in the pan and level it with a spoon, don't bang it on the table.

Bake it at 350 degreese for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes, depends on your oven and how brown you want it. It's done when a pick is placed in the center and it comes out clean.

Let it cool on a rack for a while and then sprinkle it with 1 ounce of brandy and then another ounce when it is cool and then pack it away for about 3 days in your refrigerator and then enjoy.

About the author: Andrew Krause is a Chef and Pastry Chef for over 30 years, at persent I own a Gourmet Bakery called The Cheese Confectioner. You can visit my site at http://www.andies.cashhosters2.com

NOTE You are welcome to reprint this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the about the author info at the end), Please a send a copy of your reprint to pastrie@verizon.net




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Planning a Christmas dinner party

By: Rose Lenk, Thu Dec 22nd, 2005

Entertaining friends and family in your home during the Chrismas holiday is one of the most popular activities of the holiday season. Many people choose to host small, informal gatherings in their home, while others plan extravagant dinner parties which are destined to generate more than one urban legend in the community in which they are held.

While many of us do not aspire to such heights as those held by the socialites in our community, we would still like to host an unforgettable Chirstmas dinner party that will be remembered fondly among our closest friends and family for years to come.

If you are like me, and many are if they would just admit it, the thought of all of the work and skill that goes into throwing a successful dinner party leaves you a little weak in the knees and wondering how in the world you are going to pull it all off without a hitch.

But don't let the fear of juggling the tasks involved with putting on a dinner party keep you from hosting the event that your family and friends will talk about for a long time into the future. It's really not that hard if you follow a few simple steps and guidelines for putting on a successful dinner party.

Here's how to plan the perfect Cristmas dinner party:

Make your list, check it twice, and invite, invite, invite. The first thing you need to do when planning a dinner party is to create your guest list. Keep in mind that not all invited will attend. So, if you want to have 50 guests at your party, you will have to invite quite a few more than that. Send out invitations no less than three weeks in advance so that people will have a chance to RSVP.

Plan to cook your own meal or plan for others to plan it for you. If you are no Betty Crocker, admit it to yourself before signing on to make a large homemade meal. Having someone cater your dinner party or ordering takeout is perfectly acceptable depending on what type of atmosphere you want to create. Remember that buffets are informal and a sit down dinner is more formal. I'm not saying that you are not capable of cooking a large meal for your guests. If you are and want to take on the work load of cooking for multiple guests, then by all means do so. Just keep in mind your limitations and time constraints. Doing so will save you a great deal of headache in the end.

Menu planning. When planning your individual dishes to serve at your Chirstmas dinner party, choose dishes that are both delicious and easy to make. Choose recipes that can be made ahead of time or that require just a little heating right before the party to be finished. The last thing you want to be doing during your dinner party is slaving over a hot stove sequestered away from your guests. Another important thing to remember when planning your menu is to never, ever attempt to cook a recipe for the first time. Trust me.

Take inventory. Create a list of all of the supplies that you will need to host your dinner party. Items may include tables, chairs, service pieces, cutlery, plates, candlesticks, decorations, table cloths, etc. Do not forget your food items from your menu as well. Shop and Clean till you drop. About a week before your dinner party, you should take the time to do your party shopping and give your house a thorough cleaning.

Cook and decorate. Cook and prepare as many foods as you can ahead of time, preferable the day before the party. Save the day of the party for setting up your tables and adding the finishing touches to your d cor.

See, hosting a memorable Cristmas dinner party is not so hard after all. In fact, I'm sure that you can do it. So, get out there and start planning, and if at any time you feel overwhelmed, simply hire a caterer.

About the author: By Rose Lenk

For more Christmas and holiday tips and articles visit me at Cristmas Visions



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A Reduced-Stress Holiday Dinner...Is It Even Possible?

By: Joe Johnson, Sun Feb 19th, 2006

Planning a Chirstmas holiday dinner or for that matter, any large gathering really isn't as daunting as it may first appear, especially when you realize that the more thought and consideration you can give to the prep-work and the meal, the easier it will be. The key is to do as much work ahead of time as you can, so you and your guests can enjoy yourselves the day of the party.

To help you create a reduced-stress dinner, here are some great tips for making your next holiday function a memorable and enjoyable time.

1. Decide how many guests you plan on inviting at least two to three weeks beforehand. Basic fact - the more notice you can give your guests, especially during the busy holiday season, the more likely you will receive positive responses to your invitations. Be sure to assess how much space you have, both at the table and in your home when planning your guest list.

2. If you want to invite more guests than your table will seat, consider a buffet, using your dining table as the serving area. For a buffet, make sure to divide all the food into small portions and bring them to the table from a warm oven as needed that way everything stays warm and tastes at its best.

3. Compose your menu well ahead of time to give yourself plenty of breathing room to obtain any obscure or difficult to find ingredients. When thinking about how much to cook, plan on each person eating one and a half to two pounds of food.

4. Take your menu and put the different tasks and preparation steps into a to-do list format. This will prevent you from forgetting anything along the way, and will also allow you to better time things.

5. Make your big list of non-perishable items and head to the grocery store a week ahead. Most items, with the exception of salad greens and some fruit, will keep for a week, and you will miss the brunt of the last minute crowd. For those items that won't keep, pick them up two days before your dinner party. Because you did the bulk of your shopping early, you will be able to pick up the few perishable items you need and use the express checkout! Don't worry about having too little food because most of your guests will have eyes far larger than their stomachs. Don't worry about overdoing it either - who doesn't love a warmed leftover turkey on a Kaiser with seasoned mayonnaise the next day!

6. If you are trying a new recipe, now is the time to test it out. You don't want a recipe that isn't quite as tasty as it sounded, or that doesn't quite cooperate like the instructions said it should, to rear its ugly head the day of your gathering.

7. To save yourself even more trouble, serve foods that don't need to be cooked. Foods such as salad, crudit s, stuffed jalapenos, dips, cheese and crackers, and fresh fruit are always winners, and will save valuable oven and counter space.

8. Clean out as much of the refrigerator as possible and make for lots of shelf space about one week ahead. The more free space you have in the fridge, the more you can fill it with food prepared ahead of time, leaving you less to do the day of your event.

9. Decorate your home two days ahead, and if your party guests will be sitting at a table for dinner, get the table ready. This will give you enough time to buy or borrow things you may need. If you are having furniture brought in for additional seating, get this done two days before as well. You don't want to risk the delivery van not showing or showing late when you have guests and dinner ready to go!

10. Peel and cut all vegetables two days before. Carrots and potatoes can be stored in ice water in the fridge; onions, celery and other vegetables must be kept dry and wrapped well in plastic wrap or zipper seal bags.

11. Many baked items freeze quite well when tightly sealed with plastic wrap. Prepare cookie dough and pre-bake cakes in advance, wrap them tightly, and put them in the freezer. Pre-bake your pies and wrap tightly in plastic wrap as well. The morning of your party, pull out your cakes and decorate as needed, allowing them to defrost throughout the day. Just before you sit down for your holiday meal, place any pies or cookies that need baking in the oven to bake or warm. Most pre-cooked frozen pies will take about 45 minutes to warm completely, which will usually have them ready just as your guests are getting to dessert.

12. Make as many dishes the day before as you can. Start prepping your meat of choice for the meal - start brining your turkey or rub down your roast beef with your dry rub. Seasoning your meats (excluding seafood) with your favorite dry rub the day before really allows your rub to penetrate the meat and bring out the flavors.

I hope these tips help you as much as I have found them to have helped me over the years. There really is nothing like feeling in control when hosting a dinner party, and not having to worry about what is going to happen next!

Happy Holidays to all!

About the author: Joe Johnson is a founding partner with Caroline's Rub - Fine Spice Creations, where he is in charge of product promotion and development, and where he serves as the executive chef.



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