12 Days of Christmas {Day 4}: Giving Neighbors and Friends Unforgettable Food and Drinks…..

Growing up in a neighborhood that enjoyed the holiday season, every year our island would pile high with the sweets and treats from neighbors.  This was the time you could eat those cookies and fudge bars that only came around once a year.  I can remember the decorative tins that the treats would come in and every neighbor had a signature sweet.

My mom’s signature cookie was the Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie.  We always helped and the art to these cookies was waiting until the peanut butter cookie was just the right temperature.  Too hot, and the chocolate would melt, too cold, and the kiss would not stay.  It became obvious that the more we did not do right, the more we could eat.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
  • 48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE’S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk  
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.  

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.


So when I finally owned my own house this was the first tradition that I would carry on.  This year though I am going to start the signature part of this tradition.  I am putting down the traditional cookies and fudge, and branching out.  I am creating a brand look and taste that all my friends and neighbors will remember me by.  This will be what they look forward to all year.

Chocolate Chunk Hot Cocoa Mix
Chocolate Chunk Hot Cocoa Mix

Makes: 1 gift (4 cups in all) Total Time: 10 minutes

 What You Need:

  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ Cup Sugar
  • 8 Ounces Chopped Semisweet Chocolate

What To Do:

  • In a bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar, and chocolate.  Store in an airtight container.  Keep at room temperature for up to 4 months.
  • Include these instructions with your gift: “In a small saucepan, whisk ¼ cup cocoa mix with ¾ cup milk.  Bring to a bare simmer.  Serves 1.”


  • French Terrine, $6.00, containerstore.com for stores.


Here is one more that will be an unforgettable drink.


Makes: 2 Gifts (6 sachets in all)

Total Time: 10 Minutes

 What You Need:

  • 12 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 6 pieces Star Anise
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Allspice Berries
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Cloves
  • 6 Bouquet Garni Bags ($8 for 12 bags, surlatable.com)

What To Do:

  • Divide the cinnamon, star anise, allspice, and cloves among the bags.  Keep at room temperature for up to 6 months.
  • Include these instructions with your gift: “Simmer 1 sachet in 2 quarts apple cider for 15 minutes.  Serves 8.”

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!