Video: Holiday Pinwheel Cookies

This week marks the launch of a new Just a Taste video series on iVillage, where I’m sharing recipes, tips and tricks to help you entertain with ease. And what better way to kick things off than with festive Christmas pinwheel cookies?

Pinwheel cookies have long been a favorite of mine because they’re so easy to customize for any given holiday or event. I’ve shared a variety of color combinations over the years (all made with my favorite sugar cookie dough), so tune in above for the technique then check out the recipes below. Simply switch up the food coloring to make pinwheel cookies with two or three color combinations!

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The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies

The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies from justataste.com #recipe

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies. Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies. Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies. Basically, if it contains the word “cookie,” I’ve baked it and eaten it over the past 10 days as part of my 25 Days of Holiday Cookies campaign.

Every year, I share my favorite cookie recipes throughout the winter holiday season. But this year I decided to make my annual “let’s see how much butter Kelly can eat in one month” project an organized effort. So every day from December 1 through December 25, I’m sharing a special cookie recipe on the Just a Taste Facebook page and Instagram feed.

Have no fear if you’re just finding out about the fun! Much like my holiday weight gain, the past 10 recipes aren’t going anywhere. Check out Facebook and Instagram to get caught up on the cookie craze. But before you do, check out my Best Cutout Sugar Cookies recipe, plus enter a seriously sweet giveaway featuring a set of 101 cookie cutters, courtesy of the fabulous folks over at Park and Main.

101 Cookie Cutter Set Giveaway on justataste.com #giveaway

So what’s included among those 101 brightly-colored beauties above? Cookie cutters for every single holiday imaginable, plus the full alphabet, numbers 1 to 8, shapes of all sizes, and pretty much any other sports-themed, animal-inspired, inanimate-esque object you can think of.

Hosting a cowboy birthday party? There’s a cowboy hat cookie cutter for that. Headed to the Super Bowl? There’s a football cookie cutter for that. Rather eat your flowers than smell them? There’s a tulip cookie cutter for that. Literally every holiday and special occasion is covered … even National Dinosaur Day. (There’s a stegosaurus cookie cutter for that.)

Read on for my Best Cutout Sugar Cookies recipe and to enter for your chance to win this tub of 101 ways of calorific fun.

The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies from justataste.com #recipe

The Best Cutout Sugar Cookies from justataste.com #recipe

Video: Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Flavor meets function in these festive Christmas tree cupcakes that are part dessert, part tabletop decor! All you need is your favorite flavor of cupcakes and a few creative additions to turn this popular dessert into the ultimate edible centerpiece.

Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes #recipe #video

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Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links in this post.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with
Balsamic Brown Butter

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Brown Butter from justataste.com #recipe

Ah, gnocchi. How I love to eat you, but oh how I loathe to make you. You see, making gnocchi is not for the culinary faint of heart. You need to be in it to win it. Have your eyes on the prize. Be ready to go big and not go home.

I want to make sure I set expectations: This is not a recipe to attempt on a busy weeknight while your ravenous self balances a glass of Pinot Grigio in one hand and a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in the other. So if you’re looking to throw together a super-quick and incredibly tasty meal, head on over to my 30-Minute Mongolian Beef. And for all those who are inspired to join the legions of gnocchi warriors, read on …

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Brown Butter from justataste.com #recipe

So you’re in it to win it. Your eyes are on the prize. You’re going big and not going home. Congratulations! You’re in for a deliciously satisfying journey. Here are a few tips to help facilitate your impending gnocchi domination:

  • Harness Your Flour Power: The more flour you use in the gnocchi dough, the more dense it will be. If you’re aiming for light, pillowy, like-the-kind-I-had-at-that-restaurant gnocchi, you’ll want to review my tips in the recipe below to gauge how much flour to use.
  • Embrace the Indentations: While there’s no law that requires you to complete the final step of rolling each gnocchi on the back of a fork to create the characteristic indentations, I would highly encourage you to do so. Those little ridges help soak up all the sauce. And when the sauce is balsamic brown butter, I guarantee you won’t want to miss a drop.
  • Know Your Gnocchi Limits: Making homemade gnocchi requires persistence, determination and an if-she-can-do-it-I-can-do-it attitude. At the end of the day, we’re dealing with flour, potatoes and cheese. Worst case scenario, you turn it all into cheesy mashed potato pancakes.

Not a fan of sweet potatoes but still dig these fluffy dumplings? Check out my recipe for traditional homemade gnocchi with kale pesto.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Brown Butter from justataste.com #recipe

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Brown Butter from justataste.com #recipe

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from justataste.com #recipe

Chicken and waffles. Peanut butter and jelly. Ham and pineapple pizza. There is a method to this culinary magic in which sweet joins forces with salty for one seriously irresistible duo.

I’ve got one more sweet-salty marriage to add to the list with this recipe for Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. Just imagine the best chocolate chip cookies, but in soft and chewy cookie bar form. Stir in some crushed salted pretzels, sprinkle a few more on top, and then finish off the baked bars with a final drizzle of melted chocolate.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from justataste.com #recipe

This is one of those someone-hide-these-from-me-or-I’m-destined-for-Spanx desserts. And sure enough, after talking myself into taste-testing a second one of those deceptively small squares above, I finally got a grip and stepped away … after wrapping the remaining cookie bars in six layers of plastic wrap, which I reinforced with tape and sealed in two plastic bags. Spanx, party of one, your table is now ready.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from justataste.com #recipe

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from justataste.com #recipe