Holiday cookie decorating with Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian

We all love holiday cookies and in this episode we share creative ways to turn decorating them into a family activity that's unique, memorable and affordable! You can use your own cookie dough recipe or use store bought cookie dough for each of these ideas.



Your holiday just got sweeter thanks to some creative confections. We're baking, creating and decorating festive sweet treats with Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian, host of Ten Dollar Dinners.

Gingerbread Cookie Pops - This idea is simple but it makes an impressive display. All you have to do is buy lollipop sticks at your favorite craft store and insert one in each cut-out cookie, then bake, decorate and wrap in clear cellophane and tie them with a beautiful ribbon. You can create a centerpiece out of them as well, simply place several cookie pops in a vase filled with sugar or foam base to keep them in place. This makes a great gift too.

Cookie Placards - When you have your holiday party it's always fun to use placards for each of your guests. This idea turns them into edible treats and gift favors as well. All you have to do is cut out rectangular shapes with a cutter and bake. This idea comes to life when you decorate each cookie with a guests name in piped frosting and edible glitter. You can stand them up with mini easels in front of your guests plate. It's simple, elegant and edible! Watch how we do it in this weeks episode.

Holiday Tree Ornaments - Get out your holiday cookie cutters for this one; snowflakes, stars, trees and snowmen are always fun. The secret to turning your holiday cookie into an ornament is to simply punch a hole through your cookie dough with a sipping straw before you pop them into the oven and then again right after they are cooked. The reason for the double punch is simple, when you bake them the dough will rise and close up much of the hole. So the key to creating a perfect hole is to make sure you double punch. Pipe frosting and add edible glitter and you've created hand made and delicious ornaments. Now you'll be able to string your ribbon and hang them up! You can decorate your tree with them or give them as thoughtful and unique gifts.

Thanks to Melissa d'Arabian for her inspired cookie decorating ideas. You can check out her holiday cookie recipe on 12 Days of Cookies now and you can catch the season premiere of Ten Dollar Dinners on January 9th on The Food Network.

Make your own $5 baked gifts for the holidays

Many moms are creating "baked gift bundles" this year to save money and spread holiday cheer. Meet Elia from www.mealsinasnap.com who shopped at Walmart and showed us how to make "Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies" and package them up in cute little gift sets, each for less than $5 a bundle.



Here's another mom (below) who is making baked gift bundles for holiday gifts this year. Molly shopped at Walmart for the ingredients to make her "Snowball Candy Pots" (also less than $5 a bundle). In Molly's own words: "I have been making these "Snowball Candy Pots" for years as holiday gifts for my friends, family, teachers, and hostesses. They are always such a huge hit as gifts because they are decorative, elegant, and delicious! The best part for me is that they are quick, easy, and affordable which is essential in a busy household with three young daughters. It is so easy to personalize them simply by changing out the ribbon and decorative topper. Have fun and be creative!



Here's Molly's recipe:

Snowball Candy Pots
9 cups Cereal
1 bag Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1tsp. Vanilla
1 bag powdered sugar

Terra-cotta Pots
Wax paper (to line pots)
Ribbon
Glitter Ornaments

Melt the chocolate chips, butter and vanilla over low heat.
Remove from heat, add peanut butter.
Add cereal and stir well.
Place powdered sugar into large plastic bag. Add chocolate covered cereal, covering with powdered sugar.
Fill pots.

Check out the latest episodes from More For Your Family


How to make holiday baked gifts for less than $5 each New tools from Walmart to save money on holiday shopping