It’s Christmas shopping time and I haven’t even gone yet! I’ve got lists to make and things to do. I need to stop dyeing my hair and get serious about my holiday shopping strategy. Standing in line just isn’t my thing. I’m also traveling for the next week, so I need to get it together soon!

In order to be successful in my shopping endeavors, I’ve got to resist the urge to bake pies and buy adorable baking pans for myself.

I know you know what I’m talking about.

This year I made cookies for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, an incredible nationwide cookie exchange hosted by Love & Olive Oil.  Over 22,000 cookies were sent around the world as part of the swap! Wow, that’s a lot of giving. It makes me happy to know that there are people out there who have the same love of baking that I do. You’re amazing!


I recieved three dozen delicious cookies from blogging friends. Thank you, thank you! I shared my cookies with my family, and I’m so excited to participate again next year.  If you are interested and have a blog, you can sign up here to recieve updates about next year’s exchange.

Giving and giving presents may not be what Christmas is about, but it certainly makes it exciting!  I love wrapping gifts and picking out the perfect present for each person.  Remember how you felt when you got those really weird gifts like penguin slippers and kitten calendars? Don’t be that person! Giving body lotions and socks result in awkward thank yous. Like, “Oh hey, thanks I really enjoyed those red and blue striped socks you gave me, I totally wear them all the time!” Let’s be honest, you never wore those hideous things, but you pretended you loved them. Happens to everyone!

I’m sure I can expect a pair of really cute Christmas pajamas from my Mom, and of course my Grandma keeps sending me dolls even though she knows I’m almost 23. I love them both dearly, so these gifts are completely forgivable.

One of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten was a KitchenAid mixer. I can make almost anything with it. Now that was the perfect gift for me.  It made me realize that person totally got me.  If you are generally just horrible at giving gifts, it’s always best to just pick out things that you have memories of with that person. For instance, I’m planning on making someone their favorite pie and giving them a master knife set.  Pie=I care, knifes=I know you like sharp things!

Making peanut butter cookies is a great way to get into your gift giving imagination.

Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies? I just can’t get enough!

Chilled peanut butter dough is wrapped around the candy. Don’t you know chocolate, caramel and peanut butter make for one incredible cookie? Duh, that’s why they make Peanut Butter Twix bars.

While making these I crafted up my own personal wish list and I feel like sharing! Miscellaneous baking and cooking items happen to be number one, but I’d be over the moon if I got a beautiful new camera. Other things I’ve jotted down include cranberry high heels, yoga pants, and a new apron.

I’d much rather give a gift than receive one though.  In fact, I’d be ecstatic to make a pie for anyone who’d ask. If cookies put a smile on your face, you know I’m there. Baking for others is like a present to myself.

These make great last-minute gifts too. Roll them in sugar for a touch of sparkle.

So pretty & delicious!

Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies

By Monique of Ambitious Kitchen

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup butter , softened

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons of milk

1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

48 Rolos, unwrapped

1/2 cup of granulated sugar for rolling dough

Makes about 48 cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Mix dry ingredients and set aside.

On medium speed, in large bowl, blend sugars; add butter, mix till grainy consistency. Add eggs, milk, peanut butter and vanilla extract; and beat until fluffy. Slowly add flour mixture and beat on slow until well combined. Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour, or in the freezer for 30 minutes. The colder the dough, the easier it will be to work with. Take one heaping tablespoon of the dough and flatten out in the palm of your hand.  Place one unwrapped Rolo in the middle and work dough around so that the Rolo is completely hidden. Roll dough into a ball with your hands, then drop and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, about 15 to 18 minutes.  Underbaking the cookies a bit results in a chewier cookies, baking longer will make them more crisp.