This year I hurt my knee and was not up to doing my usual baking for Thanksgiving. I was supposed to stay off my feet but you know how that goes. I just propped myself up on a stool in the kitchen and did the cooking. There was know one else to do it. I had some bags of cookie mix that I had bought at a big discount this summer. This was as good a time as ever to use them up. The kids got out the butter, eggs and cookie sheets. It was easy for me to mix and roll out. I didn’t have to move around the kitchen like I would have baking from scratch. Cutting out and baking went fast. I used canned frosting and what sprinkles I still had on hand that would work for Fall.
One of the tricks I used was placing a fan in front of the cookies to get the canned frosting to harden up quickly. It will firm up the frosting in about a hour or two so you can easily pack them between wax paper in containers. I like to make royal frosting and others types that harden and firm up. I now found that with a little help from a fan you can have the same results with bought frosting. The idea is to keep them from sticking to the wax paper or each other with the soft frosting. I didn’t want to leave them out to dry over night. I just wanted to get the cookie making over with.
Another thing I made from cookie mix was tarts. I have a set of pumpkin shaped tart pans that I have had for a while.
These are small individual serving tart pans. You can use any size of tart pan that you have. To make the crust for the tarts I used a short bread mix that you can find during the Christmas season. I bought this mix with the others last summer in a close out sale. I also was able to get almond paste at that sale.
I followed the direction for the short bread and patted them into the tart pans on the bottom and up the sides. I only have 4 pumpkin shaped ones so I used 2 standard round tart pans that were the same size. I then filled them with some jam. I used pineapple and mango jam that I make during summer because it looked the right color for pumpkins. You just need a nice coating of the jam over the short bread. The short bread puffs up and fills the pan while baking.
The next step was to decorate them with the almond past. To do that you have to mix with electric mixer 2 egg whites with the tube of paste. This takes a few minutes to break up and soften the paste. It will get light and slightly fluffy. I put it in a pastry bag that had a decorator star tip on it. I just decorated the edges and piped the design I wanted on the tarts.
I baked them for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees until the almond piping was lightly browned. Let cool and then remove from pans. To do that you just push the bottoms up from the ring. Cut them into pieces when you get ready to serve like short bread. The short bread tarts is eaten like a cookie. The almond past is slightly crunchy but still light and give a special flavor touch to the cookie tart. The tarts turned out to be a favorite for Thanksgiving.
My little hoard of cookie mixes came in handy. I was still able to spoil the kids. I always buy cookie mix and cake mix after the holiday or season is over and take advantage of the deep discounts. I always mark on the package with a dark crayon the expiration date so I can see it in the cupboard. That way I know to use it before it expires. All these mixes were going to expire in December. I paid less then a dollar for them. The almond paste was 50 cents and that was 90% off the normal price. I bought 5 tubes because that was all they had and put them in the freezer. I have 3 left to use for Christmas.
I have a bunch of cake mixes that I have gotten marked down so I will probably turn all those into cookies for Christmas this year.