Holiday baking is a tradition for many families, as well as an inexpensive, thoughtful gift. Save money on all your baking and cooking by planning ahead.

* Bake in bulk. Rather than making cookies for one friend, bread for another and fudge for co-workers, make one baked good for everyone on your list. You’ll save time in the kitchen and save money by reducing the number of ingredients needed.

* Purchase everything in one location. Buy all ingredients and tools in one location. Deep-discount stores such as Dollar General offer dry baking goods like flour, sugar and chocolate chips, alongside milk, eggs and cream. You can also find kitchen tools such as spatulas, measuring cups and hand mixers, as well as the accessories to wrap up your tasty treats, including paper bags, sandwich bags, ribbon and tissue paper.

* Give private-brand products a try. By switching to private brands, shoppers can save big on ingredients.

Try the following recipes for easy crowd-pleasers that won’t break the bank:

Holiday Party Dip

2 cups sour cream

1 package Clover Valley Onion Soup Mix

1/4 cup cucumber, finely diced

1/4 cup green pepper, finely diced

1/3 cup pimiento, finely diced


Blend ingredients together and chill for at least one hour before serving. Serve with crackers, raw vegetables or chips.


Chocolate Candy

1 cup Clover Valley Starlight Mints, crushed

12 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate or white chocolate


Melt chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Line cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread half of the melted chocolate on the wax paper. Sprinkle the crushed peppermint candy onto the melted chocolate. Pour remaining melted chocolate over the top of the candy. Refrigerate until firm. Break into pieces and store at room temperature in a covered container.

Crispy Macaroons

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup cornflakes

1 cup crisped rice cereal

1 cup coconut


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir the cornflakes, rice cereal and coconut together. Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Use a tablespoon to drop dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, keeping cookies about two inches apart. Bake the cookies for eight to ten minutes, or until golden brown. Cool the macaroons on a cookie sheet for two minutes, then place the cookies on wire rack to cool completely. (NewsUSA)

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