Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

 Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

Another food tradition we enjoy in our family is serving lots of appetizers on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.  It can be a bit hectic to prepare these apps with a full house so I am always looking for shortcuts to cut down on prep times.  Campbell’s asked us to share a holiday recipe using one of their skillet sauces or slow cooker sauces.  I decided to try out their Scampi Skillet Sauce to make an appetizer: Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts.  This appetizer dish offers all the flavor of traditional shrimp scampi on a bite-size baguette…perfect for holiday entertaining!

shrimp scampi skillet sauce

I tested this recipe out with some guests that dropped by and it was approved by all (including the kids!)  The baguette slices can be toasted and rubbed with garlic ahead of time.  You could also clean and chop up the shrimp to have it all ready to be sautéed.  Whether you are planning your Christmas menu or looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, definitely consider adding this appetizer to your holiday!

Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts

Shrimp Scampi with Garlic Toasts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 french baguette
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound thawed shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and with tail removed
  • 1 package Campbell’s Scampi Skillet Sauces
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, sliced (optional, for garnish only)
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees (F). Cut baguette into thin slices and place on baking pan. Bake for five minutes on each side or until lightly golden
  2. Remove toasted baguette slices from oven and rub both sides with cut garlic, then set aside.
  3. Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towel.
  4. Pour olive oil into large skillet pan and heat to medium high.
  5. Meanwhile, chop shrimp into small pieces. Once oil is hot, add shrimp to pan, and cook until shrimp turns pink
  6. Once shrimp is cooked, turn heat to low and and add Campbell’s Scampi Skillet Sauce. Cook until thoroughly warmed.
  7. Remove shrimp from oven, and spoon shrimp mix on top of garlic toast.
  8. Place on serving tray, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and garnish with lemon slices and.

 

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Disclosure: This post brought to you by Campbell’s Dinner Sauces. Weekend-worthy dinners with only weekday-level effort needed! Learn more at http://www.campbellsauces.com/

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association and The Mom It Forward Blogger Network.  All opinions are our own.

One of our favorite holiday traditions is enjoying warm sticky buns after opening presents on Christmas morning.  We are usually ravenous by the time we get to breakfast on that special day and these easy pecan sticky buns hit the spot every time.  This recipe is great because you can prepare it ahead of time and bake it right before serving.  This recipe calls for puff pastry (found in the freezer aisle) and unsalted butter (from the dairy aisle).  These easy pecan sticky buns just might become a Christmas tradition for your family too!

Quick Sticky Buns

While you are planning your holiday menu over the next week, don’t forget to shop the freezer and dairy aisle.  Both aisles offer such a great variety of foods that can be used for special holiday meals and treats. For more holiday recipe ideas, check out the Easy Home Meals Pinterest boards or the Easy Home Meals website, sponsored by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association.

Sticky Buns from Frozen Puff Pastry Dough

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
Sticky Buns
  • 12 tablespoons (1 and ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Using the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the 12 tablespoons butter and ⅓ cup brown sugar with the paddle attachment. Use a small ice cream scoop to place the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Add the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups.
  2. Meanwhile, flour a surface and unfold 1 sheet of the puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the entire sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with ⅓ cup of the brown sugar, 1 and ½ teaspoons of the cinnamon, and ¼ cup of the raisins. Starting with the end closest to you, roll the pastry up tightly around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
  3. Cut off ½-inch off the ends of the roll and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces. Place each cut bun (spiral side up) into a cup of a standard-sized muffin pan.
  4. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 pecan sticky buns in total.
  5. Cover muffin pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving day.
  6. On serving day: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the muffin pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only and flip the buns onto the parchment paper (use a spoon to scoop out any remaining filling and pecans and pour onto the buns). Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa

Holiday cheers!

k & m

3 Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

Today’s 12 Cookies of Christmas countdown post is brought to you by Kraft.

A Little Help For The Holidays From Kraft

Christmas is less than a week away and it’s time to get serious about Christmas preparations!  When I saw this Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookie idea on Pinterest, I knew I had to make these little guys.  These reindeer are so stinking cute and peanut butter cookies are a family favorite in our household.  They also reminded me of K’s Black Cat Cookies and I had fun making those for T this past Halloween.  Whether you are baking for kids or grown-ups, these reindeer cookies will be sure to bring a smile to their faces.

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

I was able to save a little bit of money this holiday season by picking up some Planters Peanut Butter at Target.  Kraft is currently offering a number of coupons for exclusive use at Target to make your holiday entertaining a bit easier. ( Save up to $20 on participating Kraft products, only at Target.)  These Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies will be the hit of your Christmas party!

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies
Author: 2 Sisters 2 Cities
Recipe type: cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup Creamy Planters Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and ¼ cup all-purpose flour.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • chocolate-covered pretzels, cut in half (for the antlers)
  • mini brown M&Ms (for the eyes)
  • regular-sized red M&Ms (for the nose…you could also use brown M&Ms if you prefer non-Rudolph cookies!)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar using the paddle attachment. Next, add in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla and mix together until combined. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the baking soda, flour, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the electric mixing bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Once all the flour mixture has been added, chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Once dough has chilled, use a mini ice cream scooper to scoop out small balls of dough. Place the ball of dough on the cookie sheet and gently flatten it with your hand. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until edges turn slightly golden.
  3. Remove cookies from oven and immediately add the chocolate-covered pretzels as antlers, two mini brown M&Ms for eyes, and red M&M for the mouth. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source: Reindeer Cookie idea from Bakergirl and Peanut Butter Cookie recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Here’s the rest of our 2013 Cookie Countdown in case you have missed any!

4 Oatmeal Chocolate Mint Cookies
5 Sprinkle Cookies
6 Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cutouts
7 Chocolate Hazelnut Coins
8 Italian Lemon Drops
9 Chocolate Toffee Crackers
10 Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
11 Christmas Snickerdoodles
12 Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

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From shopping for gifts to planning family dinners, it’s hard to keep up with all your holiday to-do’s. This year, Kraft is helping out with great weeknight meals and entertaining ideas to make the season a little bit easier. Plus, Kraft is offering up to $20 in coupons, redeemable exclusively at Target, to make food shopping easier and to help you have a happy holiday season.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

11 Christmas Snickerdoodles

Christmas Snickerdoodles (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

For my first Christmas cookie recipe of the season, I decided to turn a traditional year-round cookie into a Christmas version of itself.  I used red and green sugar crystals in the recipe to turn these Snickerdoodles into Christmas Snickerdoodles!

This recipe was super simple and it was the perfect cookie recipe to make with a 3-year old and 5-month old.  After I formed a ball of cookie dough, I handed it to T and he would roll it in either the red or green sugar & cinnamon mixture, then place it on the pan.  We got a good laugh as Baby N sat in his Bumbo chair and kept trying to grab for the red cookies…you can have cookies soon baby!  I hope you have as much fun as I did making these Christmas Snickerdoodles this holiday season. (Just keep in mind that the dough needs to be refrigerated for one hour before baking- the perfect amount of time to grab a quick afternoon nap or watch a Christmas movie by the fire!)

Christmas Snickerdoodles (from 2 Sisters 2 Cities)

11 Christmas Snickerdoodles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Turn this classic cookie recipe into a Christmas one by using green and red-colored sugars.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 and ½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons red sanding sugar or sugar crystals
  • 2 tablespoons green sanding sugar or sugar crystals
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Add the softened butter to a mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat butter on high for 30 seconds. Add the 1 and ½ cups sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt and mix until combined. Use a spatula to scrape the side of the mixing bowl if necessary. Turn off mixer and add in eggs and vanilla- mix for 30 more seconds until combined. Turn off mixer and add 1 cup of flour at a time, beating after each addition until flour is incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or more.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper. Add the red sugar into a small bowl and the green sugar into a second small bowl. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon into each bowl and mix. Shape dough into ~1 balls (you can make the balls smaller or larger based on how what size cookie you prefer. I ended up making 36 cookies from this batch of dough.)
  3. Roll balls in either the red or green sugar mixture until dough is coated. Place 2 inches apart on the parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to wire racks and allow to cool.

Source: BHG.com

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12 Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints Cookies

Well, here we are again!  It’s the most wonderful time of year- the 2 Sisters 2 Cities 12 Days of  Christmas Cookie Countdown!  We are going to start this party with a delicious classic holiday cookie with a new twist:  a chocolate thumbprint cookies with raspberry jam and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate!

12 Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

This year with my holiday cookies, I am going for more classic types of holiday cookies. When I think of Christmas cookies I think of small special cookies embellished with icing, chocolate, powdered sugar, frosting, glaze, jam, nuts, peppermints, or sprinkles. The great part about Christmas cookies is that you can grab a bunch of different kinds and and you get to try all the amazing flavors. Obviously you know what my favorite time of the year is!

My boyfriend loves thumbprint cookies, but he is not a big chocolate cookie fan.  I was hesitant to make this recipe because I thought he wouldn’t like them.  Boy was I wrong, he loved them! The deep chocolate flavors are perfect with the sweet tart raspberry jam.  Add them to your Christmas cookie to-do list today!

Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

12 Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (2 sticks + 2 tbsp),at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Raspberry jam
  • 2-3 tbsp. bittersweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer add butter and sugar, mixing until smooth.
  3. Add in cocoa powder until combined
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until all is combined
  6. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  7. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on baking mat at least 2 inches away from each other.
  8. With the tip of your thumb, press down in the middle of the cookie ball to make a well (don’t press down all the way.)
  9. Fill each thumbprint with around ½ tsp of jam
  10. Bake for 9-10 minutes
  11. Cookies will spread out a little so if you need more jam in the center add some more before they cool.
  12. For Drizzle- In a small heat proof bowl, add chocolate chips. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. To drizzle, take a spoon of melted chocolate, tip the spoon to get a small stream of chocolate going and move back and forth over the cookies so you get zig zags over the cookies.

Source-  Base cookie recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum, addition of raspberry jam and chocolate drizzle is a 2S2C original

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Totally Awesome Christmas Giveaway

xmas

It’s December and we’re celebrating with the Totally Awesome Christmas Giveaway! We’ve partnered with a group of fabulous bloggers to give you the chance to win a $250 prize. The winner will be able to pick how they receive their prize – either by Amazon gift card or cash via Paypal. And your prize will be delivered in time for you to do your holiday shopping!

Prize: $250 Amazon Gift card or cash (via Paypal)

Sponsors: Naturally FrugaliciousRandom ThoughtsLush to BlushThis Mama LovesMomma T and FamilyBlog by Donna and Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Besides the mandatory blog comment entry, all other entries are optional. Giveaway ends 12/17 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck and happy December!
-m&k

12 Days of Christmas Cookies (The Past)

Why hello there December 1st!  I could have sworn Thanksgiving was a mere three days ago.  Time to put those pumpkin pie pans away and get ready for some Christmas baking!  We are so excited to kick-off our 3rd year of our annual 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.  Before we start our series for 2013, I wanted to highlight our 24 Christmas cookies from the past two years.

12 Days of Christmas Cookies {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES 2012

 

12 days of Christmas cookies- 2011 {from 2 Sisters 2 Cities}

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES 2011

Happy Baking!

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Personalized Gifts for Kids

At my book club the other evening, I was discussing how baby N received so many personalized gifts with his name on it.  I really cherish these customized gifts because they are unique keepsakes.  It’s such a fun trend and there are so many different, creative options out there.

I also love that you can have these items made with any name.  The spelling of my name is somewhat unique and it was very hard to find personalized items with the spelling of my name growing up.  These days, any child can easily have personalized items with their name made on it!

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Bright Star Kids asked me to pull together a list of some of my favorite personalized gifts that I have seen lately.

 Bright Star Kids

  1. Personalized clothing- Bright Star Kids offers so many adorable personalized baby & kid clothes.  I love that you can order any of their customized designs and have it printed on a onesie, t-shirt, or bib (and it is 100% organic cotton.)  I am totally swooning over this Christmas Truck design…it’s so sweet!  I also love the big and little brother t-shirt designs.  One of my only complaints about having boys is the lack of cute boy clothing out there…Bright Star Kids may be changing my mind on that one!  I think T and N may be getting a few of these fun clothing items under our Christmas tree this year.bright star kids shirts
  2. Custom labels for kids- I ordered some of these for T as his nursery school teachers recommend that all kids label their coats, shoes, mittens, hats, cups, etc. so they don’t get mixed up.  I love that they don’t come off in the washing machine or dishwasher.  Bright Star kid also offers their own line of name labels.  These would make a great stocking stuffer for all your favorite preschoolers.
  3. Baby & toddler books- I recently ordered this baby book for N and this toddler memory book for T.  I love the customized front covers of these books.  It’s so much more personable that just some generic baby book from a store.  The inside pages are really nice as well.
  4. Customized name burp clothes- We go through a lot of burp clothes in our household and one of my favorites is a personalized one from Moonbeam Baby.  It’s basically a monogrammed diaper cloth embellished with some decorative fabric.  Who knew spitting up could be so cute?
  5. Name Puzzle Step Stool- Another gift that Baby N received was a personalized name puzzle step stool.  Right now only T uses it, but it’s such a cute gift idea.  Plus, T has already learned how to spell N’s name since he has put the puzzle together so many times.  T uses it to brush his teeth, wash his hands, and whenever he needs a little boost to get to counter height.

If you are looking for more personalized gift ideas for kids this holiday season, be sure to also check out my Pinterest board on the topic!  What are some of your favorite personalized gifts to give kids?

 bsk boy

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Be different this Christmas & get the kids a super cute gift personalized especially for them! Save 15% when you use the code “GIFT” in the shopping cart. Min spend $30. Expires December 15, 2013.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bright Star Kids. The opinions and text are all mine.

One Salted Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars

Then there was one!

We are down to our last cookie already and wow, has this month flown by!  I am starting to get excited for the upcoming holiday and spending some time with the family.  I haven’t really had any time off since my move so a few days to breathe and relax will be nice too.  M and I were discussing how much we have to do for the holidays and she told me how she has yet to wrap a gift.  I, on the other hand haven’t even seen a gift I have bought because I shipped it to everywhere I am going so I don’t have to bring them on the plane.

The last cookie is a cookie bar, and a delicious one at that.  I have to admit that I don’t like make chocolate chip cookies for Christmas cookies because they are an everyday cookie to me. My boyfriend begged for this recipe and actually was head chef on these.   I just helped melt the caramel and he did most of the baking.   Guess which cookie has been the most popular so far?  Yup, this one!

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

One Salted Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2⅛ cups AP flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 12 tbsp. butter, at room temperature, plus a small amount for greasing baking pan
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 10 oz. caramel candy squares, unwrapped
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Grease a 2-quart baking pan (11×7 baking dish) by spreading a small amount of butter on a paper towel.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
  4. Next, in bowl of a stand mixer, mix softened butter and both sugars.
  5. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until combined and smooth.
  6. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips.
  7. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramel and heavy cream
  8. Microwave caramel on high until caramel are melted, stirring every 30 seconds for about 2-3 minutes, until mixture is smooth.
  9. Divide the cookie dough into two. Place one half of the cookie dough into the pan, smoothing with a spatula.
  10. Pour hot caramel over the dough in the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  11. Drop remaining cookie dough by the spoonful over the caramel layer. Spread cookie dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle with additional sea salt.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top of the cookie bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan.
  13. Remove from oven and allow bars to cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve.

Source- Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
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Two Mini Gingerbread Men with Cream Cheese Icing

Mini Gingerbread Men with Cream Cheese Icing

I spent my afternoon making Mini Gingerbread Men with Cream Cheese Icing and raced against the clock to get a photo of them with the dwindling natural afternoon light.  I should have read the original recipe more thoroughly and realized that the dough needed to chill for three hours.  Not a great thing to read on the shortest day of the year!  Fortunately, I was able to shave a little time of chilling the dough by freezing it for a bit instead.  Before the sun set for the day, the crazy rain and wind subsided and the sun came out!

mini gingerbread men

While I was deciding on what my last cookie contribution for our 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, I pulled out my cookie cutters for some inspiration.  I found a mini gingerbread cut-out that was just too cute to pass up.  Since the cookies themselves are pretty tiny, I decided to add a layer cream cheese icing between two cookies.  You can also use the icing to pipe details onto each gingerbread or just leave them plain.

Two Mini Gingerbread Men with Cream Cheese Icing
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 and ½ cups flowers
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. To make the gingerbread men, mix shortening with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix until combined. Then, beat in molasses, egg, and the vinegar until mixed well. Add the flour in batches. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and allow to chill in the fridge for 3 hours or the freezer for 45 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out one cookie dough half on a lightly floured surface until about ⅛” thick. Use a small gingerbread cookie cutter to cut-out cookies. Place on baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until set. Cool on cookie sheet for a minute and transfer to a wire rack to allow cookies to cool.
  4. To make the cream cheese icing, mix the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add in the vanilla and combine. Add in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time to desired consistency.
  5. Spread a layer of the cream cheese icing on the bottom of a gingerbread cookie and stick another cookie to it. Repeat until all cookies have been paired up. Put remaining icing in a piping bag and ice details on each gingerbread man cookie if desired.

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