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Leave Santa something naughty (and nice)

There are only so many mince pies a man can eat. Yes, they’re delicious, but Santa is sure to be even more generous if you opt for one of these original recipes from Bluffton chef and caterer Geist Ussery of Geist & Company.

Almond Crunch Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
1 ½ cups uncooked regular oats
1 ½ cups toasted corn cereal (like Chex)
4 oz. almond bark

Directions [1] Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat cup of shortening with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. [2] Add eggs and almond extract; beat well. [3] In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir until blended. [4] Add flour mixture to sugar mixture mixing until just blended. Slightly crush corn cereal, only to the point there aren’t large pieces (but not too small, you’ll lose the crunch) Carefully stir in oats and cereal. [5] Using an ice cream scoop, drop dough on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. [6] Bake at 325 degrees 12 to 14 minutes. [7] Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cranberry Mule

Ingredients for garnish
12 oz. fresh cranberries
½ cup simple syrup
½ cup granulated sugar

Directions [1] Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the lined baking sheet, and set aside. [2] In a large bowl, measure in the simple syrup. Toss the cranberries in the simple syrup, removing them with a slotted spoon, then place on the wire cooling rack. [3] Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until the berries are sticky. When the berries are sticky, measure the sugar into a large bowl. Toss the cranberries in the sugar until coated, then transfer back to the wire cooling rack. [4] Coat all the cranberries, then refrigerate for an additional hour before using.

Ingredients for drink
2 oz. unsweetened cranberry juice
3 oz. ginger beer
1 ½ oz. spiced rum
1 oz. simple syrup
Ice, for serving

Directions [1] Place a handful of ice in a copper mug. Combine the cranberry juice, ginger beer, rum and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. [2] Shake until combined, then pour over ice. [3] Serve with sugared cranberries as garnish, and enjoy immediately.

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