"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Monday, December 03, 2007

Christmas Goodies To Share

Growing up my dad did a lot of the cooking, especially if it involved cookies. I'm not sure I've ever seen my mom make cookies. If it involved cookies, that was Dad's job. Especially at Christmas time. My dad would bake three or four different times of cookies, pile them high on a plate and then my mom would wrap them in pretty Christmas colored cellophane and tie curly ribbons around top. Then they'd deliver them to the families my dad home taught, neighbors, friends, etc.

I've continued this tradition, but tried spicing it up a bit. But not always with success. I always think it should be more than just cookies. So I try to add fudges, caramel/chocolate/sprinkle covered pretzel rods, or fancy cookies. It just ends up being way too much work. I don't know how my dad whipped out four different varieties of cookies in a night. I'd like to attribute part of that to having a larger kitchen or more patience or a TV in the kitchen. Or maybe the two ovens. But really, I think cookies are just simpler than all the other stuff I'm trying to fancy up my goody plate with.

My Holiday Goodies to Share Ideas:

These Chocolate Mint M&M cookies are one of my favorite holiday cookie recipe. Just slightly fancied up for Christmas.

Easy Snowman Sugar Cookie
This picture is from December 2004. You buy the ready made sugar cookie dough, bake some round cookies, and decorate them to look like a snowman face. My kids love doing this.

When my husband was working for the city of Camarillo a woman there brought in Candy Cane Bark for everyone each year. He finally got the recipe from her since he ate most of his tin of bark before it made it home to me. Now we make a ton each year. This is her basic recipe, none that I found online were quite the same.

Peppermint Christmas Bark
aka at our house as Candy Cane Bark
2 bags of white chocolate circles (I get white candy melts from Michael's or Walmart)
a bunch of crushed up candy canes (the little ones are easier to get out of their wrappers)

Melt white chocolate in microwave (1 to 1 1/2 minutes). Mix in crushed peppermint pieces. Spread evenly over wax paper on a cookie sheet. Refrigerate. Break into pieces. Enjoy.

Another super easy holiday recipe...
Pampered Chef's Quick Chocolate-Mint Fudge. Every time I've made this people have asked me for the recipe. And it's not even really fudge. It's basically frosting and chocolate. Here it is:

1- 8 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate squares for baking (divided)
1- 6 oz. package white chocolate squares for baking
1- 16 oz. container prepared vanilla frosting (divided)
1/4 tsp. peppermint or mint extract
3 drops green food coloring
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil

Coarsely chop the semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate (keep them separate). Reserve 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate for garnish. Cut two 12 inch squares of parchment paper. Place on a chilled square baking dish.

Combine white chocolate and half of the frosting in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Add peppermint extract and food coloring; mix well. Pour mixture onto chilled dish/parchment paper. Place in fridge for 5 minutes until mixture begins to set.

In the same saucepan combine semi-sweet chocolate and remaining frosting. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Carefully pour chocolate mixture over mint layer in square dish. Spread evenly to cover mint layer. Chill in fridge at least 5-10 minutes.

Lay remaining parchment square over top of fudge. Smooth top by gently rolling a small rolling pin over the top. Life fudge with aid of parchment paper and turn over. Carefully peel off parchment paper of mint layer.

For garnish, place the reserved 1/2 cup of chopped semi-sweet chocolate and oil in microwavable dish and microwave, uncovered on high for 1 1/2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Drizzle chocolate over fudge. Refrigerate until firm (15-30 minutes). Cut into 1 inch squares. Store in tightly covered container in fridge.

*mine always cut pretty messy... maybe cut with a warmed knife.

I have this friend from the South. She makes these things called "Trailer Trash Truffles." My husband gets mad at me when I call them this. He had a co-worker bring the same thing in except the co-worker's mom calls them "Oreo Balls." Add this recipe to your collection, call them what you will.


Jamie said...

I love how you call them trailer trash truffles. That's a better name. Those look good! Have you had Williams Sonoma's peppermint bark? Delicious. I think I will make this version you have posted this year. I love that stuff.

Cristin Lassen said...

This is a great post. I do the same thing each Christmas. It is a ton of work and I always want to make a variety. I am going to try some of your ideas, I'm not sure which ones but I'll let you know how it goes. I'm doing something similar with the Beehives tomorrow night... okay well it's me making the cookies, and them plating and delivering them, but I am trying to keep it SUPER simple: oatmeal fudge bars, m&m cookies and snickerdoodles.

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