December 28, 2012

Christmas Treats 2012

This year, my energy was just NOT to be found. Luckily, thanks to Pinterest, I found some awesome recipes for the annual neighbor gifts!


Jello Coconut Candy Balls
These are EXTREMELY rich, so be sure to roll the balls quite small.

1 lg pkg Flaked Coconut
1 lg box Jello (any flavor, but Raspberry was pretty yummy - tastes like a Zinger)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 tsp Almond or Raspberry extract (or flavor to match your jello)
1 sm box Jello - to roll the balls in

Mix together the first 4 ingredients until all moistened and combined well. WET YOUR HANDS, then with a melon baller, scoop out and roll your individual balls. Roll to coat in the small package of Jello. Put these directly into an airtight container and store as long as needed.
*Makes roughly 25-30 balls; depending on size.


Crisp Jello Meringue Cookies

3 Egg Whites
1/8 tsp Salt
3 1/2 T (1 sm pkg) Jello (I used Raspberry)
3/4 c Sugar
1 T Vinegar
1/2 c Mini Chocolate Chips (opt)

Preheat the oven to 250. Beat the egg whites with the salt until foaming. Add Jello and sugar as you beat the mix until it stands in stiff peaks. Add the vinegar and gently mix. You can add in the chocolate chips here if you like (orange is FABULOUS with the chocolate chips). Put the egg-mixture into a ziploc bag, snip off a corner, and pipe the mixture onto a prepared baking sheet. I used my Silpat and some with a parchment paper lining. Sprinkle as desired. Bake at 250 for 25 mins, turn the oven off and allow to sit in the oven for an additional 20 mins. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely; I let mine sit overnight.
*Makes 2 cookie sheets-worth; depending on size


Quick and Easy Shortbread Bites

1 1/4 c Flour
3 T Sugar
1 stick Butter; cold/cut in pieces
1 T Colored Sprinkles
1/2 - 1 tsp Flavoring (rum, almond, orange, etc)
1/8 tsp Butter Flavoring (opt)
Dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 325. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add in the pieces of butter, and the flavorings until dough comes together a bit (will be way crumbly). Place the dough in a medium bowl and with your hands, gently knead in the sprinkles until evenly blended and the dough is forming a ball.
On a lightly floured waxed paper, pat the dough into an 8" x 5" rectangle. Freeze 15 mins. With a butter knife or spatula, make an indentation as to where you'll cut your the shortbread into 1/2" cubes. Bake 18-20 mins until lightly golden on the bottom. Cut the cubes IMMEDIATELY after removing, and let cool.


Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn

1 pkg Microwave Popcorn
1/2 c Butter
1 c Light Brown Sugar
2 T Light Corn Syrup (Karo Syrup)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
12 lg Marshmallows
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt

Pop the popcorn, remove any unpopped kernels (pour the corn into a bowl, and shake at an angle. Push the corn up and the "grannies" should be there).
Melt the butter on the stove over Med/Low. Add in the brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and marshmallows all at once. Turn the heat up to medium and stir until all of the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is smooth. DON'T OVER COOK; it ruins the chewiness of the corn. Pour this mixture over the popped corn and stir to coat evenly. Pour onto a piece of waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container or ziploc baggie.


Apple Fritter Bread

3 c Flour
1 pkg Yeast (2 T)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 c Light Brown Sugar
1/4 c Water (may need a little bit more)
1 Egg; beaten
3/4 c Milk
1/4 c Butter; softened
1/8 tsp Butter Flavoring (opt)

6 small Apples; peeled/diced finely
1 T Lemon Juice
1 c Light Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 T Butter
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 T Cornstarch
1/8 tsp Butter Flavoring (opt)
1/2 c Pecans/Walnuts; chopped (opt)

1 T Butter; softened
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 c Powdered Sugar
3 tsp Milk or half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 350. Place parchment paper in a 9x5" loaf pan; grease the end pieces if the paper doesn't quite cover. In a skillet, cook the apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, flavoring, and cornstarch until the mixture is thickened and apples are semi-soft. Set aside to cool.
Heat the milk in a small pan until it just bubbles. Remove it from the heat and add in the butter; stir until melted and let cool. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, brown sugar, and salt. Mix well. Add the water, egg, flavoring, and the milk/butter mixture. Mix together until the dough forms a semi-sticky ball. Transfer this dough to a well-floured surface and knead 3-5 more times until dough is pliable and smooth. Roll out into a large rectangle (think 5 columns, 4 rows of cut-out squares the width of your loaf pan). Evenly spread the rectangle with the cooled apples mixture. Cut the dough as stated above; 5 columns, 4 rows = 20 pieces. Stack these into 4 piles using a metal spatula (apples tend to make the dough sticky underneath). Place your piles vertically into your loaf pan (See picture above). Bake 45-50 mins until golden brown. IMMEDIATELY remove from the pan and let cool. Keep wrapped in the parchment to ensure the end pieces don't fall out.
Make the Glaze:
Mix the butter, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl. Add the milk and stir until you get a creamy consistency. Pour this over your cooled bread and allow to set up slightly. Pull of a piece and enjoy!


Swirl Cream Cheese Candies

1 3oz pkg Cream Cheese; softened
4-6 drops Flavoring of choice (cinnamon, orange, lemon, raspberry, mint.....)
Granulated Sugar
3c + more for rolling Powdered Sugar
4-6 drops Food Coloring (gel works great too)

Mix together the cream cheese and 3 c powdered sugar until smooth and pie dough consistency. Add in the flavoring of choice and mix well. Divide the dough in 1/2 - add food coloring to 1/2. Divide each color (white and colored) into 1/3's so it's easier to twist into ropes.
On a powdered sugar-coated work surface (again, I used my silpat), take 1/3 of each color and roll into equal length ropes; twist together. Using a melon baller, portion into balls and roll as such. Roll each ball into granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment paper. Flatten with a fork into little patties. Let stand for 1-3 hours until slightly hardened. Store in an airtight container or in the fridge.


Cookie Dough Truffles

1 c Salted Butter; softened
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
6oz Mini Chocolate Chips
1/4 tsp Cinnamon (opt)
1 1/2 c Light Brown Sugar
2 c Flour
1/4 tsp Salt

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Use a melon baller and using your hands, roll into SMALL balls; place on parchment lined baking sheet and chill 30 mins until firm. At this point, you can drizzle or dip these into chocolate or candy coating... or even just eat as is!


I would have to say that the cream cheese mints, caramel corn, and the cookie dough truffles were my fave. My hubby on the other hand will tell you that there's NO question about the Apple Fritter Bread being the best.... I may have to agree with him. haha!! I hope you enjoy these!

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