It was probably a stroke of luck that we were chosen again for this month’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event! My proposal for December was to bake a ton of Christmas goodies to give away as presents for our family and friends, which we hope would also inspire our readers to spend time baking during the holidays, whether it be for their family get-togethers, company parties, or social gatherings. Now, the caveat is that we do not consider ourselves to be stellar bakers – and to be honest, we don’t even like eating sweets! Therefore, this post was actually one of our more challenging proposals because we had to somehow work fast and efficiently to get everything done and wrapped! We spent an entire day baking away, decorating the treats, and packaging them up – all for the sake of bringing smiles to whoever we give these to. Alas, we can now share the 7 different treats we made – Holiday Rice Krispies Treats, Eggnog Cookies, Chocolate-Mint Cookies, Chocolate Pretzel Trees, Mini Fruitcakes, Fudge Bars, and Gingerbread Boys & Girls.
To make the Rice Krispies Treats, we went directly to the Rice Krispies website for a quick and simple recipe. It doesn't even require baking, so this was easy - but let me warn you, it's going to be sticky! Start by melting some butter in a pot, add the marshmallows and melt completely, then add the Rice Krispies cereal and mix together.
Transfer the mixture to a baking pan lined with wax paper and take another sheet of wax paper to press and form the mixture. Let it cool and then you can start using the cookie cutters to cut them into their desired holiday shapes. Decorate with frosting to give it life!
For the Eggnog Cookie recipe, we turned to Kicked Up Cookie Recipes' website for their rendition of this eggnog-flavored treat. In a mixer, combine sugar and butter to form a grainy paste. Then add eggnog, vanilla extract, and egg yolks. Gradually add the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet and sprinkle with a little nutmeg. Bake at 300 degrees for about 23 minutes until bottom is lightly browned. Once cooled, package them into small treat bags and set aside.
Next, we worked on the Chocolate-Mint Cookies. The actual recipe is called Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies. We thought it would be a much more interesting flavor if we added the mint. (We were right!). To make these cookies, we melted the mint and chocolate chips in a saucepan. In a mixer, we combined the wet ingredients first, then slowly added the dry ingredients (please see link for recipe below for details).
The chocolate mixture will turn into a dough. We divided the dough into 3 balls and flattened it in plastic wrap. This needs to be chilled until firm, about 4 hours. Once ready, take each dough portion and roll it out to 1/8th-inch thickness, then use cookie cutters to form shapes. Bake about 10 minutes at 350 temperature, then let cool. You can also decorate these with icing, if desired.
Another fun idea that doesn't involve baking is to take pretzel sticks and add chocolate melt to it to form holiday treats. I bought a plastic mold at Michaels in the shape of Christmas trees. I melted the different colored chocolate and drizzled it in the mold with the pretzel. Once it cools, it easily pops out and is ready for icing and other decorations.
What is Christmas without fruit cake?! Well, we know lot of people don't care for fruit cake, but what the hell, we made them anyway - all in good spirit. Instead of an entire cake, we made individual mini cupcakes with the fruit cake mixture. This way, we can wrap them up and give it to more than one person. There are a ton of ingredients to make this recipe, courtesy of Evil Shenanigans, however we also changed a few ingredients. See recipe for the thorough instructions.
Once the batter is done, we poured them into mini cupcake silicone molds to bake. For the finishing touches, we added a red and green M&M in the middle.
Fudge bars are very traditional treats for the holidays, which we also whipped up. This doesn't require baking either, but it takes some time and babysitting. For these Fudge Bars, we used the recipe from the Queen of Baking herself - Martha Stewart. We used a candy thermometer to get the fudge mixture to the right temperature before transferring it to a pan to cool down. The entire process of these 2 photos took almost an hour.
We stirred in the walnuts and then poured it into a greased baking pan to chill for 30 minutes. When the fudge hardens, cut them into small squares and dust powdered sugar on top.
The 7th and final treat we made were the Gingerbread Boys & Girls, another classic cookie that screams Christmas. This recipe came from another baking mastermind, straight from The Food Network, Paula Deen. Using an electric mixer, add the butter & wet ingredients, then combine it with the dry ingredients to form a dough. We separated the dough into 3 portions and wrapped them in plastic. This goes into the fridge to cool for about an hour to firm.
When it's ready, take the dough and roll it out on a floured board and cut out with gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters. This goes into a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes. When they've cooled completely, you can start the decorating process - which in our case was a complete mess, but it was loads of fun. We tried to think of creative ideas, but we weren't very successful. Let's just say that decorating cookies is not one of our fortes, but we sure had fun doing it.
Have fun with the treats you make! Afterall, it's made with love!
After putting all the holiday treats in their little plastic bags and tying ribbons on them, we were finally all set to put them in their baskets and send them off to people who would enjoy these cookies.
You can buy these holiday baskets at any crafts store - like Michaels. Or you can get Christmas-designed plastic wrap at Target. They fit the theme perfectly and the cookies looked even more adorable in them.
These are now under our Christmas tree ready to be given away. All in a day's hard work - how sweet it is! (No pun intended).
The Food Addicts (and Chester) would like to wish each of you a happy holiday season, with lots of good food and treats! Merry Christmas!
Links to recipes we used:
Rice Krispies Treats – Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
Eggnog Cookies – Kicked-Up-Cookie-Recipes
Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies – Epicurious
Fruit Cake – Evil Shenanigans
Chocolate Fudge Bars – Martha Stewart
Gingerbread Boys & Girls – Paula Deen