Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Creating Holiday Yumminess

I don't normally cook up a storm for the holidays. We generally either go to my in-laws for Christmas Eve & in the afternoon on Christmas Day (remember - we live across the driveway) & my MIL is an excellent cook and does cook up a storm for the holidays. Then we spend time with my family sometime around the holidays. I never saw the need.

I have no clue what came over me this year but I decided to make up a bunch of goodies this year. All are being given away but I made sure to send some to my hubby's work so he wouldn't feel left out. I did not take photos of everything, but here is a list and I'll share photos & links to recipes as I am able.

The first thing I attempted was so easy that I will definitely make it again last year. I heard about it on a blog but I can't remember now where & I've seen it a few other times since. The recipe can be found over at Family Fun. They call them Holiday Pretzel Treats but I saw another blog where they called them Reindeer Bites & that sounded much more festive to me.

I made four different kinds. I used the Hershey Hugs, Hershey Candy Cane kisses, plain chocolate kisses (with mint M&Ms) & Rollos with plain M&Ms. Here's how easy...enlist your kiddos help if you want.

Step 1 - place parchment paper on a cookie sheet & layer the pretzels on top. I found this at my grocery store under the Snyder brand which they call Snaps.

Step 2 - Unwrap all the kisses or rollos & place one on each pretzel.

Here I am halfway done unwrapping - filled bags behind.

Step 3 - Place in a slightly warm oven (I set mine to about 150) for a few minutes until the chocolate begins to melt. I had to use a mixing spoon to touch them to be sure they were ready.

Do NOT use old chocolate. It will NOT melt - no matter how long it's in there. Trust me. I tried. I ran to the little corner market halfway through the day to get plain kisses. They were in my oven 20 minutes - they never ever melted enough so I had to ::gasp:: toss them.

Step 4 - After the chocolates have softened enough, take them out of the oven & place an M&M on top. Push down slightly so the chocolate squishes nicely in to the pretzel. I had run out of red & green M&Ms at this point so I was stuck with the regular kind. I'm sure they will taste the same. ;-)

Here is the final product.

Friday was my BIG baking day as in I was at it ALL day and most of the night. I'm pretty sure I manged to get to bed around 1:30 this night. I set up my four foot table in the living room with all my containers laid out with sticky note labels as I made things.
Also in the containers (and I didn't get photos of) are:
  • Hot chocolate mix. I found the recipe over at LollyChops. She even has an adorable printable to use to package them with. Even if you don't plan to make it, I recommend her blog for those crafty folks out there. She has some really fantastic printables on her blog that she gives away for free. Love that bloggy sharing spirit.
  • Chocolate nut banana bread. I use my faithful Betty Crocker recipe but I add chocolate bits & walnuts because hubby likes it that way best. Each bread recipe was made using my handy-dandy mini-loaf pan which gives me eight loaves at a time. Plus I had extra batter so I made two dozen muffins & sent them in to the office with my hubby on Monday. From what I hear - they were well received. Oh & I never use buttermilk in recipes. Occasionally I will add vinegar to milk to sour it for use but generally I just use plain old milk & it works just fine. I also usually sprinkle (liberally!) cinnamon & sugar on top of the breads as well.
  • Old-Fashioned Date Nut Bread. I searched around on the Family Fun site & found this bread recipe. I decided to try it. It's not that hard to make actually & it wasn't something I would typically make and I guess that was the whole point of this.
  • Chocolate Nut Pumpkin Bread. Do you see the theme? Hubby loves chocolate and nuts in his breads. ;-) Actually this recipe & the banana bread recipe are the ones I make on a regular basis. I usually make them as muffins & then I freeze them two to a sandwich bag. I take out a baggie each night when I make hubby's lunch & he has a healthy breakfast for his ride to work in the am (he drives an hour each way to work). Again - I use the Betty Crocker recipe & I just add chocolate chips & walnuts.
  • Double-Apple Walnut Bread. Here is the last bread recipe I made. By this point I was very tired of washing out my ONE mini-loaf pan. If I do this next year I will be buying at least one more. Another new recipe for me that I found browsing around the Family Fun recipe site. Very easy to make.
The last goodies that I worked on tonight was chocolate covered pretzels. I bought three bags of them & I ended up with quite a few by the time I was done. These weren't that bad to make. I had a bunch of Christmas sprinkles that I used on some & on the others I drizzled the opposite color chocolate on them. Hubby certainly liked them.
Here are some as I had them laid out on the cookie sheet. It just has wax paper underneath it. Once I had the sheet filled, I sprinkled them or drizzled them. Then I put them out on my porch for a few minutes to set. I don't have a large enough freezer & since we are having slightly-above-zero weather - it worked great.

The final products all bagged up & ready to be added to the goodies bags.

I had planned to make almond joy bars (I found this on a blog, printed it out, and now I cannot find it again. You can find a similar recipe HERE but no photos of cute kids making it all by themselves), homemade granola, rice crispy/fruit loop bars.

I've officially decided I'm about done in. Tomorrow morning I will go deliver the goodies I have for those I haven't met up with yet. Then I will settle down & enjoy the rest of the holiday before it flashes by too fast yet again.


  1. Sounds like a long day! But yumm! So much good food! :) I am going to have to try some of those next year. :)

  2. Wow, you really did create some wonderful goodies!

  3. These sound wonderful. You had a busy day! yummm.

  4. Yum!! And how beautiful everything looks!

  5. Those goodies look AWESOME. You sure did cook up a storm (LOL)!


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