Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cookin' up Christmas

I had 9 days before Christmas and had just started my Christmas baking.  What was I thinking?!?  Usually I start right after Thanksgiving, but not this year.  I still have presents to make so of course I've procrastinated.  Well, I'm happy to say that most of my baking/candy making is done with only a couple things left.  I still have to finish presents, but I'm almost done with one then the others will go easier (I hope). 
I thought I would include some of my traditional candy recipes.  Treats that must be made every year.  Hope you take the time to try them.
This fudge recipe is in a previous post.

Peanut Butter Ritz Candy

1 box Ritz Crackers
1 jar Peanut Butter
1 jar Marshmallow Cream
Dipping Chocolate – white and brown
Colored sprinkles optional (red and green)

Spread one cracker with peanut butter and another with marshmallow cream. Put two crackers together to make a sandwich and then cover with melted chocolate. You can decorate the tops while still “wet” with sprinkles or when “dry” with opposite colored chocolate.

English Toffee

½-¾ C finely chopped nuts (usually walnuts, but whatever you have will work)
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter
5 TBSP water
Hershey candy bars to fit the bottom of a pie tin/plate

Place chopped nuts in bottom of pie tin and lay the candy bars on top. In saucepan place sugar, butter and water cooking on high for 5-8 min until color is of a dark caramel. Stir constantly or mix will burn.

Uncle Dean's Sweet Mix

1 ½ cups corn syrup
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
1- big box Honey Grahams*
1- big box Rice Chex*
1 package slivered almonds*
1 cup (+/-) coconut*

Pour cereals, almonds, and coconut into a big bowl.

Over medium/medium-high heat stir together sugar, syrup and butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 min. Add the vanilla and pour over the cereal mix.

Spread out on 2-3 greased cookie sheets. Cool then eat.

* Nuts and amount of coconut are up to your tastes. You can use two boxes of Chex cereal but the contrast is best.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jam Tarts

Why is it I've never made tarts before?  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I don't have a tart pan or maybe I'm just lazy and thought making them was too much effort.  Whatever the reason I'm glad I made these.

The original recipe was found here:
I was so happy to be able to use some of the more unique jams (like raspberry mango and orange peach) that I have canned to make these, but any jam would work.

Jam Tartlets

For the pastry:
6 oz. cream cheese
1 c. butter
2 c. flour
1/8 t. salt

For Filling:
Favorite jam

Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add flour and salt and beat until dough comes together and forms a ball

To assemble:
1. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter or glass, cut out circles. Press into mini muffin tins, going all the way up the sides of the cups.
2. Spoon in jam to 2/3 full
3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden brown and filling is set.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar when completely cooled.

linked to

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

I came across this recipe on a blog I follow and all I can say is YUMMM!  This is so good and delicious.  Original recipe was found at

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

1 loaf french bread

2 1/2 cups lowfat milk
1 Tbl flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbl sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)

2 Tbl sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

Cut the bread loaf into thick slices.

Combine and whisk the next set of ingredients from the milk down to the eggs

In a saucepan, combine the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly till bubbly (about 5 minutes)

Grease a 9x13 pan and you're ready to combine all the ingredients

Pour the caramel mixture in the bottom of the pan.

Place the bread slices, in a single layer over the caramel syrup. Squish them in; it's okay to crowd

Pour the milk/egg/pumpkin mixture over the top

Place plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle Cinnamon/Sugar mixture over the top (2 Tbl sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon).

Bake for 50 minutes and let it stand for 5 minutes before serving. It will be big a puffy at first and slowly settle down.
Serve with syrup if you want, but we thought it great without and really do my kids need more sugar?  Cool Whip topping would also be great.  Enjoy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Candy Cane Cookies

A couple of years ago while watching Food Network I saw Sandra Lee whip up a batch of these cute candy cane cookies and it was super simple.  I made them that year and then never since.  Evan has been asking for them a lot, so I made some.

1 batch of sugar cookie dough - either from scratch or use Betty Crocker mix
Red food coloring
Peppermint extract

Once dough is made split it in half.  Color and flavor one  half with coloring and extract.  Roll dough into ropes and twine together, then bend to form candy cane.  Place on cookie sheet and cook as directed by recipe.  Enjoy! 
See super easy and tasty.  Why didn't I make these sooner????