Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Cookies

We sure do hope that you love reading about all of our Christmas-y things as much as we love sharing them! We're participating in the Show Us How You Live series at Kelly's Korner yet again! See what we're sharing below, then head on over here to get more ideas for yummy stuff!

This week's theme hits a sweet spot for me...literally! Just thinking about Christmas as a kid, I can almost smell Mom's Christmas baking! Actually when I consider both of my parents' love for all things sweet, it's no wonder I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas! As I have yet to dive head first into Christmas baking, I don't have any pictures of the treats I'd like to share with you, but I can GUARANTEE that they're sure to tickle your taste buds!

I know the theme is CHRISTMAS cookies. Although the 2 recipes I want to share appear to have nothing to do with the Christmas season, these are the 2 that remind me most of Christmas at home in years past.

My Daddy gave me his love for Chocolate and Peanut Butter...2 of the main ingredients in his favorite cookies. We called them "Boiled Cookies", but I've also heard them a variety of other things like "No Bake Cookies". Call them whatever you want...just know they are SOOOOOOO good!

4 Tbsp. Cocoa
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Stick Butter
3 Cups Quaker Oatmeal (the real stuff, not the the instant)
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

1-Mix together Cocoa, Sugar and Milk in a sauce pan; bring to boil for 4 minutes.
2-Add butter and let melt while boiling; DO NOT STIR!!!
3-Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients immediately; Mix well.
4-Drop by the spoonful onto a wax paper covered counter.

Mama has made Magic Cookie Bars for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty sure this recipe came from the back of some food packaging or something like that, but for as many times as it's been made in our family, it might as well be an old family recipe!

1 Stick Butter
14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs (If you're like me and make your own crumbs, you'll need about 20 graham cracker squares.)
1 1/3 Cups Coconut Flakes

1-Preheat oven to 350 (325 for a glass dish).
2-Put stick of butter in a 9x13 dish and place in oven while it is preheating.
3-Once butter is melted, remove pan from oven.
4-Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over butter and press with the back of a spoon.
5-Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumbs.
6-Top evenly with remaining ingredients and press lightly with the back of a spoon.
7-Bake 25-30 minutes or until slightly browned.
8-Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

All this talk of chocolate and peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk makes me hungry...Maybe I'll start that Christmas baking a few days early :)



Like Sarai, I fall back to my Mom. Her cookies are seriously legendary. Since she'll be at our house for "BIG Christmas" as my two-year old calls it, I plan to soak up more of her non-measuring and delicious ways. (Though my pregnant self really wants Mr. and Mrs. Claus to tryTHESE, both buttercream and coffee fillings please!)

So instead of cookies, I offer you a few other sweet treats. Baking is such a great way to be able to remember those we care for in a way that we can. I'll break it down to show you the ease and affordability with which you can make these; hopefully if you have similar stores in your area, you will find that to be helpful!

1. Chocolate covered pretzels. Pick up one of those big 'ole plastic containers of pretzel rods and almond bark from Aldis at just a couple of bucks a piece. Get some Christmas sprinkles for a little over a dollar while you're at it. Or, as I did, scrounge around in your cabinets until you find St. Patrick's Day sprinkles which give you a perfectly fine selection of green and white! Lay out wax paper nearby, melt the almond bark in the microwave according to the package directions, and quickly roll your pretzel rods until sufficiently coated. Then cover in sprinkles of your choice and put on the paper to dry. Can I get an "amen" for sweet and salty?

2. Little cakes and breads. Tiny loaves just scream Christmas cuteness, I think. For the white ones, I simply baked a box of mix I got for pennies during a happy trip to the grocery. Then I covered them in cream cheese icing, crunched up candy canes, and grated Hershey chocolate bars. The gingerbread ones were also a simple mix, but I covered the tops of them with a favorite bready concoction: two parts melted butter to one part brown sugar, mixed well, and poured over the top while the bread is still warm.

3. Scones and coffee. No pic here as I'm making them for my hubby's work party, but so many we know just love themselves their coffee. Target has mini-packages for a dollar or less-- just last week I got several for $.35 a piece. Pair that with a few scones, and call it good! For the scones I follow the recipe on Trader Joe's box of pancake/baking mix which simply requires the mix, salted butter, sugar, milk, and dried fruit (optional). The chocolate covered pretzels or a thrift store spoon dipped like the rods (and covered again with mad sprinkles, of course) also make great coffee dippers.

The bags right above and the tin at the top all came from, you guessed it, the Hobby Lobby. Right now they're a dollar for ten bags and $1.20-something for the containers. So many adorable choices to wrap it all up nice and affordably!

Happy baking,


Baking has never really been my forte...eating, yes, but the actual fixing of baked items, not so much. But over the last couple of years, I have challenged myself to really try to create some yummy things in the kitchen! I attended a Pampered Chef party this fall and got one of their cookbooks and in it I found the recipe for this jewel! After Dinner Mint Triangles. It is prefect for a holiday gathering or any gathering! There is no baking involved and it is YUMMY! It might be my new favorite! Don't let the Pampered Chef recipe intimidate you, especially all the tools they say to use. I do not own any of them and my mint triangles turned out perfect!

After Dinner Mint Triangles

2 pkg (10 oz/283 g each) fudge-covered mint cookies
½ cup (125 mL) butter (1 stick)
1¼ cups (300 mL) semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Filling and Topping:
10 oz (300 g) almond bark, broken into squares, or
confectioner’s coating candy melts
1 pkg (8 oz/250 g) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp (5 mL) peppermint extract
6 drops green food coloring
¼ cup (50 mL) semi-sweet chocolate morsels

1. For crust, place half of the cookies in large resealable plastic bag; crush into very fine crumbs using flat end of Meat Tenderizer. Place crumbs into Stainless (4-qt./4-L) Mixing Bowl; repeat with remaining cookies. Place butter and chocolate morsels in Small Batter Bowl; microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 1–1½ minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until smooth using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. Add chocolate mixture to crumbs; mix until all crumbs are moistened. Spread crumb mixture evenly over Medium Sheet Pan; using hands, firmly pack evenly into pan. Place in freezer at least 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, for filling, place almond bark into Large Micro-Cooker®. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 2–3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds with Classic Scraper until bark is mostly melted. Remove from microwave; stir until smooth. Using Stainless Whisk, whisk cream cheese in Stainless (2-qt./2-L) Mixing Bowl until smooth. Whisk in extract and food coloring until smooth. Add bark; whisk well. Spread filling over crust with Small Spreader; set aside.
3. Place remaining chocolate morsels into (1-cup/250-mL) Prep Bowl; microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 30–45 seconds or until melted, stirring every 15 seconds. Place small resealable plastic bag into Measure-All® Cup. Pour chocolate into corner of bag. Twist top of bag; secure. Cut corner off of bag using Professional Shears. Drizzle chocolate over filling. Let stand until chocolate is firm. Cut dessert into 16 rectangles (four rows of four rectangles each). Cut in half diagonally to make 32 triangles.

When my friend Shannon moved to North Carolina, she introduced me to her Ohio favorite, the Buckeye. Not only do they play some mean football, they are some yummy treats. I recently found this recipe on Kraft Food and Family and knew I had to try it. What could be better than the combination of peanut butter and chocolate!

Buckeye Bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
22 NILLA Wafers, crushed
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 of 8-oz. tub COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (Do not thaw.)
3 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

LINE 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Beat butter and peanut butter with mixer until blended. Mix in wafer crumbs. Gradually add sugar, mixing well after each addition. Press onto bottom of pan.
MICROWAVE COOL WHIP and chocolate in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 min.; stir. Microwave 15 to 30 sec. or until chocolate is melted; stir until blended. Spread over peanut butter layer.
REFRIGERATE 2 hours. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting to serve.

May the treats of the season add a little sweetness to your days!

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