Tag Archives: candy

8th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Recap

Here is a quick recap of our yearly baking madness! Scroll to the end for links to even more cookie deliciousness.

A very Merry Christmas to family and friends far and near!

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

DAY ONE: Snow Capped Christmas Trees

 Chocolate Toffee Cookies

DAY TWO: Chocolate Fudge Toffee Cookies

Cinnamon Pecans 2

DAY THREE: Cinnamon Pecans

 Molasses Crinkles

DAY FOUR: Molasses Crinkles

 Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

DAY FIVE: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

 Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

DAY SIX: Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

 Nutella Fudge

DAY SEVEN: Nutella Fudge

 Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

DAY EIGHT: Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

 Almond Toffee Triangles 2

DAY NINE: Almond Toffee Triangles

 Cream Cheese Mints 
DAY TEN: Cream Cheese Mints

 Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

DAY ELEVEN: Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies  

 Homemade Caramels

DAY TWELVE: Homemade Caramels

 

#LIGHTtheWORLD

 

More Christmas Cookies and Treats:

1st Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

2nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

3rd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

4th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

5th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2015)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and Treats): Easy Homemade Caramels

Homemade Caramels

DAY 12: Homemade Caramels

Soft and chewy homemade caramels. This recipe uses sweetened condensed milk, so they come together faster than starting with a true caramelized sugar base. This method also produces very consistent results, with little chance of gritty caramels or seizing.

If you don’t have (or don’t want to use) sweetened condensed milk, try this recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce, and cook it to about 245°F.

The hardest part of making these is not popping one in your mouth every time you walk past their container.

This recipe (cooked to a lower temperature, about 235°F) can also be used to make a homemade filling for these Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints:

DSC05126-2

RECIPE:

Homemade Caramels

Homemade Caramels

1 cup unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
½ tsp sea salt

Line an 8×8” pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over the edge on 2 sides.

Combine butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a low but continuous simmer, until caramel reaches 245°F, stirring occasionally. This will take about 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

Pour hot caramel into lined pan (do not scrape the sides of the cooking pan when you pour it into the square pan). Cool, uncovered, at room temperature until completely cooled and firm. Remove from pan and cut into pieces. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper.

 

CARAMEL FILING OR SAUCE: To use as a filling for thumbprint cookies, or as a caramel sauce, cook caramel to 235°F (soft ball stage) for caramel filling, or slightly lower for a caramel sauce.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and Treats): Cream Cheese Mints

Cream Cheese Mints

DAY 10: Cream Cheese Mints

Melt in your mouth cream cheese mints.

Making these mints is like playing with scented edible Play Doh. The hardest challenge will be keeping your kids from playing with it and eating it before you can roll the mints.

Cream Cheese Mints 2

RECIPE:

Cream Cheese Mints

Cream Cheese Mints

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs butter, softened
1 lb powdered sugar (plus additional, if needed)
¼–½  tsp peppermint extract (or a few drops of peppermint oil)
Red and green gel food coloring

Place cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Add ¼ tsp peppermint extract or a few drops of peppermint oil. Taste mixture and add additional flavoring, if desired. (Mixture can also be mixed and kneaded by hand.)

Divide dough into thirds and place in separate bowls. Add red and green food coloring to two of the bowls. Knead in coloring until color is consistently smooth. Add additional powdered sugar if the dough is too sticky. It should be Play Doh consistency.

Shape dough into small balls and then flatten with a fork. Place on a sheet of parchment paper. Allow mints to dry for 2 hours (longer in humid locations) at room temperature before storing in a covered container.

Candy molds can also be used to make shaped mints. If you are using candy molds to shape the mints, roll the balls in granulated sugar before pressing into the candy molds to keep them from sticking.

Makes about 50 mints.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and Treats): Easy Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Nutella Fudge

DAY 7: Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Can you ever go wrong adding Nutella to a dessert?

Here is a perfect example: a rich, creamy fudge made even more delicious by adding Nutella. Plus lots of toasted nuts. And nuts are protein, so that makes this healthy, right?

You can also make this completely smooth and creamy, but I love the addition of chopped toasted nuts. I like lots of nuts per bite, so I use 2 full cups of chopped nuts, but if you just want the nuts sprinkled here and there, use less. My ideal fudge would be a pile of nuts with just enough chocolate to hold the nuts together in one piece!

I used a small cookie scoop to scoop the warm fudge into miniature foil cups. You can also spread it into an 8” square pan and cut it into squares.

Nutella tip: to easily measure Nutella, warm the jar of Nutella in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (be sure that all of the foil seal is removed first!). Spray a measuring cup with oil or cooking spray, then pour warm Nutella into the measuring cup.

RECIPE:

Nutella Fudge

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

1 cup Nutella
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (about 1 heaping cup bittersweet chips)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbs salted butter
1/8 tsp salt (omit salt if using salted nuts)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 cups chopped toasted nuts, optional **

If you are making fudge in a pan, lightly grease an 8” square pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over the edge on 2 sides. If you are making individual fudge cups, lay 48-64 miniature foil baking cups on a rimmed baking sheet or tray.

Place Nutella, chopped bittersweet chocolate, sweet milk and butter in the top of a double boiler. Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer, reduce heat to low and place the top of the double boiler with the chocolate mixture over the water. Stir until mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in salt, vanilla and chopped toasted nuts.

Spread warm fudge into the prepared pan OR use a small cookie scoop (or spoon) to drop about 1 tablespoon of warm fudge into each foil cup. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until fudge is firm.

If fudge was prepared in a pan: For easier cutting, run the knife under hot water, then pat dry before using to cut the fudge. Run the knife along the edges of the pan and use the parchment paper to lift out the block of fudge. Rinse knife in hot water again, dry. and cut the fudge into 1” squares (cut larger squares, if desired). Rinse and dry knife before each new cut.

Makes 48-64 servings

**To toast nuts: Coarsely chop nuts and spread into an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake at350°F for 5-10 minutes.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other treats): Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

Cinnamon Pecans 2

DAY 3: Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

A simple recipe that makes great neighbor gifts. Fill a mason jar or clear treat bag and add a Christmas message for an easy gift that everyone loves!

RECIPE:

Cinnamon Pecans 2

Cinnamon Roasted Pecans

1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups raw pecan halves
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs cinnamon
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk egg white and vanilla in a large bowl until slightly frothy. Add pecans and stir until nuts are well coated.

Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl until well mixed. Gradually stir into mixing bowl with the nuts, stirring constantly until pecans are coated evenly.

Spread onto lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir with a rubber spatula and return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Remove parchment paper (with the nuts still on it) and place onto a wire cooling rack. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Caramel Christmas Chex Mix

Caramel Christmas Chex Mix

DAY 5: Caramel Christmas Chex Mix

Not a cookie, but a fun treat to make for family and friends. And maybe slightly addicting. Just a friendly warning.

Caramel Christmas Chex Mix 2

RECIPE:

Caramel Christmas Chex Mix

Caramel Christmas Chex Mix

1 cup butter
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup light or dark corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
14 0z box Chex cereal (Rice and/or Corn)
1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts
1 ½ cups whole cashews
½ cup Christmas sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 1 large or 2 medium rimmed baking sheets with non-stick foil.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and then vanilla (mixture will foam).

Place cereal and nuts in a very large bowl. Pour caramel over the cereal/nuts and gently stir with a large rubber spatula. Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes. Let mixture cool in pan for 2 minutes. If your sprinkles DO NOT melt when heated, stir them into the mixture now. Let Chex mix cool completely in pan, stirring 2-3 times as the mixture cools. If your sprinkles DO melt when heated, wait until mixture is cool to touch, and then stir in the sprinkles.

Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

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Fifth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Round-up

Twelve more cookie and treats to help you celebrate this Christmas season.

As you whisk and sift and bake this year, be sure to look up from your bowls of flour and melted chocolate to appreciate the joy and wonder of the Christmas season. As we share and give our love to those around us (whether that is through cookies, gifts or service), may we also remember the gift of love given to each of us on that very first Christmas.

Shortbread 3

DAY 1: Scottish Shortbread

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies 2

DAY 2: Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Raspberry Blondies 1

DAY 3: Raspberry Swirl Blondies

Oreo Truffles 1

DAY 4: Oreo Truffles

Ninjabread Men 3

DAY 5: Ninja-bread Men Cookies

Hot Cocoa Mix 2

DAY 6: Hot Cocoa Mix

Peppermint Marshmallows 1

DAY 7: Peppermint Swirl Marshmallows

Nutella Marbled Cheesecake Bars

DAY 8: Nutella Marbled Cheesecake Bars

Cranberry Orange Cookies 3

DAY 9: Glazed Cranberry Orange Cookies

Rocky Road Cookies

DAY 10: Rocky Road Cookies

Christmas Fortune Cookies

DAY 11: Christmas Fortune Cookies

Peppermint Bark 1

DAY 12: Peppermint Bark Snowflakes

For forty-eight more cookie and candy ideas, there are links below for the four previous years’ Christmas Cookies:

First Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

Third Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

Fourth Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

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My best wishes to each of you for a faith filled Christmas season.  May God be with you and your family.

Click the photo above or HERE for videos, music, cards and messages reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas, the gift of the Savior of the world, and how we can incorporate that meaning into our lives every day.

No Empty Chairs Signature

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Peppermint Bark Snowflakes

Peppermint Bark 1

DAY 12: Peppermint Bark Snowflakes

Layers of dark and white chocolate with crushed candy canes. You can spread the bark into a large slab and then break apart when hardened. OR: Use a silicone mold to make fun individual Peppermint Bark Snowflakes.

The bottom chocolate layer in this mold ends up with a fun imprinted design.

Peppermint bark is simply layers of dark and white chocolate flavored with peppermint extract and sprinkled with crushed candy canes between the layers and on the top.

I like to use very finely crushed candy canes (the “dust” that you get when you crush them) in between the layers, and the more coarsely chopped candy canes on the top layer.

Peppermint Bark 2

Let harden in the mold and pop them out for a fun treat. Or an easy, no-bake gift.

RECIPE:

Peppermint Bark 1

Peppermint Bark Snowflakes

8-10 candy canes
8oz dark melting chocolate
8oz white melting chocolate
1/2 tsp peppermint extract, divided

Crush candy canes in a Ziploc bag or bowl. Reserve the larger pieces of crushed candy canes to use on the top of the peppermint bark.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate in the microwave. Stir in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract. Spoon into a Ziploc bag. Cut off a small corner and use bag to pipe chocolate into 12 silicone snowflake molds. Use a toothpick, if necessary to smooth chocolate into crevices of molds. Sprinkle top of melted dark chocolate with finely crushed candy canes. Let dark chocolate harden for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator before adding white layer.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate in the microwave. Stir in 1/4 tsp peppermint extract. Spoon into a Ziploc bag. Cut off a small corner and use bag to pipe white chocolate over the dark chocolate. Use a toothpick to spread to the edges of the mold. Sprinkle with the more coarsely chopped candy cane pieces. Let bark harden completely. Pop out of molds and store at room temperature.

If you are not using molds, spread layers of dark and white chocolate onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or non-stick foil. Let harden and break into large pieces.

Makes 12 snowflakes

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles 1

DAY 4: Oreo Truffles

Delicious truffles without all of the work. Three ingredients: Oreos (regular, not Doublestuff), cream cheese and dipping chocolate (plus any sprinkles or toppings you want to decorated them with). I know that these are “cheater” truffles, but sometimes that is all I have the energy for.

They are especially good if you use the Peppermint Oreos and top them with crushed candy canes:

Oreo Truffles 3

For the chocolate haters in your house, try these with Golden Oreos and white chocolate. You don’t have chocolate haters in your house? Count your blessings. But still try the vanilla variety. Just dip them in good old-fashioned dark chocolate.

The insides of these truffles are simply made by mixing crushed Oreos with cream cheese. These are great for kids to help make. Better them with the messy hands than me!

Oreo Truffles 2

RECIPE:

Oreo Truffles 1

Oreo Truffles
———
(adapted from Kraft)

36 Oreo cookies (Original, Peppermint or Golden Oreos)
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
About 1 lb dipping chocolate (dark, milk, or white chocolate)
Toppings (additional crushed Oreos, sprinkles, crushed candy canes, drizzled colored chocolate)

Finely crush Oreos (with the filling) in a food processor or by hand. Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.

Shape truffle filling into 48 (1-inch) balls. Refrigerate undipped truffle balls for 30-60 minutes for easier dipping (not necessary but helpful).

Melt dipping chocolate. Using a fork, dip truffles in the melted chocolate. Use a second fork to push the truffle onto waxed paper or parchment paper lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with crushed Oreos, candy canes or sprinkles while chocolate coating is still wet. **

Refrigerate until firm.

** NOTE: If you are piping contrasting colors of chocolate onto the truffles, do this AFTER the chocolate coating has hardened.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Nanaimo Bars

100711 006-1DAY 6: Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo is a little town on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It is where my dear husband spent the first half of his childhood. These bars have a controversial history all their own, but Canadians are ever true to these bars originating in their little seaside town. More info and the recipe officially adopted by Nanaimo can be found on the Nanaimo city website.

These bars are definitely more like a candy than cookie. If you remember that before you take a great big bite, they will not seem so outrageously sweet. Think  “double frosted fudge”  not “brownie”  and you will take appropriate nibbles that will keep your blood sugar in check.

RECIPE:

100711 007-1

Nanaimo Bars
——–(from the City of Nanaimo website)

Bottom Layer
½ cup butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 Tbs cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup shredded coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in graham cracker crumbs, almonds and coconut. Press firmly into a buttered 8″ x 8″ pan.

Middle Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbs plus 2 tsp cream
2 Tbs vanilla custard powder (Birds’ Custard Powder)
½ tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Top Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbs unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over middle layer and chill in refrigerator until firm.  Cut into small squares.

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