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Holiday

Better Than Snickers Candy

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I love homemade candy, giving and receiving it! I made this recipe a long long time ago. I swear that I ate the entire batch it was that good. Since then, I had searched and searched my mother’s Taste of Home magazines trying to find it. I searched the site, I could not find anything. Then this year I happened to pull out a recipe book for the Holiday and wouldn’t you know, I’ve had the recipe for several years and never knew it. So I had to make it, obvs. This time I had significantly more self control. It helped that I was making these for teacher gifts, but I definitely tested a few pieces. To me this is a magnified snickers bar. It’s got all the snickers elements with peanut butter. Have you fallen in love yet? To say this candy is amazing is an understatement. It’s a little time consuming because you do need to let the layers set before you move onto the next. I just popped the baking dish in the fridge between layers and it was just fine. So there you have it, my day 3 easy to make holiday gifts!

Better Than Snickers Candy

Better Than Snickers Candy

Ingredients

For the base layer

For the filling

For the caramel layer

For the top layer

Instructions

  1. Line a 13x9 inch baking dish with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter. Melt over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Spread into the prepared baking dish and refrigerate until set.
  3. For the filling, melt the butter over medium heat, in a large saucepan. Add in the sugar and milk. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cook and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the marshmallow creme, peanut, and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chopped peanuts. Spread over the base later. Refrigerate until set.
  4. To make the caramel layer, add the unwrapped caramels and cream to a small saucepan. Melt over low heat, stirring to make sure you do not burn the mixture. Heat until the mixture is melted and smooth. Cook and stir 4 minutes longer, taking care not to burn the caramel. Spread over the filling and refrigerate until set.
  5. For the top layer, combine the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Spread over the caramel layer and let the candy set for at least 4 hours but best if overnight.
  6. Once set, I would advise letting the candy sit at room temperature for at least an hour before cutting. If you don't the layers can split (a few of mine did!). Cut into small squares and store in an airtight container.

Notes

Recipe from Taste of Home.

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

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We are down to the wire. It’s just about Christmas and I am over baking…and cleaning…and wrapping up a storm. I’m not sure if anyone else feels like they are on overdrive, but I sure do. I wanted to share some easy to make recipes for this last week. Maybe you want to bake something quick or need something for that work/school holiday party. Whatever it is, I’ve got you covered. The rest of this week I will be posting a new recipe for those last minute baking needs.

This recipe I love. Love, love, love. Gingerbread cookies are so delicious, but I’m one of those people who enjoy soft baked cookies. I’m not really a fan of the crunch, I love a chewy cookie that tastes good and will not break a tooth. I found this recipe and have made them a couple of times. It’s easy to put together and despite the chilling time, are super quick to cut out and bake. My son literally did all of the cut outs for this. It was so fun to make these with him. He loved picking the shapes and I loved watching him. He’s definitely more interested in getting into the kitchen and helping and I could not be more thrilled!

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your standing mixer, cream butter. Gradually add in the sugar. Beat until well combined and light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Beat in the egg, molasses, and vinegar.
  3. Sift all of the dry ingredients together. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until a cohesive dough forms.
  4. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 - 90 minutes.
  5. Once the dough is done chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Working with one batch of dough at a time, roll the dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Roll out to a 1/2 inch thick round. Begin cutting out your desired shape(s).
  6. Bake for 9 - 11 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Of course, if you need to test one at this point, no one will judge you. It's a warm gingerbread cookie.
  7. Once the cookies are cooled completely you can decorate with icing.

Notes

Recipe from Bless this Mess.

Greek Snowball Cookies

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I love holiday traditions. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of the holiday season, ok for me most often it’s easy, but I always make time to bake at least a few cookies. I remember, growing up, we would be decorating for Christmas, watching old Christmas movies, and baking a ton of cookies. My mom is not one to sway from tradition and I definitely inherited that from her. One of my favorite memories this time of year is spending time with my grandparents. I remember my father going to pick my grandma up to bring her to our house to spend a week or so with us for the holiday. She would always come with homemade goodies. Some of which I wish I could replicate, though they somehow do not taste as good as hers. Although my sister makes a MEAN baklava that I would literally die for, so I would say she’s got that down. My grandma would sometimes make these Greek snowball cookies that are dry yet extraordinarily delicious. They are traditionally a celebratory cookie made around the holidays or for a party. I love them. Even more now with a cup of coffee or tea. These little cookies have been on my mind, so I had to make them this year. I found a recipe on the Food Network, it’s not her recipe but it’s close. They are very very easy to make and they certainly look festive. With just a few simple ingredients, you can whip these together in no time. I will warn you, while the flavor and size suggest popping the whole thing in your mouth at once, I would suggest taking bites. The consistency partnered with the powdered sugar will most definitely lead to a coughing fit if consumed at once. Just ask my husband!

 

Greek Snowball Cookies (Kourabiedes)

Greek Snowball Cookies (Kourabiedes)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toast the walnuts until they are golden brown and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool, then chop about half of the nuts (so you have about 1/2 cup). Pulse the remaining nuts in your food processor until finely ground.
  3. Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and nuts together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. In your food processor beat the egg yolk, butter, brandy and vanilla together until the mixture is fluffy. Add in the dry ingredients and pulse together to make a crumbly dough. Place the cookie dough in a bow and set aside. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat mat. With a tablespoon, sccoop our dough and form into balls (or a crescent shape). Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the cookies just start to brown, about 18 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven and let cool slightly. (Basically until they are cool enough to handle but still warm).
  6. Place remaining confectioners' sugar in a plastic zip top bag. Place about 5 cookies at a time in the bag and shake gently to coat with sugar. Remove and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Notes

This recipe is adapted from one I found on the Food Network.

 

The Ultimate Rice Krispie Treat

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Ok, who relaunches a new-ish blog during the Holiday baking season? I do!! Ok, here’s the thing, I love dessert, I love sweets, but that’s not all. I felt sort of stuck with the former blog. I wanted to be able to share all the things that interest me. I mean sure, my sweet tooth leads me to share a lot of baked goods, but I also love to cook, and sew, and knit, and garden. I’m a mom, my family is so important to me and I wanted to feel like I could share all of that here. So with that, I’m excited to share my new blog Live Everyday Fresh. The concept behind this is everyday is a new start. Be it with food, family, crafts, life. I’ve updated most of my social media sites, and will slowly be updating things on here as well. I could have waited and did a fancy unveil, but honestly, why wait? I was too excited and frankly missed posting here.

So now that I got all of that out of the way, I wanted to share a fun and easy treat. Honestly this treat is best consumed on any occasion, but let’s call them a fun and great holiday treat. I titled these “The Ultimate Rice Krispie Treat” mainly because they are seriously delicious and with the extra marshmallows tossed in, this treat is serious business. I wish I could say that I had the utmost self-control when I made these, but I didn’t. I ate more than I will willingly admit here, but I enjoyed every single one.  I made these a while back and thought they would make the best treat for my son’s fourth birthday party. It takes no time to put them together.

The Ultimate Rice Krispie Treat

The Ultimate Rice Krispie Treat

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot, melt butter and 16 cups of marshmallows over low heat. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Stir in the Rice Krispies. Fold in the remaining 4 cups of marshmallows.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Flatten the mixture so that it spreads evenly throughout the baking dish. I found the easiest way to do this is to lightly spray a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray. Use that to gently push the mixture into the baking dish so that it evenly spreads throughout the baking dish.
  4. Let the mixture sit in the baking dish, at room temp, for 30 minutes. Once set, remove from the baking dish and peel back foil. Slice the treats into rectangles or squares. Enjoy!

Notes

This recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker

Spring Sugar Cookies and Royal Icing

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I love cookies. I love sweets in general, but there is something about a good cookie that makes everything feel better sometimes. Cocktails are good for this too, but this post is about cookies, so more about those… Royal icing really elevates the cookie appearance. I have to be honest my icing game has not been the strongest. I think back to the party favors I handed out for my son’s first birthday. I tried to decorate them with polka dots which turned into sharp points of icing that probably tortured everyone eating them. I should have added a note that said “best enjoyed if dunked in coffee…you know to dull the icing spikes” But I didn’t give up. I made some cookies for Christmas that I tried to decorate. #FAIL They were horrible! They tasted delicious, but it looked like my 3 year old made them. But, I tried again. These turned out significantly better than any of the other iced cookies I’ve attempted. I also found this meringue powder which I swear elevated the icing flavor/texture. For the cookies, I’ve used various recipes for the cookie. Personally, I tend to prefer a softer cookie, so I rolled the dough a bit thicker and removed the cookies from the oven at the 8 minute mark. You can certainly adjust to your preference, and frost to enjoy.

 

Ingredients

For the Cookies

For the Royal Icing

Instructions

To make the Cookies

  1. Add the butter to the bowl of your standing mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium high until the butter is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the powdered sugar. Mix on low, increasing the speed a bit once the butter and sugar are combined. (This will help prevent that snow storm effect that happens when you put the mixing speed on too fast at first).
  2. Add in the egg, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and flour. Mix on low speed until just combined.
  3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about an hour.
  4. lightly flour a work surface and roll the dough out. Use any shapes you would like to cut the dough. Place on a prepared baking sheet. and bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Once the cookies are cooled completely, you can begin to frost!

To make the royal icing

  1. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl of your standing mixer. To do this. I usually use a fine mesh strainer placed over the bowl. Add the powdered sugar to the strainer and tap lightly.
  2. Add the meringue powder and water to the bowl with the sugar and mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance. This should take a few minutes, about 5 or so. If it still looks shiny, continue to mix the icing until the shine disappears. At this point, the icing will be fairly stiff.
  3. You will want to being to thin the icing out to pipe the cookies. You want to add just a small amount of water to the bowl at a time. This will help prevent you from making the icing too thin. The appropriate texture for piping is stiff enough to hold it's shape and not bleed, but soft enough to not leave any sharp points.
  4. Once you have reached the appropriate consistency, you can use food coloring to alter the frosting to whatever colors you want. Don't worry about this thinning the frosting out too much. I just wouldn't recommend adding a whole bottle, unless you are making a gigantic batch of icing. To do this, divide the frosting into a few airtight containers (enough for the colors you would like to make) and add the food coloring. Place enough of the color, "piping icing", into bottles or bags to pipe your cookies. Let the icing set before you begin to fill the cookies.
  5. With the remaining frosting, you will want to thin it out so that you can flood the cookies. Add small bits of water to the icing, until the shine has disappeared and the frosting is smooth. The texture should be thick, but drip off of a spoon easily and immediately reincorporate into the icing.
  6. Add the thinned icing to squeeze bottles and let it sit for a bit to allow any air bubbles that have been created to disappear. You can now flood the cookies! You want to add enough to fill the piped area, but not so much that it drips over the sides. Using a tooth pick you can pop any additional bubbles that may appear and also spread the icing to fill the small gaps. Once you are done flooding your cookies, let them dry for about an hour before you begin to decorate with the left over piping icing. If you want to add any sparkly sugar to dress them up, let the icing sit for a bit then add it on. You don't want to to fully incorporate, but you definitely want it to adhere.

Notes

This recipe was slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats.