Sunday, December 21, 2014

M&M Pretzel Cookies

Ah, we're in the home stretch.  The last day for free shipping is upon us.  Our presents are wrapped, our holiday baking is done, all that is left is to relax and enjoy the holidays...

Unless your me.  Then, none of those things have happened and you are still scrambling to come up with something to make for your mom's Christmas and then something else to make for your aunt's Christmas.  All this while still wrapping gifts and attending parties and ignoring how sticky your kitchen is.

These cookies are for you.  They are easy and festive and everyone likes a chocolate chip cookie.

M&M Pretzel Cookies

  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 2/3 c. margarine
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-12 ounce bag M&Ms
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pretzels
Beat together shortening and margarine.  Add in sugars.  Beat to combine.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Beat to combine.  Add in whole wheat flour and all purpose flour and mix slowly to combine.  Fold in M&Ms and pretzels.

Scoop tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. If you used butter instead of margarine, leave a lot of room between cookies. They will spread like crazy.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until the bottoms are just starting to turn brown. My family prefers cookies on the gooier side, so I tend to try and err on the side of caution by pulling them out a bit early. However, if you like crunchy cookies, leave them in.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Food Gift Idea-Chocolate Pretzel Bites

When I first saw these at a friend's party, like 4 years ago, I was intrigued.  Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my favorite sweet/salty snacks but I only make them during the holidays because they are a bit tedious.

Then I ate one.  It was kind of like that old Pringles commercial, once you pop you can't stop.  They were just the right combination of sweet/salty/crunchy that one looks for in a snack.  I managed to make my way past the table for just one more, about every 3 minutes.

Fast forward to now, I finally got around to making them.  And I realized what a cute little holiday food gift they would make.  Pile a bunch in a jar, stick a ribbon and a tag, and bam, food gift conducive to mass production.  Also super easy.

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

The amount it makes depends on you.  You need 1 pretzel, to 1 Candy Melt, to 1 M&M.

  • Pretzel "Snaps" (the square lattice pretzels)
  • Candy Melts (I've also seen it done with Hershey's Kisses, but they will take longer to melt.  I used white chocolate peppermint candy melts for more holiday flare)
  • Holiday M&Ms

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  I first tried doing this on broil and burt them to a crisp.  Don't be like me.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Line up pretzels on parchment.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, you could get 30-40 pretzels on a sheet.  Place one candy melt on top of each pretzel.

Bake for like 1 minute.  Watch these babies like a hawk.  Seriously.

Don't be like me, burnt chocolate stinks-literally!

When the Candy Melts are shiny all over pull them out of the oven.  Press one M&M into a soft Candy Melt.  If the M&M doesn't sink in, return the pan to the oven for another 30 seconds to a minute.

Place 1 M&M on top of each Candy Melt.  Allow to cool completely.  Slide off pan and into a jar.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Food Gift Idea: Candied Grapefruit

We all have those people on our Christmas gift list.  You know the people.  The ones you want to give something special but it's not in the budget to spend a lot of cash.

You could pick up yet another tin of half stale caramel corn at the store.  Or, you could make your own homemade food gift.

Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to share different ideas that can be made in bulk and packaged up pretty and sweet for everyone on your list.

First up, candied grapefruit.  Candied citrus is a long time traditional treat at Christmastime.  I love it because you can make it well in advance (weeks and weeks) and it will keep just fine in a jar in the fridge until you are ready.

Candied Grapefruit

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 large grapefruits

In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil.  While the water and sugar are boiling, cut the grapefruits in half.  Juice the grapefruits (or eat them).  With a spoon, dig out all of the fruits membrane and as much pith as possible.  Slice the skin thinly.  Cut out any extra pith.  Toss the grapefruit skins into the boiling sugar/water mixture.  Boil the grapefruit peel until they become translucent, about 30 minutes or so.  Pour peel and syrup into a clean jar.

When you are ready, pull the grapefruit peel pieces out of the syrup.  Pat dry on a paper towel.  Roll in granulated sugar and allow to dry for a few hours.  Bag up and gift away.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas Cookie Roundup

So obviously I have taken some time away from the blog in order to get moved and to get our new place together, but I am back and ready to get started celebrating the holiday season.  Here are some past ideas to get the party started:

Classic Sugar Cookies
Grandma Goodell's Butter Cookies
White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles
Peppermint Bark

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