Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kitchen Confessions {Christmas Baking}

For as long as I can remember, when I was a little girl, I would spend an afternoon in the kitchen with my mom baking and making all sorts of goodies close to Christmas.  We'd package them up and deliver them to neighbors, friends and family.  I have loved carrying on this tradition with my girls because it puts us in the spirit and, let's face it, everyone likes to ignore calories over the holidays, right?!

Sticking true to form (read HERE about how I like to keep things simple in the kitchen, aka pre-made), I usually make really simple and easy treats that don't take a lot of time or ingredients.  But, I can promise you they taste just as good as the made-from-scratch stuff!  This year we made three treats...two old favorites and one new one.

First up was Haystacks. I've been making these since I taught Pre-K, many moons ago.  I made these with those sweet 4 year olds for a Mother's Day Tea and they have since been a crowd favorite.  And, since you don't even have to turn on your oven or stove-top, it's a win in my book!

Haystacks 
Ingredients:
1 package of La Choy Chow Mein Noodles (they are crispy, like crackers)
1 package of white chocolate or butterscotch chips

Directions:
1. Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave on medium (50%) for 1 minute and 30 seconds.  Stir and then continue microwaving additional 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth when stirred.
3.  Add chow mein noodles and stir to coat.  Drop mixture by heaping teaspoons onto wax paper and let stand to firm.

The next favorite we made were Pretzel Rolo Pecan Poppers.  Very descriptive name, huh?  I just asked my hubby what he would call the pretzel-Rolo things I made and he said "Pretzel Rolo Things." :-)  Then together we came up with our fancy, shmancy name.  Don't let the lack of a creative name deter you though because these little poppers are simply perfect.  They are the perfect combination of sweet and salty and perfect when you just want a quick bite of something yummy.  And not to mention, they are also very easy and quick to make!

Pretzel Rolo Pecan Poppers
Ingredients:
Pretzel Snaps (the waffle looking kind)
Rolos
Pecans

Directions:
1. Place pretzels on a baking sheet and top with Rolos
2.  Bake at 300 degrees for 5-6 minutes, or until candies begin to melt.
3. Remove from oven and place a pecan on top of each Rolo.
4. Let stand to firm. ***I usually stick the baking sheet into the fridge to help speed up this process.***

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

The last treat we made this year was a new one. My neighbor and good friend, C, actually gave me some cookies one morning at the bus stop that she had made.  I texted her a few hours later and told her I could not stop eating the cookies.  Could.Not.Stop.  Seriously, all will-power went out the window and that plateful of cookies had disappeared by that evening.  I think I might have let each of my kids have one and the rest were hidden in the pantry so I could sneak them without anyone else knowing.  They were that good.  I would have asked for the recipe right away, but C is known for her baking and she is usually a from-scratch kind of gal and let's be honest, I am not.  Over the weekend, I told her again how awesome the cookies were and she shared the recipe with me. I about fell over when I found out how easy they were to make and, get this, they are NOT from scratch.  Not even close!  The recipe uses pre-made cookie dough.  WHAT?!?!  Yes, pre-made cookie dough.  #MindBlown

I ran right out to the grocery story that afternoon to get the ingredients because this was something I knew I could make!  Pre-made cookie dough?!?! #ThatIsHowIRoll


Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies
Ingredients: 
1 package of peanut butter PRE-MADE cookie dough
Mini Snickers bites or a Snickers bar cut into small pieces 

Directions: 
1. Scoop a spoonful of cookie dough. 
2. Place Snickers candy in the cookie dough. 
3. Wrap cookie dough completely around the Snickers and form into a ball. 
4.  Bake as directed on the cookie dough package...350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

#Boom #Done #Delish



Once everything was made, cooled and sampled for quality control, the kids helped packaged them up in mason jars. Y'all know I wouldn't dare to use anything else!  I think mason jars just make everything that much cuter.  :-)



I tied pretty little ribbons around them, added a gift tag and we are ready for the most fun part of this tradition - the delivery!  We'll pass these to our neighbors, to dance teachers, our bus driver, and close friends, wishing them all a Merry Christmas as we go along!


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