Remembering back to being a kid always seems the same to me. Dad would buy all sorts of nuts by the pound during the holidays and bring out the nutcrackers. There was always a box (or 2) of See’s candies (I just loved the Bordeauxs and since there was only 1 or 2 to the box tried to be the first to find them) and the tins and tins of butter cookies, snickerdoodles, peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge as well as the sugar cookies that us kids iced and decorated.
One of our new favorites here for Christmas is:
Whether you use homemade or store bought these cookies turn out swoon worthy of any holiday goodie platter. They are sooooo simple, but look and taste sooooo decadent.
GOOEY CARAMEL TOPPED GINGERSNAPS
42 gingersnap cookies, (homemade or store bought)
14 ounces KRAFT caramels
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup + 1/4 cup finely chopped honey roasted peanuts
12 ounces combination of white and dark chocolate
Sprinkles of choice (I like chocolate for the holidays)
- Arrange cookies on cooling rack line baking sheet.**
- In a microwave melt the caramels with the heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
- Stir in peanuts.
- Spoon about a teaspoon over each cookie.
- Refrigerate until set.
- Alternately melt white and dark chocolates.
- Coat each cookie halfway with one of the chocolates, return to the rack allowing the excess to drip off.
- Sprinkle with sprinkles and/or crushed peanuts.
- Refrigerate until set.
NOTE** Was paper or parchment paper works well also.
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup CRISCO
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
sugar for rolling
- Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves. Set aside.
- Cream butter and crisco together until smooth.
- Add sugar and molasses, blending until smooth.
- Add flour mixture gradually until well blended.
- Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Roll dough into small balls
- Roll balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
- Bake 8 minutes for soft chewy cookies and 12 minutes for crisp cookies.
AND the other is this wonderful no bake recipe:
CHOCOLATE PRETZEL PB SQUARES
2 cups pretzels, crushed into crumbs
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 ¼ cups peanut butter
¾ cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
½ cup Heath bit pieces
- Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray!
- In a large bowl mix together the pretzel crumbs and powdered sugar until well blended.
- Mix in melted butter and 1 cup of the peanut butter.
- Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.
- Sprinkle evenly with Heath Bit pieces.
- In a microwave safe bowl melt combine the remaining peanut butter with the milk chocolate chips. Heat at 30 second intervals, stirring after each until melted and smooth.
- Spread over the layer in the baking dish.
- Garnish with Heath bit pieces and broken pretzel bits.
- Chill at least 1 hour before cutting.
- Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
Then there are the tried and true favorites of the past!
PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE DROPS
2/3 cup HOT water
10 ounces Land of Lakes cocoa mix
2 cups JIF creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 cups C&H powdered sugar, divided 2cups + 1 cup
2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
2 cups crushed ginger snaps
72 Hershey Kisses (I like the cherry cordials)
- Whisk together the hot water and cocoa mix until smooth.
- Add peanut butter and corn syrup. Blend until smooth.
- Add 2 cups powdered sugar and stir until well blended.
- Stir in cookie crumbs until well blended.
- Spray wax paper with PURE (these will be sticky so don’t forget this step).
- Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto the wax paper.
- Place the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl.
- Roll each piece of dough into a ball and dredge in powdered sugar.
- Press your thumb into the center and fill with a Hershey’s kiss.
Now there is much debate over Gran’s cranberry salad recipe, but one thing was for sure, she’d have to make a double batch, one for my mom and aunt and another for everyone else. Now while I usually helped prepare the above recipe, AND I hated it the prep AND the salad itself!! One year she even decided the grapes needed to be peeled – need I say more? And recently Jean from SO NOT ORGANIZED pointed out that the grapes in the recipe seemed strange, but I’m here to tell you that they really MAKE the recipe. 😀
I much prefer the recipe below. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but I usually eat a whole batch by myself.
1 package (3 ounces) cherry Jell-o
1 package (3 ounces) black cherry Jell-o
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 can (14 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups seedless green grapes, quartered
chopped pecans (optional)
- Dissolve the jell-o in the boiling water in a large bowl.
- Fold in the pineapple and cranberry sauce.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Fold in grapes and pecans if desired.
- Refrigerate until firm.
Now on to the REALLY yummy stuff!
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a 13×9 cake pan with heavy duty foil, leaving plenty on the edges to use as handles later. This will make clean-up so much easier.
- In a medium mixing bowl stir together the pretzels, sugar and melted butter until well blended.
- Press the pretzel mixture evenly into the bottom of the cake pan.
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
11 ounce package caramel baking bits (or 14 ounce vanilla caramels, unwrapped)
2 cups honey roasted peanuts
- In a medium saucepan melt butter over a medium heat.
- Whisk in the whipping cream and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in caramel bits, stirring constantly until bits are melted and sauce is smooth.
- Add in peanuts to coat well.
- Immediately pour over pretzel layer, spreading evenly.
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup Heath milk chocolate toffee bits
- Scatter each of these over the caramel layer.
- Bake 25-30 minutes or until edges are bubbling.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack.
- Lift foil edges to remove bars from pan.
- Cut into bars.
- Layer between wax paper in an airtight container. I store them in the fridge, but the can also be frozen for 3 months.
My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me. My cousins and I would wait out on the front steps for her arrive just to see them, the wreaths that is. She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect! Aunt Louise was just plain crazy it seemed to me. I can’t pinpoint any one thing that made me think that, but as the years wore she continually proved it. Let’s just say if the made a movie of her life, Shirley MacLaine would play her part. Aunt Louise reminds me of Shirley’s character Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias.
CRAZY AUNT LOUISE’S HOLIDAY WREATHS (these are better when they are made a few days ahead)
30 large marshmallows (or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2 cups cornflakes
- Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler. Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
- Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
- Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
- Decorate with red hots.
- Let cool.
- If your house is warm – chill in refrigerator until set.
A few more favorite links are: