As I made clear earlier this week, I am a baker but some great holiday goodies such as Christmas Candies don’t require the time, ingredients, or effort of baked goods. So this post is for all of you procrastinators who still want/need to put together dessert plates, goody bags, or fill up stockings with easy to make and clean up homemade treats.
1. Peanut Brittle: As I mentioned in my November post The Great Pumpkin I had found a great wanna-be See’s candy peanut brittle recipe I wanted to try out this winter. I made some for my cookies and cocoa night (see post-parade cookies and cocoa) gave some for Luke to take to work, and have kept the rest in a christmas tin for people to snack on through the season.
Each place I took this crunchy brittle to the container came back empty-I’ll take that as a good sign. The recipe calls for the perfect balance of butter, salt, and caramelized sugar. Even though the recipe provides specifics about temperatures of candy thermometers I had no problems following along without one. For the original recipes click on eatsybitsydaisy.com.
2. Chocolate Covered Candy Cane Joe Joe’s: I got in the habit of making chocolate dipping Oreos and to give away as cheap Christmas gifts back in Junior High and have been making them ever since. This year I went to Rochester and bought Trader Joe Candy Cane Joe Joe’s to chocolate dip.
I have no specific recipe but I can walk you through what I do: After lining baking sheets with wax paper and clearing room in either the fridge or freezer for the sheets I slowly melt a bag of chocolate morsels with 1 tablespoon of shortening in a medium pot, stirring with a spatula. Once the mixture melts I quickly take it off the stove, drop the cookies in the chocolate one at a time, then scoop them up with a fork. I let the excess chocolate drip off back into the pot then let them slide onto the wax paper. With white chocolate I have to use double the shortening, longer/slower melting time, as well as I double dip them because the mixture is thinner. In the end they are stackable and easy treats to store in a bin in the freezer.
3. Haystacks: I grew up making these with my grandmother who always had a Christmas tin available of these crispy butterscotch treats at our holiday get-togethers. Last Christmas I found out that haystacks are Luke’s favorite Christmas treat. He also grew up with a grandmother who would make them for him at Christmas as well. Last year I made the haystacks and hid the tin until Christmas morning. This year Luke expected them. For these goodies I use a whole bag of butterscotch chips melted with a 1/2 C peanut butter and stir in peanuts and crispy chow mein doodles. I then stick spoonfuls on baking sheets covered in wax paper to let them cool. If you want a more formal recipe you can find it on the back of most nestle butterscotch chip bags.
Do you have a favorite Christmas goody or candy?