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12.28.2015  merry, merry! Post 3
Christmas Yummies


If you missed the first merry, merry post, you might want to go back and just read the
introduction if nothing else.  Because this post will be referring to getting ready for
Christmas in 2016 and the first post gives you the background info on that.

Two things you need before you start cooking Christmas goodies .... Christmas
music and an apron.  Do you need to add these to your calendar?

As I mentioned in a recent post, I finally purchased myself an apron and I love it.
I was so tired of messing up/ruining my clothes, since I spend so much more
time now in the kitchen.  I purchased my bib apron from Amazon.com for
around $10.  Brittney says it needs to be monagrammed with "CiCi". :)

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Music: This is a must at Christmas, but I like music all the time.  Quite a few years ago I
purchased a Bose Sound Link.  It is wireless and works with my iPhone.  I download
songs from iTunes and create Playlists.  So of course I have a Christmas Playlist that I
listen to while cooking.  The Bose Sound Link is pricey to purchase, but has great
sound quality and since it's wireless you can carry it from room to room or place the
speaker wherever you want it.  I put it on top of my frig out of the way when I want it
in the kitchen.  And since I create my own Playlists, I'm only listening to the songs I
like.   (And no, there's no Country Music on there! :D)
Nothing like Christmas music to get you in the Christmas Spirit!
This is a Google image, but this is what mine looks like.

My idea of what Christmas yummies should be like was formed by my sister, Carol.  She
made all kinds of goodies and stored them in decorative tins for family and visitors to
partake of.  So she shared her recipes with me and I've added my own, and
now I do the same thing at my house.  I cook all kinds of goodies and store them
in decorative tins to share with family and friends.  The kids who come to
visit especially love it, because I keep them on a buffet that they can easily reach.
They don't have to ask permission for goodies; they just get what they want.  Christmas
napkins are on hand and you just grab what you want and go!  There's also a stash
of candy canes, peppermint and Kisses. ;)

So I've always got my eye out for a cute tin.  Do you need tins for your goodies?

Before I decide what goodies I'm going to fix for Christmas I always take requests,
although I pretty much know what each family member's favorite is:
Brittney - Kissy Cookie
Dakota - Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Chris - Martha Washingtons
Nathan - loves everything :)
Mine - Wreath Cookie


Chocolate Covered Pretzels

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Chocolate Covered Pretzels are Dakota's favorite and they're easy to make.  Basically you're
just melting chocolate and dipping the pretzels.  I use chocolate and vanilla almond
bark to make mine.  And you'll see from the photos that I'm also old school and
use a double boiler instead of the microwave.  For those of you who don't know,
a double boiler is where you put a small amount of water in the lower boiler or pot
and the chocolate or whatever you're melting in the top boiler.  This slow melting
process keeps it from burning.  If you don't have a double boiler, you can stack two
pots of about the same size.  Just watch out for the steam or you'll get burned.
Years ago my dad bought us a set of Pyrex pots and pans.  I gave my
set to Brittney when she got married except for the double boiler.  I've now
purchased both of us 2 sets of Wolfgang Puck stainless steel cookware
which I love.  So that's what you'll see me using while cooking ... except for the
double boiler. :)

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

I'd already dipped these mini pretzels before I even thought about taking any
photos.  I'm not too particular about the chocolate, because Dakota doesn't
care and the more chocolate on them the better.  I dip them and lay them on
long sheets of wax paper to dry.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

You can tell the chocolate has gotten hotter on these because they look better.
So the hotter the chocolate, the thinner it gets.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

This is how the vanilla almond bark starts out.  This is half a pack.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Double boiler method

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Stir the vanilla or chocolate as it is melting, then once it's melted drop in several
pretzels and use a fork to cover them with your vanilla/chocolate.  This tiny little
fork is perfect for this.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Remove the pretzel from the mixture and tap lightly on the side of the bowl to
remove the excess.  Lay on wax paper to dry.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Once the pretzels are dry, use the extra vanilla to add stripes to the chocolate pretzels
by swinging a dripping spoonful of vanilla over the chocolate pretzels.  Do the
same to the vanilla pretzels using chocolate.  For the best effect, make sure you
swing the spoon in the same direction.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!


Kissy Cookies

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

These are Brittney's favorite and they are good.  A chocolate kiss surrounded by
a cookie similar to a Pecan Sandie and rolled in powdered sugar. 

These are also easy to make, but do take a little time because you have to chill
the dough.  However, I always have to "unchill" the dough because it's too hard.
So I'm wondering if chilling the dough is necessary.  One day I'm going to give it
a try.  I always just make the dough up one night, refrigerate the dough,
then make the cookies the next day. 

Print Recipe
1 C butter
1/2 C sugar
2 C all purpose flour
1 t vanilla
1 C nuts (finely chopped)
Kisses

Cream butter and sugar together.  Mix in all other ingredients except Kisses and
chill.  Roll dough around the Kisses and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375
degrees for 12 min.  Cool for a minute or so and roll in powdered sugar.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Getting ready to bake.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

This one has baked and cooled for a minute.  I put the powdered sugar into
a small, deep bowl for rolling.  You want to roll them while they're still warm.  If
you wait until they're cool, the sugar won't stick.  But if you don't give them a little time
to cool, they'll just crumble in your hand. 

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Once it's been rolled, I place it on a long strip of wax paper.  After I've rolled all
the cookies, I give them all another roll for good measure. ;)


Pecan Turtles

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

This was a new addition to our line up this year, but it got good reviews.  They guys
especially liked them.  Here's the recipe:
Chocolate and Pecan Turtle Clusters

Here's how I packed the Turtles in the tin after they dried.
 
merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Pull off a strip of wax paper the width of the tin lid and lay the lid on top of the paper upside down.  Trace around the lid and then cut out the circle.  Cut just inside the circle making the circle of wax paper just smaller than the tin.  Place the circle of wax paper
in the bottom of the tin.  If it's too big, trim to fit.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Add your first layer of Turtles to the tin.  Then using wax paper and the lid, make
another circle of wax paper.  Lay it on top of the Turtles.  Add another layer of
Turtles on top of the paper.  Continue layering wax paper and Turtles until the tin is full.
Eat the rest!  jk  Send the rest home with your SIL or store in a ziplock bag or another
tin. :D

All these cookies and candies freeze well stored like this, so you can make them ahead of
time.  (You can add this to your calendar ;) )  Just be sure to store flat and put in a place
in your freezer where they won't get jostled.


I also took the time out to bake/decorate sugar cookies with Dakota.  This was time I
didn't really have, but one day she won't want do this with me, so I made the time
to do this.  It was important and she enjoyed it so much I was glad I did.  You can't
put a price on times like this.

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

I love that face!!!

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Some I helped her decorate.  I tried out a new icing recipe.  It gives them a shiny
finish and it's really sweet.  Too sweet for me, but the kids like it. 
We used store bought dough and some new cookie cutters I'd purchased just for
this. 
Icing Recipe


Wreath Cookies

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

And this is my favorite cookie.  Which it is barely a cookie ... just a hint of a cookie.  :)
A little bit of a cookie with a sprig of icing and that's it.  Yum!
Making this cookie is not for the faint of heart.  Making the dough is nothing.  It's
the forming of the cookie itself.  I'm going to say you need a cookie press to make
it, but I haven't always had a cookie press and I think I made them without one.
But for the life of me I do not know how.  Anyway, I have a Pampered Chef cookie press
with a wheel that forms this shape.  And getting it to work is sometimes easy and sometimes not.  I should say getting the dough to stick to the pan, but I think I have
finally solved the mystery.  The pan can have NO OIL ON IT.  So once you use it and
you want to reuse it, you must wash it to remove all oil from the pan to get the
dough to stick.  Last year I was about in tears trying to get the dough to stick to
"seasoned" pans.  Won't work.  This year I used a newer, shiny pan, but didn't think
about the reusing part.  So I think I've solved the mystery.

And you also have to have tips or something to make the holly and berries on the
cookies.  I used a Wilson leaf tip (#352) and a bead tip (#5) along with the
icing decorator bag.  I have done this using a sandwich bag ... just cut the tip of the
corner out and go to town.  Not as pretty, but it gets the job done.

Print Recipe

1 C shortening
3 oz cream cheese (softened)
1/2 C sugar
1 t vanilla
2 C all purpose flour

Cream together shortening, cream cheese and sugar.  Add vanilla and flour.   Use cookie
press to make wreaths on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 8 - 10 min.
Do not over bake.   Place on waxed paper to cool.  Use frosting to add holly and
berries.  Allow to dry before storing.  Cookies are fragile so handle gently.

Martha Washingtons

This candy is the favorite of my husband.  So much so that he makes it himself to
ensure that he gets his fix each year.

Print Recipe

1 can condensed milk
2 boxes of confectioners sugar
1/4 stick of butter
1 t vanilla
1 qt pecans, finely chopped (we only use about a good cup or so)
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 pkg parafin wax (we only use a fifth)

Mix sugar, condensed milk, butter, vanilla & pecans by hand.  Shape into balls. 
Melt parafin & chocolate in double boiler and keep warm.   Dip balls into chocolate
and place on wax paper until hard. 

Note: most people use a fork to dip with, but we use a toothpick


merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

The round candies you see here by the wreath cookies are my husband's Martha
Washingtons.  And this photo shows the reason for the goodie plates.  We made
these up for a couple of our neighbors.  The cute little paper plates Dakota and
I snagged at Dollar General for 50 cents a pack.  They are perfect for goodie
plates and I'm adding them to my list for next year.  Just wished I'd gotten more
when we got these.  Oh, I also need more cellophane!!


I didn't take a photo of this, but it's always a hit with everyone, so I make sure I make it
every year.  It's also a favorite of Chris. 

Cheese Ball

Print Recipe

3   8 oz pkgs of cream cheese (softened)
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (grated fine)
1 jar dried beef (chopped fine)
1 small can mushrooms (chopped fine)
1/2 bunch green onions (chopped fine
Accent (to taste)
Pecans (chopped)

Mix together all ingredients except pecans.  Form into two balls.  Roll in chopped
pecans.

Note: I also add garlic to mine for taste and since I don't have Accent, I use whatever
I have. 

This is a great time to use that little chopper I told you about at Thanksgiving! :)

Sausage Balls

I also make Sausage Balls every year, but found a new variation on Pinterest I wanted to
try.  Boy, was it a hit!  Definitely a keeper!

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls


Honey Glazed Ham

merry, merry @ Every Day is the Weekend!

Well, I guess I'll wind up my merry, merry post with the Glazed Ham.
I did a ham at Thanksgiving and was dissatisfied with how it turned out ...
too dry.  So when we all made plans to get together on the 26th at Daddy's I
thought I'd give it another shot.  So I did a little research and tried again.
This time was so much better!   Inside, the precooked, spiral cut ham
was still moist, while there was a nice caramel glaze on the outside.
This is what I did ... except I ran out of honey and made up the difference with
about 1/2 C of brown sugar. ;)  So I used 1.5 C honey with 1/2 brown sugar
plus whatever the rest of the recipe called for.  I also cooked it 10 min. per
pound since it was precooked.  Since it was about 10 lbs, I cooked it
for 1 hr 40 min.  I think I baked mine at 350 degrees, but Google says
to bake at 275.  I'll do that next time. :)

Honey Glazed Ham

So here's my list to add to my calendar:
purchase small red gift bags
purchase green and white gift bags
purchase name tags
purchase gold ribbon for bows
purchase goodie plates
purchase cellophane
Christmas paper napkins
purchase stamp for making Christmas cards
purchase envelopes for Christmas cards
make Christmas cards
make Christmas gift list
start buying gifts
get out Christmas dishes
address Christmas cards
mail Christmas cards
decorate outside
decorate inside
wrap presents
make Christmas goodies


Hope this has helped get you started with your Christmas planning for 2016.
I know it has helped me.  I have my new calendar and I'm ready to get started
planning.  And as soon as I purchase the stamp I need, I'm going to start on
my 2016 handmade Christmas cards.  Yes, I think I'm going to impress myself
this year! :D  merry, merry!!



 

 

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12.28.2015