I am SO excited to begin baking for Christmas!!!
Although, mainly I'm just excited for an excuse to "taste" lots of yummy treats and use my KitchenAid Mixer several times a week.
Anyways!!! Since I had this week off from grocery shopping (for "real" food), I was able to go and focus on what I needed for the Christmas Baskets. Last year I made a lot of recipes for Christmas Baskets (including Hot Chocolate Mix, cookies, my Gram's famous fudge, and candy), but this year, I wanted to focus on making a few really great recipes and perfecting them.
So, here's what I'm making this year!!!
Apple Oatmeal Cookies. I made these last year for our baskets, and they were a big hit! Not only do they taste Christmasy (apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon), but they are diabetic-friendly, easy to make, and the whole house smells yummy ;)
Gram's Famous Fudge. This is the ultimate Christmas sweet for my mom's side of the family. It's just not Christmas without Grandma Fudge, and since she rarely makes fudge anymore (maybe one tray a year), it is such a treat to have her fudge pot, her recipe, and her blessing to work hard to recreate her magic ;) While the recipe is a family secret, I try to share the finished product with as many people as possible.
Sugar Cookies w/ Royal Icing. This is brand new to me. Even though I consider myself a cookie expert (after years of helping my dad bake 100+ dozen cookies each Christmas), I have rarely made sugar cookies. I got a highly recommended recipe for cookies that shouldn't lose their shape, and very detailed instructions and recipe for Royal Icing. I decided to do snowflakes and Christmas trees since those are pretty simple to decorate (mostly one color with small decorations/details), so they shouldn't be too difficult, right?
Chocolate Slabs Two Ways. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I was really excited. Not only are these chocolate slabs easy to make, they are easily customized for whatever flavors you like! I am planning on making White Chocolate Peppermint Slabs and German Chocolate Cake Slabs (Semi-Sweet Chocolate with Coconut and Walnuts). This seem quick, easy, and classy to me; I hope everyone else thinks so too!
Puppy Chow. I really liked the Chocolate Covered Pretzels I made last year, but I wanted something that would a bit easier to make. Puppy Chow was the obvious choice. It is crunchy, chocolately, sweet, and only takes 3-4 minutes to make. While there are dozens of recipes online, I had tons of friends who made this on a regular basis in college, so I memorized a basic recipe from them ;)
Even though I have a Paper to finish and two finals looming, making these treats is a great way to take a study break and celebrate Christmas a little bit every day!