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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

last minute homemade gifts


homemade-christmas-gifts

One of the best gifts you can give this holiday season is something truly from the heart. These homemade baskets are the perfect gift for anyone on your list and with these simple recipes, you will be able to assemble the special treats in time for Christmas! I love to cook and this was a wonderful project for a creative outlet :) I have included all the recipes to these sweet treats below, include Chocolate Pecan Turtles, Gingerdoodle cookies, Christmas Peppermint Bark {last seen here}, Chocolate Marshmallows and Roasted Cinnamon Almonds. As for the packaging details, Target has a huge selection of tins, baskets, festive bags and the most perfect ribbon to complete your presentation!

roasted-cinnamon-almonds
Roasted Cinnamon Almonds
chocolate-covered-marshmallows
Chocolate Marshmallows
chocolate-pecan-turtles
Chocolate Pecan Turtles
gingerdoodle-cookies
Gingerdoodle Cookies




 Chocolate Pecan Turtle Clusters

10 ounces shelled pecans

About 25 caramels {I used these}

1 cup milk chocolate morsels, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and cluster 3 pecans together on the baking sheet. Place one caramel on top of the pecan cluster and bake for 3-4 minutes until the caramel is soft. Remove from the oven and spray the back of a spatula with cooking spray. Using the back of the spatula, gently press down on each caramel, allowing the caramel to spread out across the pecans. Transfer the pecan clusters to a sheet of wax paper. Melt the milk chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second intervals, about 1 minute total. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the milk chocolate over the pecan cluster. Allow to cool completely before packaging.

Gingerdoodle Cookies

1 package Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix {plus the ingredients on the back of the package}

1 package Betty Crocker Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix {plus the ingredients on the back of the package}

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the Gingerbread Cookie Mix according to package directions in one bowl. Make the Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix according to package directions in a separate bowl. Take a tablespoon of each cookie dough and roll together in a ball. Place the cinnamon sugar in a small, shallow bowl. Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheets and transfer to cool rack. Cool completely before packaging.

Chocolate Marshmallows

10 large marshmallows

1 cup white chocolate morsels, melted

10 white sticks

Sprinkles, crushed candy canes, etc for decorating

Place one marshmallow on each stick. Place the white chocolate morsels in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals {mine took about 1 minute} until melted. Dip the marshmallow in the chocolate, covering almost the entire marshmallow, and sprinkle the wet chocolate with desired sprinkles. Allow to dry, sitting up, in a glass. Allow to dry completely before packaging.

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

4 cups whole almonds

2 egg whites

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy; beat in the vanilla. Add the almonds. In a separate large bowl, mix the sugar, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add to the nut mixture and stir to coat. Transfer to a large baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Christmas Peppermint Bark
2 cups white chocolate {I just used the morsels, but if you are using a brick of chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch pieces}

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup crushed peppermints {I used candy canes, of course!}

Line a baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. Be sure that all the creases are smoothed out of the foil. Place 1 cup of the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time with a rubber spatula, until the chocolate has melted {for me, it was about 1:30 minutes}. Once the chocolate has melted, stir in the other cup of the unmelted white chocolate. Stir vigorously until all the chocolate has melted and there are no lumps {Note: if you were to melt all the chocolate together, the chocolate would have a tendency to look dull. By stirring in the unmelted chocolate, it creates a beautiful and shiny chocolate!} Spread the chocolate onto the foil-lined baking sheet to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Work quickly as the chocolate hardens pretty fast! Place the mini marshmallows in the chocolate and sprinkle with the crushed peppermints. Allow to harden at room-temperature for about an hour. Once hard, break into uneven pieces. Store in airtight container for up to a week.

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