Sunday Around the Table: Holiday Dessert Recipes

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I warned you last week that I would be on a dessert rampage until Christmas. This week I am packing in multiple recipes for you :) I mentioned that my mom and I always bake platters of candy for Christmas, and here are just some of the recipes we have used. My FAVORITE is my mom's peanut butter fudge, but the rest of these recipes are sure to please as well!


1. Buckeye Balls
I began making these with my grandpa when I was old enough to walk. They have always been a favorite of mine, and they are so easy to make! If you live in a region where you've never heard of a buckeye tree, it grows across America and they produce these round seeds called buckeye balls. Trivia: the buckeye balls are poisonous to deer.
This is a real buckeye ball
These are the delicious peanut butter and chocolate confections!
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups - Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup - Butter Softened
1 teaspoon - Vanilla Extract
4 cups - sifted Confectioners Sugar
6 ounces - Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 tablespoon - Shortening (Crisco)


Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.


2. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners' sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough. Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate.


3.Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.


4.Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.




Last year was the first year I tried these cookies, and I was pretty impressed by them. For the holidays, I like to add a little citrus to my gift baskets and I ALWAYS eff up my Lemon bars. These cookies are very unique in the ingredients and fairly easy to make. One precaution, they're very messy, but super delicious!
Ingredients

1 box - Lemon Cake Mix
1 - 8 oz. Container of  Cool Whip
1 - egg
1/3 cup - Powdered Sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. In medium bowl, beat cool whip, egg and cake mix until well blended. Dough will be thick and sticky.
 
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls into a bowl of powdered sugar and roll to coat.
 
4. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10- 12 minutes


3. Cinnamon Almonds
Candied nuts are a holiday staple, but they are so expensive when you buy them pre-made. I guess everything is expensive these days, but they're so easy to make at home, why not save a couple extra bucks?



Ingredients:

1 cup - Sugar
3 cups - Raw Almonds (or any other nut)
1/2 tablespoon - Cinnamon
1/4 cup - Water


Directions
1. In a large skillet, combine sugar, cinnamon, and water.

2. Add the almonds and stir constantly with a spoon over medium heat, coating the almonds with the syrupy mixture. Keep stirring until the sugar crystallizes.
 
3. Remove the pan from heat and scoop the almonds onto wax or parchment paper.
 
4. Let the cinnamon almonds cool before serving. These can be made a few days ahead.


4. Peppermint Bark

Another one of my favorite holiday candies is peppermint bark! I love those stupid Ghirardelli square ones, but they're so expensive! This recipe is incredibly easy (notice a theme to all my recipes) and it's cheap to make! This recipe only calls for white chocolate, but I also like the version with a layer of dark chocolate on the bottom too.

Ingredients
1 cup - crushed candy canes

12 oz - white chocolate
chips (one bag)
peppermint flavorings, optional

Directions

1. Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller.


2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. 


3. Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired.)


4. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. 


5. Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.)
 


5. Red Velvet Cake Balls

This recipe is another recent discovery for me, but I wish we would have had these as a kid! These taste so good, and you can make any flavor you like buy just tweaking this recipe a bit.

Ingredients
1 box - Red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can - Cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)
1 - 12 oz bag of Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet, dark or white chocolate will do)

Directions

1. After you have baked the cake as directed on the box, let it cool.

2. Crumble the cake into a large bowl

3. Mix in the entire can of cream cheese frosting and combine thoroughly. It might be easier to use your hands too.
 
4. Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

5. Chill the balls for several hours

6. Melt chocolate in a double boiler

7. Dip the chilled ball in the chocolate (I use a toothpick) and then set them on a lined cookie sheet to dry.

6. Peanut Butter Fudge
This is my all time favorite holiday confection, and my mom makes the best! She taught me her secrets, and now I too can make it just like her! Fudge is seemingly easy to make, but it can go awry at any moment. The weather is the biggest factor in fudge, and altitude can make a difference too. I try not to pay attention to the external factors however, and I just go for it! The flavor of the fudge is always good, but that creamy, silky texture isn't always easy to master. If it doesn't work the first time, try again, it's worth it!!


Ingredients
3 cups - sugar
3/4 cup - butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 cup - evaporated milk
12 ounces - reese's peanut butter chips
1 (7 ounce) jar - kraft jet puffed marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon - vanilla

Directions
1. Heavily butter a glass baking dish and set aside
2. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 minute or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
3. Add peanut butter chips, vanilla and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted.
4. Pour immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.


I Hope you have enjoyed my favorite holiday dessert recipes! I promise they are sure to please adults and children alike! If you have any of your own holiday recipes, I'd love to hear about them!




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