Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:
6 oz dark chocolate
12 oz white chocolate
3 tsp vegetable oil
10 to 12 crushed candy canes

Directions:
Line the bottom and sides of an 9" x 9" square baking pan with non-stick aluminum foil.
Stir half white chocolate and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a double boiler.
If you don’t have a double boiler, you can make your own by placing a metal bowl into a pot of boiling water.
Stir the chocolate as it melts with a heat-proof spatula.
Remove from over water. Stir in 1/3 crushed candy cane pieces.
Spread melted chocolate out on the parchment paper.
Place baking pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Melt the dark chocolate and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a metal bowl placed into a pot of boiling water.
Stir the chocolate as it melts with a heat-proof spatula.
Pour dark chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate layer.
Using icing spatula, spread dark chocolate in even layer.
Place baking pan in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Repeat with another layer of white chocolate with the remaining chocolate and tilt the pan for an even layer.
Immediately sprinkle the remaining crushed candy canes evenly over the white chocolate layer while it’s still warm and soft.
Gently press down on them to help them stick into the layer.
Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.
Remove the Peppermint Bark from the pan by lifting the edges of the aluminum foil.
Break into suitable pieces, keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Peppermint bark is traditionally broken into chunks but if you want to cut into squares, dip your knife or cookie cutter in hot water.

​​Christmas Treats Recipes

Rice Treat Christmas Trees

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp butter
10 ounces marshmallows
6 cups rice cereal
1/4 tsp green food coloring
1 recipe Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
red and white paper straws
sprinkles and other decorations

Directions:
Prepare a 10 by 15 inch jelly roll pan by lining with with aluminum foil and spraying it with cooking spray.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted. Stir in the green food coloring.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Using a piece of wax paper that was sprayed with cooking spray, press the mixture firmly into the pan.
Allow it to cool completely. Lift the foil from the pan, cut it in half as shown above, then cut into triangle pieces.
Spread one triangle with vanilla buttercream frosting. Place a straw in the middle of it and top with another triangle pressing down firmly. Decorate with more frosting and sprinkles.
Store in an airtight container for up to three days.


Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups white chocolate chips
2 tsp vegetable oil
crushed peppermint pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownies according to directions for fudgy brownies. Let cool completely.
Remove brownies from pan and discard the edges. Mix together with softened cream cheese. Using a cookie dough scoop, scoop into balls and roll with hands. Place on parchment lined baking sheet.
Combine chocolate chips and vegetable oil in a bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds. Stir until smooth. If needed, microwave in additional 10 seconds until fully melted. Dip brownie pieces into white chocolate. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint pieces. Let set until chocolate is set.

Gumdrop Fudge

Ingredients:
1-1/2 pounds white candy coating, coarsely chopped
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups chopped gumdrops

Directions:
Line a 9-in. square pan with foil; set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine the candy coating, milk and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until candy coating is melted. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla and gumdrops.
Spread into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Using foil, remove fudge from the pan; cut into 1-in. squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


Snowball Christmas Cookies 

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, for dusting cookies twice

Directions:
Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour blend; beating after each addition. Stir in the nuts; mix until fully incorporated. Divide dough in half and refrigerate in plastic wrap for approximately 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, arrange oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; set aside. Measure dough using a small, 1-inch spring-loaded scoop making sure each scoopful is level. Roll dough between palms of hands to achieve a small rounded ball.
Place dough balls 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven until the cookies are just beginning to brown, about 12 to 14 minutes. Do not overbake. The underside of the cookies should be only lightly browned. And, the cookies should not crack—a sure sign of overbaked teacake cookies.
Cool cookies on baking sheets on wire racks for approximately 2 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets using a metal cookie spatula. While cookies are still warm, gently roll them in the confectioners’ sugar. Place the sugar-coated cookies on wire racks to cool completely. Roll cookies once again in the confectioners’ sugar.

Homemade Gum Drops

Ingredients:
4 Tbsp gelatin (about 6 envelopes)
1 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups boiling water
4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp flavored extract like lemon or peppermint
1-2 drops food coloring
extra sugar for coating

Directions:
In a large pot, soften gelatin in cold water for five minutes.
Stir in boiling water until gelatin dissolves.
Stir in sugar.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 25 minutes. Stir constantly.
Pour mixture into 4 – 3X5 pans.
Add 1/4 tsp extract and 1-2 drops food color to each pan.
Stir until thoroughly combined.
Cover pan and chill overnight in the fridge.
Cut gelatin mixture into 3/4 inch cubes using a knife dipped in hot water.
The gelatin may pull, but continue cutting.
Separate cubes and roll in sugar until coated on all sides.
Place gumdrops on wax paper and leave at room temperature for two days to crystallize.
Store in an airtight container.


Italian Ricotta Cookies

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
15 oz. ricotta, whole milk or fresh (1 3/4 cups)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs

Glaze
1 Tbsp butter melted
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or 1 1/4 tsp almond extract and more milk as needed
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 - 6 Tbsp milk

Directions:
For the cookies:
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest until pale and fluffy (scrape down sides and bottom of bowl occasionally throughout entire mixing process). Mix in ricotta and vanilla extract then blend in eggs one at a time. Set mixer on low speed and slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or up to 2 days. Preheat oven to 350 degrees during last 20 minutes of dough chilling.
Scoop chilled dough out 1 Tbsp at a time and shape into balls (if it's too sticky just drop onto sheet using two spoons), drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake in preheated oven 12 - 14 minutes until underside of cookies are golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool dip tops of cookies in glaze and return to wire rack, immediately add sprinkles if using. Allow glaze to set at room temperature. Store in an airtight container in a single layer.
For the glaze:
In a mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, melted butter, lemon juice or almond extract, vanilla and 4 Tbsp milk until smooth, adding in more milk 1 tsp at a time to thin as needed (should be quite a bit thicker than a doughnut glaze).

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