Let it be Christmas: Baking Edition


First things first . . . obligatory Santa photos were taken last night.

Did you know Bass Pro Shop does free Santa photos?  We've gone there three years now.  The background is a little "Country Boy Can Survive" but it works for a FREE photo.  And since we only do the photos for us and not to hand out to anyone (for some reason I don't think our family and friends are too much about a picture of our children with some fat, judgemental bastard [yeah, stole that one from something I found on Pinterest]) it just makes sense to head to BPS and save the roughly $92 you pay for one pic at the mall.

Nobody screamed or cried or freaked out in anyway.  Which was cool but made me feel like I've been cheated out of That Moment in parenting.  We've yet to have a major freak out involving Santa (just a small one the year Jaidan was two).  So no hillarious Santa pics to pull out in years to come.  Next year Karis will be going on three so we're probably over the freak out years.  Just not going to happen for us.  *Tear*

Now, on with the meat (or, uh, the cookie) of the post!

I'm a parent so, obviously, my favorite thing about Christmas is the joy and awe and blah blah of my children.  But my second favorite thing about Christmas?


Show of hands on who's surprised.  No one?  Huh.

One day next week, all four kids and I are getting in the kitchen.  We're going to roll up our sleeves, pull out all the ingredients, and get busy.  I thought I'd share the recipes (or links to the recipes) for everything we'll be making and baking.

Chocolate Covered Christmas Crackers
Named by Jaidan
These are just chocolate coated peanut butter Ritz crackers.  Make a peanut butter cracker.  Dip it in chocolate and let it set.  This has always been one of my favorites!
You can also let the kids attack them with sugar crystals but that's definitely up to you . . .
 We also tried a Paula Deen by doing chocolate covered potato chips -- not a fan
The other little brown things are "reindeer poop"  (aka chocolate covered marshmallows)

Peppermint Bark
Melt one package of white chocolate almond bark.  Crush two boxes of candy canes.  Mix candy canes with white chocolate.  Pour onto cookie sheet and let set then break into pieces.  So easy and so good!

Courtesy of the back of my jar of marshmallow creme
You need:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 pkgs Baker's chocolate, chopped (12 squares)
2 jars marshmallow creme (I lie.  You only need one jar for the fudge.  But it's good to have another jar around to stick your finger in.  Mmmm).
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together sugar, butter, and milk over the stove.  Bring to boil and allow to boil 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate, marshmallow creme, and vanilla.  Stir until melted..  Pour into well greased pan (I usually line a pan with wax paper or aluminum foil).  Allow to cool and set.

This is on the back of every jar of Kraft Jet Puff marshmallow creme.  It's called Fantasy Fudge and, believe me, it is the stuff fantasies are made of.  I.love.it.  Best fudge ever.

Sugar Cookies
Disclaimer: Given (a) the age of my children and (b) my level of patience, we will be doing the PRE-CUT CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIES this year.  You know, the kind that come with the tiniest packet of red icing that Kyan squeezes onto precisely three cookies?  Yeah, those.  But this is my favorite if-we-were-doing-them-from-scratch sugar cookie recipe.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
* Yeah, these are SO TOTALLY healthy*
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour

Mix together sugars, butter, oil, and salt.  Add in the eggs and dry ingredients.  You can cook them now orrrrrr . . . you can chill the dough just a bit, then bust out some more flour, roll them out, and cut them into shapes.  Fun.  But make sure to add "tons of patience" to your ingredient list.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Cool and frost.  Leave for Santa.  (And, in our house, he request a Coke Zero with those cookies rather than a glass of milk.  Lactose intolerance).

Andes Mint Brownie Sandwiches
Just too easy!
All you need for this is a brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe) and a package of Andies mints.  Mix the brownies according to box directions.  Spread VERY THIN onto a prepared cookie sheet and bake according to directions.  (Since they're thin,  they'll probably not take as long to bake so be sure to watch them closely!)  Slice into rectangles roughly the size of Andes mints.  Top half the brownies with a mint and them put the remaining half the brownies on top.  Makes a little sandwich that is soooooOOOooo good.

We're also planning to make:
Peanut butter fudge - We made a batch of this last week.  It's good stuff.  It's also the first peanut butter fudge I've made ever that's actually set!

And just because it's the season of giving and I feel like being nice, I'll pass on a few more favorite holiday recipes that we've loved in the past.

Pecan Clusters - these are so good!  But pecans are horribly expensive this year.
Tuxedo Cookies
Brownie Covered Oreos
Cayenne Pretzels
Paula Deen's gingerbread cookies - I cheated and bought a roll of gingerbread dough this year.  But these are good!

Now.  Eat all that and then join back with me on January 1st for a course in Diabetes 101!
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