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Category Archives: Holidays

Yummy Caramel Bars

My absolute favorite holiday treat!

Total cook time: About 3 hour 30 minutes
Total hands on time: about 1 hour
Yummy Caramel Bars

32 Caramels (usually one bag is enough)
2.6 oz (1/3 cup) evaporated milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
1, 6 oz package semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly butter an 11 X 7 inch baking pan.
  • In a double boiler, combine caramels and evaporated milk. Heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a large (not kitchenaid) bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Stir in brown sugar and oats.
  • Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
  • Turn half of the oat mixture into prepared pan and press evenly into bottom.
  • Bake 10 -15 mins until lightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate pieces, pecans, then reserve caramel mixture.
  • Sprinkle remaining oat mixture evenly over the caramel.
  • Return to oven and bake 20 mins more, until lightly browned.
  • Set on a wire rack to cool for about 35 minutes.
  • Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, until caramel layer is set.
  • Cut into bars, and store into an airtight container.
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Peanut Blossoms

The peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s kiss on top!

Total cook time: About an hour

Peanut Blossoms

1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (Jif)
1 egg
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
48 milk chocolate kisses (usually one bag is enough)

Plus:
1/2 cup sugar for rolling the dough balls in

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Use ungreased cookie sheets.
  • In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for the candies.  Mix on low speed (Kitchenaid 2) until dough is well formed.
  • Shape dough into teaspoon sized balls.
  • Roll dough balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8-9 minutes. (8 minutes for thin cookie sheet, 9 minutes for the thicker aluminum sheet)
  • Take out of oven and top each cookie with a candy kiss, pressing down firmly to make cookie crack around the edges.
  • Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Foolproof Fudge

Another holiday favorite

Total cooking time: At least 3 hours.
Hands on time: 20 mins

Foolproof Fudge

18 oz (3 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1, 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
dash salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

  • Spread wax paper in an 8×8 inch pan.
  • In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt.
  • Remove from heat, stir in walnuts and vanilla.
  • Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, until set.
  • Turn fudge out and peel off wax paper.  Cut into squares.
  • Store at room temp or in refrigerator.

Granny’s Sugar Cookies

Probably one of my favorite cookies ever.  Such great memories of making these cookies with my family.  These are great to make with kids! They can either be topped with sprinkles before they go into the oven, or frosting once they come out.  Either way, they are a must around holiday time.

Total cook time: About 90 minutes

Granny’s Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softenened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

Note: Decorate with sprinkles before the cookies go into the oven, or with frosting once cookies come out of the oven.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly grease the cookie sheets.
  • In the mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Blend in the egg.
  • Sift together salt, baking powder, and flour.  Then gradually add in to the dough.
  • Blend in vanilla extract.
  • On a clean counter top, roll out small batches of dough, and cut with cookie cutters.
  • Bake for 8-10 mins per batch.

Crispy Nuggets

A holiday time staple!  I often double the recipe since this doesn’t produce that many cookies.

Total cook time: About an hour

Crispy Nuggets

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioner sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Plus:
1 cup confectioners sugar – for rolling cookies

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 F.  Use an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Sift together flour and salt.
  • In the mixer, cream together shortening, butter, and confectioners sugar.
  • Blend in the almond extract, vanilla, and nuts.
  • Gradually add in the flour and salt mixture.  Mix until dough is smooth.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Once out of the oven, roll in confectioners sugar while hot.

Cranberry Nut Bread

A Christmas morning staple!

Total cooking time: 90 mins
Prep time: 20 mins

Cranberry Nut Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg, beaten
1 TBSP grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease a loaf pan.
  • Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
  • Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
  • Stir in egg, orange peel, and orange juice until mixture is just evenly moist.
  • Fold in cranberries and nuts.
  • Spoon mixture into loaf pan.
  • Bake for 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Manicotti

This is one of those recipes we used to make for special family occasions.  One, because it makes a lot, and two, because it takes a bit of manpower!  I remember it being a sort of even to help make Manicotti.  Good time.  Good food!

Baked Manicotti

Total cooking time:  It’s a project!

First you need to start by making some homemade sauce.  So see my earlier recipe.
Next you’ll make the Manicotti shells. Followed by filling.
Eventually you’ll put it all together and bake it!

Total Ingredients:

8 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water
32 oz (2 lb) ricotta cheese
8 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
4.5 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tsp pepper
1 TBSP parsley, chopped

Manicotti

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

  • In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients.
  • Beat until just smooth, then let stand for 30 minutes or longer – to let bubbles settle.
  • Slowly heat an 8 in skillet
  • Pour in a tiny bit less than 1/4 cup of batter at a time.  Rotate pan quickly to spread the batter evenly.
  • Cook over the medium heat until the top is dry, but bottom is not brown.
  • Turn out onto a wire rack to cool
  • As they cool stack them with wax paper between each.

Filling

2 lb Ricotta
8 oz Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp pepper
1 TBSP chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl combine Ricotta, Mozzarella, 1/3 cup Parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, and parsley
  • Beat with a wooden spoon till well combined.

Put it all together

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2, 13 X 9 inch dishes.
  • Spoon 1 1/2 cups sauce into each of two baking dishes.
  • Spread approximately 1/4 cup of filling down the middle of each Manicotti and roll up.
  • Place 8 rolled manicotti – seam side down – into a single layer
  • Place 5 more manicotti on top to create a second layer
  • Cover all with 1 cup of sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

This recipe can be frozen if needed.  Line the baking dish with tin foil and assemble as directed.  You can make individual sized packets with just 2-3 pieces or a whole dish. Just cover and wrap with foil.  When ready, take out of the oven for about an hour, then bake in a 350 F oven until cooked through and bubbly.  1 hr 30 mins – 2 hrs.