Season’s Treatings!

Merry Christmas from Treats and Trends! Hope everyone got their holiday baking done! If not, below are a few recipes I wish I had time to try this season. They all look delicious and festive!

SONY DSCPeppermint Bark Oreo Cookie Balls from Heather Likes Food.

buckeye barsBuckeye Bark from She Knows. {Similar to my chocolate covered peanut butter balls, but in bark form.}

marshmallowsChocolate Dipped Marshmallows from She Wears Many Hats.

brownie bitesHot Cocoa 3 Musketeer Brownie Bites from Inside BruCrew Life.

pretzelsChocolate Covered Pretzels from Merry Thought.

Advertisements

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

20131222-132720.jpg
It’s not Christmas without chocolate-covered peanut butter balls! My mom makes these every year and this was my first attempt to make them myself. These tiny treats filled with holiday cheer are perfect for a cookie exchange or hostess gift.

Ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 inch square para wax

Mix together peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Roll into one-inch balls and place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill in refrigerator until hard.

In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips and wax over medium-low heat. Using a toothpick, dip cold balls into chocolate and place back on wax paper. Take toothpick out and cover hole with chocolate (use toothpick dipped in chocolate to cover). Store in refrigerator.

20131223-112554.jpg

Salted Brown Butter Cookies

20131222-163205.jpg

Santa won’t want to go back up the chimney once he tries these salted brown butter cookies! The brown butter adds a delicious twist to the simple sugar cookie. They are sure to be the stand-out treat at a cookie exchange, too!

Ingredients

Cookies:

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Icing:

1 (1 lb.) box powdered sugar
4 tsp. meringue powder (found at Michael’s)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter has a nutty aroma and golden brown color. Pour into bowl and chill until almost firm, about 30 min.

Whisk together flour and cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together chilled butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, salt and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.

Heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out one disk of dough between two large sheets of wax paper until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are golden. Repeat until all dough is used. Transfer to wire rack

To make icing, beat together all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and beat until icing holds stiff peaks, about 4 minutes.

Transfer icing to large Ziplock bag and squeeze out excess air. Cut 1/8-inch opening in bottom corner of bag and pipe icing onto cookies. Let dry for 1 hour before storing.

20131222-163513.jpg

Cinnamon Roll Puppy Chow

20131217-225023.jpg

Add a Christmas morning twist to the classic Muddy Buddy / Puppy Chow treat with this sweet cinnamon mixture. The cinnamon cereal and vanilla coating make for an addictive snack that everyone will rave about at your next holiday party!

Ingredients

  • 7 cups Cinnamon Chex
  • 1/2 cup canned vanilla frosting.
  • 1/4 packet Duncan Hines Cinnamon Roll Frosting Creation
  • 1 cup vanilla almond bark
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar

How-to:

  1. Place Chex and pecans in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together frosting and Frosting Creations packet. Add vanilla almond bark and microwave in 20 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Don’t over do it because it will become too thick. Pour over Chex/pecans and use a spatula to gently stir until coated.
  3. Pour cereal into large Ziploc bag and add powdered sugar. Seal and shake until cereal is fully coated. If needed, break apart frosting clusters and add more powdered sugar and shake until all pieces are coated. Pour onto a baking sheet covered with wax paper to cool.

 

Home for the Holidays

Like the song says, “There’s no place like home for the holidays!” I’ve never found this so true until I was visiting Seattle last weekend. I’m not used to the sunny winters and brown scenery of Las Vegas, so it didn’t really feel like Christmas until I was able to see the green trees, gray skies and Christmas lights on the Space Needle. Below are a few photos from my quick trip.

20131211-211350.jpg

20131211-211402.jpg

20131211-211418.jpg

20131211-211427.jpg

20131211-211435.jpg

20131211-211452.jpg

20131211-211458.jpg

(1) My mom still hangs stockings for all of the kids (and the three dogs) in the family. (2) My pink “J” stocking. (3) As you can tell by the frozen fountain, it was a little chilly shopping at University Village – it got down to 15 degrees! (4) Although it was cold, I had to get the salted caramel ice cream from Molly Moon’s. (5) Ok, I also had to get my favorite cupcake from Trophy (6) I was just as excited (if not more…) to see my dogs as I was my parents. (7) Muddy – our sweet, old lab.

Snowball Cookies

20131209-191836.jpg

Every holiday season, my mom bakes her amazing “Snowball” cookies. They are so simple, yet so delicious. Since I won’t be home for Christmas this year, she had all of my favorite Christmas cookies ready for me when I came home last weekend. It wouldn’t feel like the most wonderful time of year without these seasonal sweets! I wanted to spread the Christmas cheer, so below is the recipe for these festive cookies. They also make great gifts, especially when served on a festive plate.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (sometimes less, add slowly to see how dough is coming together)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cups chopped nuts (optional)
  • Small bowl of sifted powdered sugar for coating the cookies

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients (except the powdered sugar for coating) until dough forms. Roll into balls and place onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While warm, roll balls in the bowl of sifted powdered sugar and then repeat when they are a little cooler since the first coat will most likely dissolve. Enjoy, but leave some for Santa :)

Happy Holidays! 

Holiday Gift Idea: DIY Coasters

20131127-224844.jpgChristmas shopping for the coffee drinkers in your life? They will love this personalized, yet inexpensive gift. While looking for a birthday present to give my sister, I came across this monogrammed, chevron mug at Target and knew she would love it. Thus began my coffee themed present! She’s a huge Starbucks fan, so I couldn’t pass up the mini red cup gift cards they have this season. I also wanted to add a personalized touch and had previously made some Instagram coasters that turned out well, so I decided to make some with her favorite photos. The coasters were by far her favorite part of the present! Below is how I made them.

Supplies:

  • Printed 4″ x 4″ Instagram photos (You can order them straight from your phone at Walgreens)
  • 4.25″ x 4.25″ tiles (found at Home Depot for 11 cents each)
  • Mod Podge (I used the outdoor version)
  • Foam paint brush
  • Clear Acrylic spray
  • Small, round felt pads

How to:

  1. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge on the tile and stick on the photo. Make sure there are not any air bubbles that form underneath it. Sometimes it helps to run a credit card or similar flat edge over it to make sure. Let dry for a couple of minutes.
  2. Next, paint a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top of the photo. The brush marks should go in the same direction (i.e., either vertical or horizontal). Let dry.
  3. Paint another coat over the photo in the opposite direction. Let dry.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 one more time.
  5. Once the Mod Podge has dried, spray coaster with a light layer of Clear Acrylic spray. Add 2 more coats, drying in between.
  6. Stick a felt pad in each of the 4 corners.