Christmas In The Kitchen Series: Annual Baking Fest & Recipes

December 10, 2009


This is a series my fellow blogger friends and I were doing for two weeks. (This is the second and final week.) We are sharing recipes and also doing giveaways. Here are their blogs–I’ll update with their giveaway links and their recipes/traditions when they are posted today:

(Please note: You must put the giveaway entries for these on their blogs to be counted.)

Moms By Heart- Cookie Cutters Giveaway HERE
Coupon Gal – A Christmas Story DVD Giveaway HERE (I love that movie!)
A Thrifty Mom – 20 Coupon Inserts Giveaway to Help w/ Baking Costs HERE
Give Me Neither -Matching Set of Aprons Giveaway HERE
Couponing For 4 – Non-stick Cake-scicle Pan Giveaway HERE (looks so cool!)

A couple of years ago, my sister, BIL and I were supposed to go downtown Chicago to the Christkindlmarket. They had already scheduled the day off but as it got closer, they were predicting cold and rainy weather. We decided that instead, we’d bake cookies. Lots of them! My kitchen was filled with ingredients and plans of so many different recipes. About halfway through I realized…I had been way too ambition!

We were all exhausted and there was so much left to do. Each year, I learn a little bit more about how much is too much! :) Unfortunately this year, I had to do most of the baking myself. But, partway through, my almost 3 year old son decided to join me. We had so much fun together, despite how much work was involved. Here he is after enjoying the spoon from the brownie batter: (and being a goof when I said, “Smile Big!”)

What do I do with everything when I’m done? My hubby works for a smaller company so I make each of his co-workers their own little “goodie bag” of treats. They are all so sweet in that they’ll take it home to share with their spouses and family. I also try to reserve a plate to take over to our librarians. But they are projecting very cold temperatures today so I’m thinking it might not happen.

Every year I look forward to the annual baking fest. I’ll have to plan better next year so I can make sure my family can join me again. But it was fun having one-on-one time with my son. Here’s what we ended up with:

Brownies, Rice Krispies Treats, Sugar Cookies, Oatmeal/Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Covered Pretzels, “People Puppy Chow” and Cupcakes. I had planned on making Peanut Butter Blossoms but ran out of energy. So those will go in tomorrow or Friday. :) Here’s the recipe for those:

Peanut Butter Blossoms

1/2 Cup of Shortening
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
1 large egg
2 Tbsp. Milk
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
Sugar (to roll them in)
48 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Cream together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup of sugar. Add egg milk and vanilla. Beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bakes 10-12 minutes (or until brown) in an oven at 375 degrees. Top each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around the edge. Remove cookies from cookie sheets to cool.

This recipe came from an insert in the December 2009 Food TV Magazine. But it’s been around for years.

People Puppy Chow

Melt together 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 stick of butter in a medium saucepan. You’ll have to stir frequently or it will burn on you quick. I’d recommend keeping it on a low to medium heat. Once melted, pour over Crispix cereal. (1-12oz. box) Stir the cereal mixture (gently or you’ll break them) until all the cereal is covered. Immediately put it into a brown paper bag that’s been filled with 1/2 bag (1lb.) of powdered sugar. Close up the bag and shake it until the sugar covers the cereal.

This recipe was given to me years ago by a co-worker but it’s been around for years.

White Chocolate Covered Pretzels

I usually use the Baker’s white chocolate squares. Follow melting directions on bag. You simply just add the pretzels to the chocolate and cover them. But I wanted to share a tip my BIL taught me. Use two forks to hold onto the ends of them after the pretzels are covered. This allows the chocolate to drain from the holes in the pretzels.

I have to add that the Rice Krispies Treats that I made—I used the caramel & vanilla marshmallows that just came out. They gave them just a touch of caramel flavor and were actually pretty good. There should be instructions for how to make these on most marshmallow bags or on the back of cereal box.

Everything else, I took the shortcut route this year and used pre-made mixes. :) It’s the only way I could get everything done by myself. But next year, I might see if my friends want to do a cookie exchange and each make a few dozen cookies to swap. I’ve always wanted to do that.

Here’s hoping you are able to get in some baking time this year, too!

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