Category: Handmade Gifts

Pralines

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Another great recipe for your candy Gift Boxes!!

VALERIE’S PRALINES

Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup of evaporated milk
1 stick of butter(better to have it soft)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 ½ cups of chopped pecans
Pinch of salt

Place the two sugars, milk and salt into a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. The mixture must be in a soft ball state and that takes about 4 minutes of boiling, stirring occasionally.
Lay out wax paper on your counter top.
After the 4 minutes of boiling, add the vanilla and butter and remove from the heat, then add the pecans and beat vigorously until the mixture becomes thick.
Quickly drop by spoonfuls onto the wax paper. This mixture will harden quickly, so you must work quickly
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Let the pralines cool and set. Makes about 24 pralines. ENJOY!!!!!

EggNog Fudge

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Ingredients
½ cup (1 stick) butter
¾ cup eggnog
2 cups sugar
10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped pecans,
1 teaspoon rum or rum extract

Directions
In heavy saucepan, combine butter, eggnog and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
Remove from heat; add chocolate and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme, pecans and rum; mix well.
Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool completely; cut into 1½-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. 

Butterscotch Cashew Popcorn

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Ingredients
1/2 cup popcorn
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1 teaspoon dekuyper butterscotch schnapps
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cashews

Directions
Heat oven to 250F degrees.
Grease parchment paper on a 14×10″ cookie sheet pan.  Pop the popcorn.
Put nuts and popcorn in a very large bowl or stock pot.  Bring brown sugar, corn syrup and butter to boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in butterscotch chips, schnapps, baking soda and salt until blended and smooth.  Working quickly pour syrup over popcorn and nuts, stir to coat thoroughly.  Pour mixture into pan; bake 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool mixture in pan about 15 minutes.  Turn mixture out of pan onto foil to cool completely.
Break popcorn into smaller pieces; store in zip lock bags in cool dry place up to 2 weeks if it last that long.
Recipe courtesy of Food.com

Mint Oreo Christmas Bark

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Courtesy of www.food.com

Ingredients
1 (20 ounce) packages mint-flavored creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
2 (18 1/2 ounce) packages white chocolate
1 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional) or 1 cup walnuts, divided (optional)

Directions
Line a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan with wax paper then spray generously with paper with cooking spray.
In a large bowl break HALF of the cookies into coarse pieces then mix in 1/2 cup nuts (if using).
Place 1 package of the white chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl then melt in the microwave; remove then immediately then fold into the broken cookie pieces.
Quickly pour/spread the mixture into one end of the jelly-roll sheet.
REPEAT the process using the remaining cookies, white chocolate and nuts, then spread the mixture onto the other half of the jelly-roll sheet.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Remove the bark and carefully peel off the way paper.
Store in a covered container.

Crock Pot Cinnamon Almonds

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1/8 tsp. Salt
1 Egg White
2 tsp. vanilla
3 Cups Almonds
1/4 C. Water

Directions:
In a medium sized bowl, mix together sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In another medium sized bowl, whisk the egg white and vanilla until it’s a little frothy. Add almonds. Make sure the almonds are thoroughly coated in the egg white mixture. Add cinnamon mixture to the almonds and toss until coated.
Thoroughly spray with the stoneware of your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray and add the mixture of almonds and sugars.
Cook on low ( with the lid on) 3-4 hours stirring every 20 minutes. In the last hour, add the 1/4 C. of water and stir well. This ensures a crunchy yummy coating. (*make sure after you’ve added the water that you continue to cook the nuts for another 45 minutes to an hour.)
You have to stir really well, especially as it gets later in the cooking process.
Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread the almonds flat to cool. The almonds will be sticky at this point, so make sure you separate them a little and have no large mounds.

Pecan Pie Bark

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**NOT DIET FRIENDLY** (but great to give out on Christmas cookie trays)

Pecan Pie Bark

Ingredients:
2 sticks butter
1 cup white sugar
1 & 1/4 cups pecan halves
About 2 packages (approx. 12 sheets) honey graham crackers

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Lay graham crackers tightly across the area of a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. Trim any crackers to fit the sides of the pan if needed. Set Aside.
In a large saucepan, bring butter, sugar, and pecans to a boil over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Carefully and evenly pour boiled mixture over the entire plane of graham crackers, spreading pecans around evenly. Immediately pop graham crackers into the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
Allow graham cracker bark to cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
Eat one and give away the rest! Believe me you don’t want to have these around within reach!

Candy Christmas Sleds

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Items needed:
Kit Kat regular sized bars
Candy Canes
Hershey Mini’s, (I used the Christmas Edition)
Ribbon and bows
Hot glue gun, two glue sticks

Mark two lines on the bottom of the Kit Kat bars, this is where you will attach the Candy Canes. Run a line of hot glue on your marks and attach the candy canes, do this one at a time and let them set up for a minute.
Put a drop of hot glue on the edges of the Hershey Mini’s wrappers and attach them to the sled bottom, you will stack them 4, then 3, then 2, then 1. Let this set up for a minute.
Tie a pretty piece of ribbon around the sled, and tape the ends to the bottom of the sled, (don’t use hot glue on the ribbon~~ don’t ask)
Add a ribbon to the top!! Viola~~ a cute and edible gift!!

Cranberry Fudge

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2 c. (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. reduced fat evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. (6 oz.) dried cranberries
1/3 c. chopped walnuts

Instructions
Spread a sheet 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch aluminum foil into pan, spray a coat of cooking spray over foil.
Combine chocolate chips and corn syrup, microwave until melted.
Remove from microwave, add sugar, milk and vanilla, beat until thickened and glossy. Stir in cranberries and walnuts
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and chill for a few hours before removing the fudge from the pan by lifting the foil overhang. Cut it into squares and serve.
(Photo by Barbara) 

Chocolate Candy Pretzels

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(Photo by Angela M.)

Ingredients:
Equal number of Hershey kisses, mini pretzel twists and candy covered chocolates.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Unwrap chocolates and place one in the center of each pretzel that has been placed on a cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet into the oven for 1-2 minutes or until chocolate has softened slightly.
Remove from the oven and immediately press one candy covered chocolate onto the top of the softened chocolate kiss.
Tip: You’ll be in a hurry to eat them so place them into the fridge to chill until set.

Peanut Butter Pretzels

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Time to start thinking about those holiday food gifts. This is on my list for this year!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Snack
Yield 60 – 80 pretzel bites

Ingredients:
1 cup all natural creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered Confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
Pretzels (*I also used some yogurt covered pretzels)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Combine peanut butter and softened butter in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sugars and mix to combine. Take a small amount of the batter (pea-size) and check to see if it will roll easily into balls without sticking to your hands. If it does, then you are all set to go! If it still sticks and doesn’t roll easily, then add a little more of each sugar until you reach a consistency that is easy to roll.

Use a scant teaspoon measure to scoop the filling. Roll each portion into a small ball, then sandwich it between two whole pretzels. When all the balls are rolled and successfully sandwiched, stick the whole tray in the freezer for about half an hour.

Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each half-way into the melted chocolate. Return to the tray and repeat with remaining sandwiches. When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely. Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.