Delish Gift Ideas

I can not say that I have made all of these — I can say that I’d like to though! They all look yummy-delicious! We are slowly rapidly approaching Christmas and what else could be as fun to receive as sweet goodness? I delivered my 1st batch of treats to the neighbors over the past two days. I say 1st batch as I have to deliver to more neighbors but a girl can only get so much done at a time. The way I was taking over the kitchen in my apron with utensils flying and ingredients disappearing was alarming my hubby {OK thing weren’t really flying but I was bustling about at top speeds with mass amounts of cookie sheets, flour, sugar, bowls, etc. and my hubby DID say that I was crazy!} But I know that he likes that holiday craziness that comes over me because he gets to eat lots of fun treats!

This is what I delivered to 4 of my neighbors and their kiddos. I included lots of goodies, hot cocoa mix with LOTS of marshmallows and of course reindeer food :) Don’t worry — round 2 is coming SOON! No one will be forgotten (should you be reading this post!)

So a couple of yummy items that I included in my deliveries?

Yummy item #1: Pretzel Goodies, I shared these previously but oh yum! You can find them here at Family Fun.

Ingredients
  • Bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels
  • Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug
  • M&M’s candy
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 170F. Set a number of bite-size, waffle-shaped pretzels (one for each treat) in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then top each pretzel with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss or Hershey’s Hug.
  2. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes (the white chocolate will melt more quickly), until the chocolates feel soft when touched with a wooden spoon. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and quickly press an M&M’s candy into the center of each Kiss.
  3. Allow the treats to cool for a few minutes, then place them in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Place handfuls of the candies in clear plastic bags and tie on colorful ribbons.

Yummy item #2: The first time I made these was for Thanksgiving. WOWZERS! They are seriously delish!! I think they would be really yummy served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I dare you to try it! I found these one day when I Googled “Oreo recipes”. Thank God I did too. They are called Oreo Bar Cookies.I did not add the white chocolate and felt that they were A-OK. Check out Knead to be Loaved for the full story on how these came to be.

The Ingredients:

1 18 oz. package of Oreo cookies
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325F.  Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil (shiny side down) and give it a good coating of non-stick spray.

2. Set aside 8 Oreo cookies, and then put the rest in a large food processor. You can use the plastic bag – rolling pin method for turning them into crumbs, too, but you’ll want this as fine as possible, so a food processor helps A LOT. Add the salt to the crumbs and then stir to combine.

3. Melt the butter and gently stir into the cookie crumbs.  Then, dump the crumbs into the foil-lined pan and press them to the bottom to form an Oreo cookie crust.

4. In the microwave (or a double boiler) melt the 1 cup of chocolate chunks and the milk chocolate, along with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.  Make sure that if you use the microwave, you stop and stir in various intervals to keep the chocolate from burning.

5. Stir the chocolate mixture frequently until smooth and spread evenly over the prepared cookie crust.

6. Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and the Oreo cookies chunks over the top of the filling. Press down gently into the chocolate topping. Bake for 20-22 minutes oven. I also added a sprinkling of additional semi-sweet chunks, so it looks chunky and chocolatey.

7.  Take the reserved Oreo cookies and break into large chunks.  Sprinkle over the top of the bar cookies.

8. Allow the Oreo cookie bars to cool for one hour, then melt the white chocolate chips.  Drizzle the white chocolate over the top of the bars, adding another dose of heavenly chocolate to the  top.

9. Chill until firm and then enjoy.  These are much easier to eat when they are thoroughly cooled, though I will say that they are also delicious warmed and on top of vanilla ice cream, too.

Yummy item #3: These goodies from Picky Palate — I used the Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Jo-Jo’s. Now, I am sharing her photo as they look perfect. Mine were a little less pretty but still share worthy :) Please note her pan recommendation. This might be what made the difference between her goodies and mine. I used the pan that I own which is so old, I couldn’t even tell you what the brand is!

Brownie Covered Oreos

1 Brownie mix (or use your own brownie recipe)

1 package Oreos, I used the Holiday ones

White chocolate, melted for drizzle, or Wilton White frosting pen works great

White nonpariels Sprinkles

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare brownie batter according to package directions.  Leave in mixing bowl.  Dip Oreos in brownie batter then place in bottom of cupcake tins that have been generously sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until brownies are cooked through (doesn’t take long).  As soon as you remove, take a plastic knife and run along edges, (this is VERY important so you get the cookie out with brownies not stuck to pan :)

2.  Let cool for 5 minutes, remove drizzle with melted white chocolate or the Wilton White icing pen, sprinkle with nonpariels and EAT!  Enjoy :)

Makes entire package of Oreos**Some are having a hard time getting theirs to look just like mine, so here is the exact muffin pan I used.  Apparently all muffin pans are shaped different!!

Yummy item #4: Hot Cocoa Mix — One of my personal fave things to drink in the winter is Hot Cocoa (hold on — I am gonna make myself a warm mug really quick before I continue}. OK, I am back now :)

Best Hot Cocoa Mix — Family Fun
Ingredients
  • 2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Measure all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk them until they are evenly blended.
  2. Store the mix in a tightly covered container at room temperature until you’re ready to package it. Makes about 4 cups of mix.
  3. Wrap each filled gift cup in cellophane and don’t forget to include a tag with the following instructions: “Spoon 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of cocoa mix into your cup (depending on the size), add boiling water, and stir well.”
OK — Now for a couple of items that are on my immediate holiday baking list. And yes, I do like Oreo’s. Obviously :)
Once again Picky Palate makes me drool with these Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookie

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

1 stick softened butter
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ Cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 broken pieces Oreo Cookies
1 Cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.

2. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.

3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

I also HAVE TO make some cranberry almond bark. Bark is such an easy thing to make. I love that it can be broken up and does not have to look perfect.I came across this recipe on All You.

Ingredients

  • 1  cup  almonds, pecans or walnuts
  • 1  pound  chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1  cup  dried fruit, such as cranberries, raisins or sour cherries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Coarsely chop nuts and set aside.

Line same baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place half of chocolate in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from heat, add remaining chocolate and stir occasionally until smooth.

Stir nuts and fruit into chocolate and then pour mixture onto paper on baking sheet, spreading 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Let cool at room temperature until set, about 2 hours. (You can refrigerate chocolate to speed process, but chocolate may discolor.)

Break bark into large, jagged pieces and wrap in cellophane or pack in boxes.

OK, OK one more!! Then I will leave you to making lists, shopping and getting your kitchen dirty :)

I have always wanted to make meringue cookies but have yet to check that off my bucket list {ha ha ha}. So here is a yummy recipe that I am going to attempt. Wish me luck!

Double Chocolate Meringue Cookies courtesy of Cooking Light

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa
  • 5  large egg whites
  • 1/4  teaspoon  cream of tartar
  • 2/3  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/4  cup  semisweet chocolate minichips
  • 1  tablespoon  powdered sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300º.

Cover 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; secure with masking tape. Sift together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and cocoa.

Place egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar and then cocoa mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla; beat until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets to form 36 mounds. Bake at 300º for 30 minutes, rotating racks after 15 minutes. Turn oven off; cool meringues in closed oven 1 1/2 hours or until dry. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Carefully remove cookies from paper.

Note: Store cooled cookies in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Whatever you might be cooking up this holiday season, do it with love. Happy baking friends!

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