Yesterday, I shipped off a box of goodies to some friends in Kansas. It’s a tradition we’ve been following now for three years – shipping each other a box of festive treats.
The funny part about this story is that I actually met them through blogging! We met through blog comments and blog posts, and I met them face-to-face at their wedding. How cool is that?!
Even though it’s a simple tradition (and I also think their baking skills may be better than mine), it makes me so happy because it gets me in the kitchen making things I likely wouldn’t venture to make.
I wanted to share with you what I sent, so if you’re scrambling for ideas this year, maybe you’ll find one here! Everything I made was pretty easy, and without realizing it – mostly vegan!
Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Rods
This recipe is from Cincy Shopper – and I suggest following these directions exactly. Per usual, I was thinking OH, this will be easy and I am pretty sure I used the wrong caramel sauce, so it was a bit of a mess (but they still turned out cute and delish).
1/2 cup light Corn syrup
1/2 cup Sugar
3 tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
15 Pretzel Rods
8 oz Melting Chocolate
Christmas Decorations (I used red, white, and green sprinkles, and chopped Andes mints)
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place corn syrup in a medium pan and heat over medium heat.
- When corn syrup is heated (starting to bubble) add sugar and stir until well mixed.
- Let syrup cook without stirring until it turns a golden color.
- Remove from heat add butter and stir until blended.
- Slowly add cream while stirring constantly to blend.
- Transfer caramel to tall cup for dipping.
- Dip each pretzel rod in caramel and place on prepared tray.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow caramel to set.
- Heat chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat until melted and smooth.
- Transfer to tall cup for dipping.
- Dip each caramel coated pretzel in chocolate to coat and return to tray.
- Sprinkle with decorations while still warm.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow chocolate to set.
Strawberry Fruit Pies
This recipe is from Desserts With Benefits, and originally it was for “Pie Pops” with a stick… but I opted to ditch the stick. I used a star cookie cutter for a more festive look, but that also likely made it more difficult (go figure).
1 box Immaculate Baking Co. Ready-To-Bake Pie Crust (thawed 20 minutes)
½ cup 100% Fruit Strawberry Spread
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a clean surface, unroll both pie crusts. Use a 3″ circle cookie cutter to punch 18 circles out of both of the pie crusts. If you want to make lattice pie pops, you can make a few more pops (around 11-13), you just need to slice the pie crust leftovers into thin strips.
- Place half of the pie crust circles onto the prepared baking sheets and place popsicle sticks (or cake pop sticks) on top.
- Spoon the strawberry spread in the center of each circle. Place the remaining pie crust circles on top and crimp with a fork. If making the lattice pie pops, arrange the strips over the jam and tuck the ends of the pie crust strips under the base pie crust circle.
- Bake for 18 minutes, or until the pie pops are golden brown. Let cool completely, then serve and enjoy!
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
This recipe is from Chocolate with Grace and really, you can’t go wrong with any PB+ Choc combo. Yumm!
- 12 oz (1 1/2 cups) creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
16 ounces semi sweet chocolate (you can use chocolate chips or your favorite brand of dark chocolate)
1/4 cup shaved paraffin wax
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat peanut butter and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. This may take several minutes
- Roll into 1 inch balls and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Place the chocolate and paraffin wax in a deep bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring between intervals, until melted. (you can also use a double boiler or chocolate melting pot to melt the chocolate).
- Dip the chilled peanut butter balls three fourths of the way into the melted chocolate and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet until chocolate is set.
- Store in the fridge or the freezer.
Chai Donuts with Maple Glaze
This recipe is from Choosing Chia – I have a donut pan, but I think you could use a muffin pan. I only got about 8 donuts from this recipe, FYI.
- 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (or regular all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 & 1/3 cups almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients (for the glaze):
- 1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp maple syrup
2-3 tsp almond milk
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spray a donut pan with cooking spray.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until incorporated.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. Do not overmix.
- Spoon the donut mixture into a piping bag, or a large ziplock bag with a hole cut in the corner.
- Pipe the batter into the pan filling 3/4 of the way full.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- To make the glaze, mix all the glaze ingredients together in a shallow bowl until smooth. The mixture should be smooth and silky, but not too thin. (If yours is very thin, simply add a bit more icing sugar)
- Once the donuts are cooled, dip them in the glaze and (optionally) sprinkle of crushed pecans on top.
- Let sit for 30 minutes for the glaze to set.
Did I just cheat by reading this? Don’t sell yourself short on your baking capabilities, particularly based on this line-up. Eager to try them all.
I was going to include a breakdown of what’s in your box, but was rushed getting everything loaded up to get shipped in time so I’ll include it here (so perhaps your readers can become jealous):
* Oreo Balls
* Peanut Butter Blossoms
* Chocolate/Peppermint Blossoms
* Traditional sugar cookies with mint royal icing
* Peppermint/Chocolate pretzel rings
* Chocolate dipped candy orange slices
* Cranberry/Almond mini dessert loaf
No, you didn’t cheat! Ha, thanks – but when I wrote this I realized I didn’t follow MOST of these directions?! Ugh. I’ll have to try harder next year, ha! OMG – Orea balls! Chocolate orange slices! I’m so excited!