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Cooking with Love

Holiday Treats!

Brooke Hagerty

(12/2015) December means treats, treats and more treats. Now, you can take the easy way out and buy store bought or even attend your local holiday bazaar and buy someone else's homemade. But why do that when you can spend just one afternoon doing it yourself. The satisfaction you will feel coupled with the joy of the recipient will amaze you! These surprisingly simple little treats are sure to delight everyone on your holiday gift giving list. And just to be sure we are going to cover some sweet and savory ideas!

First up, the sweets! Fudge is a family favorite of mine and very easy to make. Also easy to make are Chocolate Peanut Nut Clusters and White Chocolate Peppermint Bark.

Anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate this yummy fudge and how easy it is to make. Itís a breeze to make on your own and itís also a great activity if youíve got little hands helping you! We decided to add a little more vanilla for some extra kick and some sea salt to cut the sweetness, but itís your fudge, your rulesóanything goes with this one!

 

Sea Salt Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

2 cups (12 oz bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Line a 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil.

In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and condensed milk over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Once smooth, take off heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

Pour into baking dish and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Optional: sprinkle sea salt over the top.)

Pull foil out, cut fudge into pieces and enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Ingredients

1 cup Roasted Salted Peanuts or your choice of nuts (salt is optional)

2 cups Semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

In a double boiler slowly melt chocolate chips (be sure the boiling water is a slow boil and does not touch the top pot). Do not let water get into the chocolate. Once chips start to loosen stir until creamy. Once chocolate is melted add your nut of choice and stir to combine. Remove from heat. On a parchment paper lined sheet tray, using a small melon baller scoop out and place on tray. Once the tray is full move to the refrigerator to set for approximately one hour. Package is colored plastic wrap, in decorative jars or tins.

White Chocolate Bark

Ingredients

4 cups white chocolate

1 cup crushed peppermint

Directions

In a double boiler slowly melt chocolate chips (be sure the boiling water is a slow boil and does not touch the top pot). Do not let water get into the chocolate. Once chips start to loosen stir until creamy. Once chocolate is melted add peppermint and stir until combined. Remove from heat and spread on a parchment lined sheet tray to desired thickness. Place in refrigerator and allow to set for at least one hour. Break into pieces and package as desired

And now for the savory treats that are again very easy but pack a lot of flavor punch and are lovely hostess gifts this holiday season. Butter is a favorite and flavored butter is even better. Just wait until you see how easy this delectable treat can be! And what's butter without homemade biscuits? Just package the dry ingredients and your hostess should will only have to add water and shortening to make fresh biscuits on Christmas morning!

Honey Butter

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup honey

Directions

Mix the butter and the honey using a standing or hand mixer. Spoon onto a sheet of plastic wrap in a lump and roll into a log. (use the plastic wrap to help you form the log so your hands are not covered in butter). Store in refrigerator and until solid and then slice to desired length.

***this recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled***

Biscuits

Ingredients

8 cups flour

1-1/4 cups nonfat dry milk powder

1/4 cup baking powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups solid shortening

Directions

Combine all ingredients except shortening into a Mason Jar and attach the following directions

In a food processor with a large bowl, place the dry ingredients. Process the ingredients to mix. Add the shortening a few scoops at a time. Process until the mixture resembles small peas. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Measure Homemade Biscuit Mix into bowl. Add 2/3 cup cold water. Stir just to blend. Turn into floured surface. Sprinkle with flour. Knead 5 times with floured hands. Roll-out dough into 3/4-inch. Dip a 2-inch cutter into flour. Cut biscuits. Do not twist cutter. This will seal the edges. Place biscuits onto baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Makes - one dozen 2-inch biscuits.

And if none of these gift items tickle your fancy but you still want to give the gift of food you can always call me, The Food Chick! My services include personal chef, in home cooking classes, kitchen reorganization and grocery store tours and shopping. When it comes to food the sky is the limit as to what I can do. Gift certificates are available in any denomination. Still looking for something a little different? You can purchase a gift certificate to my husband's restaurant, Bud's at Silver Run, voted Carroll County's Best Restaurant in 2014 and 2015.

As always, should you have a question, an idea for an article or are in need of my personal chef/catering services please contact me at brooke@thefoodchick.biz. Be sure to check out my website, www.thefoodchick.biz.

Until next month, Happy Eating!

Read other articles by Brooke Hagerty