Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Treats

The holiday season has arrived!  For me, this means making presents, finding and decorating a tree, and lots and lots of baking.  On top of making treats to give as gifts, I have to bring a dish or two to the Christmas party that my boyfriend's family has every year.  This season, I'm jobless, and now that I've finished my semester of school, I have tons of free time, so I chose to make a dessert and an appetizer!

The recipe for the appetizer actually comes from KeyIngredient.com, but I found it via Pinterest, this fantastically addicting site.  (Seriously, don't click that link if you don't have a ton of time to waste.)

Appetizer Wreath
by KeyIngredient.com

(Sorry the picture isn't great.  The fridge is not an ideal picture-taking location.)
This was fairly easy to make, looked impressive, and tasted delicious.  I was a little iffy about how it was going to work, with the biscuits and the cream cheese mix, but it was basically like veggie dip, veggies, and buttery bread, and the flavors really complicated each other.  To make it, you just slice up crescent roll dough, bake the slices in a circle, mix up the veggie dip, spread the dip on the dough circle, and sprinkle veggies on top.  Our party was a big one, so I made two, and only three pieces were left at the end of the night!

On Pinterest, I had also seen adorable hot chocolate cupcakes that used candy canes to add handles to them, creating the shape of a mug.  Unfortunately, the picture was just a picture, not a recipe, so I used a recipe I found on another blog, minus the the bark and plus the candy canes and some other decorations.

by The Cake Blog

The cupcakes were simple, but turned out very flavorful (possibly due to the addition of actual hot chocolate on top of the cocoa powder), and the frosting just required peppermint extract to turn normally yummy buttercream into a smooth, crisp topping that perfectly lightened up the dense chocolate of the cake.  I only used the minimum amount of milk recommended by the recipe in order to make the buttercream look more like whipped cream, and then I topped them with chocolate sprinkles, mini-marshmallows, and small, Christmas-y nonpareils.  People loved them!

Those recipes were both major hits at the family party.  I've also made some extra treats to give as presents; I made these last year, too, and they were well-received.

by Disney Family Fun

(Photo courtesy of Disney Family Fun.)
Incredibly easy and pretty, these treats can be made with regular kisses, striped hugs, or my favorite: candy cane kisses.  The candy cane ones bring an extra bit of flavor to the treat, and make them look even more festive.  (The picture is just of regular kisses and hugs; I wrapped up my treats before realizing I forgot to photograph them.)  To make this quick and tasty gift, just put hugs/kisses on top of pretzel squares on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet, melt them for five minutes, top with Christmas M&Ms, and then let them set in the fridge.  A big bag of pretzels, a normal-sized bag of M&Ms, and two bags of candy cane kisses made enough for two families plus a couple handfuls for my boyfriend and I to enjoy.  ;)

Let me know if you try out any of these recipes, and have a fantastic, fun, and peaceful holiday season!

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