Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Goodies (Some of My favorite Recipes)

It's the most delicious time... of the year!!!

Every year, I make a bunch of goodies and send them to loved ones around Christmas! These are definitely among my favorite recipes, you should feel very lucky to be getting them!!

This year, I made marshmallows, Ritz minty chocolates, saltine toffee, pretzels with candy coating and gingersnaps.  I was in too much of a rush to take step by step pictures (this was my first year to do this with a little helper elf), but if you have any questions, feel free to email me.  

Ritz Minty Chocolates (Thin Mint Clones)


  • 2 packages chocolate almond bark
  • 80 buttery round crackers
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

  1. Microwave almond bark in a bowl, I usually melt it for a minute and then stir.  Make sure you do not overcook your chocolate.  You can also use a double broiler and melt the chocolate over hot tap water for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir. Do not cook or get water into the chocolate. For a thinner chocolate coating, you can add a few spoonfuls of crisco to your candy coating or almond bark, let it melt and stir it up.  
  2. After it is all melted, stir in a couple drops of peppermint flavoring to the chocolate.
  3. Dip crackers into the melted chocolate and then place onto parchment paper to let cool. You can add sprinkles if you would like to make them festive.
  4. The cookies are best kept at room temperature or a cool dry place away from any odors.

I was looking for a toffee recipe (because who doesn't like toffee) and I found this on  It was a highly rated recipe, so I thought I would give it a try. Besides, I was very intrigued by the use of saltines in the recipe.  

Saltine Toffee

  • 4 ounces saltine crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Line 9x13 pan or cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.

In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes. 

Immediately pour over saltines and spread it cover crackers completely.

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.

Cool completely (a couple of hours) and break into pieces.

I was very surprised by this recipe.  It was super easy and delicious... not to mention fat free ;)


I always forget how much I like gingersnaps, until I make them during the holiday season.  I can not remember where I got this recipe, it is one my mother and I have been making for years.  It's the best gingersnap recipe I have found, they stay chewy for at least a week (if you do not over cook them) and it is the perfect balance between sweet and salty.  

Make sure you read all the way through the directions before you start to make these.  

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup sugar (for rolling dough in)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening, brown sugar, molasses and egg.  

In a SEPARATE medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, blending after each addition until the dough is evenly mixed.  

Put the 1/2 cup sugar into a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop (or roll a ball with floured hands) roll the dough balls in the bowl of sugar until coated.  

Place them on parchment paper (or a lightly greased cookie sheet) leaving a couple of inches between each one.  I use the same parchment paper for each batch, I don't get a new sheet every time I put the pan in the oven.  

Bake for 8-9 minutes.  They will look raw when you take them out.  Leave them on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes then transfer them to a cooling rack.  

1 recipe makes about 2 dozen.  Keep them in an airtight container, they also ship well.  

If you do not have a cookie scoop, you should ask for one for Christmas, it makes baking cookies (and cake balls) so much easier!! 

Candy coated Pretzels


Candy coating or almond bark


Long Pretzel Sticks

Directions:Microwave almond bark/candy coating in a bowl, I usually melt it for a minute and then stir.  Make sure you do not overcook your chocolate.  You can also use a double broiler, melt the chocolate over hot tap water for 15 - 20 minutes. Stir . Do not cook or get water into the chocolate.

Line cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.  Dip rods into melted candy coating, I had to use a spatula to evenly coat them.  

Set on wax paper and drizzle with sprinkles.  

Obviously there are many variations to this recipe, but it is very simple and takes maybe 15 minutes.  


Every year, I have multiple requests for these marshmallows (mostly by family, so I am not really sure if that counts) and I must say, they are simply delicious! They are somewhat time consuming, but worth every second!

I blogged about these in February, marshmallows (click on the link to the left).  

I will be making more of these before Christmas, if you are interested in a tutorial, let me know! 

One of these days I am thinking I will set up shop somewhere and sell Holiday candy and baked goods.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tacky Peppermint Ice Cream

This year was the third year the Holly Jolly Gooches have had a tacky party.  This was definitely the best year yet!
1st year

This was the second year. Yes, my belly is painted.  Kent actually wears these clothes during the holiday season, just not quite together. 

This year I was the lamp from The Christmas Story.  
This year there were awards for the most tacky as well as the best holiday dish.  There were various Christmas themed door prizes which were mostly food related, of course.  I made a few different things for the party, one of which was Peppermint chocolate chip ice cream, inspired with our latest obsession, the peppermint chocolate chip milkshake from Chick-fil-a.  I wanted an easy recipe, so I immediately thought of Eagle Brand.  I have used a few eagle brand ice cream recipes before and you can't go wrong!

Here is what you will need:

1 1/4 cups water
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups  cream
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped chocolate chips

Combine ingredients into ice cream freezer container. Turn ice cream maker on until frozen or until desired consistency. 

I had not made ice cream in a while in my maker, i put all the ingredients in, then the attachment and it was already too frozen to turn the mixture.  So I poured the liquid into a large container and put it in the freezer overnight.  When I got up, the mixture was not quite frozen all the way so I stirred it up.  Surprisingly, it still turned out great. 

Here are some more festive pictures from the night!

Jeremy, Amanda and Boo
Rowyn, Talan and Cruz

Stapleton and his grandma Peggy

Bear Gooch in his penguin sweater
Charlie, Nichole, Stapleton , Tara and Ryan
Jeff and Amy (Jeff was the tacky winner, his tie was something!) 

Travis and Linsey

Adam and Meagan
Stapleton and his grandpa

Ismael and Gennifer

Lindy and Ann (Ann was the food winner, her chocolate chips cookies vanished in seconds!!)