Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chocolate Truffles

Another Christmas favourite of mine to give away as gifts are these Chocolate Truffles. They are not difficult to make, although getting the chocolate mixture at the exact right temperature is imperative to forming the balls correctly.

2 2/3 pkg (16 squares) Baker's Premium dark chocolate, divided
1//4 cup whipping cream
1 T butter

Chop 8 chocolate squares; place in double boiler. Add cream and butter, stir on low heat until blended. Remove from stove. Cover. Refrigerate for one hour, or until firm.

Shape into 24 balls. Place on a wax-paper tray.

Melt remaining chocolate squares. Using a fork or toothpick, dip the truffles in the melted chocolate until they are covered, and return to the tray. Sprinkle with nuts, crushed peppermint candy, sprinkles, icing sugar or cocoa. Refrigerate again, at least an hour or more until hard.

You can really get creative with what you sprinkle on top - use anything you like!

I tripled this recipe so that I had enough to give out for all my gifts (teachers, bus drivers, dog groomers, neighbours, etc.). We are even lucky enough this year to have some extras at home!

Nuts and Bolts

This recipe originally came from my mom, although I tend to change it a bit every year. I also like this variety from Kellogg's Crispix cereal. There are several good ones on the Chex website as well. I give this recipe as gifts every year, and people always come back asking for another bag.

7cups cereal (Chex, Crispix, Cheerios, Shreddies, or a mixture of all of them)
1cup nuts (I use cashews and peanuts)
1cup pretzels
3tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
1/4teaspoon garlic salt
1/4teaspoon onion salt
2teaspoons lemon juice
4teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. In a roast pan, mix cereal, pretzels and nuts together. In a saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Pour over the cereal mixture. Mix until coated. Bake for 90 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Keep in a sealed container.

* I sometimes add Bugles or cheese sticks, or whatever I have around.

Peanut Butter Slice

Peanut Butter Slice

Easy, fast, deadly. Tastes like rich fudge, but with a kick.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 pkg butterscotch chips
2 cups mini marshmallows

Melt butter, peanut butter and chips in top of a double boiler. Cool briefly and add marshmallows - cool enough that the marshmallows don't melt when you add them, but not too cool that it starts to harden and thicken too much. Put in 8x8 pan, refrigerate, then cut into squares.

Grandmother Cookies

My grandmother's Sugar Cookies

These cookies are truly divine. They are a bit crispy, yet still soft enough to just sort of melt in your mouth. I absolutely loved them when I was a little girl, and I counted the days to Christmas each year, when I knew my grandmother would be baking them again!

1 cup shortening (I have used butter sometimes)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Cream of Tatar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almost extract (sometimes I use two)

Sift flour, baking soda, Cream of Tatar and salt. Cream the shortening. Beat in sugar, and add the egg. Beat well. Add the dry ingredients, mix well. Add vanilla and almond extract.

Divide the mixture into two rolls (like long logs). Place dough in wax paper in refrigerator for at least an hour. Then slice cookies off log and place on a greased cookie sheet. Cook at 350 until just lightly coloured (8-ish minutes).

I also roll the dough out sometimes and cut shapes out with my holiday cookie cutters. Then sprinkle a few red and green sprinkles on the top and bake!! The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 2/3 weeks - great for making last minute cookies when company stops by!

My grandmother's Ginger Snaps

These cookies are also divine. What made them exceptionally special for us was the fact that my grandmother somehow managed to slice the cookies so thin, they were almost like paper. These really and truly melted on your tongue as you slid one into your mouth.

1 cup shortening
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup of molasses
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
3 cups flour

Cream the shortening, then add sugar and molasses. Beat this well. Sift the dry ingredients, add to the shortening mix, and mix well. Divide the dough and shape into two logs. Roll into separate pieces of wax paper, store in refrigerator. When needed, slice cookies and press down with a fork on a cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lunch Idea - Basil and Cheese Wedges

I found this recipe at the Kraft Canada website. I made it today for lunch and it was delicious, fast and EASY.

Basil and Cheese Wedges

It is an appetizer, but I decided it looked good for lunch, and I had some fresh basil I wanted to use up. I didn't have any of the Kraft Italian dressing, but I used olive oil and a bit of pepper on the top and fresh parmesan cheese instead of the Kraft kind.

Give it a try!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Week of December 7, 2008

Things are extremely busy and festive around the Crafty Mom household, so no big meal plans this week. I am baking and cooking up treats for the holidays, and had my parents visiting for the weekend, so suppertime cooking is not high on my list this week I'm afraid. Time to head for my fully stocked freezer for some meals!!!

Sunday: Out to dinner with Nana and Grandad
Monday: Baked Ziti (freezer)
Tuesday: Cayenne-rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
Wednesday: Pasta with Sausage and Mushroom Sauce (freezer)
Thursday: Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie (freezer)
Friday: Soup and Sandwiches
Saturday: Christmas Party