Thursday, December 23, 2010

Making Cookies, Candies and Memories....

I have hosted a cookie baking/candy making night with both daughter-in-loves and our precious granddaughters for several years now. Wanted to share some pictures and recipes from our fun times together this last week.

From left to right:
Lyn (the mom - we always get comments about how young she looks in her mid-30's!), (oops - sorry Lyn!=) Chloe, Nana & Charlie

(The big tray of dipped peanut butter balls was cooling by the stove when this picture
was taken and they missed getting in the picture!)

These are two favorites that we always make for the holidays...

PRETZELS PRETTIES

(I am still not sure why they have a different name in my cookbook, but it's still the same delicious recipe..and it's easy peasy!)

48 - 50 mini pretzels
48 - 50 rolos or chocolate kisses
1 small bag peanut M & M's

Preheat oven to 275. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Lay pretzels over top; place a rolo or kiss in the center of each one. Bake 4 - 5 minute until chocolate is softened.  Remove from oven; place an M & M on each, pressing down slighty to adhere the chocolate to the pretzel.  Cool a few minutes; refrigerate (or set in a cold garage) until chocolate is firm.  Store at room temperature.  (We've done as many as 90 at once by covering a big cookie sheet)

This is such an awesome recipe because you can make as many, or as few, as you want.  Make just enough to fill a plate to give away or several platesful. I love it because it's an easy recipe for kids to help with.

PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
(this recipe can be cut in half or even in fourths)

1 lb. margarine, melted
5 c. smooth peanut butter
2-1/2 - 3 lb. powdered sugar
1 Tb. vanilla extract
1-1/2 - 2 (12 ozs) pkgs. semi sweet or milk chocolate chips
2 (heaping) Tb. Crisco

In large pot, stir peanut butter into melted margarine; when blended, add vanilla and enough powdered sugar until slightly crumbly.  Make balls the size of large marbles while mixture is slightly warm.  Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheets.  Refrigerate for 1 hour. Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and Crisco together in double boiler; keep warm.  Dip chilled balls in chocolate, placing back onto waxed paper to chill and set up.

Beings I live in Ohio and am a 'buckeye'.....folks around here dip these delicious treats part way into the chocolate, making them look like buckeyes. 

I've been making these for over 40 years, and have always dipped them all the way, but feel free to do as you please...

Here's our little guy Caden enjoying a cookie while we were busy in the kitchen.  He watched tv with his Papa and stayed out of our way while we were busy. 


Then last Saturday, daughter-in-love, Kym, and granddaughter, Ashtyn, came over and spent several hours in the kitchen with me.  Ashtyn is 16 and involved in sports and last year was the first time she had missed our cookie baking night, so it felt extra special for her to be here this year.  She's our firstborn grandchild - oh how quickly they grow! Guess that makes me old(er) huh?  (I always credit becoming a Nana with allowing my gray hair to show thru...I colored it before then, but after I became a Nana, it didn't matter so much anymore that I had a head of gray hair (in my mid 40's)  Grandchildren are our reward!



Can you tell we were busy!!!???

This is a picture of one of the platesful I gave away after we had fun stirrin' up lots of goodies...

Clockwise from left front:
Mixed Nut Bars - Chocolate peanut butter cookie cups -
Fudgy mint cookies - Saltine toffee - Pecan pie bars -
caramel truffles in the middle

(Just so you know....some of those things were made BEFORE our time together!)

Just in case you're just about 'cookied out' I will share just one of these recipes.  It takes 2 ingredients and is easy peasy!! In fact, I think it's so easy, I put it in the "Kid's Corner" of my cookbook...


CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE CUPS

1 - 15 oz. roll refrigerated ready-to-slice peanut butter
(or choco chip) cookie dough

48 miniature peanut butter cup candies

Preheat oven to 350. Slice cookie dough into 3/4-inch slices.  Cut each slice into quarters.  Place each quarter into ungreased mini muffin pans.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes (dough will rise during baking). Remove from oven and immediately press an unwrapped peanut butter cup gently and evenly into cookie.  Cool before removing from pan.  Refrigerate until firm. 
Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

(We ran out of peanut butter cups, so we used 2 peanut M & M's in the rest of them.  They turned out adorable too.)

We have 2 long distance granddaughters who I don't get to bake cookies with very often, but wanted to include a picture of them taken this week. We went there (nearly 3 hrs. one way) to see Claira in her school program, and then went back to their house for them to open gifts.  In this picture, Kaity and Claira are wearing the new princess nightgowns (complete with 'magic wands')
we got for them.


Whether you're stirring things up, or gobbling them down, enjoy a great time with family this holy holiday season!

It's a busy time of year - I've decided to take time off from blogging for about 10 days.  I have much sorting/organizing/pitching/cleaning (even defrosting!) to get done in my house, so I will catch you once again in the new year.

Season's Eatings & Merry CHRISTmas to all!!!!