Saturday, December 21, 2013

Leader Enterprise - December 18, 2013 - Holiday Recipes/Gifts

Can we even believe Christmas is right around the corner?? I'm really behind in every way possible, as I spent the first full week of December in Minneapolis. I went with a group of 28 from Hillsdale county and surrounding areas, to process Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes prior to being sent overseas to needy children. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and service. What a gigantic operation. We were at one of 6 centers, and that facility alone, was going to process 750,000 boxes! I look forward to going again next year. It's a reminder to think past ourselves, and give to others. There's always someone worse off than we are. I've been a friend to those in need. I've also had a friend when I was in need. The saying is true...it IS more blessed to give than to receive. Do a little something special for someone this holiday season and you'll be blessed beyond measure.

As we prepare to celebrate the REASON for the SEASON, I wanted to share some favorite holiday recipes to help you share, impress and enjoy.

Here are a few recipes that are great for gift giving or adding to holiday trays.

SIMPLE PRETZEL (OR SALTINE) TOFFEE BARK 



8 ozs. (or less) mini pretzels, broken into small pieces 

(or about 40 saltine cracker squares)

1 c. butter (2 sticks)

1 c. packed light brown sugar
2 c. (or 12 ozs) bag semisweet chocolate chips
chopped nuts, optional 
Preheat oven to 375. Line a 17" X 11" cookie sheet with foil (nonstick works great). Cover the bottom of the pan with broken pretzels (or whole saltines); set aside. In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter and sugar. When mixture begins to boil, let it bubble for 3 minutes without stirring. Immediately pour over pretzels, moving pan from one end to the other while pouring to spread evenly. (Don't worry if you have some 'bare' places where the toffee hasn't spread.) Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes; then spread melted chocolate evenly over top and sprinkle with chopped nuts; cool. Break or cut into pieces.


EASY TIGER BUTTER
(3 INGREDIENTS-MICROWAVE)

1 lb. 8 ozs. pkg.white almond bark
2 c. peanut butter, creamy 
6-12 ozs. semi sweet chocolate chips 

Line 15"x10"x1" jellyroll pan with waxed paper. In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave 2-4 minutes at 30 SECOND intervals until semi-sweet chocolate is melted; set aside. In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate in the microwave 2-4 minutes at 30 SECOND intervals until white chocolate is melted; add peanut butter and then stir rapidly until white chocolate and peanut butter are mixed evenly. Spread mixture onto prepared pan. Pour semi-sweet chocolate over peanut butter mixture in a lazy river design, and swirl through with a knife.  Chill until firm. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

HOT CINNAMON MILK MIX (Sugarfree Options)

2 c. powdered milk
1 c. powdered (sugar free) french vanilla creamer
1 c.sugar (or Splenda)
1/2 TB. ground cinnamon
To enjoy the mix, warm 1/2 c. water with 1/2 c. milk. Place 1/4 c. mix in a mug,add the liquid and stir well. (May dissolve mix in all water, but the milk adds creaminess that is wonderful)


HOLIDAY CORNFLAKE WREATH
30 large marshmallows 
1/2 c. butter (do not substitute)
1 Tb. vanilla extract
20-22 drops green food coloring
3-1/2 c. cornflakes
red hot cinnamon candies
 red shoestring licorice and one red Dot candy, optional 
 
In large saucepan, combine marshmallows and butter; heat,stirring over low heat, until smooth. Stir in vanilla and food coloring. Remove from heat; add cornflakes and stir until well blended. Drop by spoonsful onto prepared pan, forming a 9" wreath. Decorate with red hots. If desired, make a bow with shoestring licorice and top with Dot candy. Yield:10-12 servings  
This recipe is PERFECT for Christmas morning. Made with frozen rolls, it can be made up to 2 days ahead. A.MA.ZING!

MAKE AHEAD PULL APART STICKY BUNS
1-1/4 c. chopped pecans 
3/4 c. butter
2 lbs. frozen bread dough (24 frozen dinner rolls, or 2 1-lb.loaves,thawed for about 1/2 an hour, cut into 12 evenly-sized pieces)
1-1/2 c. sugar
1-1/2 heaping Tbs. cinnamon
Generously butter a 9" X 13" baking dish. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan. In small bowl, blend sugar and cinnamon until evenly mixed. Melt butter. Dip each roll in butter, then in the cinnamon/sugar mixture; lay evenly over top of nuts. (6 the long way,4 across). Combine remaining butter with cinnamon/sugar and spread evenly over top of rolls. (It may clump on top of rolls, but will bake evenly). Tightly cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Let rise until doubled (see options below). Bake 350 for 40-45 minutes, uncovered, until brown. (If browning too quickly,cover with foil for the last 15 minutes or so of baking time; watch carefully. This recipe can become a 'work of art' if not overbaked). Remove from oven, let stand in pan for about 5 minutes; invert onto serving tray. (I covered a cookie sheet with non stick foil). Serve warm! (Don't burn your mouth!)

Monica gave me permission to share the rising options direct from her website:
 *MAKE AHEAD RISING METHODS (times may vary depending on the temperature of your house)
1. Assemble the night before, leave out to rise overnight (6-8 hours), and bake first thing in the morning.
2. Assemble 20-24 hours in advance,  put in the fridge to partially rise.The next day, remove from fridge and allow to rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours before baking.
3. Assemble 44-48 hours in advance, put in the fridge to rise. Remove from fridge and warm to room temperature for 45 minutes before baking. 

Extending warmest wishes for a very Merry CHRISTmas to all! Thanks so much for your great support this year. May you and yours enjoy sweet blessings in 2014!