December 17, 2008
A cookbook called Treasury of Christmas was a gift my wife and I received not long after getting married – 1995, I think – and since then it’s been one of my go-to cookbooks for holiday recipes. It’s one of those “lots of name-brand” cookbooks, but it’s very lavishly illustrated with color pictures, and the recipes are largely excellent. The book appears to be out of print, but I thought I’d share some of my favorites from it here.
This recipe tastes a lot like Andes mints, and it couldn’t possibly be simpler. Just make sure to let each layer cool for at least 10 minutes in the fridge (or less in the freezer) before pouring the next layer on to keep the layers nice and distinct. I make 2 batches of this each year, one with a red stripe and the other with green. It’s festive!
Layered Mint Chocolate Candy
- 1 12 oz Package Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 14 oz Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 6 Oz White Confectioners Coating (either white almond bark or white chocolate chips)
- 1 Tbs Peppermint Extract
- Red or Green Food Coloring
- Melt the chocolate chips with 1 cup of the sweetened condensed milk – I like to use the microwave for this step, it takes me a minute to get the chocolate melted
- Stir the vanilla into the melted chocolate
- Spread half of the chocolate into a parchment or wax paper lined 9 inch square baking pan
- Chill the chocolate in the pan for at least 10 minutes (leave the other half of the chocolate at room temperature)
- Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate with the remaining condensed milk (again, I do this for 1 minute in the microwave)
- Stir the peppermint extract and a few drops of food coloring into the white chocolate (see note below)
- Spread the white peppermint chocolate onto the chilled chocolate mixture, then chill for an additional 10 minutes
- Spread the remaining melted chocolate on top of the white chocolate layer, then chill for at least 2 hours
- Turn out the candy onto a cutting board and cut into squares
Note: This will seem like a lot of peppermint extract, but it’s necessary to make this layer stand up to twice the amount of semi-sweet chocolate. Also, start out with 3-4 drops of the food coloring, then add more a drop at a time until you reach your consistency. Too much food coloring could cause the white chocolate to clump up, and that’s trouble.
Source: Treasury of Christmas, out of print
December 17, 2008
I found this recipe on the interwebs in 2004, and they’ve become a favorite with most of my family…but they’re also a source of some controversy. See, for some reason not everyone likes coconut. I know, I know, it seems strange to me too…but that’s the truth. So for those who enjoy coconut, here’s a very easy recipe that tastes great, a lot like a Mounds bar. I’ve thought about putting a roasted almond in the center or on top of these things, but haven’t pulled the trigger on that recipe modification yet.
- 21 Ounces Sweetened Coconut (3 small bags)
- 1 Pound (16 oz) Powdered Sugar
- 1 Can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Stick (8 oz) Butter, melted (or margarine, if you hate life)
- 1 Package Chocolate Candy Coating (i.e., Almond Bark), Chocolate or White Chocolate
- Mix the coconut, powdered sugar, condensed milk, vanilla and butter thoroughly. I use my stand mixer to do this, it turns into a sticky mess.
- Refrigerate the coconut mixture for at least an hour – this will make it easier to scoop
- Scoop out tablespoons of the mixture onto sheet pans lined with parchment or wax paper, then roll with your hands into smooth balls.
- Refrigerate the trays of coconut balls for another hour – this will keep them from coming apart in the chocolate dip
- Melt the chocolate coating according to the package directions
- Dip each ball in the chocolate, turning to coat, then place back on the paper-lined sheet pan until set
I recommend keeping these things in the fridge because of the milk and butter in the recipe, personally. Better safe than sorry. Also, if you don’t already have a variety of sizes of scoops, they come in really handy for these type of recipes. We’ve got a few and they make candy and cookie making so much easier and the results are much more uniform.
December 15, 2008
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
- 1 Cup Peanut Butter, crunchy
- 1/4 Cup Butter (or margarine, if you’re a sadist), softened
- 2 Cups Crisp Rice cereal (the kind that snaps, pops and even crackles)
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Package Chocolate Candy Coating (sometimes referred to as “Almond Bark”)
I recommend using a good stand mixer for this recipe. It makes this very, very easy.
- Combine the peanut butter and softened butter thoroughly.
- Add the cereal and powdered sugar to the peanut butter mixture, mixing until well combined. This is going to be very thick when done, which is why I recommend the mixer.
- Refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour. This will make the scooping/forming step next much simpler.
- Scoop rounded teaspoons of the mixture onto a paper-lined cookie sheet (use either wax or parchment paper), then form the spoonfuls into balls using your hands. Be quick about this, the balls will start to get soft as they sit on the pan.
- Refigerate the panful of balls for an hour or so.
- Microwave the chocolate candy coating according to the package’s instructions. It generally takes me 90 seconds, then stirring, then 30 seconds, then stirring, then 30 seconds, then stirring to get smoothly melted coating.
- Remove the balls from the refrigerator. Using a pair of wire tongs or a large fork, drop each ball in the melted chocolate and stir to coat the ball. Tap the tongs or fork on the side of the coating bowl to drain some excess chocolate, then drop the coated ball on the paper-lined sheet.
Should make around 2 dozen balls. I recommend keeping these in the fridge until an hour or so before service – don’t just leave them out, since there’s butter in them. I also recommend doubling the recipe, these go fast. They’re a family favorite around here.
Note the complete lack of ball jokes in this post.
[Updated 12/17 with a much better picture]
Source: Treasury of Christmas Recipes, out of print