Christmas Goodies

Instead of buying gifts for lots of people this year, I decided to do a bunch of baking and give out goodies.  It was so fun making all these treats and giving them to family and friends, I think I will do this from now on!  The trick is to make large batches of each goody and divvy them up into cookie tins all at once.  I found a TON of festive cookie tins from the dollar store, so I didn’t break the bank on the cookie tins.

Between the crazy baking spree, traveling, and gobbling these goodies up before I could say “have a holly jolly Christmas” there wasn’t time to take pictures.  So here are the recipes, links to originals, and pictures borrowed from the lovely bloggers with these yummy recipes!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls from Praying Twice 

These peanut butter balls were a HUGE hit.  The rice krispies add a fun crunch and texture that people couldn’t get enough of.  The powdered sugar also helps these peanut butter balls not be as heavy and dense as other peanut butter balls I’ve had in the past.  My only “complaint” is how messy you get while making these and they are somewhat labor intensive.  My hands were covered in chocolate which was so tempting to lick as I was making these…but I resisted until the end…I swear!!  But because the end result is so yummy, all the work was worth it!

Ingredients
2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups rice krispies
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter, melted
2-3 packages of milk chocolate chips, melted

Directions
-Mix the peanut butter, rice krispies, powdered sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl.  The mixture is quite thick and I found it easier just to use my hands! 

*The goal is to be able to roll the mixture into a ball that isn’t to dry or too sticky.  Just right.  If the balls are too dry and not rolling together, add more peanut butter.  If the balls are too wet and sticky, add more powdered sugar.

-Pre-roll all of the peanut butter balls and place on cookie sheets BEFORE dipping in chocolate, your hands will get messy.

-Dip each ball into the chocolate and place back on cookie sheet. 

-Let harden before packing up and you can put them in the fridge to speed up the process.

(Makes about 70 balls)

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies from Life as a Lofthouse

Are you a fan of soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies?  This is for you!  The great thing about these cookies is how soft they are without having to pop them in the microwave (but the extra warmth still makes them even better!).  The secret ingredient aka vanilla pudding mix is where the cookies get their chewy texture.  Also the added bump of vanilla flavor makes these cookies top all others if you ask me.  Does anyone else have trouble answering the question of vanilla or chocolate?  They go together so well!

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 12 oz bag milk chocolate chips

Directions  
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Add butter, both sugars, pudding mix, eggs and vanilla to a large bowl, and beat until creamy and fluffy
-Then slowly mix in flour and baking soda
-Stir in chocolate chips
-Drop by tablespoonfuls, onto an un-greased cookie sheet.
-Bake for ONLY 9-10 minutes.
-Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes before eating. 

(Makes about 36 cookies)


Triple Chocolate Cherry Bars from Betty Crocker

I’ve recently discovered and become a fan of Betty Crocker.  Many of the recipes are super simple and quick to prepare and all remind me of comfort food.  And if you search through the website and cookbooks, you are bound to come across real gems like this recipe!  Chocolate with cherries is one of my favorite combos.  Nate’s aunt makes delicious chocolate covered cherries every Christmas and these are similar, just in a brownie form.  And the fact that these are so quick and easy to whip up, I’ll be making these year round and not just for the holidays.

Ingredients
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® chocolate fudge cake mix
1 21 oz can cherry pie filling
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 container Betty Crocker® Whipped chocolate frosting

Directions
-Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan)
-Spray a 15x10x1-inch or 13×9-inch pan with baking spray
-In large bowl, gently mix dry cake mix, pie filling, eggs and chocolate chips with rubber spatula; break up any undissolved cake mix by pressing with spatula
-Carefully spread in pan
-Bake 15x10x1-inch pan 23 to 27 minutes, 13×9-inch pan 29 to 34 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
-Cool completely, about 1 hour
-Frost with frosting
-Cut to desired size bars
-Store loosely covered 

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