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Gingerbread Cookie Dough Fudge

Put away your jeans, it’s time to bust out the stretchy pants. It’s fudge season again!

 Gingerbread Cookie Dough Fudge 3

Do you ever dream about food? Or more specifically, do you ever dream about a specific food? And then wake up and it’s still on your brain? And it’s all you can think about until you’re finally able to make it? That’s exactly what happened to me earlier this week. I woke up with gingerbread and fudge on the brain. It wasn’t an entirely bad way to start the day ;) And before long I found myself making Gingerbread Cookie Dough Fudge. This fudge tasted just as good as I dreamed it would. Talk about a dream come true!

Gingerbread Cookie Dough Fudge 2

This particular fudge is especially appropriate for the holidays too since it does taste just like gingerbread cookie dough. Yes, really. It’s soft and chewy like cookie dough with the same classic flavors you’re craving. No worries about raw eggs or having to take the time to bake. No thermometer required either.

Gingerbread Cookie Dough Fudge

Gingerbread Cookie Dough Fudge

recipe adapted from Lauren’s Latest

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 oz white chocolate
2 tbsp liquid molasses
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves

Directions

1. In a large bowl, place sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate and molasses. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes {stirring every 30 seconds} to melt chocolate into milk. Alternatively, melt the chocolate into the milk using a double boiler on the stove top.
2. Measure and pour the dry ingredients into the milk chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth and evenly mixed together.
3. Pour into a greased 8×8 glass baking dish. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set OR leave on counter to cool for 3 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

‘O Christmas Tree’ Pancakes You’ll Flip For

For both kids and the adults, Christmas morning is a culmination of all the anticipation of the holiday season, and all the preparations that got you to that moment, that makes everything feel magical. But in all the excitement of  the kids who’re waking up, parents running on fumes of sleep, spending time with family and opening gifts, you still need to eat. But, not everybody wants to cook. I still think Christmas morning breakfast should be as special as the day itself. In my case, it’s also got be quick to prepare or easy to make-ahead so I’m not stuck in the kitchen away from the rest of the family for half of the morning. This right here, fits the bill.

 O Christmas Tree! snack for the kids

Pancakes. Breakfast Sausage. Whipped Cream. M & M’s. What do all these things have in common? They all make up this fun food idea that kids will go ga-ga for.

This isn’t only for Christmas morning though. It’s also perfect for any day leading up to the big day. If you’re a morning person, you can easily have this on the table and enjoyed before the school bus arrives. If you’re anything like me and the mornings have you stuck at the cross roads between hectic and harried, no worries. This makes an awesome after school snack too. Options, I like options. :)

‘O Christmas Tree’ Pancakes You’ll Flip For

O Christmas Tree Pancakes

favorite pancake batter
green food coloring
M&M’s
whipped cream
sausage links

Directions

1. To make, heat a flat griddle until warm but not too hot. If you heat the pan too hot, the pancakes will brown too quickly and you will lose the color.
2. Cook pancakes, as many as desired. One regular sized pancake will make one Christmas tree.
3. Once the pancakes are cooked on both sides, cut them into quarters using a pancake cutter.
4. Layer the pancakes on a plate starting with the top and making three layers.
5. Cook the sausage links and add one, halved length-wise, for the trunk of the tree.
6. Arrange some M&Ms for the ornaments and add a whipped cream ‘star’ and you’re ready to serve.

Christmas Tree Pull Apart Bread

Are you like me? Are you filled with Christmas spirit all month long? Do you try to bring a Christmasy something into each day and/or meal for your family? Well, if you don’t I highly recommend it. If you do, you can probably vouch for how a little bit here or there, magically gets everyone in the Christmas mood. It’s like magic, and as a Mom, it’s a beautiful thing to behold. There’s no question we all love bread in th is family, and I try to have some sort of option (if it’s appropriate) with our dinners. Knowing I’m trying to slip a little holiday cheer into pretty much anything and everything right now, I figured why make dinner rolls or a plain loaf of bread, if I can put a pull-apart Christmas tree on the table?

 Christmas Tree Pull Apart Bread 1

At the grocery store, I had seen a tree-shaped cake pan, and I thought it would be pretty cool for baking bread. Then I thought about it some more and figured that I could make a free-form tree shape instead. Making and then using cheese-filled dough balls, the sons and I created a Christmas tree shape with our loose interpretation of a star on top. We needed some green and used some dried parsley flakes for that, but if you’re feeling more traditional sprinkle some rosemary on top. Rosemary’s much more Christmas tree like in texture anyway. I figured at least a few of our seems would leak filling during baking, but wasn’t overly concerned. The sons decided that it worked perfectly because our tree had snow on it too!

Christmas Tree Pull Apart Bread

 Christmas Tree Pull Apart Bread

1 can (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza crust, or pizza dough
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons butter
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tbsp dried parsley or fresh rosemary
1 cup warmed marinara sauce for dipping

Directions

1. Lay out, or roll out depending on if you’re using refrigerated pizza crust or actual dough, pizza dough onto a cutting board and stretch to a 10 x 15 inch size. Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 28 equal squares. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and shredded cheese, stirring until evenly combined.
2. Add roughly one tablespoon of the cheese to each dough square. Seal the seems and then gently roll the dough in your hand to form a ball. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet in a Christmas tree shape as shown in the picture above. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 – 17 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
3. In a small pot, melt the butter and stir in the garlic powder. After removing the pull-apart bread from the oven, brush the top with butter and sprinkle with your herbs. Serve pull apart with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Snowman Milk Bottles

So remember when we started this whole 12 Days of Christmas thing? Remember my little pre-apology just in case life got in the way of a post or two coming your way? Well, it was bound to happen and it finally did. (Although we did have a solid six day run before that. Yes!)

Long story short: Son # 4’s allergies got the best of him. Zyrtec kicked his allergies butt and dried up excessive amounts of mucus. And backed them right up into his ear which culminated in an ER visit narrowly avoiding a burst ear drum. Now that we’re all back to normal, we’re ready to resume our regularly scheduled programming. And back to the Christmas craftiness we are. In 3 … 2 … 1 …

I’m about to show you something really cute.

Like really, really cute.

And it’s so simple! Just a few supplies, and you can have an adorable Winter milk jug ready for the kids, for guests, or even for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Snowman Milk Bottle

Also, it’s Christmas time, and that means it’s also (unofficially) cookie season. And you can’t have cookies without milk. It’s just one of the unwritten laws of dessert. So whether you’re throwing a Christmas party, hosting the family baking day, or just enjoying some much needed qt with your cuties, having milk on-hand is a must, and what better way to serve it than this?!

Snowman Milk Bottles

milk bottles, I happen to own a set, but Starbucks Frappuccino bottles would work perfectly too
felt, I used red but any color would work
black buttons
straws
glue gun

Directions

1. Cut a strip of felt. Snip the ends of the strip of felt to resemble a scarf.
2. Tie the strip of felt around the neck of the bottle. Arrange the ends so they both lay flat. If needed apply some glue to the bottom strip and press the top down onto it to secure.
3. Glue two black buttons onto the midsection of the glass.
4. Fill with milk, insert a straw, and you’re ready to impress!

Grinch Cookies

“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.”

The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with your family, your friends, anyone at all really, but be careful! Don’t let the never-ending holiday cheer overwhelm you and turn you into a Grinch! Just remember how the story goes …

 Grinch Cookies

Every Who down in Whoville,
the tall and the small,
was singing–without any presents at all!
He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming–it came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling:
“How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
He puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before:
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store–
Maybe Christmas–perhaps–means a little bit more.”

And what happened then–well, in Whoville they say
That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.

Grinch Cookies 2

Now, who in Whoville wouldn’t like to be served these? Thank you Dr. Seuss for giving us such a disgusting villain to love, and such an iconic Christmas story to “bring your cheer, cheer to all Whos far and near”.

How ‘The Grinch Stole Christmas’? How ’bout ‘How The Grinch Crinkled Christmas’! We’ve upgraded our Lazy Cake Cookies into these adorable Grinch-y crinkle-style treats.

Grinch Cookies

1 box yellow, or white, cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
green food coloring
powdered sugar
large heart-shaped sprinkles or candies

Directions

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the cake mix, food coloring ( 8 drops for a yellow mix, and 1-2 for white), oil, and eggs.
2. Chill the dough for at least 10-15 minutes.
3. Drop by the tablespoon into the powdered sugar and then roll into balls.
4. Place on a baking sheet and press 1 large heart candy/sprinkle into the center of each.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, or until just set.
6. Let cool 2 minutes on the pan before removing the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack.

Sparkling Cranberries

I only just made these candied cranberries for the first time this past week and I may now be completely obsessed. If I indulged in these little bursts of love earlier in life, I was either too young or had consumed one too many mugs of eggnog to remember. First time or not, I was sold.

 Sparkling Cranberries 2

These pretty cranberries may look like they might be just for decoration, but they’re not – they’re like eating candy. Good for you candy! Put them out as part of your holiday spread this year and surprise your guests with their perfect blend of sweet and a little part tart.

Sparkling Cranberries

Sparkling Cranberries

recipe originally from Kleinworth & Co.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 cups cranberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions

1. Rinse cranberries & set aside.
2. In medium saucepan heat 1 cup water & 1 cup sugar until sugar is dissolved & liquid is warm. Do not boil.
3. Remove from heat & allow to come to room temperature. (cranberries will pop if the syrup is too hot)
4. Once syrup is cool- pour over cranberries & place something on top of the cranberries to hold them down in the syrup since they will naturally float.
5. Cover & refrigerate overnight.
6. Once your cranberries have soaked for allotted time – strain out cranberries in colander & reserve syrup for other recipes.
7. Pat cranberries dry with paper towel. They should be tacky not wet.
8. Work in batches of 3-4 cranberries at a time – roll in small bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
9. Allow sugar to harden onto cranberries on a baking sheet for several hours.
10. Store at room temperature.

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy canes are very famous holiday treats that everyone loves. Well, most everyone. I’ve never been a big fan, but they’re like a holiday staple or something. Like the rock hard, year old candy in Grandma’s Christmas candy dish, or the fruit cake. That being said, I couldn’t resist the idea of a candy cane-inspired breakfast danish for Christmas morning last year.

Totally easy to throw together too, so I didn’t have to miss a single moment, or capturing one, that morning. It was so good, that nobody minded finishing it for lunch either. It was the perfect thing to sit back with, well that and a strong cup of coffee, to finally relax and just enjoy the sons’ joy last year. This is definitely going to be a repeat item this year.

 Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish

Candy Cane Fruit & Cream Cheese Danish 2

2 cans of crescent rolls
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 can cherry or strawberry pie filing

For Glaze (optional)

Powdered sugar
milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. Set two roll sections aside for candy cane stripes. Lay out remaining crescent roll sections in the shape of a candy cane making sure to overlap the edges slightly. Use a knife to cut out your candy cane shape. Mix together your cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Spread on top of your candy candy shape.
2. Spoon pie filling on top of cream cheese filling.
3. Using the remaining two roll sections, cut off long strips and lay them out on top of your filling to create a candy cane look. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the bread is golden brown.

Glaze:
Mix together ingredients alternating between powdered sugar and milk until desired consistency is obtained.

Drizzle over baked candy cane and enjoy!

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