Sunday, December 12, 2010

A start on holiday baking

I've started making the treats for my holiday tins -
kind of a lousy photo, sorry!

Chocolate dipped pretzels - two kinds. These are super easy to do, and fun. I think next time I would use pretzel twists, I was thinking rods would be easier (and they probably were) but they are not quite as pretty.

Just melt 1/2 cup of chocolate in the microwave at 50% power for 3-5 minutes, stirring every minute, dip the pretzels, lay on waxed paper, and sprinkle. I used Belgian milk chocolate sprinkled with Skor bits for half, and dark chocolate-mint (mint-flavoured chocolate chips make that super easy) with sprinkles for the other half. If I were really fancy I would have drizzled with white chocolate - but I'm not.

Thumbprint cookies from the Canadian Living Baking book - made with brown sugar instead of white, and rolled in chopped pecans. For the filling, I did half the batch with Crofter's Europe Superfruit (pomegranates and black currants blended with red grapes and morello cherries), which wasn't as pretty as I'd hoped - the filling went really dark after baking, and the jam is so thick that it didn't spread out at all (they do taste great, though!). The ones that you can see in the picture are the other half batch, for which I used homemade strawberry-mango jam, and I think they were more successful. These were a bit of work for only three dozen cookies, but they are so pretty and delicious. You can also top them with chocolate chunks or Hershey's kisses - I was thinking how pretty and festive white chocolate or yogourt with a dried cranberry in the center would be, too. Lots of options!

The cookies go in the freezer for a few days until I am ready to make up the tins, to keep their freshness. The chocolate dipped pretzels can hang out at room temperature (freezing or refrigerating would make the chocolate "bloom").

Still to come - shortbread, ginger cookies, and super easy microwave fudge. I'll share that fudge recipe with you, too - it's so simple with great results.

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