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Maple Snowflake Candy!

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maple-snowflake-candy

These adorable maple candy snowflakes are made with only one ingredient- maple syrup! Such a delicious and easy-to-make winter treat!

Every winter for most of my life, my mom would tell us about making maple snow candy. It involved pouring hot maple syrup into snow, and it would harden into delicious candy bits. She said they made it at school when she was little, and she loved it.

I’ve never made it- and the thought of pouring anything edible into snow from my backyard? I don’t think so. ūüôā I was thinking about the candy and saw cute snowflake silicone molds online and decided I would try my hand at maple candy. It is a well-known technique, probably made for many years in some families, but a new technique for me- and I learned some things about how to make them well! ūüôā

maple-snowflake-candy4

Here is how we made them: (printable recipe here)

INGREDIENTS/SUPPLIES:

  • 1 cup of pure maple syrup (grade A)- I used Wal-Mart brand because it was the least expensive ūüôā Worked great!
  • A few drops of vegetable oil- if desired to prevent boiling over
  • Silicone molds (the ones I got are discontinued- which is so sad!!! ¬†I just got them about 2 weeks ago!) Here is a link to¬†very similar sized ones (2 inch diameter).
  • A candy thermometer

DIRECTIONS:

  • Prepare molds by setting them on a small cookie sheet (to keep them flat). One cup of syrup will make about 8, 2 inch diameter and 1/3 inch deep candies.
  • Pour syrup into a medium saucepan. Clip a thermometer on the side with tip in syrup.
  • Add a few drops of oil on the top to keep it from foaming up when it heats.¬†
  • Heat to soft-ball stage(about 240F degrees on the candy thermometer), stirring slightly to prevent scalding .
  • Remove from heat, remove thermometer, and¬†do not stir for 5 minutes.¬†

maple-candymaple-candy

  • After 5 minutes, start to stir the mixture. It will (fairly quickly) start to form little bubbles and change color. It will feel like you are scraping sugar off the bottom of the pan. At this point,¬†quickly spoon into molds and then tap the entire cookie sheet on the counter to flatten out the candy in the molds.

maple-candymaple-candy

Now. I experimented with this a little. I placed my 1st batch in the freezer to harden for about 15 minutes and they had a sugary film on them when I took them out. I left my second batch in the freezer while I went out for dinner (several hours) and they came out beautifully. I repeated this with 3 more batches and it worked perfectly every time. If you are going to make a lot of these, get a couple of molds to save time! 

Here’s a photo of the second batch (several hours in freezer) vs the 1st batch (15 minutes in freezer)¬†

maple-snowflake-candy

  • Just pop these out of the molds and keep them in a sealed container for up to several weeks.¬†
  • Enjoy!!

maple-snowflake-candy

My thoughts: These are particularly good with a cup of coffee… the sweet and the sugar… yum! I put these on my Christmas cookie trays for friends and they LOVED them. My gluten-free friends were particularly excited about them ūüôā

Since the syrup is so expensive, I just did one-cup batches for the 1st two sets- so I could experiment without ruining a whole 2 cups of syrup. My remaining batches, I boiled 2 cups at once and used 2 sheets of molds. You have to pour very quickly when you use 2 cups- so that it doesn’t thicken up before you get it into the mold. Other than that, it worked great and was actually a VERY easy and fun treat! Hope you get a chance to try them! ~r

Other snowy day desserts here on Easybaked: (click a photo to see the recipe)

Snowman Oreo PopsCoconut Cupcakes!!!Caramel Ritz CookiesBerry Bomb Cupcakes4

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Candy Cane Brownies

Candy Cane Brownie

Nothing says Merry Christmas like peppermint and chocolate! These beautiful little brownies combine those two flavors in a colorful, layered treat!

These brownies are an Easybaked staple. I’ve swapped that peppermint filling up for everything from cookie dough to caramel. I love recipes that can be changed up with different flavors and looks!!! This peppermint candy cane flavor is the most beautiful filling I’ve used in these though. The guests at every party I’ve shared them at have all commented on how¬†pretty¬†and festive¬†they are. They just make me smile- and they really aren’t that difficult to make! Promise.

Candy Cane Brownies

This recipe makes a lot of brownies. The good news? They freeze really well and can be made ahead for all your Christmas gatherings. Just pop them out of the freezer and thaw!

Here’s how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

Brownie:

  • 1cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Peppermint Filling:

  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • red and pink¬†food coloring¬†

 

Fudge Topping:

  • 12oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 tablespoons butter (do not substitute margarine here!)
  • Wilton Candy melts in Red, Pink and White (if desired for design on top)

DIRECTIONS:

Brownie:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cream butter and sugar together.¬†
  • Beat in eggs, cocoa, vanilla and salt.
  • Add flour and milk (alternating them and mixing well in between)
  • Spread evenly in greased jelly roll pan¬†(12 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 1‚Ä≥).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until done in center and just starting to pull away from sides.
  • Cool. ¬†

Mint Frosting:

  • Add melted butter to sugar and extract.
  • Mix well, using water to bring it to a thick but spreadable consistency.
  • Divide into 3 parts and use food coloring to color one part red, and one part pink.
  • Place little dollops of each colored filling all over the cooled brownies (I placed the fillings in small zip-top bags, clipped a corner off and piped these on.
  • Spread colors together into one even layer that covers entire top of brownies.

IMG_5323  IMG_5325

Fudge Topping:

  • Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until completely melted and smooth.
  • If desired, melt about 1/8cup each of Wilton’s Candy Melts in White, Red and Pink. Place in small zip-top bags and clip corner on each.
  • Pour melted chocolate and butter mixture over peppermint¬†filling and spread evenly over top.
  • Immediately, pipes lines in all three candy melt colors across the entire top of the brownies.
  • Immediately after piping, use a toothpick or a cake-tester to drag across these lines- first one direction and then back the opposite to make the colorful design on top.
  • Chill until top layer is hard and cut into squares.

IMG_5326   IMG_5328

My thoughts: Love them! This brownie recipe never fails me, and I love experimenting with different flavors of filling! These will add a festive and fun layer to any dessert tray at your Christmas celebrations!  Enjoy!! ~r

Candy Cane Brownies6

Candy Cane Brownies5

Take a look at some of the other fillings we have used in these brownies: (click on a photo to open the recipe)

Cookies Dough BrowniePeanut Butter Fudge Brownies!!!!Caramel Fudge Brownies!!Coconut Brownie Cups

 

 

Christmas Card Cookies

Christmas Card Cookies

These adorable cookies don’t just¬†taste yummy- they also bear Christmas words of cheer with every delicious bite!

I saw this fun silicone mold by Wilton¬†at my local grocery, and I couldn’t resist! So fun!!!

I made two varieties of these little cookie cards: Peppermint mocha and Gingerbread chocolate. Both were delicious and so fun to make!

You can use any of your favorite cut-out cookie recipes partnered with any Wilton Candy Melt flavors on top, but I thought these two combinations were delicious!

Christmas Card Cookie1

Want to know how to make these? Let’s start with the “card” toppers.

  • You’ll need about 3 bags of Wilton Candy Melts to make 24 cookie toppers.
  • Melt them in the microwave, one bag at a time, in 30 second increments, stirring between until smooth.
  • Spoon about 2 tablespoons into each cavity and use a small spoon to spread into corners.
  • Tap mold on counter to remove bubbles and freeze for about 10 minutes.
  • Carefully peel the mold away from each bar and repeat this process until you have 24.

This process takes a little time, but it can be done ahead of time and the little bars can be stored in an airtight container in a cool spot until needed. Keep different flavors separated from each other, and put a little parchment or wax paper between layers.

Then you can make the cookies!

One of my favorite Christmas recipes (of all time) is my grandma’s gingerbread cookie recipe. It’s on this blog a couple of times, but you can get the original (in grandma’s handwriting!) by clicking here.¬†I paired this cookie with dark chocolate Wilton’s candy melts.

Gingerbread Cookies!

The other recipe I used, with peppermint card toppers, was my espresso cutout cookies. There’s nothing like peppermint, coffee and chocolate all together! You can see this recipe originally published on Easybaked by clicking here.

Chocolate Espresso Cookies!!!

  • Make your cookie dough according to whatever recipe you desire and then use a cookie cutter to cut a large rectangle cookie. I used a 4.5″ x 3″ cutter that I found here.
  • Bake, cool and then take a little extra Candy Melt and a food-safe brush and brush melted candy on the back of each bar to attach it to the top of each cookie.
  • Press the bar down using a little wax paper on the top (if you touch it with your bare fingers you will get prints!)
  • Allow bar to harden onto the cookie and then serve! I placed each one in a little cello bag sealed with a sticker and gave them away with gifts.

 

Christmas Card Cookies6

So fun!!!!

Christmas Card Cookies

My thoughts: These are a fun, creative and easy way to say Merry Christmas! The variety of flavors you can use is limited only by your imagination- but I recommend you use a cookie recipe that doesn’t “puff up” too much. You can see in my photos that my gingerbread cookies puffed up a little- making my edges not as pretty and straight as those chocolate espresso ones that don’t expand much at all. The gingerbread/chocolate combination was so yummy that I got over the slightly curved edges though! ¬†I hope you get a chance to try these- so fun!! ¬†~r

Christmas Card Cookies2

Other Christmas recipe ideas here at Easybaked: (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Spiced Mocha MixCreamy cheesecake with sour cream toppingReindeer Oreo Pops!!!Pecan Pie Cupcakes

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Praline Fudge Brownies

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Praline Fudge Brownies

A dense brownie covered in creamy praline filling and topped with chocolate fudge and pecans. This will satisfy the most demanding sweet tooth!!!!

I adore pralines. Especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas when anything with pecans is somehow¬†better.¬†Some people say they are just too sweet- and this filling is no exception! Paired with this not-too-sweet brownie, I think it is perfect though. These got rave reviews and several people exclaimed, “These taste like Christmas!”

Praline Fudge Brownies4So let’s make these yummy little treats! (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

Brownie:

  • 1cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk

Praline Filling:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 12 Tablespoons of butter
  • 3¬†cups of brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans (divided)
  • 3¬†cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon of vanilla

Fudge Topping:

  • 12oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 tablespoons butter (do not substitute margarine here!)

DIRECTIONS:

Brownie:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Cream butter and sugar together.¬†
  • Beat in eggs, cocoa, vanilla and salt.
  • Add flour and milk (alternating them and mixing well in between)
  • Spread evenly in greased jelly roll pan¬†(12 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 1‚Ä≥).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until done in center and just starting to pull away from sides.
  • Cool. ¬†

Praline filling:

  • In a large saucepan, mix cream, butter and brown sugar.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil.
  • Cook for one minute, stirring constantly and then remove from heat.
  • Stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 cup of pecans (you may need to do this in a separate bowl if your saucepan isn’t big enough)
  • Cool for 5 minutes, stirring often until it thickens up a bit.
  • Spoon mixture over cooled brownies and spread into a smooth layer over the top.

Praline Fudge BrowniesFudge Topping:

  • Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until completely melted and smooth.
  • Pour over praline filling and spread evenly over top.
  • Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
  • Chill until top layer is hard and cut into bars.

Praline Fudge Brownies7My thoughts: These aren’t hard to put together and they are oh-so-yummy!!! I froze about half of the batch in an air-tight container for several weeks and just pulled them out for a party I was having- they freeze GREAT. In fact, they are pretty yummy frozen. ūüôā ¬†I hope you get a chance to try these and enjoy them as much as I did!

Praline Fudge Brownies2

Other yummy Christmas desserts: (click on a photo to see the recipe)

Chocolate bonbonsHot Chocolate Pop!Snowman Oreo PopsPeanut Brittle!!

A Cut-out Cookie Collection!

Cut-out Cookie CollectionIt’s nearly Christmas, and those cute bells, stars and tree cookie cutters are begging to be used! ¬†This post is dedicated to our favorite¬†cut-out cookie¬†recipes featured here on Easybaked. We have everything from gingerbread to mocha, simple sugar cookies to international favorites! Make this year’s cookies your best yet!

Let’s start with the family favorite. My mom’s thick and cake-like cutout cookie recipe features a hint of cinnamon flavor and is truly a part of our Christmas (and Easter, and 4th of July, and back-to-school and GO PACKERS!) traditions. These are easy, and freeze well- so you can make them ahead. Go ahead and click on that photo to see the recipe.

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Next, is my personal favorite: GINGERBREAD! ¬†These, too, have been a part of our family Christmas traditions. This recipe is my grandmother’s, and she faithfully made them every year, cut them as Christmas trees and decorated them with red-hots! Click on the photo to see her oh-so-yummy recipe!

Gingerbread Cookies!Similar to gingerbread are my Pumpkin Spice Cookies. These are sweeter and bake very flat and easy to decorate.

Pumpkin Pie Cutout cookies!Chocolate cut-out cookies that taste like the richest brownie but roll out and cut like a dream? Yes, please!  I love how the frosting colors really stand out on that dark chocolate! These chocolate cut-outs have been in our family awhile too- but as drop cookies that I tweaked to make cut-outs. Click the photo to see this delicious recipe:

Chocolate cut-out cookies

That chocolate cut-out recipe is so yummy that I experimented a little more with it to create a chocolate espresso cut out cookie and…oh my…one of my favorites!

Dark Chocolate Espresso Cookies!I’ve spent some time overseas and discovered a wonderful dessert in Prague called Medovnic. Then I found these wonderful little honey-filled cut out cookies called Medovniky that are often made at Christmas. I made them for autumn, but they are a delicious flavor for any season!!

Honey cookies cut into leaf shapes!

Speaking of international cookies, these Alfajores from Peru add a totally unique (and deliciously caramel-filled) flavor to the holidays.

Alfajores (Peruvian caramel cookie)!

When it comes to cut-out cookies, the cookie cutters make all the difference! I absolutely LOVE the look created by Linzer cookie cutters. Typically they are layered with a fruit filling, but I just used colored frosting and you have beautiful cookies with very little fancy frosting technique!

Linzer Christmas CookiesOne other thing you’ll need are some good frosting recipes, which I’ve compiled right here in a post called: Frostings, fillings and fun!

mmm......frosting!

I hope that these recipes inspire fun-filled cookie making times with your family this season.

Merry Christmas! 

~r

12/19/14: On a personal note: I blog my recipes ahead, and I prepared this post and my next one (very fun New Years cookies) several weeks ago. Since that time, my mom has been diagnosed with very, very aggressive cancer and admitted to Hospice. I just wanted to ask for all of you who have followed this little blog and enjoyed these recipes to keep our family in your prayers as we say good bye to her this Christmas. After next week’s post (which is already scheduled), ¬†I will probably take a little break from sharing recipes here. Many thanks, friends! ~r

(My personal and ministry blog is at: www.thenavajojourney.com, if you want to keep up with me there.)

Upside Down Oreo Cupcakes

Upside Down Oreo Cupcakes

Turn these cupcakes upside down and find a cute “winter” Oreo on the top! Add a little bit of frosting in the middle and you have a delicious and beautiful winter dessert!

I saw this cute idea on the Oreo site and decided to “winterize” the idea. You’ll have to find the Winter Oreos- they have red filling and the most adorable designs on them, or you can use plain Oreos too- either way they are delicious!

Oreo Cupcakes!!

These aren’t difficult to make, but you will definitely need to keep them in a sealed container until serving them. I put all of mine away, but 2 didn’t fit and since that cupcake liner is pulled off, they got all hard and stale. In a container they kept fine for a couple of days! ¬†On a side note: I used the Duncan Hines Blue Velvet mix and it was delicious! You could use Red Velvet or a White cake mix with food coloring too. Here’s how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

  • One box of Duncan Hines Blue Velvet cake mix (plus water, butter and eggs required by mix)
  • One package of “winter” Oreos
  • One tub of white frosting
  • Sprinkles as desired

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake mix as directed on box.
  • Place one Oreo each into 24 cupcake liners placed into muffin tins- making sure that cute winter design is facing down!
  • Spoon cake batter evenly into liners, making sure it get down around the sides of the Oreo
  • Bake cupcakes as directed by box and allow them to cool completely.
  • Remove cupcake liners, use a small knife to slice each one in half and spread some frosting between the 2 layers.
  • When cupcake is reassembled, sprinkle with fun sparkly sugars.
  • Store in an airtight container. I ADORE my cupcake carrier¬†– it’s one of my favorite kitchen belongings and you should totally ask for one for Christmas!!!
  • Enjoy!!!!!!!

Oreo Cupcakes!

Aren’t those fun winter colors? ¬†I love reds and blues for Christmas!

My thoughts: These are really easy and fun- I think with the lighter cake mix color you get a little more discoloration or “browning” around the Oreo cookie itself, that was my only disappointment. I think if you used a darker cake batter you wouldn’t notice it so much. The flavor was wonderful though. Thanks for the fun idea Oreo!!!! ¬†Enjoy!

Oreo Cupcakes2

Other Christmas recipe ideas~ click on a photo to be taken to the recipe:

Hot Chocolate Pop!Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes!!!Gingerbread Cake RollReindeer Oreo Pops!!!

Need a fun and unique gift idea? Easybaked has adorable boxed sets of notecards. They have an Easybaked dessert photo on the front and a recipe on the back! The come in a cute box and the best part? They are ON SALE for Christmas, include free shipping and the site that is hosting them offers $10 off a $50 purchase! Enjoy!!! (Click on photo for more information)

Easybaked Card sale

Caramel Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Pecan Pie Cupcake3

If you like pecan pie, you will go nuts over these cupcakes! With caramel pecan pie filling in the middle and crisp pie crust decorating the top, these say Happy Thanksgiving in a fun new way!

There’s nothing more yummy than a warm caramel pecan pie in the fall. I have a favorite- and it’s here already on Easybaked as my Christmas Eve Caramel Pecan Pie. These cupcakes take that pie up a notch and they turned out better than I even imagined they would~yum!

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

There are a couple of steps to this recipe, so it is a little more time consuming, but well worth the effort~ I promise!

Here’s how we made them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes:

  • One boxed caramel cake mix (plus water, oil and eggs to make according to box)

Pie filling:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (melted)
  • 3 eggs (these are in addition to the eggs used for cake mix)
  • 1 (12 oz) jar of caramel topping
  • 2 ¬†cups chopped pecans (plus 24 pecan halves for decorating if desired)

Frosting and pie crust toppers:

  • One refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of salted butter
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of clear vanilla flavoring

DIRECTIONS:

Pie Filling:

  • Make pie filling 1st. Start by preheating oven to 350F degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat 3 eggs together lightly with a fork.
  • Add sugar, stirring until dissolved
  • Stir in caramel topping and butter
  • Stir in chopped pecans
  • Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  • Cool completely (I placed this in the fridge to cool more quickly)

Cupcakes:

  • As the pie filling bakes, make cake mix according to directions on boxed mix and divide evenly among 24 cupcake liners placed in a tin.
  • Once pie filling is finished, bake cupcakes according to box.
  • Remove cupcakes from oven and tins and allow them to cool completely.

Frosting and pie crust toppers:

  • Unroll pie crust onto counter and use any cookie cutter you like to cut into 24 pieces. I used a fall leaf Linzer cookie cutter and added the leaf cut-outs on the cupcakes too.
  • Place pie pieces on a cookie sheet and spray lightly with non-stick spray.
  • Bake until slightly browned and crispy. Cool.

Pecan Pie Crust Cut-outs

  • Make frosting by combining butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beating on high for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy.

Assembling Dessert:

  • To assemble cupcakes, make sure everything has cooled. Use a cupcake corer to remove a core out of the center of each cupcake.
  • Scoop or spoon some pie filling into each cupcake and replace the top of the core back on top of the filling.

Pecan Pie Cupcake1Pecan Pie Cupcake2

  • Place frosting into a zip-top bag fitted with a decorating tip and pipe swirls of frosting on the top of each cupcake.
  • Add a pie crust topper and a pecan half and ENJOY!!!!

Pecan Pie Cupcakes

My thoughts: These really do capture the delicious flavor of pecan pie. They were a big hit with everyone who tried them. I really liked the pie crusts on top- so yummy in that buttercream frosting! I hope you have a chance to try this recipe out!  Enjoy! ~r
Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Love pecans? We do too!  Here are some other yummy pecan recipes. Just click on a photo to see the recipe!

Turtle Cheesecake SquareCaramel Turtles!!!Caramel Pecan CookiesToffee Pecan Crunch!!!!!!

Need a fun and unique gift idea? Easybaked has adorable boxed sets of notecards. They have an Easybaked dessert photo on the front and a recipe on the back! The come in a cute box and the best part? They are ON SALE for Christmas, include free shipping and the site that is hosting them offers $10 off a $50 purchase! Enjoy!!! (Click on photo for more information)

Easybaked Card sale

 

 

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