12/1/22

Baking Spirits Bright for 2022 - Christmas Cookies and Candies

 

 


 Baking Spirits Bright in 2022 





If you need any holiday baking ingredients or supplies, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon -  American Housewife at AmazonThank you so much for using my affiliate link!

 

 

 

 

 

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Hundreds of Christmas Cookie Recipes - lists and photos and links... oh my!

Older post, re-posting for 2022!

Years (and years and years) ago I started off simply enough by making about 3-4 different Christmas goodies for my husband and I, and soon after, our new baby daughter.  Every year it seemed I was adding "one" more recipe (and adding "one" more baby... ha!).  

Each year the family members had a favorite I "had" to make and couldn't leave out, but I also had new recipes I wanted to try, or 'old' recipes I wanted to make from my own family traditions growing up.

The list grew.  And grew. Soon I was making on average, about 14-15 different items.  And then my husband wanted to do something special for his co-workers so we decided to send in a tray of goodies for the break-room.

We had no idea THAT little decision would impact the next 20 years of me baking for them every year but it did!

As I baked for family and extended family and friends, as well as little gifts for teachers, the mailman, etc. I was also now making up trays for between 85-125 people at my husbands companies (he switched jobs a few times through the next 20 years but somehow I always ended up baking for them).

For the past 12 years or so I think the average number of different recipes I make is somewhere around 24-26.  

I don't let it go higher - so if I'm adding something new that year, I typically take off a different recipe from the list.  Sometimes I try a new recipe and it's fine - or even great - but I don't add it to the 'permanent' recipe list.  

I change things up every year based on what I feel like making, what people request, what ingredients I can find... some are more difficult than others some years - and depending on where in the United States we live at the time. 

Even the trays or boxes or ways I package of the goodies change each year.

Since I answer to no one but myself (and I don't sell them) I can do what I want, when I want and how I want.  So it stays "FUN" instead of a drudgery. 

 

 

I've been doing this for SO LONG that I don't really care to re-invent the lists and posts yet AGAIN. Seriously... I think this particular version of my site goes back to 2006.  Instead... I'll just cut and paste of the many lists I've made at some point in the past, as well a few random photos of goodies and links - no particular order or reason.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE JUST USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION ON THE PAGE OR CLICK ON THE CHRISTMAS OR COOKIE OR CAKE OR DESSERT LABELS.

December 1st:  Molasses Cookies
December 2nd:  Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints
December 3rd:  Peppermint Pinwheels
December 4th:  Candy Striped Cookie Sticks
December 5th:  Peppermint Teacakes
December 6th:  Peanut Butter Patties
December 7th:  Peanut Butter Fudge
December 8th:  Sugar Cookies:  Snowflakes with Edible Glitter
December 9th:  Swedish Rosettes
December 10th:  Cream Wafer Cookies
December 11th:  Cherry Poppy Seed Winks
December 12th:  Peppermint Pretzels
December 13th:  Candy Pretzels
December 14th:  Homemade Truffles
December 15th:  Cream Horns
December 16th:  The Best Brownies
December 17th:  Red Velvet Cake Balls
December 18th:  Glazed Sugar Cookies
December 19th:  Gateau Bon Bons
December 20th:  No Bake Chocolate Bars
December 21st:  Peppermint Meltaways
December 22nd:  Melted Snowman Cookies
December 23rd: No Bake Fruitcake Bars
December 24th:  Mini Peanut Blossom Muffin Cookies

 

 RANDOM LINKS FROM OVER THE YEARS......... 2006 - 2020

  


Peppermint Melt-aways


 Christmas Cake Balls

Cream Horns

 

 

 












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11/27/22

Pink and White Circus Truffles: Frosted Animal Cracker Cookie Truffles

Originally posted in June, 2022
Repost November 2022 to gear up for Christmas baking!


If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I whipped up some quick truffles last week for a mini family reunion we were hosting at our home this weekend. 

I'm a big fan of the actual Mother's brand Circus Animal Cookies (Frosted Animal Crackers) and could eat an entire bag myself, easily.  When I initially decided I wanted to make truffles instead of my typical chocolate chip cookies, I first figured I'd just make the regular almond truffles I know everyone loves, but then thought maybe instead, I should do the Oreo version as well to mix it up a bit.  But... meh

When it comes to quick and easy cookie truffles, a regular 'go to' is the Oreo version but it's just as simple to make them with 'Nilla Wafers, animal crackers or obviously - frosted animal crackers like the original (and best version, in my opinion) Circus Animals.

It's basically just pulverizing the cookie, adding enough frosting or cream cheese to hold it together, forming balls and dipping in candy coating.

And... that's what you do!


 

Frosted Animal Cracker Truffles

Frosted Animal Crackers (like Mother's Brand Circus Animals) (9 oz)
Cream Cheese or white or pink frosting (2 oz)
Pink candy coating (1 small pkg)
White candy coating (1 small pkg)
Muli-colored sprinkles

To each 9 oz. bag of animal cookies you'll want to use about 2 ounces of either frosting or cream cheese.  The amount you make is up to you.  I used 2 bags of Circus Animal Cookies and about 6-ish ounces cream cheese.   

Separate the pink and white cookies from each bag you are using.  Pulverize the white cookies in a food processor and add about 2-3 ounces white frosting or cream cheese and pulse just until it forms a ball.  Repeat with the pink.  If your dough is a bit too sticky to work with, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until you can form balls. The sprinkles in the white tend to turn it a pale 'green' tint.

Using about 1/2 teaspoon, scoop out little bits and roll in tiny balls, both pink and white, placing on parchment paper lined trays.  Freeze for about 20 minutes, and then use a white ball to smash a little and form it around a pink ball and place back on parchment.  Repeat until you've used about half of them and then reverse the process and smoosh a pink one to form around a white center.  If you want skip this step and do single color bites, (faster) just form 3/4" balls out of the white and pink cookie dough as you wish.  

Freeze your balls for about 30 minutes.  Prepare your candy melts by following directions on the packages.  Use a bowl for white and a bowl for pink (separate).  Usually this means microwaving on defrost or 50% power for 1 minute at a time and stirring and mashing between minutes until smooth and melted.

Dip half the balls pink and half white.  Be sure to sprinkle with multi-colored candy sprinkles immediately while they are wet because as they are frozen, they set up very, very quickly.

At the very end you can use the remaining melts to splatter and drizzle across and over the truffles.

You can keep these in the refrigerator for a week easily.  Mine were also out on the counter for 2-3 days, no problem.  


Some are multi color centered (right) and when I ran out of white dough but still had more pink, I did the rest solid pink.  Each are dipped in the opposite color candy coating.


 

 





 

You might be interested in related products available through Amazon if you can't find them locally:

 

 

 

 

Mother's Brand frosted animal crackers:  Circus Animal Cookies

       

 

Pink Candy Melts

   


White candy coating melts

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11/13/22

Homemade Rolls for Thanksgiving, Christmas or just Any Day! (Buns, Rolls, Bread, Pizza Dough, Cinnamon Rolls)



I've posted this recipe on An American Housewife soooo many times.  But I've made it a thousand more than I've posted.  This is the one classic bread dough recipe that always works.  Never fails. Is forgiving on if I want to use a mixture of wheat blends for the flour, want to make it into rolls, buns, cinnamon rolls, garlic bread... anything.

The last time I made bread with it (which was just last week for our houseguests) I was thinking to myself that I've never NOT had this dough turn out.  And I've been making this recipe since around 2000 so... 20+ years now.

I have two classic, wonderful bread dough recipes that I use, but the other one is a little more involved as it uses scalded milk, melted butter, eggs and time for cooling (and 2 risings).  This one is my 'go to' because it's so easy and yet so forgiving and so good.

I typically make this in my KitchenAid stand mixer because it's so easily available (and the bread machine is in a cupboard).  But it comes together even quicker if you make the whole thing in a bread machine start to finish.


Classic White Dough
Can be used for bread, buns, cinnamon rolls, garlic bread, etc.

12 oz. warm water
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter
4 - 4 1/2 c unbleached bread flour (or use all purpose if that is what you already have)
2 T dry milk powder
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t yeast, dry

Either place this in a bread machine (in the order your machine requires) and run on the dough setting or place into a large KitchenAid style mixer with a bread dough hook and knead/mix for about 5 minutes or use an electric mixer and place the water, salt, sugar and yeast in first;  let it set and proof for about 2 minutes and then add the butter, dry milk and flour.  You can also do this all by hand (if you have really strong arm muscles for the 10 minutes of kneading it will take.)

Typically I make this in my large KitchenAid stand mixer or my old, reliable bread machine.

Let your dough set for about 6-10 minutes after kneading to rest.  

Remove the dough from the machine or the mixer bowl.  FOR BUNS:  Divide it in half.  Then each half into half.  Then each of those halves into half.  This is how you will get fairly equal sized balls.  If making rolls to go with a meal divide them until you have golf ball sized balls.  If using for hamburger buns, stop dividing the dough when they are double that size so they will be large enough for the hamburger patties.  Roll in your floured hands and place on greased or parchment lined baking sheets.

Letting them rise will give you a taller fluffier bun but you can also bake them right away if you are pressed for time and don't mind a dense roll, which works for soups, etc if you really, really need these right away. 

Bake at 375F for approximately 15 minutes but this can be up to 22 minutes depending on the size buns you make, the thickness of your baking sheet and your oven. Bread takes about 27-35 minutes.  When they are golden brown remove them, brush the tops with butter for a softer bun and let cool to warm to serve as rolls or cool completely and serve as hamburger buns.


Because I've made this recipe a thousand times, I've posted it many, many times.  No sense reinventing the wheel, so here are some photos from another post of when it was made into bread. I also had a mixture of home-ground white and red wheat in these, so you can see the little bits of different shades of wheat grain in these.

The first raising

This recipe makes two loaves.  Form and put in a greased pan.

Let raise and then bake until done - about 30-35 minutes.


You might also be interested in;

Top Rated Bellemain Stainless Steel Non-Slip Mixing Bowls with Lids, 4 Piece Set Includes 1 Qt, 1.5 Qt, 3 Qt. & 5 Qt.

KitchenAid K45SSWH K45SS Classic 275-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer

All American Sun Oven- The Ultimate Solar Appliance




     




2022:  My brand solar oven is apparently difficult to find now but there are other styles and brands being made if you are interested in pursuing any of those links.  











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