Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Cookies and Candies

This year I took two days to make cookies and candies for family, friends and clients. I usually pack it all into one day, but this year I wanted to experiment with chocolate.

Last Sunday with my mom and nieces, we made Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, Sugar Cookies, Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bars, M&M Clusters, White Vanilla Chocolate and Peppermint Bark and a Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Candy Bar Bark. We had so much fun decorating and taste testing.
 
Today, I made the two most requested Christmas treats; Holiday Biscotti Dipped in White Vanilla Chocolate and M&M Clusters.  For the biscotti, I replaced the dried cranberries with Tart Dried Cherries.  The tart cherries gave it so much more flavor.  I can’t wait to dip one in my coffee tomorrow morning.

The M&M Clusters are the perfect candy.  They have salt from the pretzels and dry roasted peanuts, then dipped in white vanilla chocolate, and topped with mini M&M’s.  It’s the perfect balance of salt and sweet.

I had bought some caramel balls at the candy store the other day, but I didn't know what I was going to make with them.  Then I was thinking about brownies made with peanut butter chips and caramel.  How can you go wrong with chocolate, peanut butter and caramel?  You can't.  So I made them into Mini Brownie Bites.  They were gooey like a brownie should be and with the melting caramel it was perfection.  Definitely making those again!

I was putting some things away in my pantry when I noticed two pounds of Callebaut Milk Chocolate.  My mind instantly starting thinking about what kind of chocolatee bark can I make?  I thought almonds and coconut would be really good.  I used slivered almonds to go with the delicate sweet coconut.  It was so good!

When I was putting away the coconut, I noticed I had some raw cashews.  I toasted them in olive oil and added cayenne and smoked salt.  Now, I have only seen people on TV say how good cayenne is with chocolate, but I have never tasted it together.  This is my new favorite bark!  You can taste the cayenne, but it’s not hot like you would think, just a warm hint in the background of great tasting chocolate.  It is an amazing flavor combination.

Here is the picture menu:

My nieces are so creative with their decorating.






















Please post your favorite Christmas Cookies or Candied you make? 

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