Thursday, December 13, 2012

Easy Holiday Treats

My usual Christmas season includes many parties that are fancy, catered affairs.  I’m kidding, of course.  My Christmas season is actually Cookie Exchanges, family parties, school parties, etc.  I don’t need to make canapés or pate.  I need fun treats that are delicious and quick to make.  Like from a package easy.  I’m all about shortcuts during the holiday season, which is evident to anyone who read my blog about shortcut cinnamon rolls last week.

Today I am going to show you four simple treats that everyone will love, young and old.  Two use cookie mixes, and the other two use pre-made, easy to find ingredients.  Let’s do this.

My first recipe is Chocolate Peppermint Cookies.  I use a packaged sugar cookie mix.  Did you know you could add cocoa powder to a sugar cookie mix?  Yep, you just whisk it into the powdered mix. 


How awesome are cookie mixes?  Sure, you might already have all the ingredients you need for sugar cookies in your pantry…but you have to root around for them, measure, use a hand mixer, etc.  This mix needs a softened stick of butter and an egg.  You use a rubber spatula to stir it all together and boom, cookies.

Like I said above, I stir in unsweetened cocoa powder to change the sugar cookies to chocolate cookies.  The cookies end up rich and chocolaty.  I also stir in peppermint candy cane chips.  No, not crushed up candy canes, but actual little chips that you can buy during the holiday season.  They are right by the chocolate chips.

These bake for about ten minutes, and after they come out of the oven and cool, I sprinkle powdered sugar all over the tops.

FYI-nobody will know these came from a mix….because chocolate cookie mixes are super hard to find.  I challenge you to find one!

My next cookie mix recipe is Pear Gingerbread bars.  I use a packaged gingerbread cookie mix.  I add the egg and softened butter, but instead of scooping these out by the spoonful, I press the dough into an 8x8 baking pan.


Once the dough is sufficiently pressed out, I pour some Gourmet Rooster Ginger Pear spread all over the top.  It gets spread all over the top of the dough.

If you can’t find Gourmet Rooster, feel free to use any pear preserves or jam that you can find.

This bakes for about 30 minutes.  The pear spread bakes into the gingerbread keeping it moist and tender. 

Once the bars come out of the oven, I let them cool, and then I drizzle melted white chocolate all over the top.  The combination of pears, spicy sweet gingerbread and white chocolate is pretty much amazing.  And using a gingerbread cookie mix is a definite shortcut….do you know how many spices go into gingerbread?



My next treat uses Oreos.  Those aren’t too hard to find, right?  Plus, these treats are on sticks, which is always a crowd pleaser.


These are super easy to make.  I separate my Oreos first.  Then, I melt up some white candy coating.  You know, the kind that comes in its own little bowl?  I dip my sticks into the melted candy coating first.  This will act as my glue.  The Oreo gets its lid put back on, then I move on to my next step.

I dip them in the candy coating.  Where you expecting something hard?  Nope, they get dipped in the coating, and the stick is the perfect handle.  I set these little guys on some foil to harden, but before that happens, I sprinkled Holiday colored sprinkles over the candy coating.


Cutest things ever, right? 

My last treat is Chocolate Peppermint Pringles.  I know that might sound weird, but give it a chance.  I love sweet and salty together, and this obviously fits the bill. 

One tip-Make sure you get Original Flavor!  Ranch or BBQ would be gross!


Again, I am using the chocolate that melts in its own bowl.  I dip my Pringles about three quarters of the way in the chocolate.  I set these guys to harden on foil too.  Before the chocolate hardens, I sprinkled them with crushed up candy canes.  Yes, I used real candy canes this time.


The Holiday season should be all about spending time with family and friends, not slaving away in the kitchen, right?  I promise that all of the treats that I showed you are yummy, quick and easy.  I bet you will be all about the shortcuts too.

Chocolate Peppermint cookies

17.5 ounce package sugar cookie mix (Betty Crocker)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa

1 stick butter, softened

1 egg

½ cup Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (Andes)

Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cookie mix and cocoa until well blended.  Stir in butter and egg.  Mix until combined.  Stir in peppermint chips.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.

Cool completely then dust with powdered sugar.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Pear Gingerbread Bars

1 lb. 1.5 oz. package Gingerbread Cookie Mix (Betty Crocker)

1 stick butter, softened

1 egg

7 ounces Gourmet Rooster Pear Gingerbread Spread

½ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together cookie mix, softened butter and egg until well combined.  Press dough into an 8x8 baking pan.  Spread pear spread evenly over the top.

Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.

In a small bowl, microwave white chocolate chips in 30 second increments until chips are melted and smooth.  Drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the bars.  Slice into 16 squares and serve.

Makes 16 2 inch squares.

Chocolate covered Oreos

One package Oreos

20 ounce package Almond Bark, Vanilla Flavored

30 Lollipop sticks

Holiday Sprinkles

Melt Almond Bark according to package directions.  Separate each Oreo in half.  Dip the end of a lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and press into the Oreo filling.  Replace Oreo top.  Let sit to set chocolate.

Dip each Oreo into the melted chocolate using the stick as a handle.  Set Oreos onto foil to harden.  Sprinkle Holiday sprinkles over the tops before the chocolate hardens.

Makes 30.

Chocolate Peppermint Potato Chips

6 ounce package Pringles Potato Chips, Original Flavor

20 ounce package Almond Bark, Chocolate Flavor

4 candy canes, crushed

Melt Almond Bark according to package directions.  Dip each chip ¾ of the way into chocolate.  Set chips on foil to harden.  Sprinkle with candy canes before the chocolate hardens.

Makes 96.

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