Homemade Sweet and Savory Treats

We had a little way lay with the scheduled Advent activities with the arrival of some snow and a wholeheartedly welcome snow day! Love them! 
We are back on track until the next unannounced guffaw happens and we will adjust our sails again. Since our Theme Thursday in the barn today was Homemade Edible Treats we spent yesterday making goodies and then decoratively packaging them. Do you think I picked this theme for the Barn Sale for a reason? Every year, I love to give some homemade goodies. This gave me an excuse to get the project done well before the night before Christmas. Only one of my kiddos helped out on this one due to school schedules and the fact that they were still sleeping when I got up at 4 this am to finish. I thought waking them at that hour would be a bit unkind.
I have attached recipes to some of my favorites at the end of the Blog and took some pictures of the finished packaging. All of the ideas can be done quite easily and you can adapt them and the packaging to whatever “floats your boat.”
Once I have made all the recipes that I have chosen, I put them in airtight containers to keep them fresh. I then package them to give as gifts. Before I start to package, I gather all the supplies that I think I might use. I collect jars that we have reused and tags, ribbon and embellishments that we either sell in the barn or that I find at the after Christmas sales. I always stock up then. I put it all in one place so that it is readily accessible.
This year I focused in on two color patterns; traditional red and green with a vintage feel and
silver, white and cardboard.
Bakery boxes make great packaging for Chocolate Bon bons that have been prepared in candy paper wrappers. Printed recipe cards give the recipient something she/he will be sure to be asking for once they bite into these goodies.
Once the boxes are filled they can be decorated in a multitude of ways. Here I used silver sparkle yarn and printed tags that I made from a vintage image I love.
Papare tape serves two purpose, it both seals the box and does it in a beautiful way. We have a couple of boxes of these Cavalini paper tape rolls available in the barn!
Nestled inside these cardboard decorative food boxes that I got at Michael’s last year, after Christmas is a batch of homemade double hot chocolate mix. Paper lunch bags also make a cute package if you put the hot chocolate mix in a cellophane bag first and then set it in the lunch bag, fold over the top, punch a double hole in the top and run a ribbon through to close it.
Ball jars or leftover jars that you have kept and cleaned make easy to decorate containers for the mix as well topped with mini marshmallows. You can also add crushed candy canes for color and flavor. I used a cardboard gift tag that happened to fit the lid attached with foam stick dots to snazz it up. A cardboard tag edged in glitter makes the label that is attached with double sided tape.
If you make the hot chocolate mix, be sure to cover some plastic spoons with melted chocolate and give  with the mix as stirrers. When the chocolate melts, the mini marshmallows that are nestled in the chocolate on the spoons, float in the hot chocolate. You can also sprinkle crushed candy cane on the spoons as well.
I hope you can use some of the recipes to make some treats this Christmas season! If you do, make sure to give me a shout and let me know how they turn out.
Happy Baking!
Meg

Scampi Butter

1 stick butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

1. In a med bowl, with wooden spoon, beat butter, parsley, garlic, lemon peel, salt and pepper until blended. Pack into a small crock suitable for gift giving and refrigerate overnight until firm. Seal with plastic wrap and give as a gift with a pound of pasta. Use within a week or freeze.
2. To freeze: Transfer butter to a piece of plastic wrap; shape into a log about ! inch in diameter. Cut butter roll into 1/4 inch slices. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap; freeze up to 3 months. You can freeze entire roll and let the recipient freeze it.
3. To use as a baste for chicken, fish, or vegetables, simmer scampi butter over low heat about 2 minutes to blend flavors.

*Can use any choice of herbs and mix into butter to flavor it

Hot Cocoa Mix (yields 19 1/2 cups hot cocoa mix)
 This is a great class activity to do with a young group of kids for a Holiday party. You can all it snowman soup and add marshmallows.

1 box (1 pound 10 oz.) nonfat dry milk (8 cups)
4 cups sifted confectionary sugar
2 jars flavored nondairy creamer (16 oz. total)
1 jar nondairy creamer (11 oz)
1 box chocolate milk mix (1 pound)
1/2 tsp. salt

In a VERY large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in an airtight container. Give w/ serving instructions and package in either canning jars or paper or cellophane bags. Decorate!
To serve:
Stir 3 heaping Tbls. into 6 oz hot water and stir.

Chocolate Covered Spoons and Candy Canes

Prep time 5 mins

2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels

wax paper
extras : mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes, choc chips

1. Place morsels in a microwavable bowl.
2. Microwave and heat on defrost or the low setting for 30 seconds.
3. Remove and stir until smooth.
* you might have to put back in if not totally melted but only heat for 20 seconds at a time or you can over heat

Dip spoons into mixture and place on wax paper to dry. While still wet, place a couple of mini marshmallows in the spoon part and let dry or any other topping of your choice

Merry Marshmallows

1/3 cup cold water
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 water
1/4 cup corn syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
confectioners sugar
colored sugar

1. Pour 1/3 cup cold water into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over it and set aside.
2. Combine the sugar, 1/4 cup water, corn syrup and salt into a med saucepan over med heat, stirring until dissolved. Stop stirring and heat the mixture until it boils and reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Carefully pour the hot syrup over the gelatin mixture and beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 12 minutes. Blend in the vanilla extract, then scrape the batter into a 9 by 13 inch pan lightly coated with cooking spray.
3. Let the marshmallows sit until they are dry to the touch (this may take up to 12 hours depending on the humidity in your area). Invert the pan onto a cutting board dusted with the confectionary sugar. Pour the colored sugar onto a plate or a shallow dish,* then use 2 inch cookie cutters to cut marshmallow into shapes. Press the top of the marshmallow into colored sugar. Store in an airtight container. MAkes 24 2 inch marshmallows.

* you can skip using the cookie cutters and just cut them into squares.

Cereal’s Sweet Side (Homemade bonbons)

6 oz of chocolate chips or chocolate melts
4 cups cereal (Cornflakes work well)

Melt chocolate until soft about 30 seconds, stir in micro and melt for another 10 seconds until pourable. Do not over melt or the whole batch will stick together.
Stir in 4 cups of cereal.
Drop tablespoons of mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing them 1 inch apart.
Refrigerate until set.
Place in paper candy cups, and arrange in a box with tissue paper. Tie with a bow.

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