Thursday, December 24, 2009

Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole
adapted from


  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed or 3 medium potatoes, skinned, shredded in a food processor, and browned in a skillet with butter
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Place the hash brown potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook and stir the sausage until the sausage is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink; drain.
  3. Heat 4 slices of bacon in a skillet and brown on both sides. Let cool then chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, milk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and pour over the potatoes. Layer with half the Cheddar cheese, the sausage and bacon, and the remaining Cheddar cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove cover; return casserole to the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cookie Bouquet

One of my 12 Days of Christmas Treats items was a Cookie Pop. Each Cookie Pop can be given away individually or as a Cookie Bouquet. Here is a picture of one of my Cookie Bouquets.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 12

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.

At this point you can either chill the dough for a bit in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them. You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slighly less thick.

The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes (your baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

See's Fudge

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 11

See's Fudge
A friend gave me this recipe that was passed down to her through several generations in her family. Supposedly this is the original fudge recipe used by the See's Chocolate Company.

1 12 oz can evaporated milk
4 cups sugar
18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups walnuts (optional)
28 mini marshmallows

Mix and cook milk and sugar. Bring to a boil (will be frothy). Simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add and melt chocolate and butter. Add all marshmallows last. Continue to simmer on low and stir constantly until all marshmallows melt (this can take a while). Pour into tins. Allow to set and cool.

Cut into small squares and package in a box for a nice homemade Christmas gift.

This recipe is labor intensive and requires a lot of time. If you prefer a simpler fudge recipe try Jell-o Chocolate Pudding Fudge.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Peanut Brittle

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 10

Peanut Brittle



  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Grease a baking sheet, and set aside. In a glass bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook in microwave for 6 to 7 minutes on High (700 W); mixture should be bubbly and peanuts browned. Stir in butter and vanilla; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  2. Quickly stir in baking soda, just until mixture is foamy. Pour immediately onto greased baking sheet. Let cool 15 minutes, or until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

Note: this recipe is for a 700 watt microwave. If you are not sure the wattage of your microwave then heat a cup of water in your microwave and note the time it takes for the water to boil. Use this chart to determine the wattage.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Cupcakes

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 9

Holiday Cupcakes

24 prepared cupcakes
white, red, and green fondant
buttercream icing
3 inch round biscuit cutter
leaf cutter
fondant veining tool
rolling pin
small red candies such as red hots

Roll out white fondant and cut out circles with biscuit cutter. Attach white circles to cupcakes with icing. Roll out green fondant and cut out leaves. Use the veining tool to create leaf veins. Arrange leaves on cupcakes and attach with icing. Attach red candies to leaves with a tiny dab of icing. Roll out red fondant and cut out circles with biscuit cutter. Divide circles into 6 wedges. Place 3 wedges on each cupcake and attach with icing. Roll red and white fondant into 4 inch long pieces. Wrap the pieces around each other. Form into a candy cane and attach to cupcake with icing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 8

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Your favorite chocolate cake recipe (enough for 18-24 cupcakes)
Your favorite chocolate frosting (enough for 18-24 cupcakes)
5 regular size candy canes

Prepare and bake your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. Allow cupcakes to cool completely. Prepare a pastry decorating bag with Wilton tip 1M and fill with your favorite chocolate frosting. Chop candy canes in a food processor. Frost cupcakes and immediately sprinkle with candy cane pieces.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

White Candy Fantasy Clusters

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 7

White Candy Fantasy Clusters


4 cups Rice Chex® cereal
2 cups pretzel sticks, coarsely broken
1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
1/2 package (16-oz size) vanilla-flavored candy coating (almond bark)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1.Spray with cooking spray or grease 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, mix cereal, pretzels and cashews.
2.In 2-quart saucepan, melt candy coating over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly coated. Press in pan; cool slightly.
3.In microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High about 1 minute or until chocolate can be stirred smooth (bowl will be hot). Drizzle chocolate over snack. Let stand about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. Break into clusters. Store in airtight container.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 6

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

For the Dough (this is the same dough used in this recipe):
1 pkg yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm later
1 tsp salt
1 cup scalded milk
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
6 to 8 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup potatoes, mashed

For Filling and Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water

Add shortening, sugar, salt and eggs to potatoes. Cream well. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, add to lukewarm milk, and add to potato mixture. Add sifted flour to make stiff dough. Toss on floured board and knead well. Put in large bowl and let rise until doubled in bulk. Turn out on floured board and kneaded slightly. Rub over top with melted butter. Place in a bowl. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Roll out dough. Mix brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon together. Spread over dough. Roll dough into a log. Cut log into 1 inch slices. Place rolls on a baking sheet and let rise 1 hour before baking time. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Mix powdered sugar and water into a flowing but thick icing (add more water if needed). Spread over cinnamon rolls and enjoy.

Makes approximately 24 rolls.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Candy Melts

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 5

Christmas Candy Melts

Wilton Candy Molds and Red, White, Brown, and Blue Candy Melts

1. Place Candy Melts in disposable bags. use one bag for each color.
2. Microwave at 40% power for 30 seconds. Knead bag.
3. Continue to microwave and knead at 15 second intervals until smooth and completely melted.
(You can use microwave safe bowls instead of bags. Stir between heating intervals)
4. To fill in the details of the mold, Squeeze melted candy onto a plate. Dip a paint brush in candy and "paint" in detail areas of mold.
5. Refrigerate until firm.
6. Carefully spoon in candy to fill remainder of mold.
7. Lightly tap to remove air bubbles.
8. Refrigerate until firm.
9. Candy will easily tap out of mold when done.
10. Place in small plastic bags and secure with ribbon to present as a party favor or set out on a plate.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 4

Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
(or you can substitute the above ingredients for a store bought graham cracker crust to save time)

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (omitted)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, cracker crumbs, sugar and spices; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 10-in. tart pan with a removable bottom.

  2. For filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Add pumpkin and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour into crust; sprinkle with walnuts and remaining cinnamon. Place pan on a baking sheet.

  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 1-1/2 hours. Store in the refrigerator.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cookie Pops

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 3

Cookie Pops
A Wilton Project Idea

Wilton Comfort Grip Tree cookie cutter
Wilton Comfort Grip candy cane cookie cutter
8" cookie sticks
Red Cookie icing
White Cookie icing
Green Cookie icing
Primary fondant multi-pack
Piping gel
White nonpareils
Parchment paper
Rolling pin
Container to display cookie bouquet

Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift baking powder with flour. Add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be very stiff. Blend in the last of the flour by hand. Do not chill dough. Roll and cut out shapes. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. remove cookies to cooling grid to cool completely.

1. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Roll dough to a thickness of 3/8" on the parchment paper.
3. Dust cookie cutters with flour to prevent sticking. Cut out on parchment paper lined cookie sheet to eliminate transferring. Remove excess dough.
4. Leave 1" space between cookies because they will spread slightly when cooking.
5. Bake small batches of 3 to 4 cookies at a time.
6. To insert cookie sticks
-Place hand on top of cookie to hold in place
-Insert cookie stick by twisting and pushing stick into cookie
-Insert cookie stick all the way to within 1/2" to top of cookie

Decorate cookie pops as desired. Present cookie bouquet in a festive container decorated with curling ribbon, tissue paper, and tinsel. Or wrap individual pops in plastic and give as favors.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Banana Pumpkin Bread

12 Days of Christmas Treats: Day 2

Christmas Banana Pumpkin Bread
adapted from: Taste of Home

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the bananas and pumpkin puree just until combined.Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

  • Pour into a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 70-80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).

Wrap bread in cellophane and tie with a bow to make a great gift or turn recipe into four mini loaves and arrange in a bread basket.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kris Kringle Snack Mix

12 days of Christmas Treats: Day 1

Kris Kringle Snack Mix
adapted from:

8 cups Chex cereal
1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme
red and green sprinkles

First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

On a large cookie sheet, spray cooking spray to cover. Empty your jar of marshmallow creme into a bowl you can use in the microwave.

Microwave the marshmellow creme uncovered on high for 1 minute, pause, then stir the creme and continue microwaving for another minute or until it is melted.

Gently pour the Chex cereal into the marshmallow creme. Gently stir the cereal until mixed and coated.

Next, spread the Chex out on a cookie sheet. Once you have a fairly even layer, sprinkle the Chex with the red and green candies. All you need to do now is bake it for about 10 minutes, stirring just a little after 5 minutes or until the marshmallow coating is dry.

Cool completely on cookie sheet placed on top of a wire rack. At this point it will all be one mass of coated Chex. Once it is cooled, you can break it up into large pieces and serve. Delicious!

This recipe for serves/makes 8 cups.

Package in a holiday themed plastic pail to make a great gift.