Holiday Baking Review

Did y’all have a Merry Christmas?  We sure did!  We finally got some snow, just the evening before Christmas, and it was so pretty.  It was perfect white Christmas and a perfect first Christmas in our new home.  My youngest daughter is almost 20 months old, so even though it’s not technically her first Christmas, it kinda is, since she couldn’t do much last Christmas.  She was so excited!  She grabbed her stocking, found a peanut butter cup, and couldn’t believe her eyes.  She ripped it open and ate it – paper lining and all.  I tried to get the paper back but she would not open her mouth.  She was too afraid I would take it away from her.  That was my favorite moment of the morning.

Anyway, onto something else that comes hand in hand with the holidays – baking.  Now I am no Betty Crocker, that is for sure, so I searched out the internet for recipes to make.  You know how some people have that portfolio of things they have made and loved and make all the time?  Yeah, I don’t have that.  There is no recipe that I absolutely love and must make.  So this year, I made all brand new recipes and tried them out.  Here’s a run down of how it went so far:

Review:  My husband almost ate the entire pan.  He LOVED them.  I found them a bit difficult to eat, but they were tasty.  I think my peanut butter cups were bigger than the ones in the recipe, because my top two layers kept coming unattached from the bottom two.  If I were to make it again, I think I would skip the top layer of krispie treats.  The peanut butter ganache layer was amazing though.  Definitely worth a try!  Remember to keep your layers as thin as possible – I think I made mine a little too thick.

I absolutely LOVE soft pretzels.  When I was in university, I briefly dated a guy whose parents ran the pretzel place and I ate them as much as I could.  (I think I was sadder about the pretzel train ending than the relationship.)  I remember trying all of the dips to see which one I liked best – strawberry cream cheese, cheddar, marinara… marinara ended up being my favorite.  I was so excited to try these, and then I hit a wall – we don’t have the type of dough listed in the recipe.  (That is one of the biggest challenges following American blogs and living in Canada – we really don’t have access to half the products you Americans do… especially when you live in a ridiculously small town.)  I talked to my mother in law, who IS a Betty Crocker, and she said to use any dough.  So I waited until my husband made homemade pizza one night and then I just snagged some of his dough.  I followed the rest of her recipe, and it was easy and quick.  I ate mine plain with just butter and coarse salt (gotta have the coarse salt!) and they were awesome.   I would definitely make them again… and I will… everytime my husband makes pizza.

This was another hit.  The recipe calls for Snickers, but I don’t really like Snickers, so I substituted Skor bars. (I used 2 packs of king sized bars, each of which had 2 bars in it.)  I just crushed them into small pieces and then followed the rest of the recipe.  I had to use more butter than the recipe called for in order to get my graham crumbs to stick together, but all in all a winner. I also didn’t have a muffin top pan, so I just had to use a muffin pan.  They came out a little more like individual cheesecakes but tasted every bit as good as they looked. I made them to take to my family Christmas party… they didn’t last that long.

Another recipe from Picky Palate (the cheesecake recipe was also from the same blog), which I think ended up being my favorite.  I loved how super simple (no bake!) it was, and it tasted so good.  Oreos, butter, and marshmallows!  It’s basically a rice krispie square but with crushed oreos in place of the rice krispies.  I didn’t crush my oreos all the way – I left some chunks.  Also, the recipe only makes 9, but I was trying to make them for my family’s Christmas party, to replace the cheesecakes that had been devoured, and I didn’t read the yield until after I made the recipe.  So I made thinner layers and smaller squares – it ended up being a decent sized party square, since you want to try a bit of everything when there is lots.  I ended up with 2 dozen squares that were about 1×1.5 inches.  Try these with a cold glass of milk.  Soooo delicious.  Oh, and yeah, these didn’t make it to my Christmas party either.  This time it was totally my fault though, I think I ate them all.

This recipe ended up being my biggest disappointment.  It calls for 1/2 cup of honey, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it totally overwhelmed the nougat, until all you could taste was honey.  Now if you like honey, this would be a great recipe to try.  My mother in law said it was good, but I hate honey.  I can’t stand the taste of it.  So I didn’t eat much at all.  I really wanted it to be good, because I loooove nougat almost as much as I love pretzels.  But no such luck… however, if you do try this recipe, make sure you have a candy thermometer and a stand mixer – it is too thick for a hand mixer.  Also, have everything ready because once that candy reaches temperature, you have to be ready to move – and quick.  It isn’t hard, it’s just fast.  Oh, and the original recipe is cherry, I subbed cranberries – only because they were half the price!
I just finished making these ones before I started this entry.  And my husband has already ate 4.  I had one, and they are tasty, but I think the recipe needed regular sized rolo cups – I used mini ones because they were all I could find in a package.  If you are going to use mini cups, I suggest two per cookie.  Mine were good, but needed a little more caramel.  Now, I don’t know if cake mixes are slightly different sizes in the US (things like this happen all the time) but my batter/dough was very sticky and my brand new mixer actually bit the dust mixing it.  Maybe my mixer was a lemon, but I don’t think I would chance it again.  Use a stand mixer if you have one, even though it was probably a bad mixer.  My husband said it should not have overheated like that.  So who knows?!  Also, I found it helpful to have a cup of water to dip my fingers in while I was shaping the cookies – otherwise I found they stuck to my hands and everything else!  Now I have to go package them up and hope they last until the New Year’s Eve Party.
Also on my baking/cooking list for the New Year’s Eve Party…
and finally…
I’m also going to make one of my favorite recipes that others have made for me, but I have never tried myself – shrimp wrapped in wonton wrappers, tied with spaghetti, and fried in oil.  They are so tasty dipped in sweet chili sauce.  I will let you know how I fare out with the rest… in the mean time, do you have any go-to recipes that you always make?  I would love to hear about them :)

About Sarah

Sarah Desjardins is a mother of two girls, a wife, an elementary school teacher, and a self proclaimed glitter addict. Becoming Martha is a place for anyone who wants to make their domestic life more beautiful and creative. Sarah started Becoming Martha as a place to find bliss between the diapers and the dishes, and invites you to do the same.

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