#WIAW Christmas treats

I usually go a bit nutty over the holidays, baking up a ton of treats to dole out to friends. This year I had #elf4health, and an infant, to keep my baking at bay. But I did whip up some goodies that are share-worthy. But I didn’t snap pictures, so I’m borrowing these from the blogs I found them from. Meh, sorry about that. But their photos are prettier anyway.

My first batch was white chocolate topped chewy gingerbread.

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I tried not waiting til the end to add the white chocolate chips, and instead topping them in the beginning. It did not work out well. Do not do that! Follow the directions as is!

White Chocolate Chip Peppermint

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I didn’t have white chocolate m&m’s, so I did a cup and a half of white chocolate chips and a full cup peppermint pieces. I also used dark brown sugar instead of light, and an extra half cup flour to increase the chewiness. These were bomb dot com.

I also whipped up two favorites from last year: soft chewy sugar cookies, and peanut butter filled pretzels covered in chocolate.

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This year I made the pretzels with Rold’s Gold tiny twists, which are surprisingly large. Last year I used Costco pretzels, and I think they turned out better.

And finally, I attempted to make an almost flourless chocolate cake for New Year’s Eve. I thought the recipe called for semi-sweet, but it needed bittersweet. I didn’t have any on hand, but I did have a Costco sized bag of chocolate chips, so I used those instead. I was pretty impressed with myself. I totally thought I’d botch the cake, but it was delicious! Now I need to figure out who I can gift half a cake to…

Almost Flourless Cake

What was on your holiday treat menu this year?

Steel Cut Oatmeal Pumpkin [Lactation] Cookies

Last year, my favorite pumpkin recipes were pumpkin French toast and pumpkin hot buttered rum. Mmmm hmmm. This year, I took my love for pumpkin and whipped up a batch of milk production enhancing morsels.

From what I’ve read, if I add brewer’s yeast to pretty much any baked good it can help my milk production. Oatmeal helps too. I looked up a few cookie recipes, and all looked okay, but none excited my taste buds. So instead I wound up getting creative, a whopping 5 days after Genevieve was born, and whipped up a batch of pumpkin infused lactation cookies. If you aren’t trying to boost milk production you can omit the brewer’s yeast and you’ve got a fabulous fall cookie to much on.

Steel Cut Oatmeal Pumpkin [Lactation] Cookies

*adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

1/4 cup steel cut oats

1 cup water

1.5 cups organic raisins

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste, (can sub vanilla extract)

2.5 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2-4 TBS brewer’s yeast (omit if you don’t want lactation cookies)

3 TBS chia seeds

3 TBS ground flax seed

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

In a small pot, bring oats and water to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Add raisins and allow mixture to cool.

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg vanilla, and pumpkin, beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, blend together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, brewer’s yeast, chia seeds, and ground flax seed. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, fold in steel cut oat and raisin mixture, and add nuts.

Spoon cookie dough onto greased cookie sheets, or cookie sheets covered with a silpat, and bake 15-18 minutes. Cookies are done when the tops are slightly browned. Remove cookies and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

What is your favorite pumpkin cookie recipe?

I used to have a pumpkin butter cookie recipe with pumpkin cream cheese frosting. I loved those cookies! But I lost the recipe #sadpanda

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

…well not really. It is dry here in Yakima. Not a speck of snow to speak of. Sigh. But my parents house is decorated with many items from my youth, which make me feel all warm and cozy inside.

Seriously, how cute is this little guy?
German glockenspiel – I really want one for my house – you light the candles and the figures in the center spin around
Santa stocking from when my Grandma taught in Japan, circa 1948
My brother, Jake, was obsessed with nutcrackers when he was a kid. For a while he got one every year for Christmas.
This little house was always filled with candy…not this year. I’m a little upset by this break in tradition.
These dolls are from when my Grandma was teaching in Germany, circa 1950.

Something else that makes me feel warm and cozy inside is a mug of locally roasted (and personalized!) coffee and fresh out of the oven cookies. I’ve never been a fan of snowballs, or Russian tea cakes as they are often called. I think it is because I’ve only ever had them made with walnuts. But they are the hubs favorite Christmas cookie, so I agreed to make him some. And guess what? Made with pecans they are actually quite scrumptious.

Snowballs

yields 30 cookies

Recipe from my mother-in-law

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar *
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups pecans, finely chopped

*Additional powdered sugar for rolling

Directions

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl cream butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour and salt. Add to butter/sugar/vanilla mixture. When thoroughly combined add pecans and distribute evenly.

Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Space evenly on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes. Do not brown!

Let cool 2 minutes and roll in powdered sugar.

Once fully cooled, roll in powdered sugar a second time.

Enjoy!

Don’t forget to enter the Firebird Chocolate giveaway – it closes on Monday at 11:59 p.m. (PST)

What holiday treat do others around you love, but you aren’t a fan?

Christmas crack

Friday evening I got a head start on my Christmas treat baking. I spent four hours whipping up delicious treats found on Pinterest…thank goodness for gel mats and crocs!

On the menu:

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Warning, these are highly addictive

Thick, Soft Sugar Cookies

Are you seeing how thick and chewy these are?

So freakin’ good!

Terribly Terrific Toffee

Next time I think I’ll double the amount of toffee,  but these are pretty delicious as is.

and Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles weren’t found via Pinterest, but  are now pinned under both tried and true and Holiday crafts and food. But they are a recipe gifted to me from my friend, Corrinne.

Make sure you have a crowd to gift these goodies to, they are devilishly delicious. Might I suggest an Ugly Sweater Soirree?

I’m turning this awesomely hideous teacher jumper into a flannel infinity scarf via this tutorial. I’d love a sewing machine for Christmas. *hint, hint hubs*

Oreo Truffles

Ingredients
1 package regular Oreo’s (do not buy double stuffed – they don’t work well)
1 8 oz package regular cream cheese, room temp, cut into chunks (do not use low-fat)
1 package vanilla almond bark
colored sugar sprinkles for topping

Directions
Put entire package of Oreo’s in food processor and mix well. Add cream cheese. Blend until mixed completely. It should be black & spongey looking.


Roll dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place on jelly roll pan lined with wax paper. Place in freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Remove balls and heat almond bark according to package directions. Make sure not to overheat, which will cause the almond bark to carmelize.
Roll balls in the melted almond bark and place on waxed paper. Sprinkle immediately with colored sprinkles (otherwise they will not stick). Let sit 1 hour.

Store in fridge.

Try not to eat them all by yourself. This is a highly important, yet very difficult to follow, instruction.

What is your favorite Christmas cookie/treat recipe?