a sweet holiday

truffle4

Ready…set…bake! It’s time for our annual holiday cookies and this year we have two new recipes and packaging ideas that we are particularly excited about. Last year we went a little crazy with our holiday cookies and made three very different, but equally as delicious sweet treats. This year we went for a slightly simpler approach but still wanted to make an impact. We chose two recipes that look fancy, but were actually very easy to make.

Easy Chocolate Truffles (Brigadeiros)

We loved the idea of making Chocolate truffles, but once we started researching we quickly realized they are not that easy to make. These tiny chocolate treats, called Brigadeiros, are a Brazilian chocolate treat that we discovered, which is very much like a truffle but so much easier to make. We especially love how we can vary the flavor with different toppings! It’s also a recipe that the kids love to help out with…if you can stop them from eating while they work!

truffle1

 Ingredients (makes about 3 dozen):

  • 2 cans (14 oz. each) Sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs heavy cream (or whipping cream)
  • 3 oz. semi sweet chocolate finely chopped (you could also use semi sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Topping options: chocolate jimmies, crushed candy canes, crushed Heath Bar Bits O’Brickle, finely choped peacans or almonds…or any fun colored sprinkle!

Start by finely chopping the chocolate and set aside. Place condensed milk, butter and cream into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add chocolate and cocoa powder and then reduce heat to medium/low. Begin to stir continuously for 15-20 minutes until the consistency is very dense and fudgey (you will get a great arm work out!). Remove from the stove and pour contents into a glass bowl. Place bowl in the fridge for about 4 hours (we made ours the night before).

truffle8

Once the mixture is completely cool, using a small spoon scoop about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll between your hands to create a 1″ round ball. Then roll the ball in the topping of your choice! We used chocolate sprinkles, crushed candy canes and crushed Bits O’Brickle. This is a great activity for the kids!

truffle7

Once our chocolates were dressed in the toppings of our choice we placed each one in a mini baking cup and then in the fridge until it was time to serve.

Millionaire Shortbread 

Who doesn’t love caramel and chocolate? It truly is one of the most delicious combinations, which is why we decided to whip up a batch of Millionaire Shortbread to add to our holiday cookie collection. This magical, chewy, goodness is a layered cookie that combines shortbread, caramel and chocolate, and was surprisingly easy! To make the shortbread layer we used our shortbread recipe from last year. We decided to make our own caramel layer, but you could simplify the recipe even more by melting pre-made caramels for the caramel layer.

millionaire shortbread1

Ingredients (makes about 24 bars)

  • Shortbread layer
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Caramel Layer
    • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
    • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Layer
    • 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate (we used Giradhelli)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with butter. Whisk together flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl, about 2 minutes more. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed, scraping sides if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with fingers. Place dough into the pan and pat down until the dough is a flat layer in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until the cookie is golden. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

caramel layer

For the caramel layer, we made our own caramel, but you could easily melt pre-made caramels in a double boiler and pour the melted caramels over the cookie. If you’d like to make your own caramel, place the condensed milk, butter and salt into a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Once the mixture begins to boil continue to stir for about 15-20 minutes until the mixture becomes a golden color and is very dense (the liquid will have reduced by about 1/3-1/2 by this point). Add the vanilla and stir for another minute. Then remove from heat and pour over the cookie layer. Spread the mixture evenly and then place in the fridge to cool. Once the mixture is cool melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted pour it over the caramel layer and smooth the surface with a spatula. Set in the fridge to cool for about an hour. When the cookie is cool, remove from the fridge and cut into small rectangles or squares with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with sea salt and eat!

Cookie Packaging

We love to keep things simple, but presentation is also important! It really says a lot when you deliver a beautifully wrapped gift to a friend, even when it is something as simple as holiday cookies. Last year we were crazy for these ice cream containers and this year we are obsessed with berry containers. Not to worry, we’ve made it super simple with our printable holiday cookie labels and holiday cookie tags.

holiday cookie tag

Using red and white stripe parchment paper we found at Michaels, we lined red paper berry baskets and filled them with our treats. We printed the holiday cookie tag onto white card stock, cut them out and punched a hole in each one. Then we wrapped a wide, black grosgrain ribbon around the box, strung the gift tag onto the ribbon and secured it with a bow.

holiday cookie label

We were inspired to make a second container after finding these fabulous kraft paper boxes. We always love working with kraft paper because it goes with almost any color. We lined each box with our red and white stripe parchment paper and filled them with our cookies. Then we printed our holiday cookie label onto a white label sheet and cut out each label. We placed a label on each box and voila…cookies to go!

If you are looking for more delicious cookie recipes for the holidays be sure to check out last year’s post for toffee chip cookies, peppermint paddies and shortbread buttons.

Happy baking!

jane-can-heart-logo.jpg

Ashley + Hallman

One thought on “a sweet holiday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s