What a fun time of year to be in the kitchen! I love preparing all of the savory goodies and sweet treats that I grew up with at Christmastime. This is the time of year for sausage balls, cheese straws, baby fruitcakes and yule logs. I’ve been feeling inspired to try some new sweets recipes. With a holiday party at our house on Saturday night, this week was the perfect time to experiment. All of the goodies in this issue are yummy and very easy to whip up. They’d be fun and simple to make with children who like to play in the kitchen. While I’ll be serving them as cocktail party desserts, they would also be excellent gifts for friends, neighbors and teachers. There’s always more than enough to share. Have a very Merry Christmas!
Gooey Caramel Turtles
1 (11-ounce) package caramel squares, unwrapped (approximately 38 pieces)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup melting chocolates or chocolate chips
Coarse sea salt
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the caramels and cream and heat on high power to melt. Stop and stir the mixture every 30 seconds until the caramels soften enough to be smooth. (It could take up to 3 or 4 minutes total.) Mix well to combine. Add the pecans and stir to coat well. Using two spoons, place very small dollops of pecans on prepared baking sheets. Allow at least one hour for caramel to set up. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolates. Spread a small amount of melted chocolate over each of the pecan candies. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow an additional hour for the chocolate to set up. Store in a tightly covered container. Candies will be gooey. Makes 35 to 40 pieces.
White Chocolate Cashews
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
2½ cups salted cashew pieces
Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. In a large bowl, melt white chocolate in the microwave according to package directions. Add cashews and stir well to coat. Using two spoons, place small clusters of cashews on prepared baking sheet. Allow at least one hour for the white chocolate to set up. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes approximately 35 candies.
Rocky Road Fudge
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3 cups small marshmallows
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. In a large bowl, microwave chocolate morsels and sweetened condensed milk for 1 minute. Stir. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 to 15 seconds, stirring until morsels are melted. Fold in marshmallows and walnuts. Press mixture into prepared pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Lift from pan, remove foil and cut into pieces. Makes approximately 40 pieces.
1 (12-ounce) package butterscotch morsels
1 (12-ounce) Package chow mein noodles
1 cup red melting chocolates (optional)
1 cup green melting chocolates (optional)
Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. In a large bowl, melt butterscotch morsels in the microwave according to package directions. Add chow mein noodles and stir well to coat completely. Using two spoons, place small clusters of noodles on prepared baking sheet. Allow at least one hour for the butterscotch morsels to set up. Melt red chocolates in a microwave safe bowl, according to package directions. Pour melted chocolate into a quart-sized zip lock bag. Snip one end of the baggie with a pair of scissors and drizzle chocolate over haystacks. Repeat with the green melting chocolates. Allow an additional hour for the chocolate to set up. Store in a tightly covered container. Makes approximately 50.
6 tablespoons salted butter
1 (10.5-ounce) bag small marshmallows
6 cups Capt’n Crunch cereal
Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish lightly with cooking spray. In a large pot, over medium heat, melt butter and marshmallows, stirring constantly until well-combined and completely melted. Remove from heat. Add cereal, stirring well to combine. Press mixture into prepared pan. Let cool for at least one hour. Cut into squares. Makes 24.
The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of two cookbooks, Gold Medal Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at email@example.com.