Tag Archives: christmas

Cookie Monster

The presents have been assembled and wrapped, and the treats have all been made…

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the cookie platter table that will be making its debut tomorrow:

By platter…

Cookie Platter #1:

  1. Pistachio Amaretto Bars (adapted from Food Gal)
  2. Seven Layer Cookies (family recipe)
  3. Alfajores (Dulce De Leche Sandwich Cookies) (from Saveur)
  4. Toffee Diamonds (from Gourmet Magazine, 2009)
  5. Shortbread (family recipe)
  6. Lebkuchen Pretzels (my own recipe)

Cookie Platter #2:

  1. Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
  2. Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  3. Sambuca Cookies (from Gourmet Magazine, 1999)
  4. Chocolate Hugs Thumbprints (family recipe)
  5. Bon Bon Cookies (family recipe)
  6. Snickerdoodles (from How Sweet It Is)
  7. Sour Cream Cookies (family recipe)
  8. Toffee and Bark Platter:
  1. English Toffee (adapted from several recipes across the internet)
  2. Cinnamon Granola Bark
  3. Black and White Coconut Bark (family recipe)
  4. Crack Toffee Bark
  5. Salted Caramel Bark (my own recipe)

Fudge Platter:

  1. Maple Candy
  2. Mocha Coconut Fudge (from How Sweet It Is)
  3. Chocolate Fudge (family recipe)
  4. Spiked Eggnog Fudge
  5. White Peppermint Fudge
  6. Brown Butter Fudge (my own recipe)

BAM. Done. And someone will have to forklift me out of here on December 26th.

Happy last minute baking and cooking!

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Filed under Eat, Holidays, Sweets

Cinnamon Granola Bark

Meet the Hippie of Christmas treats.

I love love love this because it’s a more delicate kind of bark but the flavors are so nice. It reminds me of yogurt and granola. Cinnamon-y perfection. And it’s vegan! And if you want, gluten free!

Cinnamon Granola Bark

24 oz. white chocolate chips (vegan if necessary)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

2 cups granola (your choice! The kind I used was honey almond and it was fabulous)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with a bit of cooking spray. Gently melt white chocolate chips in intervals in the microwave or over a double boiler until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon until smooth. Spread about half of the mixture in a thin layer over the baking sheet. Sprinkle granola throughout. Pour the remaining chocolate/cinnamon mixture over the baking sheet and spread so that it covers most of the granola. Let set in the fridge or in a cool place (I put it outside on the back porch).

Peace, love, and granola.

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Spiked Eggnog Fudge

I make like 15 kinds of fudge for Christmas.

Why not? It’s easy to make, you can try any flavor profile that you set your mind to (this might be next on my list), and makes a great gift. If you want to share, that is.

I probably won’t bore you with anymore fudge recipes after this one, though I’ve made a couple more in addition to peppermint fudge and the one I’m about to show you. You will get a glimpse when I show you the final cookie platter though. Maybe it will be a preview for next year?!

One of the best parts of this recipe is that it is not kid friendly. More for you. With a healthy dose of rum, these bring the party.

Naughty or nice? Both.

Spiked Eggnog Fudge

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

24 oz (about 4 cups) white chocolate chips

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp dark rum

1 tbsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

Pour milk and white chocolate into heavy small saucepan. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly and scraping with a rubber spatula to be sure that the chocolate isn’t sticking and burning. Continue until white chocolate chips are almost completely melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted and smooth. Stir in extracts, rum, and spices until combined. Pour into a 10 x 9 inch pan lined with greased aluminum foil. Let set in the fridge or freezer until firm before slicing into cubes.

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Filed under Eat, Holidays, Sweets

Weekend DIY: Homemade Gifts

What’s more heartfelt than a homemade gift?

And it’s not bad on the wallet, either.

Here I have three gift ideas that can be made from some simple items that you probably have lying around your house, for three different kinds of people in your life.

For the kid in your life: Mason Jar Snow Globe

What you need: An empty glass jar, hot glue, glycerin or mineral water, glitter, any kind of figurine or small plastic decoration.

Glue the figurines and decorations you’re using to the inside of the jar lid. Make sure not to get any glue on the screw part!

Fill the jar almost all the way with water. Add a drop or two of glycerin or mineral water (so the glitter does not fall too fast), and a pinch of glitter. Screw the top on carefully, so you don’t hurt your decoration!

Screw tight, and flip!

For a foodie friend: Decoupage Recipe Box

What you need: different colors/patterns of tissue paper and other thin decorative paper, Elmer’s glue, paint brush or paint sponge, an empty cardboard or wooden box, and other decoratives (I used feathers and glitter!)

For decoupage, just brush on glue, attach paper in layers, and paint another layer of glue over. Decorate the rest however you would like… here’s what I did:

There ya go!

And finally, the crowd pleaser: Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix in a Jar

You will need: 8 oz. glass jar, notecard, ribbon, plus the following:

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup white sugar

1/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (2 heaping tbsp)

1/8 cup crushed candy canes (2 heaping tbsp)

2 jumbo marshmallows

Layer the food ingredients in the jar and fasten shut. Write a personalized note on the index card with the instructions to heat the ingredients gently on the stovetop in 3 cups milk (makes 2 large servings). Secure the notecard with a ribbon.

Happy giving!

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Crack Toffee Bark

Okay, I feel like the content of my blog lately may warrant a little disclaimer.

No worries, The Pursuit of Hippieness is not changing over from a healthy lifestyle blog to “Desserts Only”. There’s just an abundance of more indulgent recipes this time of year because, let’s face it: it’s the perfect time to indulge!

And trust me, this is worth every calorie.

It’s a kind of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recipe. But everything works together AMAZINGLY. Salty, sweet, caramel-y, nutty, chocolatey. A.k.a perfection. There’s a reason why I named it “Crack”… it’s ridiculously addictive.

We’ll be back to regularly scheduled [healthier] programming soon enough. In the meantime, soak in the season.

Crack Toffee Bark

2 cups pretzels broken into small pieces

2 cups pieces of peanut butter cups

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp corn syrup

1 cup butter (or Earth Balance)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

24 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips (tempered if you would like)

Line a large baking sheet with greased parchment paper. Disperse pretzel pieces and peanut butter cup pieces into a square area.

In a heavy saucepan, gently heat butter until melted. Mix sugars and corn syrup in a separate bowl. Add this mixture to the saucepan when butter has melted. Add 2 tbsp water, and stir with wooden spoon or plastic spatula until sugars have dissolved completely. Raise heat to medium high, and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Stir constantly to make sure the butter and sugars do not separate, and continue to scrap down the sides of the pot so the sugar does not crystalize. Once the temperature reaches 260, lower the heat and continue cooking and stirring until the temperature reaches 300. Remove from heat immediately, and add vanilla and salt. Stir in, and pour toffee over the pretzels and peanut butter cups and spread.

If you’re having trouble spreading it thin, you can pop it in the oven for a few minutes at 400 degrees. Be careful not to let it burn!

Let cool completely until hardened.

Temper chocolate, or just melt over a double boiler. Spread half of it over the top of the toffee/pretzel/peanut butter cup mixture.

Let set, and cover with greased parchment paper. Place a cutting board on top and grab hold of the cookie sheet. Carefully flip. Peel the parchment paper off of the bottom of the toffee (which will now be facing up). Spread the remainder of chocolate, and let set.

Break into pieces and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.

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Filed under Eat, Holidays, Sweets

Maple Candy

Aaaaandddd…

LET THE HOLIDAY BAKING BEGIN!!!!

I can actually hardly contain myself; I’m just so excited!!!

Before I delve right in, a look at my breakfast this morning…

Another festive choice… Eggnog Smoothie in a Bowl! Greek yogurt, almond milk, silken tofu for extra protein, sweetened with stevia and flavored with vanilla, a drop of almond extract and a tsp of ground nutmeg. SO YUMMY. And in my Christmas bowl, obviously.

I literally thought to myself as I uploaded this, “OOOO I should have a holiday themed Breakfast of the Day for every day this month!!” but then I realized that would be reeeeealllyy difficult to come up with on a daily basis, especially towards the end. So maybe every few days or a breakfast of the week? What do you all think? Regardless, if you like seeing my breakfast posts I’m happy to post it every day, even if it’s not a new recipe or mix.

Moving on…

Yes! Holiday Baking!

I thought this would be a great inaugural post for the season since in theory, it’s quite simple… one ingredient. And a tutorial in candy making is perfect for this time of year! Trust me, it’s super impressive when you offer up molded candies at your holiday party; not to mention they make beautiful gifts. However, candy making can be very tricky, so this is a great introductory recipe.

While you do only need one ingredient for this recipe, a candy thermometer is completely necessary. They’re like $7 at places like Michael’s or even Kmart, and they make your life that much easier. You can also use them for things like melting chocolate and other kinds of baking. Molds are also helpful and will make your candy look very pretty, but you can definitely make do without them. Still, the plastic mold I got was literally $2 at Michael’s.

It might take a couple tries to become a pro at making these candies. You do have to work quickly, but once you get the hang of it, it’s like the easiest recipe ever. So go for it!

Maple Sugar Candy

2 cups maple syrup

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally.

Make sure the pan is deep because the syrup will foam up a lot. Boil until syrup reaches 238 degrees F (110 degrees C) on a candy thermometer.

Remove IMMEDIATELY from heat and cool to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C) without stirring (5-10 minutes or so).

Stir mixture rapidly with a wooden spoon for about until the color turns lighter and more opaque, like caramel. As SOON as this begins to happen (and it happens VERY QUICKLY), pour into lightly greased candy molds or a parchment paper lined pan. Work very quickly as the mixture will become very thick very quickly. If using a pan (not molds), score into squares while the hardening syrup is still a little soft.

Set aside to cool. Once cool, unmold candy. Store in airtight containers up to 1 month.

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Filed under Eat, Gluten Free, Holidays, Sweets