Continuing our theme with easy no-bake treats that cost under $5 or less, I wanted to share with you my easy microwave peanut brittle for holiday gift giving. Making peanut brittle in the microwave is so easy and is the perfect gift to give for the holiday season. If you haven’t tried making microwave peanut brittle, you are in for a real treat.
This brittle makes a perfect guy gift to give paired with an inexpensive hammer tied with festive ribbon. I found my hammers at our local hardware store for $2.99 and found cookie sheets for giving at our dollar store for a buck. With a few simple ingredients in your pantry, you have the makings for an easy gift to give and to share around the holiday season.
The only trick with making peanut brittle in the microwave is keeping a CLOSE eye on it so you don’t burn your nuts. I used my Pampered Chef large batter bowl to prepare the brittle in and found that six minutes seemed to be just the right amount to cook it in the first stage. Microwaves and bowl sizes vary so check it after five minutes and see how the brittle is looking.
Not everyone is a baker and that is why I wanted to share with you an easy sugar & spice nut mix that you can pull together for your holiday giving that is as impressive as any holiday cookie. Making your own flavored nut mixes might not be something you have considered for the holidays, but once you try this delicious nut mix, you will have a hard time giving these sugared and spiced nut mixes away.
My variety of nuts include pecans, almonds, and walnuts. You can choose any combination of nuts that you might love or just keep things simple and roast only your absolute favorite. These nuts are then tossed with an egg white, water, sugar and some of my favorite holiday spices- cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice.
Once you pull them hot out of the oven, I sprinkle liberally with kosher salt to add that sweet and salty combination I love so much in everything from my salted caramel mochas to my dark chocolate & sea salt brownies. The salt really adds to the flavors and helps make these even more addictive.
Package these nut mixes up in a pretty box tied with ribbon. I found these little Wilton boxes at our local grocery store, but I am sure they have something similar at your favorite craft store. I lined the interior of them with a little tissue paper and finished them with satin ribbon.
One of my favorite gifts to give is homemade biscotti. This gingerbread biscotti is the perfect gift to give and this easy gingerbread biscotti recipe is a great recipe to try for your holiday giving and cookie trays this year.
If you can make cookies, you can make biscotti! Biscotti is basically a twice baked cookie that is perfect for coffee dunking. This Gingerbread Biscotti is filled with all of the flavors you love in gingerbread- molasses, brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon and then drizzled with an easy glaze to dress them up a bit.
These can be packaged in festive treat bags with a little ribbon and would make a cute accompaniment to a favorite homemade drink mix, coffee, or the makings of a coffee gift basket with my homemade peppermint syrup or gingerbread syrup for easy homemade lattes.
The most important thing with this biscotti, I have found, it to keep any eye on it because it will go from done to burnt rather quickly! Start checking these after twenty minutes and don’t leave them neglected after that point or you may have some burnt biscotti on your hands!
However you package it, solo or in a basket, I guarantee that this recipe will be a hit for your holiday giving and baking!
A sweet and simple gingerbread biscotti recipe that is perfect for your holiday gift-giving!
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup molasses
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1½ tablespoons ground ginger
¾ tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ tablespoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For Glaze: ½ cup confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 - 3 tablespoons milk or light cream
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and molasses. In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; mix into egg mixture to form a stiff dough (depending on your humidity, the dough may be sticky).
Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a roll the length of the cookie.
Place rolls on lined cookie sheet, and pat down to flatten the dough to ½ inch thickness.
Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE ON IT as it will go from done to burnt quickly.
Remove from oven, and set aside to cool.
When cool enough to touch, move over to a cutting board and cut into ½ inch thick diagonal slices.
Place sliced biscotti on cookie sheet, and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until toasted and crispy. If the biscotti already looks a little "too" crispy, you can decrease your oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for 7-10 minutes instead.
In a small bowl mix together the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and milk until it is incorporated. Using a small spoon, drizzle back and forth your glaze over the biscotti. Allow the icing to harden before packaging.
What fun treats are you baking this holiday season? Any great big batch recipes you might like to share?
I have a theory that any gift given in a little jar is a tad more special and certainly cuter if it is packaged sweetly in a jar. These no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in a jar are a perfect gift to give and full of that peppermint flavor we crave around the holidays. The best part about these isn’t the jar though, it is the, “no baking required,” feature that I happen to love the most.
This year I wanted to create holiday hostess gifts that would long be remembered, but quickly be used. What could be more memorable or useful than a tiny cheesecake in a jar?
The possibilities with this fun food craft are endless. Convert your favorite no-bake cheesecake into a sweet gift and decorate your jar with your favorite craft technique whether it is spray paint, decoupage, or a scrap of fun fabric.
These gifts can easily be personalized and will be a fun treat for whoever you might share them with. I guarantee if you made me one of these as a hostess gift, I would have you over and over again…just for that Oreo crust alone!
Make a batch of these and keep them on hand for those unexpected occasions where a gift is needed! It also could be a lovely reward for yourself after all of that hard holiday preparation you have been doing. You deserve it.
A sweet & simple no-bake cheesecake in a jar that you can give to someone special for the holidays. This is the perfect little hostess gift, teacher gift, or neighbor gift to share!
10 Half Pint Ball Jars
2 cups of chocolate sandwich cookies (approximately 17 cookies)
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
Red food coloring
20 peppermint candies
3 freezer bags
1 rolling pin
For decorating jars (optional): Red Spray Paint, Green Grosgrain Ribbon, and Hot Glue
Place your chocolate sandwich cookies in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to smash the bag of cookies until they become cookie crumbs. Add your melted butter and sugar to the bag and mash the bag in your hands until the three ingredients pull together to create your crust and are well incorporated.
Take the lids off of your glass jars and place them on a cookie sheet to contain the mess. Spray each of the jars with cooking spray. Put two spoonfuls of cookie crumbs into each jar and use the back of the spoon or your hands to press the crust into each jar. Slide the cookie sheet of jars back into the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, beat your cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk until it is smooth. Stir in your peppermint extract and red food coloring, approximately three drops, to achieve a pale pink color. Mix all of these ingredients well. Fold in your whipped cream.
Remove your tray of jars from the freezer. Using a standard ice cream scoop, add one scoop of filling to each of your jars. Use the back of a small spoon to smooth the filling on top until it is level and smooth.
Remove the wrappers from your peppermint candies. Place the peppermint candies into a double-bagged freezer bag and use your rolling pin to smash these into small pieces to garnish your cheesecakes. Sprinkle the broken peppermints on top of each one.
Screw the lids back on your jars and put these back into the freezer. Freeze for two hours or until firm.
How To Decorate Yours Jars:
Remove the bands from the jars and set aside. Outside or in a well-ventilated area, spread your jar lids out on newspaper. Shake your spray paint well. Slowly and evenly, spray your spray paint back and forth until all of the lids are covered with the spray paint. Allow these to dry for at least thirty minutes.
Plug in your glue gun and allow it to heat up. Tie grosgrain ribbon (any width you desire) into a small bow. Place your spray-painted lids on top of your jars and screw the bands into place. Squirt a tiny dot of hot glue on the back of your bow and place it on top in the center of your lid. Hold it in place for a minute. Sit back and bask in your crafting glory.
Pumpkin pie rarely needs an adornment more than a little whipped cream on top…that is, until I decided a crunchy cranberry pie topper would be a fun way to ad a little sparkle to a piece of pie. This cranberry crunch topper is the perfect way to add a little sweetness of crushed cookies, adds that tart bite from the cranberries to the top of your pies, and rounds out the crunchy flavor with freshly toasted walnuts.
A quick whirl through your food processor is all these ingredients need to pull together for a quick homemade topper for those store-bought pies. Set out a few of these fun toppings with your favorite store-bought pie or homemade pumpkin pies this year.
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! I will be offline preparing to host my own family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your own families!
I remember when I thought that making whipped cream was a labor-intensive process. Ah, I have had so much to learn in the kitchen. Whipped cream is simply one of these easiest pie toppings to make and spicing up your whipped cream is an easy way to add a personal touch to a store-bought pie.
This spiced whipped cream recipe will bring an extra layer of spice to your pies that your guests will absolutely love. The best part is that this easy spiced whipped cream topping can be created in under 5 minutes and with a couple of items you probably already have lurking in your pantry.
In a perfect world we would all be making handmade pumpkin pies made with homemade crusts. I thoroughly love baking, but I also know that it isn’t for everyone. For those of my friends who prefer to put their love in other elements of the holiday, I am going to show some easy ways to spice up those store-bought pies that will take those pies to another level.
Before I became acquainted with the kitchen, I really thought whipped cream was just Cool Whip and homemade whipped cream was a powder that you added water to that made whipped cream.
I really did.
Of course, I know a few more things than I did 10 years ago, but it still makes me giggle to know how detached I was from the culinary world. Whipped cream is actually just heavy whipping cream, whipped until it forms peaks and you can add your own spin on sweeteners, spices, and extracts to create your own unique combination of sweet and spicy. It’s perhaps the simplest and most satisfying of pie toppings.
This Spiced Whipped Cream gets its hint of spices from ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a little sugar. It is the perfect accompaniment to your pumpkin or pecan pies for the holidays.
Tomorrow I will share with you one other fun topping to try on your pies along with some fun ideas for entertaining the kids!
If there is one thing that simply screams Thanksgiving to me, it is the humble pumpkin pie. Today I wanted to share with you my recipe for the best homemade pumpkin pie that can round out your Thanksgiving feasting for the holidays. Not only will I be sharing my recipe for this pie, but I also wanted to share with you some fun tools to add to your baking arsenal.
The first pie I ever made was a Pumpkin Pie. With the ease of canned pumpkin and a few other simple ingredients in my pantry and fridge, it was one of the easiest pies to create and gave me confidence in the kitchen. The crust may have been store-bought and the filling was simple and straightforward, but I truly felt like a rock star in my very own kitchen.
Everyone has their own unique spin on this simple recipe, and today I wanted to share with you a filling that is rich on flavor that is unlike any pumpkin pie I have ever eaten. The richness comes from the well-blended cooked filling,the dark brown sugar, and the delicious combination of spices.
Good tools for pie making certainly make the job more fun and just as I shared with you the fun Thanksgiving centerpiece and table I was able to create through my partnership with Pure Charity, today I am making a beautiful dessert for the holidays using tools purchased through the Pure Charity.
If you have been a longtime reader to our site, you know how important giving back to other is to me. Whether it is the giving done in small ways like “found items,” around our home, to the giving of your talents to those in need, to the bigger projects where you gather your community and really feel like you make a difference.
Shopping through Pure Charity is one of those smaller things you can do that is as effortless as those donations of found items around your home. Holiday shopping will be happening for us over the next couple of months, why not make it shopping AND giving to those who need your support in the process? That sounds like a win-win!
What is Pure Charity?
Pure Charity is a simple, but awesome concept for giving back to those causes you care most about. Basically, you install a simple toolbar into your web browser and then it alerts you with a small banner at the top when a store you are shopping with has a partnership with Pure Charity. Click on that little button and you are making a percentage deposit into your Giving Fund. Your Giving Fund can then be applied to the charities that are important to you and that you have a desire to support.
Pure Charity asked me to show everyone what could be done via their partners and gave me a small budget to get started. Last week I shared ideas for setting the perfect Thanksgiving table, today I am sharing my delicious Pumpkin Pie recipe, and next week I will showcase some fun ideas for keeping the kids entertained. All supplies were ordered through their partner sites and I have created a Giving Fund for the charities that are most important to our family.
I can honestly say that I have never made a pie from scratch so this was not only a challenge for me, but reminded me that I still have so much to learn in the kitchen. This week I have several fun recipes as we enter the holiday entertaining season and I can’t wait to share them with you!
I found gorgeous pie cutters, brushes, pastry wheels, cookie sheets, and an elegant pie server from Williams Sonoma. My pie dishes are already receiving rave reviews and were just a mere $13 from the Paula Deen collection from Walmart.
What is dessert without a little wine? I have a desire to look fancy, but don’t always have the fund to really pay for the fancy in my life. One trick that I love to do when entertaining is to disguise boxed wine or less expensive bottles of wine in an elegant wine carafe. These stemless wine glasses (both red and white) plus my wine carafe makes entertaining look elegant while not spending a lot of money. I found these over at Walmart through Pure Charity.
Did you know you can even order a turkey or ham for your holiday entertaining through their partnership with Omaha Steaks? If that doesn’t scream stress-free entertaining than I don’t know what does? I may have ordered one for myself this year..Hey, it’s for charity!
With all of the items I bought to prepare my beautiful pie and serve my wine elegantly, the true bonus was that I was able to put an additional $7.69 towards my Giving Fund!
Head on over and create your own account with Pure Charity and find a cause that is important to you to give back to when doing your holiday shopping this year!
Today I am sharing my new favorite Pumpkin Pie recipe with you! Once you try this pumpkin pie, you will quickly discover why it is my new favorite pie recipe. Be sure to visit this week’s All Butter Pie Crust tutorial that can be prepared in your handy food processor! Happy baking, everyone!
Processing the canned pumpkin yields a smooth and creamy pie texture and cooking the canned pumpkin in the spices & sugar helps take away from the canned pumpkin taste without hassling with fresh pumpkin.
1 recipe for a single-crust pie dough (Be sure to check the link for the All Butter Pie Crust)
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup (7 ounces) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅔ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup whole milk
4 large eggs
Follow the steps given for the All Butter Pie Crust. Line your chilled crust with a double layer of foil and fill with pie weights (or dried beans). Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color 25-30 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
For filling (while the crust is baking since you want the crust to still be warm when you add the filling), process the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves together in a food processor until combined, about 1 minute.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in the cream and milk, return to a simmer briefly, then remove from the heat.
Process the eggs in a food processor until uniform, about five seconds. With the machine running, add about half the hot pumpkin mixture in the feed tube. Stop the machine, add the remaining pumpkin and continue processing until smooth (about 30 seconds)
Immediately pour the warm filling in the warm crust. Bake the pie until the filling is puffed and lightly cracked around the edges and the center jiggles slightly when shaken, about 25 minutes.
Let the pie cool on a wire rack until the filling has set, about two hours. Serve warm or a at room temperature.
To make Pumpkin Pie Ahead- Make your pie dough ahead of time. Once baked and cooled, the pie can be covered loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to one day. Let the pie come to room temperature before serving or, to serve warm, reheat the pie in a 300 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
There is nothing like a homemade all-butter pie crust for your pies. Today I wanted to share with you an easy recipe for preparing an all butter pie crust that you can use creating your food processor. I am providing an, “easy as pie,” picture tutorial for pie crust creating and tomorrow I will share my recipe for an absolutely perfect pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving feasting.
This recipe will yield a double crust which is perfect for those delicious apple pies or you can use your second crust, as shown below, to create cute decorative edges with little pie cutters. I like to call these decorative edges “concealer for the imperfect.” Let’s be honest, baking isn’t my strongest skill so a girl has to become a whiz at hiding those imperfections. I might do this in a few other areas of my life too…*ahem*.
When it comes to baking, I heavily rely upon my America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. The recipes are reliable and provide consistently great baked goods for our family. I only checked the book out 24 times before I got it for a holiday gift. It really is that good.
Why Sour Cream?
According to the cookbook, the tiny amount of sour cream you add to this dough makes the dough a little easier to work with, more flavorful, and tender. The acid in the sour cream helps to slow down the gluten development which makes for a more tender and flaky crust. Since they probably tested a hundred pie dough recipes to come to these dramatic conclusions, I will take them at face value.
The crust is everything a crust should be- flaky, buttery, crisp, and light. Best of all, it’s easy to roll and comes together in your handy food processor. It really is the perfect crust and I hope these pictures and the recipe will help you with your own pie crust making for the holidays.
How Do You Blind Bake a Pie Crust?
There is nothing worse than a mushy crust on a pie. There is really no sense in going to all of the trouble of making a great crust, if it isn’t cooked correctly. To blind bake the crust, simply line the crust with a double layer of tin foil and fill it with pie weights. You can buy pie weights, use pennies, or use a bag of dried beans (as I have shown above). If you use the beans, place them in a zippered bag and label your bag that these are pie weights so you don’t accidentally use them in your recipes.
Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color, 25-30 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and remove the weights and foil.
"Easy as pie," pie crust made using all butter and a little secret help from a few tablespoons of sour cream. This dough is a dream to work with and yields a wonderfully flavored and tender crust.
⅓ cup ice water, plus extra as needed
3 tablespoons sour cream
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces and frozen for ten to fifteen minutes
Mix ⅓ cup of the ice water and sour cream together in a small bowl until combined.
Process the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined.
Scatter the butter pieces over the top and pulse the mixture until the butter is the size of large peas (about ten pulses).
Pour half the sour cream mixture over the flour mixture and pulse until incorporated, about three pulses. Repeat with the remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch the dough with your fingers; if the dough feels dry and doesn't hold together, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons more ice water over the mixture and pulse just until the dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains (3-5 pulses).
Divide the dough into 2 even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a disk. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about ten minutes.
When you are ready to bake it, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line the crust with a double layer of tin foil and fill it with pie weights. Bake until the pie dough looks dry and is light in color, 25-30 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a wire rack and remove the weights and foil.
Sometimes old recipes bear a little repeating on MomAdvice. These Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are the type of recipe that deserves its honor on our site over and over again. These Snickerdoodle cupcakes taste just like a fresh baked snickerdoodle cookie and are made from a simple cake mix. If the taste of the snickerdoodle cake isn’t enough for you, these Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are topped with a delicious cinnamon buttercream frosting to round out the cinnamon flavor!
If you haven’t tried this recipe for Snickerdoodle Cupcakes, you must try them because they are the most delicious cupcakes ever. It earns its top spot in my most requested cake category in our family and happens to be my own personal favorite too. These easy cupcakes are made from a cake mix (you can use white or yellow cake mix) with the addition of a few pantry ingredients that takes the cake to another level.
Struggling with frosting decorating? The best arsenal I have in my cake decorating tools is the Wilton 2D tip. It only costs a few dollars and can make your cakes look professional with just one swirl with this tip. Start at the edge and swirl towards the center for cupcakes that look like the ones above or swirl from the center to the outside for a simple rose effect. I like to leave the cinnamon cake edges peeking out of the sides so people can see the brown cinnamon color on these. This sweet and simple swirl is all you need to make these cupcakes look professional and still offer the beauty of a homemade treat.
I hope you can give this recipe a spin! Snickerdoodle Cupcakes are the perfect way to celebrate the big or small things in life! Serve them up plain or add an adorable handmade cupcake topper for any of your holiday occasions!
Halloween is drawing near and along with all of the costume fun comes many opportunities to share treats at school and fun parties. Today I wanted to show you a fun and easy way to dress up a cupcake with your very own personalized photo pick. This craft could not be easier or more cute for dressing up a homemade cupcake or a store-bought one (Shhh…I’ll never tell!)
Begin by going through your Halloween pictures and selecting a favorite one of your children. You could also get a jumpstart on Halloween pictures and have your children dress up in costume and take a picture in their new costume. If your children are anything like mine, they will be more than happy to oblige and get the opportunity to wear their costumes just one more time.
This is a favorite picture of mine from last year of my two goblins. We decided to stage a Ninja attack on our little princess for some hilarious photos opportunities for Halloween. This picture still makes me laugh!
Head on over to the Walmart photo site and upload your favorite Halloween photo to your photo account (you can create a new one if you don’t have one). Next just click here to create your own photo sticker sheet. Select CUSTOMIZE, select your album & then your picture, click the MORE tab, and then click MORE STYLES. Under that you will see all of the cute Halloween backgrounds to customize your photo sticker. You can leave them plain or you can add a cute font and message with your sticker.
Once you have created your sticker, you can have them shipped directly to you or pick them up at your store in 2-3 business days.
To create a cupcake photo pick, you will just need your sheet of photo stickers and a package of popsicle sticks (available in the craft supplies at Walmart)
Grab one popsicle stick.
Peel one sticker from your sticker sheet and stick it to your popsicle stick, carefully centering it.
Peel another sticker off your sticker sheet and stick it to the flipside of your popsicle stick, lining the sticker up carefully with the other sticker.
Stick your photo pick into the top of your cupcake.
Aren’t these so cute? I love that this is a craft that anyone can do and that can add a very special and personal touch to your Halloween treats this year.
Happy Halloween, friends!
I am a part of the Walmart Moms program, and Walmart has provided me with compensation for these posts. My participation is voluntary and opinions are always my own.