Tempting Holiday Treats

by Rachel Paxton

The holidays are a great time for spending time with family. One favorite family activity of mine is baking! I just don't spend as much time playing around in the kitchen as I'd like, and the holidays are a perfect excuse to try out new mouth-watering candies, cookies, and other holiday treats. It's also a great time to teach your children how to find their way around the kitchen while also having fun with them at the same time.

I always find that holiday recipes often require expensive ingredients that I usually avoid in my everyday cooking and baking, just because of how much those unnecessary items cost. Around the holidays though, many of these items (chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, butter, etc.) go on sale and you can stock up on a few special ingredients that will let you whip up some favorite family treats rather inexpensively. I get a few at the store here and there for a few weeks (or even months) in advance while they're on sale to avoid having to buy them all at one time. Try out some of these recipes and get in the holiday spirit! Happy Holidays!

Pear Eggnog Muffins

3 c. flour
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 medium pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 c. eggnog
1/3 c. plus 2 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1/4 c. dark rum (or additional egg nog)
1 egg

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in large bowl; make a well in center of dry ingredients. Combine chopped pears, eggnog, butter, rum and egg, stirring until well blended. Add eggnog mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon batter into greased muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Heavenly Hash Candy

12 oz. chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips
1/4 c. butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large bag miniature marshmallows
1 c. chopped pecans (or peanuts)

Spray a 13x9-in. pan with Pam and add marshmallows. Melt chips, butter, & milk in boiler. Remove from heat & stir in pecans. Pour over marshmallows and stir just enough to coat lightly.

Peanut Blossoms

1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter (soft)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg (unbeaten)
1 package chocolate kisses or stars
1/4 c. sugar (to roll the balls in)

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream sugars and butters. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well. Blend in dry ingredients. Shape into balls. Roll in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes in an ungreased pan. Remove and place kisses on top. Bake 2-5 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool.

Originally published at Suite 101. Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking.


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