Holiday Treats That Make You Go YUM!

This past week I’ve been a baking fool. I made Faerie Cakes, fudge, Creme de Menthe brownies, Russian Tea Cakes, pumpkin muffins, snickerdoodles, and cheesecake ‘presents’. All to give away to friends for the holiday. Well, mostly to give away ~ I did have helpers who, like me, had to taste everything to make sure it was perfect.

Since I can’t bring you all a plate of goodies (as much as I’d love to!), I’m sharing the recipes with you. This way, if you feel so inclined, you can make some for yourself or for sharing.

Treats With Names For Blog

Fantasy (Old Fashioned) Fudge

First up was the fudge. I made the ‘fantasy fudge’ found on the back of a jar of marshmallow creme. Not sexy or exciting, but there you go. I did mix it up a bit with the chocolate – in stead of using baking squares, I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. Here’s a fun tidbit ~ one year my mom and I made about nine different types of fudge, just to see which we liked the best. To this day, neither of us remember which one won so we both just use the fantasy fudge recipe. If you have a killer fudge recipe, please share ~ I would love to try it!

Russian Tea Cakes

The Russian Tea Cakes are from a recipe I’ve had since before paper was invented, I think. It might be from a Betty Crocker recipe book, or one of my mom’s aunts made it up. Either way, these little tidbits are delicious with coffee or tea. They’re also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup stick butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • More powdered sugar for rolling the cookies in
  1. Heat oven to 400°
  2. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and the vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts, and salt until the dough holds together (you might have to get physical with it and use your hands).
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet (I use parchment paper in my baking, it’s awesome).
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until set but not brown (they should look slightly darker than when you put them in. This is where making them a few times and totally screwing up helps. Now I know what to look for). Remove from cookie sheet to a wire rack. Let cool slightly (5 minutes, maybe).
  5. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar a few times, cool on rack again before repeating the rolling in the powdered sugar as many times as you think the cookies need it. You don’t want too much powdered sugar, but you don’t want too little. Tasting is a good idea at this point. 🙂

Decadent Pumpkin Muffins

I used this recipe from allrecipes.com. The only change I made was to use light instead of fat free vanilla yogurt and I had to add a bit of fat free Fage to make up the one cup.

These are rich and moist. Very decadent!

Creme de Menthe Brownies

This recipe was given to me this year by my friend Nicole whose grandmother passed it down through the family. She said it’s the go to dessert she makes every year, so you know I had to try it.

Mine came out a little ugly (trial and error, people!), but they taste delicious. If you like Andes chocolates, this is the yummier, cake version.

For the brownies, don’t cheese out and use a mix, these are more cakey and you won’t get the same results with a brownie mix.

Brownie/cake Layer:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 16 ounces chocolate syrup (I used Hersheys)

Mix together the brownie ingredients. Pour into a greased and floured 13×9 inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Cool in pan.

Mint Layer:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (or 3 if you like it stronger) Creme de Menthe liquer
  • 1/2 cup butter

Mix all ingredients together. When the brownies are COMPLETELY cooled (yes, this is where I went horribly, irrevocably wrong), spread over the top.

Glaze Layer:

  • 6 oz chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet)
  • 6 tablespoons butter

Mix and melt butter and chips (I used the microwave, just be careful not to burn the chocolate. It took about four 20 second spins in the microwave before they were melted, but your time may vary).

Spread over the top of the mint layer. Chill for 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

Snickerdoodles

Okay, I totally cheated on these. I bought the Krusteaz box mix. They’re still good, but not homemade good. I need a fabulous Snickerdoodle recipe ~ got one? My son loves these cookies and I need to make it right for him. 🙂

Holiday Cheesecake Presents

I don’t know where I got this recipe ~ it was from someone’s blog last year and I loved the idea. Now that I’ve made them a few times, I love the taste and better yet, the simplicity of this treat!

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite sprinkles and decorating gels
  • 1 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs (I used my food processor)
  • 3 packages softened cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs

Mix crumbs, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar together. Press mix onto bottom of a 13×9 inch baking dish.

Mix cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs, mix until blended. Pour over pie crust.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until center is almost set. (Do NOT enter a toothpick into center to check for doneness like Natalie Hartford or you’ll have a cheesecake travesty).

Cool, then refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Cut into bars and decorate with your favorite gels or sprinkles to resemble presents.

Faerie Cakes

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook, Celtic Folklore Cooking by Joanne Asala. It’s available on Amazon and has tons of fabulous recipes, along with stories or folklore to go with them. While I won’t be trying the fried eel in butter sauce, I will try the mincemeat parcels with Irish whiskey cream. Yum.

Back to the Faerie Cakes. You’ll need:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Grated rind of one orange
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/3 cup sultanas (golden raisins)

For the sugar icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water (I used milk)

*Wait to make the icing until the cakes are cooled. To make icing combine powdered sugar and a little water or milk at a time until you get a nice, smooth consistency that isn’t too runny. If it sticks to the spoon but doesn’t clump, you’re good.

To make the cakes:

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and orange rind. Mix baking powder into flour (the recipe says to sieve them, but I didn’t), add to the butter mixture. Add a little milk to create a batter of dropping consistency ( have no idea what this means, so I just got it to where it looked like cake batter, smooth and creamy, but not too thick or runny). Fold in sultanas (golden raisins) into mix. Spoon mixture into well-greased muffin pans or just use cute cupcake liners like I did. To make 12, fill halfway.

Here’s where it gets tricky. The recipe says to bake at 375° for 25 minutes. I did and the first batch came out like hockey pucks. Then I tried 375° for 15 minutes, checked them and they weren’t done, so I gave them a few more minutes. It came out to almost 20 minutes of cooking time. It’s going to depend on how full you make your muffin tins.

Cool slightly before drizzling on sugar icing.

~~~ooOOoo~~~

Well there you have it!  Have you been baking this year? Do you have yearly favorites you make, or do you like to mix it up? I’m always looking for delicious new treats to make for my friends, I’d love to know what you enjoy.

On this, the day after the supposed end of the world, I would like to wish all of you a happy new beginning, Blessed Winter Solstice, and a Very Merry Christmas!

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25 thoughts on “Holiday Treats That Make You Go YUM!

  1. YUM! I’m so trying the cheesecake thingy! This year, I made fudge (yes, fantasy), snickerdoodles, and sugar cookies. I have tons of cookie cutters, but for some reason just like to use the Christmas tree one, so it looks like I have a big forest. I’ve got the snickerdoodle recipe from my grandmother – you’re welcome to try it. My sugar cookie recipe is from my 1974 Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. It’s called Deluxe Sugar Cookies, because you add just a touch of almond extract. Doesn’t taste like almonds, but gives the cookies a bright flavor. Happy to share that one too, if you want it.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Merry Christmas! Yes please, and thank you. I’d love to try your snickerdoodle recipe. That’s funny about the cookie cutters. I have about a hundred, I think, but no one has the patience to make the dough, chill the dough, roll out the dough, cut the dough, and finally bake the dough. THEN decorate the cookies! That’s why Santa gets chocolate chip cookies in this house. 🙂

      I think I have that sugar cookie recipe ~ mine also uses almond extract. Super yum.

  2. Tameri, I gained five pounds just reading this post. naughty girl!!! they all look and sound heavenly. I’m going to try to convert one or two of them to gluten free and see what I come up with.

  3. Woman, you could open up a bakery! Your treats not only look tasty, but holy cow—gorgeous. And how much do I love the faerie cake name???

    I haven’t baked much, since I’ll be in Minnesota for Christmas where overloads of yumminess await. I have made a few simple goodies–blueberry brownies, applesauce, black bean fudge… 😉

    Thanks so much for the awesome recipes. I’m sure they’d be a treat any time of year. Happiest holidays to you and yours! Crazy blessed to call you friend. ❤

    • Aw, thanks! Blueberry brownies, those sound yum! Well, it all does actually, but I’m a sucker for anything blueberry. Have a marvelous time in Minnesota freezing your tuckus off! Happy Christmas to you and your family, my friend!

  4. Oh my, Tameri, they all look so enticing – and so not diabetic-friendly, lol. Love the faery cakes and the Russian tea cakes and would dearly love to try them … just one … hehehe. Thanks so much for sharing your goodies with us – and have a wonderful, festive Christmas and holiday season! ~ Love, Julie xox

  5. Your picture is making my taste buds cry. I have GOT to get some cookies made! Actually I want to postpone Christmas until January, lol so I have more time.

    Your Russian Tea Cakes look very much like my family’s pecan snowball recipe (and I’ve used walnuts a few times). I actually like them better without ‘dusting’ them with powdered sugar (dusting is what my mom calls it on her recipe card).

    Just a quick tip for the walnuts. I’m all about shortcuts in the kitchen, and I stopped chopping nuts a long time ago. A Ziploc bag and wooden rolling pin work very nicely…though you may have to beat the heck out of the nuts with the rolling pin at first.

    I also mash my egg whites (from boiled eggs) with a fork – until they look like freaking sand – for potato salad. I hate egg whites, so I don’t want to chance having to bite into a piece of the rubbery stuff. 🙂

    Both of these things are far quicker than using a knife…and they probably save me an astounding 90 seconds of prep time. 😀

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Tameri! Have a brownie for me please.

    • Ohmygod, I love your walnut tip! What a fun way to ‘chop’ the walnuts and get out a little frustration in the process. I have a brownie torte/trifle thing I make where I have to bludgeon some Heath bars and it’s so much fun. 🙂 That’s crazy funny about the egg whites, too. I’m going to try that for some egg salad.

      Isn’t it funny how we know all year that Christmas is coming and yet it still sneaks up on us each year?

      Merry Christmas to you, my sweet friend!

  6. YUM!! The Faerie cakes make me want to sit down and have a cup of tea–actually everything does!
    Happy Holidays Tameri. 🙂

  7. You are a baking master. OMG LUV!! It all sounds soo delicious. I soo wish we lived closer. Here’s hoping everyone heeds your advice and avoids a cheesecake travesty type incident. LOL! Thanks for the uber shout out gorgeous!
    MERRY Christmas to you and your family…LOVE yas!

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