5 Simple Holiday Desserts
16 cannoli shells
4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
chopped pistachios (optional)
It is essential to drain all of the liquid from the ricotta cheese. The easiest way is to line a strainer with a cheesecloth and place the ricotta cheese in the strainer for several hours. After the liquid has drained sufficiently, place the ricotta cheese in a bowl and add the confectioners' sugar and chocolate chips if desired. Fill a pastry bag with a fitted 1/2 open tip. Carefully fill the cannoli shells with the filling. If desired, dip ends into chopped pistachios.
Every Christmas, my mom would make these chocolate truffles and put them in mini Christmas liners. I changed the recipe a little to add peppermint in it; however, if you don't like peppermint, just omit this and you can also substitute christmas sprinkles in lieu of the crushed candy canes on top. Most times, we would make these together and we would give them out to family and friends. Such a fond memory and one of many, that I have of my mom.
Peppermint Chocolate Truffles - 5 ingredients
For the Peppermint Chocolate Truffles:
1 cup (227g/8 ounces) heavy whipping cream
2 and 2/3 cups (454g/16 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
5 and 1/2 Tablespoons (78g/2.75 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and at room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
For the Chocolate Coating:
1 and 1/3 cups (226g/8 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 full-size candy canes, finely crushed
For The Peppermint Truffles:
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the cream just until it comes to a boil. Then immediately remove cream from heat and add in chopped chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit, untouched, for two minutes, then whisk smooth. Stir in the butter and peppermint extract and vigorously whisk until smooth and shiny.
Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and cool to room temperature before tightly covering the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerating for 2 hours, or until firm enough to scoop.
For the Chocolate Coating:
Fill a medium pot one-third full with water and bring it to a low simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl that will fit on top of the pan snugly, but will not touch the simmering water, on top of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and add two-thirds of the chopped chocolate into the bowl over the pot. Heat until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula. Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove the pan from the heat - keeping the bowl on top of the pan - and stir in the reserved chocolate.
Right before dipping, pour the melted chocolate into a liquid measuring cup.
If you cannot find heavy whipping cream, regular heavy cream will work. Regular milk should not be used as a substitute.
Be sure to finely chop the chocolate so it easily blends with the cream.
Use real chocolate, not chocolate chips.
Store truffles, at room temperature, for up to 1 week.
If you do plan on making these ahead of time, I suggest skipping the candy cane topping, as it softens after a few hours. Alternatively, you could refrigerate the undipped truffles until needed, then dip them the day you plan on serving them.
For creamier truffles, add an extra 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream to the ganache mixture.
Enjoy making these truffles with your grandchildren!
I hope your Christmas is filled with laughter and love!
There are 2 things that I make every Christmas. Peanut Butter Fudge and Cinnamon Sugared Pecans. My dad loved to make his Peanut Butter Fudge often entering it in our county fair. He or my mother made it every Christmas to have at our Christmas Eve spread. The Sugared Pecans were passed down from my Aunt Phyllis. My family and friends love them. They are easy to make but take some time with the attention needed stirring every 15 minutes.
Peanut Butter Fudge
4 C sugar 7 0z. jar marshmallow creme
1 can evaporated milk 1 C peanut butter
1/2 t salt 1 t vanilla
1/2 stick of butter
Combine sugar, milk, salt and butter in a large heavy saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a soft ball stage, (235 degrees) and remove from heat. Add the marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until creamy and it begins to thicken. Pour into a pan lined with wax paper or foil. You can just butter the pan but the wax paper or foil makes it easier to remove and cut. The size of the pan is determined by how thick you want your squares. I believe my dad used a 9x13 pan. Let cool and cut.
Cinnamon Sugared Pecans
1 egg white 1 C. white sugar
1 Tbsp. water 1 tsp. salt
1 lb. pecan halves 1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix together the sugar, salt and cinnamon and set aside. Beat egg white until stiff. Add water and beat until frothy. Add pecans and toss until all of them are coated evenly. Pour sugar cinnamon mixture over the wet pecans and stir again making sure they are all covered in the mixture. Spread out on an 11 x 15 cookie sheet that has an edge and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool but continue to stir every so often to keep them from sticking together and then breaking into pieces. When completely cooled you can place them in storage bags or storage containers. They can be made up to 2 weeks in advance if stored properly. FYI I have never made this recipe without doubling it or tripling it. I use my turkey roasting pan so I can get more in and it works great.
Simple Mini Cinnamon Loaf Recipe
This mini loaf recipe is so simple to make with just 4 ingredients for the loaf. I make this every Christmas because it’s perfect to enjoy not only as a snack but for gifting to friends, neighbors and co-workers! Your kitchen will smell like Christmas while it’s baking!
Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook Time: 20 mins.
Servings: 5 mini loaves
· 1 box yellow cake mix
· 1 cup sour cream
· ¾ cup vegetable oil
· 4 large eggs
Filling – items you may have in your pantry
· ½ cup light brown sugar
· 1 tsp ground cinnamon
· ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
· 1 cup powdered sugar
· 1tbsp milk (plus 1 tsp, only if needed)
· 1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease and flour 5 mini loaf dishes (you can find mini loaf pans here)
3. Combine cake mix, sour cream, oil and eggs in a large bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Mix the filling together in a small bowl. Brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
5. Pour cake mixture into mini loaf pan, filing ¼ of the way, top with 2 teaspoons of the filling and then cover with another layer of the batter. Next, top with the remaining filing over the top of the 5 loaves and swirl the remaining filling into the batter using a knife.
6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins. Let the loaves cool in the pan on a wire rack for an additional 20 minutes while you prepare the glaze.
7. Combine the powdered sugar, 1 tbsp milk and vanilla in a small bowl for the glaze. Stir well. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the loaves.
Let the loaf cool to room temperature before you wrap it for gifting. You may want to attach the recipe and a short message on a Christmas note card and garnish with cinnamon sticks.
Wishing you all a sweet Christmas!
Strawberry Nut Bread
I found this recipe forty something years ago in a free cookbook with “Recipes from Great American Inns” and it quickly became one of my favorite holiday recipes. It will make your kitchen smell heavenly. This recipe is from The Wine Country Inn in St. Helena, California. It’s super easy and delicious.
20 oz of Frozen Sweetened Sliced Strawberries
1 cup baking oil of your choice
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups chopped nuts
Defrost strawberries. Beat eggs in a bowl until fluffy, add oil, sugar and strawberries. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into large mixing bowl. Add strawberry mixture and mix until well blended. Stir in nuts. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until done, then cool in pans for 10 minutes, and turn out on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves This bread slices best when chilled. May be sliced and warmed to serve with butter or whipped cream cheese.
Wishing you lots of holiday joy and a Merry Christmas!