Monday, January 2, 2012

Holiday Treats!

I love making new and fun things for the holidays for people!  I went out on a limb a little this year with some creations, but I think they worked out well! For our neighbors I made s'more marshmallows!  I love making homemade marshmallows!  They taste so much better than store bought ones!  I used Ina Garten's recipe, but I wanted to spruce it up and make it fun for the kids.  Plus, what adult doesn't like s'mores??  I like making the individual marshmallows, but it is way messier this way.  First I used mini muffin cups with foil liners (don't use paper because the marshmallows will never come out!).  I sprayed baking spray in them and dusted them with powdered sugar so the marshmallows would come out easily.

I then filled the bottom of the cups with graham cracker crumbs and put a baking sheet on top and shook the muffin tray so the crumbs would stick to the sides of the foil.

Then I made the yummy marshmallows!  It's like fluff before it sets. 
 You have to scoop out the marshmallow quickly because it sets fast.  Then I wanted the marshmallows to have that toastiness about them, so I put them under the broiler for a few minutes.

 Lastly, I broke the Hershey bar into pieces and put them in the sides.  I wanted to put them on the top of the marshmallow, but of course I would really have to break the top of the toasty marshmallow to put the chocolate on top.  I think next time I will press the chocolate inside the marshmallow before I broil it.  They came out so cute and so good!! I think these would be good all year round!
I have been hearing awesome things about the chocolate and bacon craze.  I was dying to try it out, so when I was invited to a Cookie Exchange I thought it was the perfect time to test it.  Hey, if it flopped then there were hundreds of other cookies to munch on!(Also, I was told to bring 3 dozen cookies- I barely have time to bathe, much less make 3 dozen cookies.)  Chocolate bark takes no time to make and even less effort.  I baked a package of bacon on cookie cooling racks with a cookie sheet under it, so I could get nice crispy bacon and the fat dripped off.  I chopped the bacon in small pieces.  Then I melted a bag of dark chocolate morsels in a double boiler.  I mixed 2/3 of the bacon and some slivered almonds in the chocolate, spread it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkled the rest of the bacon on top.  I put that in the fridge to harden.  I did the same thing with a bag of milk chocolate morsels.  I think the dark chocolate tasted the best.  I loved the sweet, salty and smokey flavors.  I think next time I will cut the bacon in bigger pieces and just sprinkle it on top instead of mixing it in.  It was so good!
Dark chocolate Almond and Bacon Bark! Yum!
My last new creation for the holiday was an Eggnog Cheesecake for my dad.  He loves eggnog with bourbon, and I thought a cheesecake would pair perfectly with the sweet, smooth eggnog.  I found a recipe with great reviews and it turned out heavenly!  It wasn't a dense mouthful of baked cream cheese.  It was so creamy, almost like a pudding.  I added 3 tbsp of bourbon into the cake, but you couldn't taste it.  Next time I'll add more:)  I decorated with nutmeg on top.  I also added cinnamon and nutmeg to the crust.  I think it would be awesome with some spiked whipped cream!  I baked it in a water bath as well and no cracking!  It was so good that my dad made sure he gave me back my spring form pan before I left so next time I see him I can bring another cheesecake!
(This is not my picture, but it looked exactly like this!)

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