I absolutely adore this time of year. Its the season of giving and the best time to spread some cheer. One of my favorite ways to do that is by making up some adorable Christmas tins full of homemade treats that I gift to friends, neighbors and my husband’s coworkers. I always attach a Christmas card as well and send out cards in the mail to friends and family that live too far away for tins.
It only takes a few hours to whip up a dozen tins or so. You can also put them in cute little cardboard treat boxes. This is a fun activity to get the kids involved in or even a girl’s night in, complete with holiday cocktails! You can bake whatever you like for the tins, but my top 3 goodies are Bourbon Balls, White Chocolate covered Pretzels with Peppermint Bits and Dark Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fudge. Yum Yum. I will add all three recipes to the bottom of the post!
Now lets talk Christmas Cards. I was a bit late getting them done this year. I often just use random photos that were taken throughout the year, but I really wanted some nice family shots this Christmas. We seriously dis not have a single photo of the 4 of us before going to take pictures. I called up a friend, who also happens to be a photographer, and we set a date for photos at a local Christmas tree farm. Thankfully, she is quite patient. My kids were WILD, just wanting to run around and play and not sit still for photos. Plus, the wind was whipping that day and I think in 85% of the photos taken, my hair was blowing across my face. Ah! But, we managed to get some crazy cute shots and 1 with the whole family. I’ll take it. : )
I normally purchase my Christmas Cards through Minted or Shutterfly, but was so late getting them ordered I didn’t want to wait for the processing time. Enter Wal-mart: Their famous 1 hour photo now applies to Christmas cards. I’m not kidding! It was so easy to order too. I went online and selected my cards, uploaded my photos, personalized with my own wording then selected my local Wal-mart from the list. One hour later, I get a text saying my order is ready! They are such good quality too. I am so very pleased with that service and definitely suggest y’all looking into it if you are late in the game like I was! Here’s the link to their cards.
Bourbon Balls (You can also change out for Rum!)
1/2 cup bourbon
3 cups Nilla Wafers, crushed
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup cocoa powder, divided
1/4 cup corn syrup
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted (12-15 minutes). Be sure to watch them closely so they don’t burn! Let the nuts cool, then finely chop.
In a large bowl, combine the crushed nilla wafers (you can crush by hand in a ziploc or toss in a food processor or blender), chopped pecans, 1/2 cup bourbon, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and the corn syrup and stir until smooth.
IMPORTANT: All climates are different and may have different effects on your outcome. If you feel your mixture is too runny, add more crushed nilla wafer, cocoa powder and powdered sugar. If its too thick, add more bourbon. You want it to be somewhat thick, but malleable so you can roll them into balls and have them hold their shape.
Mix together remaining cocoa powder and powdered sugar in a separate bowl. Roll into balls about 3/4 inch wide and coat in remaining powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill until firm (at least 2 hours).
White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzels
1 12oz Bag white chocolate chips
1 Bag of Pretzels (you won’t end up using the entire bag)
30 Peppermints (You can use candy canes as well, but would probably only need about 7)
Place peppermints in a large Ziploc bag and seal, pushing out as much air as possible. Using a metal spoon (or your tool of choice) take out your frustrations on the peppermints until they are nice and finely crushed. Set aside.
In a large boil or pot, melt the bag of chocolate over low heat, careful not to let it burn. You can also met in the microwave on 30 second increments.
Acting quickly, before the chocolate hardens back up, dip each pretzel in the chocolate and lay on a parchment lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle over your crushed peppermint.
Place in refrigerator to cool for about an hour.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
1 12oz Bag of Dark Chocolate Chips
1 12oz bag of Peanut Butter Chips
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
2tbs hazelnut coffee creamer (secret ingredient)
In the microwave, melt the dark chocolate on 30 second increments, stirring each time, until smooth. Add in 1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk and 1tbs hazelnut creamer.
In a square pan lined with parchment paper, pour the dark chocolate mixture in and spread smooth. Pop in the fridge and repeat with the peanut butter chips and 2nd half of the sweetened condensed milk and tbs of creamer.
Spread peanut butter mixture over dark chocolate mixture and chill for at least 2 hours.
Once hardened, pull the parchment paper from the pan and cut fudge into squares.
**I usually keep the uglier outer pieces for us and send the nice center squares off in the tins.
***You could easily change out one layer for white chocolate, do one type of chocolate only, add nuts, whatever you desire!
These recipes are perfect to spread some holiday cheer this Christmas! Let me know what you think of the recipes below (or if you try out one hour Christmas cards)! You can also reach out on Instagram. : )