Christmas

Christmas Candy Cane Photo Booth Props

 

 

With Halloween over, we are starting right away with some Christmas fun…. The props were already made a while back and are already for sale in our etsy store for some time now, but I did not find the time to write about them in the blog… Recently I blogged about the other Christmas set, the ugly Christmas ties, which are really funny, so I am happy to give the candy cane photo booth props finally their place in the blogosphere!

We are planning on one more Christmas Set as well as a icy wintery penguin set, so in total we would have 5 winter themes (ugly Christmas ties, candy cane set, mountain – with gloves, scarves and outdoor fun, the other Christmas set and the penguin set). And there is sooooooooooooo much else I want to write about the Christmas time, because this is the biggest celebration throughout the year for us with tons of preparations, crafts, games, baking, family time, decoration, presents and so much more… I am getting excited to just write about it. I will start soon with the Adventskalender (advent calendar) for the boys, my husband and my sister and this alone deserves like three posts alone… I need to find extra blogging time (can’t wait to share). But first the candy cane pics, btw. you can buy them here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/110606645/christmas-candy-cane-photo-booth-props

 

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The different kind of Christmas photo booth props – ugly Christmas ties…

When designing the Christmas props, we also wanted to make a different set, like similar to the pumpkin faces. We immediately thought about Christmas sweaters, but they were too big as photo props. So the next best thing were ties… Christmas sweaters can be ugly, that’s why our goal was to create some really ugly ties. (in the end most of them turned out cute) This was exactly what we were looking for…. a different kind of Christmas set that can be used at a holiday party or to get some laughs at a stiff holiday dinner… something fun. You can get them here:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/112886357/ugly-christmas-ties-photo-booth-props

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December 14th

 

If you ever need a super quick confection, these Nutella squares are perfect. I love them…. so yummy, super easy and done in minutes.

Not long ago, we had a small dinner party with a desert buffet. They were the easiest to prepare and the fastest to be gone. Let me try one right now…

Recipe

Ingredients:

1 glass Nutella

1 tablespoon rum

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

chocolate streussel

Preparation:

Combine Nutella, cacao powder and rum in a bowl and mix until well combined. Form into little balls and roll them in chocolate sprinkles. I like to serve little squares and they are easier to form after covered with sprinkles. Transfer  to the freezer for at least 15 – 20 minutes.

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December 13th

This recipe was courtesy of my sister.  It is another great gluten-free cookie, which is super easy to make. By the way, this particular cookie would be for the sweet tooth.  We are always trying to come up with recipes that taste delicious, but don’t make my sister sick.

Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking powder

optional 1/2 cup of chocolate chip morsels

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the peanut butter and sugar in a bowl. Since the dough is kind of sticky, this should be done the old fashion way with a spoon. Add the egg and the baking powder and mix until it is all well combined.

Roll the dough into little balls about the size of a quarter. You can roll the balls into white sugar, but in my opinion they are already sweet enough. If you want to make the recipe with chocolate, stick one piece in the middle of each ball.

Bake in the oven for about ten minutes.  Let the cookies rest for at least five minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

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December 11th

Ingredients

1 cup roasted peanuts

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

2 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 12 ounces package chocolate morsels, melted

 

Preparation

In a large saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and water and cook at a medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until sugar dissolved, stirring regularly.  A candy thermometer should read at least 250 to 265 degrees Fahrenheit. Add peanuts and vanilla extract. When the mixture starts to turn a light clear-brown remove from stove, add baking soda and stir. Mixture will foam up. Pour on greased cookie sheets, spreading to edges. Let stand 1 hour; break into pieces. Submerge pieces in melted chocolate and let them cool on parchment paper. (see December 7th and 10th for how to melt chocolate). For a thicker chocolate coating, cooled pieces can be dipped twice or even three times.

 

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December 9th

This was the first time I baked snickerdoodles and they came out great. I heard the name before, but didn’t really know what it was. I googled it and found this in Wikipedia:

“The Joy of Cooking claims that snickerdoodles are probably German in origin, and that the name is a corruption of the German word Schneckennudeln (lit. “snail noodles”), a kind of pastry.”

I am not sure about this, but there are also other suggestions for the origin. I grew up in Germany and I love all cakes, cookies and sweets. Not that this would make me the expert, but Schneckennudeln are more similar to cinnamon rolls without the cinnamon. They are usually made with a nut or poppy-seed filling and I would not classify them as a cookie at all. But really good too!

Back to the snickerdoodles. I love the name and that was the reason I baked them in the first place. In the future I will make them again for the taste.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

4 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400° F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until mixture becomes fluffy. Add the eggs.

In the small bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir on low until combined.

Stir together the cinnamon and sugar. Shape dough into balls about the size of a golf ball and roll around in the cinnamon sugar until coated all the way around. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies about 8 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned but still soft. They should puff up then flatten out.

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December 8th

Recipe

Ingredients

4 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

pinch of salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 225  degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla and salt until soft peaks form. Still beating, very gradually add sugar to egg mixture. Continue to beat until sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Drop meringue mixture by rounded tablespoons onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake, switching baking sheets halfway through, until meringues are dry, about 2 hours.

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December 7th

Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup heavy cream

12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate morsels

6 ounces of milk chocolate and white chocolate

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons rum

Preparation

In a saucepan bring cream just to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate morsels or chopped chocolate. Stir the mixture until chocolate is melted completely and mixture is smooth, add the butter, vanilla extract and rum. Chill it in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 hours. or until it is firm. Melt the milk chocolate with the double boiler method. Begin by filling a saucepan with hot water. You want enough water to provide heat, but not so much that the bottom of the chocolate bowl touches the water. Heat the saucepan over low heat until it just begins to simmer, then turn off the stove and place a bowl with chocolate morsels over the water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Alternatively the chocolate can be melted in the microwave, but you need to be careful to not burn it.  With an ice cream scoop or teaspoon form equal sized balls out of the mixture and dip the balls in melted chocolate and submerge it slightly. Use a fork to pull the truffel out of the chocolate. Carefully shake and move it several times to remove excess chocolate.  Chill the truffles on a baking sheet lined with wax paper for 1 hour or until they are firm. If desired, melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the chocolate truffels for a decorative look. Briefly return the candy to the refrigerator to set the white chocolate before serving.

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December 6th

Recipe

Ingredients

1 lb. blanched and peeled almonds

1 lb. powdered sugar

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon Vanilla extract

Brandy oder Rum

unsweetened cocoa powder

sugar

chocolate streussel

 

Preparation

Place the almonds into a food processor and process them until they are finely ground.

Add vanilla extract and the powdered sugar to the almonds. Knead in  the egg whites a small amount at a time until the ingredients are mixed  and the dough is smooth and pliable.

Divide the dough in two parts. Add the brandy or rum (I used 1 tablespoon) until you get the desired taste in one of the dough, leave the other without alcohol. Roll the rum flavored marzipan balls in cocoa powder and the plain ones in sugar or chocolate streussel.

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December 5th

Since I really love sugar cookies, I almost always start the season with baking these cookies. I usually try 2 – 3 other recipes, but most of the times go back to the recipes I know. Therefore I was really excited to try out these black and white cookies. I wanted to make them many times before, but never did. Today was the debut or even better the “premiere” of this fantastic looking, but super easy recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients

9 tablespoons cold butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons rum extract or other extract

1 egg

1  plus 3/4 cup flour

pinch of salt

for dark batter:

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Preparation

With an electric mixer combine the butter together with the sugar, egg, rum extract, flour and salt. The dough will come together pretty fast. Take half of the batter and add the cocoa powder, extra sugar and milk. Divide the dough into 6 pieces, form little balls and let them rest for about 30 minutes in the fridge.

Roll out the balls and stack on top of each other alternating the different colors.  Cut dough stack in half crosswise to form rectangles. Wrap in plastic wrap and let the dough block rest in the refrigerator for one more hour. Alternatively the block can be frozen until it is firm enough for cutting.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and slice the dough in thin slices.  Place dough slices 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes.

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