Wednesday, December 4

Homemade Christmas Treats + Random Acts of Kindness

When the holidays arrive, we get the itch to bake!  We always bake up lots of treats and hand them out around a gift, as a token of appreciation, and as part of our RACK mission...

RACK stands for Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, and it's something we've done since before the boys joined us.  In the lean years, it's caroling, cards, and cookies.  In the better years, it's tins full of treats, the angel tree, and (a family favorite!) caroling with the boys and their friends, followed by a meal out for everyone.  Spreading joy isn't just for Christmas, but people seem a lot more willing to receive at this time of year...

Melting Snowmen Cookies
Always a favorite at bake sales, these adorable cookies are fun to make!


  1. Cover cookies with white icing, allowing it to drop off the sides (creates melting effect). Let icing dry 30-45 minutes.
  2. Use black icing and orange sprinkles to create faces on the marshmallows. Get creative and give them character!
  3. Glue marshmallows to cookies with white icing. Using black and colored icing, give the snowmen buttons, scarves, arms, and other embellishments. Let dry at least two hours before transporting.
  4. Complete this melting snowmen craft while waiting for them to dry!

Chocolate Peppermint Krispies
A recipe the kids came up with a few years ago, this has become a standard favorite!

  • We used a double boiler to melt down two bars of works better if you break the chocolate into smaller bits before putting it into the boiler.
  • Once it was good and melted, we added ten to fifteen drops of peppermint oil.  This made a pretty strong, but delicious, coating.  Vary the number of drops based on preference.
  • After laying out each of the pre-packaged treats on wax paper, we dipped each one into the melted chocolate.  We kept stirring the chocolate occasionally to keep it flowing.
  • After getting a first dip, covering one entire end of each treat, we went back and spooned chocolate all over the top of each of the treats.  Then we left them on the wax paper to cool.
  • Dust with powdered sugar to give it a snow effect -OR- garnish with peppermint crumbles!

Hard Cinnamon Candies
When we were kids, it was a winter tradition to make Daddy's infamous Red Hot Candy. This stuff would burn your mouth, but it was oh-so-delicious! He would always make two with just a little bit of cinnamon oil, and one to "put hair on your chest." When the freezing temperatures come around, the first thing I want to do is make some of daddy's hot candy. I'm bringing this from my house to your''s not just for Christmas, but the whole winter through.


  1. Line a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. pan with foil; spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine water, sugar, corn syrup and food coloring. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar crystals. 
  2. Uncover; cook on medium-high heat, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage), about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in cinnamon oil (keep face away from mixture as oil is very strong). Immediately pour onto prepared pan. Cool completely, about 45 minutes. We typically do this on a VERY cold night, and leave the pans outside to harden in the freezing temperatures. 
  3. Break the candy into pieces using a hammer (pound lightly). Sprinkle both sides of candy with confectioners' sugar. Store in airtight container.
OBX....circa 1984.

Easy-Peasy Snickerdoodles

Grandma says the secret ingredient is Betty Crocker.  We're subbing in some Duncan Hines today, but either will work!
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup cinnamon
  1. Dump the first four ingredients in a bowl together.  Mix well.
  2. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.
  3. Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into a ball.  Roll in cinnamon sugar, then place onto pan.
  4. Repeat until all of the dough is gone.  
  5. Using your palm, flatten out each ball.
  6. Bake 10 min at 375 degrees.

Quick Apple Dumplings

A quick and easy recipe to warm up any cold morning and add some extra Vitamin C to the day!
  • 2 tubes - crescent rolls
  • 2 apples (cored & cubed)
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Unroll crescents, and spoon a tablespoon of apple into each.  
  2. Fold the corners in to close the dumpling.  
  3. Arrange each dumpling into a 9x13 pan.  
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon.  
  5. Mix butter, sugar, and orange juice in a medium pan and bring to boil.  
  6. Stir in vanilla.  
  7. our mixture over dumplings.  
  8. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until crust is brown and juices are bubbly.  
  9. Extra tasty when served with ice cream!

Apple Ginger Snaps  

This sneaky cookie is actually somewhat healthy and won't cause the sugar crash!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup flax meal
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (for topping)
  1. Mix sugar, oil, molasses and applesauce.
  2. In another bowl, mix all dry ingredients except oats.
  3. Combine the two bowls, and thoroughly mix.
  4. Pinch of pieces of dough and roll into balls.
  5. Once all the balls are on the pan, use your palm to flatten them.
  6. Sprinkle with rolled oats.
  7. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

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