Thursday, November 23, 2017

CHRISTMAS RECIPES AND TRADITIONS - A CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS

A Chocolate Christmas
If you asked 100 people what their favorite holiday was, Christmas would be one of their first choices. Ask them what their favorite sweet was, and chocolate would be the winner. I say Christmas and chocolate makes the perfect pairing when it comes to holiday entertaining.

Let's start with holiday decorating. We're using chocolate bars to make a holiday wreath. Gather up all that leftover Halloween candy you put into the freezer because you didn't want to gain 20 pounds in November. All you need is a Styrofoam wreath and a hot glue gun and one or two pieces of ribbon.
Glue those yummy chocolate candies onto the wreath until there's no room left on the wreath. Finish it off with red, gold or green bows made with your ribbon and hang it inside your house. For those of you who don't want to gain 20 pounds in December, that's why we use hot glue!
Oops, you will need to add a loop of string, yarn or ribbon from which to hang your sweet decoration. I've made this wreath twice. The first time, I forgot to give my kids the "rules" and the wreath was missing quite a lot of candy by the time the Christmas guests came through my door, hot glue notwithstanding. The second time, I threatened the kids,  I told the kids, "hands off the wreath until the day after Christmas". On that day, I knew I'd be out shopping for discounted Christmas paper goods and such while hubby could handle the sugar highs. (photo credit: Diply.com)

Next let's make gifts and goody bags. Who doesn't like chocolate when it comes from Santa? When I worked at a school, the teachers and staff participated in a grab bag exchange. We limited the amount of the gifts to $5 each, and made the theme food.
Kisses are an all-time favorite, but put them in a tall glass jar and decorate it to look like Santa and you now have "Kisses from Santa." You'll need a small Santa hat and a strip of black cardstock. I happen to have a few crafting belt buckles, but you can make one from gold paper.
During the exchange game, I've seen teachers put the candy on the floor and place their feet in front of the jar, but there's always someone who looks around and says, "Hmm, where did that jar of Kisses go?" (photo credit:Country Chic Cottage)

 I love to distribute ornaments to neighbors and friends, especially these: 
1. Fill empty glass globe ornaments with hot cocoa mix and mini-marshmallows, cover and tie on a candy cane with red ribbon. (photo credit: Bubbly Nature Creations)

2. Use smaller globe ornaments and fill them with green and red M&Ms for the kiddies.

3. Another fun ornament to give out for the holidays uses metal cookie cutters and melting chocolate. I use white chocolate for snowmen and snowflakes, and regular or dark chocolate for gingerbread boys and reindeer. 

If I had more time and energy, I could color the melted white chocolate before pouring it into other holiday cookie molds. Make sure you place wax paper down on a cookie sheet before placing your cookie cutters on it and pouring in your chocolate. Cut a short piece of drinking straw and stand it up toward the top when you pour your chocolate. This will give you somewhere to string your ribbon so the ornament can hang on the tree.
When the chocolate's set, carefully twist out the straw piece and wrap the sweet ornament in a clear bag, tie a pretty ribbon on it and you have have a delicious gift to give out. 

Along with the idea for the chocolate-filled cookie cutters, you can find an excellent hot fudge sauce recipe at Hoosier Homemade. Pour it over ice cream or cheese cake. Dip the tops of your waffle cones into the sauce. Or just stick a spoon into it and put it in your mou... no, no, no, you probably shouldn't do that. 

Chocolate also makes the best hostess gifts as well (okay, wine is right up there, too). You can make peppermint bark by melting chocolate and adding crushed candy canes once the chocolate is poured out in a flat pan. At Chocolate, Chocolate & More, you can find a recipe for another holiday treat - Mint Chocolate Bark. Make a batch of each and pair them up for the "best neighbor during the holidays" award.   

Question, crafters? Fruitcake: love or hate? You won't have to worry about answering that question if you bake a batch of Chocolate Peppermint Bread. That's right, I said chocolate bread! Crumbs and Chaos has cooked up the perfect recipe that will wow your guests and leave them begging for the recipe. The real question is: Will you tell them where you got it?

I think I gained a few pounds just writing this post (but that didn't stop me from trying a few of the recipes out). But don't you agree that Christmas and chocolate are the perfect pairing for both parties and presents? 

Check out these delicious recipes if you want to "chocolatize" your holidays this year:



3 comments:

M Strach said...

Looks great! :)

terrie said...

yummy treats....tfs

Decosse's Dynamite Doodles said...

Oh wow Pat, what awesome ideas. Thanks so much for sharing them!!!

♥Lisa