Merry Christmas from “Cooking with Amanda” and a certain mischievous little Corgi named Jenny.
May all your Christmas dreams come true!
If you are looking for a fun and easy (and amazing smelling!) craft to do with your family, this might just be it! All you need are 2 ingredients, a few cookie cutters, a straw, a little ribbon and some rubber gloves.
I did this with a group of friends yesterday. We made A LOT of ornaments. You might not want this much, so just divide the recipe to make how ever many you would like. This particular recipe will make around 35 ornaments.
1 16-oz. container of cinnamon (We got ours at a restaurant supply store.)
2 cups applesauce
Straws (to make the holes)
Pour the 16 oz. container of cinnamon in a fairly large bowl. Add the 2 cups of applesauce.
Mix the cinnamon and applesauce together with your hands until the mixture is doughy. (Helpful Hint: Use rubber gloves or you’ll be digging cinnamon out of your fingernails for weeks.)
Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough on a flat surface. Spread some cinnamon on the surface to keep dough from sticking. Do not use flour, it will discolor your ornaments and will get eventually create mold. You don’t want that!
Create cut-outs using your cookie cutters.
Spread the ornaments on a large pan to dry. These do not have to be baked. If you let them sit for a few days (and flip them a couple of times each day), they will harden on their own. I have also found instructions where you can bake them in an oven at 200 degrees for an hour or so, if you’d like them to be done sooner. You will also want to flip those a couple of times if you choose the baking route. They edges will tend to curl if you don’t flip them.
Once your ornaments are complete, finish them off by tying ribbons through the holes and hanging them on your tree! You could also give them away as gifts or tie them on gifts as an extra touch.
If you’re looking for a simple, fun and delicious treat to bring to holiday gatherings, this could be the one. You only need 3 ingredients. A bag of square pretzels, (you could use other shapes, but I have found the squares work the best), a bag of holiday green & red M&M’s and a bag of chocolate (or vanilla, as pictured) candy discs that you can find at craft stores such as AC Moore or Michael’s Arts & Crafts.
Arrange the pretzels on an ungreased cookie sheet. Put the vanilla (or chocolate) flavored discs on top of the pretzel. Pop in a 275 degree pre-heated oven for 2 minutes. Yes. You read that right. TWO minutes. Not long at all. So don’t leave the room or forget about them. They will melt through the holes in the pretzels and make a huge mess.
Have your M&M’s ready to place on top of the warm fresh-out-of-the-oven candy. Do this part quickly, get help if you can. You’ll need to do it fairly quickly or the chocolate disc will harden and the M&M won’t stick. And by quickly, you will have a few minutes, it’s not an emergency situation. Just do it as quickly as you can and waste time sipping your coffee between placing each M&M.
Because it is winter here in Upstate NY, I set the tray of pretzel treats in the garage for 15 or so minutes so the chocolate solidifies quicker. Otherwise it will take a while before you can put them in a container to store. Or, you can eat them right away and not have to worry about storing them at all!
The neat thing about this treat is that you can make one tray or 5 trays. Or just a few treats at a time if that’s all you want. The clean up is minimal. The prep time is short. The outcome is delicious.
To prep you all for the upcoming Christmas shopping season, I have composed my “Top 5 Favorite Kitchen Gadget” list! These are some of my tried and true kitchen gadgets that I love and cannot live without. Post to the comments and let me know what you can’t live without in the kitchen!
1. Crock Pot.
This is the most-used and most-favorite item in my kitchen. When I was working, it was a life saver. Throw in dinner before you leave for work, and dinner is practically done when you get home. Plus the house smells amazing. If you don’t have one of these gems yet, you need one! Now!
I am a little ashamed at how long it took me to understand the awesomeness of the KitchenAid. I received one exactly one year ago for my birthday. It has changed my life. If you don’t have one, you NEED one. Baking breads and cookies is so much easier. Your arms will thank you if you get one.
The Keurig is a wonderful invention. Is it necessary? No. A regular coffee maker works just fine. Is it a luxury? A little bit. Is it amazing? Yep. I held out on getting a Keurig for a very long time. Then I jumped on the bandwagon last year and haven’t looked back.
And if you’re going to go all out and get a nice Keurig, you might as well get a neat place to store your K-Cups!
4. Griddle Pan.
This griddle pan is fantastic. You don’t have to haul out a big griddle, just grab this pan when you’re in the mood for pancakes. We also use it for turkey burgers and quesadillas. It’s a great kitchen gadget! And it’s less than $10!
5. OXO Good Grips Peeler.
This is the world’s BEST potato peeler. If you have to peel a lot of potatoes like I do (my family LOVES mashed potatoes!), this is the peeler for you. It makes an otherwise monotonous and annoying task much easier. And it’s really inexpensive!
Check out Amazon.com for other great holiday kitchen gadgets for yourself or to give as gifts!