Saturday, 5 January 2013

Christmas dessert baskets... Mmmm

This year for christmas I decided to channel the grandmother in me and make dessert baskets for friends and family. I remember as a kid always getting desserts from my Aunt Charlene and loving them, so I decided it was my turn to try. At first I was ecstatic, to bake, to use my new gear, and well to create these beautiful plate things. Let me tell you friends, that excitement quickly wore down after two days straight in the kitchen. The final day I was up till 3 am wrapping these puppies, which included a 2am trip to wal-mart to get more cellophane. It was hard to bake this much! I give all you bakers out there bonus points. After the work was done I did go back to enjoying it though when I got to see how excited people were to receive them and how much they liked my desserts. My meme and pepe have even "hired" me to make desserts for the 50th wedding anniversary open house, so alas I'll be slaving in the kitchen.... I say slaving, but we all know I'll enjoy it in the end. 
After a good month of Pinterest browsing I put together a board of possible desserts to include on these wonderful plates, this board right here. In the end I picked 7 recipes I thought I could handle, and I was right about 6 of them! Click on the pictures below to go to the site where the recipe is posted, I've included my notes about how the recipes went for me too of course. 

Hot Chocolate on a Stick 

I used these to add some height to the middle of the plates. Also, a trick I used was to set the chocolate in ice cube trays so you don't have to worry about cutting them, it worked great! just run the trays (don't hit the chocolate!) under hot water and they slide right out.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Balls 

[via Marisa at Make Happy]
This recipe was great, easy and tasted delicious. The only thing I changed is after they're cooled in "rough balls" I rolled them in my palm to smooth them out before dipping them in chocolate.

Peppermint Crunch Pudding Cookies 

[via Nikki at Chef in Training]
These cookies were my favorite part of of the basket! The recipe was simple and I thought they tasted the best. The only problem I ran into was I couldn't find the Andes peppermint crunch chips the recipe called for. Instead, I crushed up a couple boxes of candy canes and they worked great! Definitely a recipe I want to make again. 

Butter Tart Squares 

This was the only recipe I wasn't entirely thrilled about, I think I missed something in the crust, other than that they still tasted great!

Peanut Butter Toffee Bark 

[via Kate at Grin and Bake It]
This recipe I modified for two reason, 1) My boyfriends loves the regular toffee (skor bars) I make so he begged me to make them the same, and 2) I forgot to get festive peanut butter M&Ms. Otherwise, I used the recipe without adding the peanut butter and the M&M topping. Still a boyfriend favorite, he had an extra bag for himself and he's still begging for more! I'd say that's a successful recipe. 

Sugar Cookies 

And there she is, the recipe that nearly drove me insane. There's video from my sister to prove it, I was yelling at the dough.. like it could hear me or something. But anyway, other than questioning my sanity they tasted alright, nothing special so not worth the work. I wanted to make the beautiful candy cane cookies you see above because I remember them being my favorite as a kid. My aunt Charlene used to make dessert baskets every year, and I loved the candy cane cookies. She forgot to mention that they're REALLY hard to make! The dough wouldn't twist properly it was sticking and it was awful. This dough is very temperamental, if it gets too hot it give you a great big "F you" and stick to everything. After making a few candy canes I gave up on that and bought some cookie cutters, easier but the dough was still out to get me. In the end, I'm on the hunt for a different sugar cookie recipe. 

Chocolate Pretzel Bites & Turtle Bites 

These were simple and delicious! If you need a quick treat this is your recipe, I made a ton of these and used them as fillers. For the chocolate Pretzels bites I used the same heat and timing as the recipe calls for but I used hershey hugs and red and green smarties on pretzels. 

And that's it! Here's some pictures of my final products, the first few where taken at 3am after I finished wrapping. 

Almost done...
All the finished plates!! 

Larger plates for families 

Smaller single plates for friends 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Add me to your dessert basket list for next year, please. :) Those look spectacular and everything sounds delicious!

    GREAT idea for smoothing the balls after chilling. I'll have to try that next time! Thanks for sharing.