Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars & GIVEAWAY!

I was provided with a Krusteaz Holiday gift pack to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

My Christmas baking list is quite long (shortbread, gingerbread, fudge, sausage balls, and so much more!) & I have been in a cookie baking frenzy. Well, I was. Until my 7 year old had a terrible asthma flare up that has been going on for weeks now. Several doctor visits, multiple medications, and let’s not forget – NO SCHOOL. I have three kids, and one of them is not in school with only a couple more weeks till Christmas! Do you see where I’m going with this?

Cookie gifts

BUT, there is one thing I do not need to panic over, and that’s the holiday treats. With the help of Krusteaz Cookie Mixes, we can have all the fun Christmas cookies, without all the time & effort on my part. Not to mention, I don’t have to stress over gift giving. I have a few options to share that will help you if you are short on time this holiday season as well. And seriously, is there ever enough time?!

Oatmeal Scotchie Food gift

Food gifts do not always have to be prepared ahead of time. Many people have lots of goodies on hand during the holidays, so packaging up mixes that can be easily prepared later is a fun gift. You can mix up a homemade cookie mix, or you can save yourself some time and package up a Krusteaz mix. Just place in a mason jar (because everything looks cute in a mason jar) add a bow and some instructions on how to bake! I added red, green & chocolate chips to the above jar of mix. You could also layer the chips in the jar with the mix. (Provided you don’t start layering, then knock the jar over so that they get mixed up. Not that I would know about that. *ahem*)

You can also add some Hot Chocolate Mix, because we all know hot chocolate goes great with cookies!

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

On the other hand, baking up treats to take to a friend, neighbor, teacher, etc. is always fun too. Save yourself some time with shortcuts, like using Krusteaz Shortbread Mix to make these yummy Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars!

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shortbread bars

The pan size will determine the thickness of the crust. I used an 8 x 11. You could also add nuts. I added just a few to one end, since my son is allergic.

Christmas Food Gifts

Package your treats in a food safe container, lined with festive tissue paper and a cute tag! My tags & tissue paper came from Zazzle.com, and the little tree clips and plastic container came from Target.

Krusteaz & I would like to help decrease your holiday stress level as well! We have a huge cookie prize pack to giveaway! It includes:

Krusteaz

  • Two boxes of the following mixes: Shortbread, Gingerbread, Snickerdoodle, Butter Vanilla Sugar and Oatmeal Scotchie
  • Some fun holiday baking items like an apron, tote bag, cookie cutters, frosting decorating pen and a mason jar (for gifting and storage!)
  • Holiday cookie recipe ideas for inspiration

Please enter via the rafflecopter form. This giveaway ends soon so that we can (hopefully!) get the winner their cookie prize pack before Christmas (No guarantee on that.) Open to US residents, 18 years or older.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed Contessa, The Dedicated House, Skip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Wine Jelly

This wine jelly is perfect for the holidays. Or any day in my opinion. It can be served at brunch with croissants, etc. or it can be served over cream cheese with crackers for a nice appetizer.

wine jelly

It’s relatively easy to make and you can use red or white wine. Another plus is that you can use cheap wine, no need to use anything expensive. So, cheap and easy. The way I like it. *ahem* I’m talking about recipes of course.

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Recipe Source: Allrecipes

This makes a nice gift for the holidays, and I loved the flavor. I look forward to making it again, experimenting with different wines.

This post was featured at: VMG206

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I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Candy Bouquet {Dollar Tree DIY}

Since I’ve been MIA from the blog, I wanted to give you all a special gift. Like a bouquet of flowers maybe? Flowers are nice….but a candy bouquet is even better!
This is something I very quickly and easily put together from supplies found at my local Dollar Tree store. It would make a great “little something extra” for that special teacher (end-of-the-year is near!), graduations, birthdays or let the kids put one together for Father’s Day (June 21st!)
This one has a ‘base’ made of my oldest daughter’s favorite candy…Swedish Fish, but any “movie theater” box of candies will work. Then I added various candy, suckers, fun straws, and a balloon in the center. On the balloon, I put her name, using stick-on letters and her jersey # since this was for a sports thing (8th grade recognition night for Volleyball). The Skittles and gum packets were taped to lollipop sticks.
To make…you need 4 boxes of candy, the same size. Then you need one foam block, usually found with floral supplies, like this one…
Photo from Dollar Tree
It doesn’t really matter what size, as long as the boxes of candy fit around it. You can also trim the blocks down if too tall.
  • Place the boxes of candy around the foam block, using duct tape, packaging tape, or glue to keep the boxes stable and adhered to block. Next, add your candy. If using suckers/lollipops, stick them evenly into and around the foam block, like you would flowers! Then, fill in spaces with other candy (attached to lollipop/cake pop sticks) or use straws or anything else you would like. Get creative! Now you have your own bouquet to share…
At least she was supposed to share…

Loaded Chocolate Bourbon Fudge

Yes, this was another Christmas gift involving booze, but would also be fun for Valentine’s Day. And seriously, anytime you throw together chocolate and booze…it’s going to be a fun day.

Even though this is not my most beloved old-fashioned fudge, it was pretty darn good…I happen to love Jim. And Jack.  It’s also easy…no candy thermometer required! And before anyone asks, yes you can omit the alcohol.

The toppings are your choice as well. I used what I had on hand…Heath Toffee Chips, Mini Baking MM’s, mini Hershey kisses, chocolate drizzle…and I tried doing a white chocolate drizzle, but my chocolate seized up on me…I think it got some water in it. I was doing multiple things at once and that’s never good when dealing with melted chocolate!

Loaded Chocolate Bourbon Fudge

20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Chocoley Chocolate, half milk and half dark chocolate)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons bourbon (I used 5 – Jim Beam and Rave Review! Culinary Blended Bourbon)
approx 1-1/2 cups of desired toppings
1/2 cup milk chocolate, melted

  • Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Melt the 20 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave or using the double boiler method (I almost always use the microwave, just remember to microwave it slowly. I heat for one minute, then stir, then heat for 15 seconds until mostly melted, stirring between each interval).
  • Once melted, stir in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract
  • Stir in bourbon 1 tablespoon at a time. The mixture will thicken, but continue stirring or folding with a sturdy spoon.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture in the prepared pan and place in fridge for 10 minutes to set.
  • Melt the 1/2 cup milk chocolate using desired method and spread a couple of tablespoons evenly over the top of the chilled fudge. Immediately sprinkle on desired toppings, gently pressing into the chocolate.
  • Use the remaining milk chocolate and drizzle it over the top. This will help keep all the good stuff from falling off when cutting.
  • Let set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • I recommend cutting into small pieces (about an inch or so, because it is very rich!)
Recipe Source: How Sweet It Is
 
I also highly recommend that when cutting this, have it on a nice, flat, non-slip surface. Otherwise, half your fudge may end up on the floor. When it hits the floor, all of your toppings will pop off, fly all over the kitchen, creating havoc as you try to keep two dogs from eating the chocolate. Also, causing much swearing to occur and resulting in your friends getting half the amount of fudge that was intended. I’m just sayin’…it could happen. #thisismylife
 
Disclosure: I received both Chocoley Chocolate and Rave Reviews! Culinary Spirits as samples. This is not a paid post. 

Creamy Hot Cocoa Mix

Yesterday’s post was about easy, no bake gifts in jars. One of the things we put in jars this year for teachers’ gifts was this homemade hot cocoa mix.

It was very simple to mix together, and it was really good! Obviously we had to sample some before giving it away 🙂

We made hot chocolate to drink while watching The Polar Express. One of our favorite Christmas movies!

Creamy Cocoa Mix

  • 4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding (approx 4 oz size)

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Stir to combine. For a finer consistency, process in a food processor or blender. (I ran mine through the food processor). Store in an airtight container. Add 1/4 cup mix (or to desired taste) to an 8 ounces of warm milk, water or coffee.

Recipe from The Motherload
To give as gifts, I put the hot cocoa mix in bags and placed in jars, along with marshmallows, peppermint sticks and Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses.
Then we added the jars to baskets with some other goodies and added this cheese-y little poem…
Because you are my teacher and I love you so much,
Here is some hot chocolate and such….
Just mix with warm milk or coffee too,
my mommy said about 1/4 cup should do.
Then to your cup add some yummy marshmallows,
and don’t forget the Hugs and Kisses from one of your favorite fellows!
Merry Christmas! Love, Mr. Three
 
Obviously these were for my son’s Kindergarten teachers! I hope they enjoy their baskets b/c they are awesome and my son loves them both.
I plan on making more mix soon to have at home, except I want to use Hershey’s Dark Cocoa and Hershey’s Dark pudding! yummmm! This Hot Chocolate on a Stick is also fun to make and eat…oh yeah, and to give away!