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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade Gifts for the Holidays

Christmas is the time for giving, even if your piggy bank is running low.  There are so many handmade gifts that can be beautiful and delicious.  Your loved one will appreciate the hard work and effort of a homemade gift.  This year, I made these pretzels.

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These pretzels are such a great combination of salty and sweet.  They look so good that they could have been bought at a confectionery.  Here is the recipe:

Pretzel rods (I actually cut mine in half to make them easier to eat)

2 bags of chewy caramel squares (any type you prefer)

1 can of mixed nuts, chopped finely

Melted white and milk chocolate, for drizzling over the pretzels

First, melt the caramel in a double boiler (with the top pan not touching the simmering water below).  If you do not use a double boiler, you will have a burnt mess.  This may take about 20 minutes or so, so be patient.  Next, take your pretzel rods and dip them in the caramel.  If you decided to cut them in half like me, make sure to dip the cut side in the caramel, otherwise they will get stale quick.  Have a spoon handy to pull the caramel up the rods.  Immediately after, roll in the chopped nuts.  Once all of your pretzel rods are finished, melt the chocolates and drizzle over the nuts.  Let dry (about 20 minutes) and flip them over and do it on the other side.  Now all you need is a cute tin or a cute bag to put them in, and you have your gift.  These do not disappoint, trust me! 

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Cookie Exchange

Everyone makes Christmas cookies, even those that are baking challenged (like my cousin Shannon).  It’s not a secret though, she can’t bake, but she is a great cook!  Shannon made white chocolate macadamia nut and cherry cookies this year.  My mom makes her Holly Golly squares (which are my holiday favorite).  I make sugar cookies (along with others) because they are my mom’s favorite.

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In a lot of these pictures, you may see some holes.  I did that to make the cookies into edible ornaments to hang from a tree for a beautiful centerpiece for Christmas.

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I hope you enjoyed my Christmas cookies!  Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas from Schmidty’s Sweet Shoppe.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis The Season For…..Peppermint Mocha Lattes!

What do I really want this time of year you ask?  I crave a peppermint mocha latte from Starbucks!!  I love Starbucks, but unfortunately I do not go there that often.  I do manage to get there once a year though, for the seasonal peppermint mocha latte!  So delicious!  It got me thinking….I could try to make a cupcake based off of this latte.  So that is what I did!

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I took my best chocolate cupcakes recipe and added coffee and a secret ingredient that Starbucks sells.  I also added peppermint candies and peppermint extract for an extra depth of flavor.  I made a peppermint Swiss meringue buttercream to go on top of the cake, and above that there is a dark chocolate drizzle and crushed peppermint candies.

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Not only do they taste delicious, I wanted them to look delicious.  After all, you taste with your eyes first.  Do these cupcakes remind you of something?  Because to me, they look like a peppermint mocha latte from Starbucks. 

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

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Looking for a centerpiece for a holiday party?  This cupcake Christmas tree will wow everyone!  It’s made with mini cupcakes so while mingling around with everyone, you can grab one and eat it in two bites.

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Had to give the tree a little pop with some gumdrop lights.

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Don’t forget the fondant ornaments.  The gingerbread men are my favoriteSmile

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A shining star on top of the tree gives it that final touch!

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