Graduation Caps

Just found this very cute recipe online, from Graduation Caps published in Taste of Home’s Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2005, p213. Check out the website for a photo. It looks so much like something my friend Lisa would make for her girls.

Ingredients

  • 24 miniature peanut butter cups
  • 1 tube (6 ounces) decorating frosting in color of your choice
  • 24 After Eight thin mints
  • 24 milk chocolate M&M’s in color of your choice or 24 semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups.
  2. Place upside down on waxed paper.
  3. Place a small amount of frosting on each peanut butter cup, and center a mint on each.
  4. Using frosting, make a loop for each cap’s tassel.
  5. Place an M&M on top of each loop.

Time Required: 30 minutes

Servings: 2 dozen

S’mores Snackin’ Cups

Want s’mores, but don’t have a campfire handy? This oven-warmed treat is an easy alternative (and a good bit less messy). S’mores Snackin’ Cups, another Girl Scourt recipe, are the twenty-second of my 25 Cookies of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) package graham crackers
  • 6 Herskey’s chocolate bars
  • ½ (10.5-ounce) bag mini-marshmallows

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
  2. Line two muffin pans with muffin cups, or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Break the graham crackers into pieces and place a layer in the bottom of each muffin cup.
  4. Break up the chocolate bars and put a layer on top of the crackers.
  5. Add another layer of crackers and chocolate.
  6. Evenly distribute the marshmallows over each muffin cup.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until the chocolate melts and marshmallows brown slightly.

Variations

  • Make one giant pan of S’mores by layering treats in a cast iron skillet or pie plate and then baking according to the instructions.
  • Substitute Teddy Grahams and chocolate chips for fun alternative.
  • For the original campfire version, use a cast iron skillet. Place the skillet in a corner of the campfire, rotating the pan ¼ turn every 3 minutes, until the chocolate is melted and the marshmallows are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Time Required: 20 minutes

Servings: about 2 dozen

Chex Snack Bars

These no-bake bars are easy to make and a hit with everyone. Originally a Girl Scout recipe, I’ve tweaked things a bit to suit my taste and renamed it. Considered a one-pot meal, the Girl Scout recipe goes by the name Garbage, and that’s just not very holiday-appropriate (though it might make it more of a hit with kids). Chex Snack Bars are the tenth of my 25 Cookies of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 large box of Chex cereal (e.g., Rice Chex)
  • 1 cup peanuts (or your favorite nut)
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 12-oz. bag chocolate chips
  • 1 cup raisins
  • (optional) ½ cup M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces (holiday colors if possible)

Directions

  1. Spray a 13" by 9" pan lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. Melt butter or margarine in large dutch oven..
  3. Stir in peanut butter until well blended.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Spread in prepared 13" by 9" pan and allow to cool completely.
  6. Cut cooled bars into squares, and store in a tightly covered container.

Variations

  • Choose your favorite cereal. The original recipe calls for Rice Chex, but Rice, Corn, or Wheat would all work. You might also substitute Crispix or Rice Krispies.
  • The original recipe calls for a bag of mini marshmallows.
  • I like to add the M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces for a touch of color.

No-Bake Candy Cups

I learned the fun of candy making several years ago, when I took a Wilton candymaking class at the local Michael’s. Wilton Candy Melts make it easy to create simple candy and bark with nothing but a microwave. Here’s one combination I invented from the ingredients on hand when I wanted a fast treat. No-Bake Candy Cups are the seventh of my 25 Cookies of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds white Candy Melts
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups Rice Krispies
  • 2 cups peanuts

Directions

  1. Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave, according to the package directions.
  2. Spray two silicone mini-muffin pan lightly with nonstick spray.
  3. Stir peanut butter into the melted candy melts.
  4. Mix Rice Krispies and peanuts.
  5. Pour the candy mixture over the Rice Krispies and peanuts, stirring to combine.
  6. Spoon mixture into mini-muffin pan.
  7. Chill until solid and remove from pan. Once solid, candy should be fine at room temperature, but return to the refrigerator for storage if necessary.

Variations

  • Choose another color of Candy Melts if desired, but remember the peanut butter may change the color slightly.
  • Use chocolate Candy Melts and Cocoa Pebbles for Chocolate Candy Cups.
  • A silicone pan is ideal for this recipe, as you can push the formed candy out of the pan. Paper liners in a metal pan can work, but the paper may stick to the candy in places.