Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Simplify Your Christmas Baking with 3 Easy Recipes

So you probably already know I don't like to cook, however, baking is different. I think it is because the end result is sooo good! I love sweets! I still like to keep things simple, especially when baking in the RV as there is not as much room for ingredients nor counter space.

These are a  some of my favorite treats I make at Christmas - Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Balls and Lemon Bread! Yes they are all extremely easy!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I really LOVE these cookies! There are 4 great reasons to make these cookies - Green, Chocolate, Mint, and So Easy! They start out with a sugar cookie mix and just add a few ingredients to make them special.

1 (1 pound, 1.4 ounce) pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon mint extract (or to taste)
6 drops green food color
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg in a bowl until soft dough forms. (Do not over mix as it will make the cookies hard.) Stir in chocolate chips.  Use a small spoon to drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. (I use parchment paper)  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes in a regular oven OR 350 degrees on Low Mix in a Convection Oven for 9 minutes. They will be soft but will firm us when cooled. Enjoy!

The original recipe also calls for 1 cup creme de menthe baking chips. I have never used these as I like to use what I have on hand, (and who doesn't always have chocolate chips on hand, just in case you need a chocolate hit!) but I'm sure they would add great mint flavor! I think this would also be great using Almond flavoring, red food coloring, and chocolate or cherry chips or another combination. Any other suggestions for upgrading this recipe?

Peanut Butter Balls

Another very easy recipe - only 5 ingredients - and one of my kid's favorites!

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup rice krispies
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter
chocolate bark - approximately 6 squares

 Combine all of the ingredients, except the chocolate bark, until smooth, creamy and it doesn't stick together. You may need to add more powdered sugar to get to the right consistency. It shouldn't stick to your fingers so that you can roll it into balls.  Roll into small balls. Melt the chocolate bark in the microwave. Dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate until well coated. Cool on wax paper until the bark is firm. 

As an update on this recipe, on a really lazy day I have simply pressed the peanut butter mixture into a 9 x 9 pan and topped with the melted chocolate. Instant gratification for your peanut butter and chocolate fix!

Lemon Bread

This one came from my mother-in-law and my kids always ask for it - I think it reminds them of Christmas at Grandma's House! It has a rich lemon flavor and also makes 2 loaves so you can have one and share one!

1 box Lemon Cake Mix
1 3 ounce box Instant Lemon Pudding
1 cup hot tap water
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a mixer. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Then turn oven to 325 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
I don't have any upgrades to this recipe! It is so easy to make!

You can check out my Pinterest page for other great Christmas ideas and recipes! 

God Bless you all and have a very Merry Christmas!

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