Tag: Christmas Food Gifts

Mom’s Pecan Brittle

Mom’s Pecan Brittle

Here’s my Mom’s famous Pecan Brittle recipe that she makes every Christmas. Thin and crunchy sweetness, loaded with freshly picked Kansas pecans. My dad lives on this stuff from Thanksgiving to New Years. Somehow my mom always manages to make enough of this candy to 

Favorite Holiday Baking Ideas

Favorite Holiday Baking Ideas

Once Thanksgiving arrives, I gear up for lots of holiday baking. Cookies, breads, cakes, and special desserts–many of which turn into food gifts for loved ones. I love the warm spices that scent the air–cinnamon, peppermint, nutmeg, and cloves. Can a person have too many 

Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds

Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds

I’m a huge fan of biscotti and always thought it would be too difficult to make, but it’s so easy! This recipe for Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds is delicious and earned a thumbs up from my family. Perfect for a Holiday Cookie Tray, a Christmas Tea Party, or just as a simple dessert after a yummy meal. 

Serving Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds

You may have seen or tried biscotti at a restaurant or coffee shop as this Italian cookie pairs wonderfully with coffee. If you’re not familiar with this type of cookie, it is basically a dry, crunchy cookie that has been formed into an oblong shape and baked twice. Don’t let the double bake scare you, though, as they are really easy to make. See my other Biscotti Recipes Here. 

(Recipe slightly modified on 12/30/21)

 

Ingredients for Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds

  • all-purpose flour
  • cocoa powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • butter, at room temperature
  • granulated sugar
  • large eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • sliced almonds
  • powdered sugar

 

A Few Notes About Ingredients

Hershey's Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

I like to use a dark cocoa for this recipe such as Hershey’s Cocoa Powder. Also, use a good quality brand of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Hershey’s or Nestle Toll House. I like to use mini chocolate chips for this recipe, and I have not been able to find Ghirardelli in the minis. It’s also pretty easy to find these name brands on sale during the holidays so it won’t hurt your budget too much!

Use real butter, large eggs, and real vanilla extract. If you’re going to bake wonderful goodies for your loved ones, you may as well use the best ingredients that you can.

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Ingredients for this Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

In a small bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, baking cocoa, baking soda and salt.

Using a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips and sliced almonds.

 

The First Bake

Form the Dough into a Log

Scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheet and pat it into a flattened log about 13 inches long, 3 inches wide, and about 3/4″ thick. Smooth out the top and sides using a spatula.

I like to use an offset spatula dipped in water for this task, as it allows me to shape the log into a nicely even, flattened surface. 

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes on a middle rack.

 

The Second Bake

Remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Spray the cookie log with water, spritzing the sides and top. A little spray bottle works well for this job. The spray of water will soften the crust just enough to make slicing easier.

Wait five minutes, then carefully transfer the cookie log to a cutting board. I use two metal spatulas for this job, one on each end, so as not to break the log.

Slicing the Biscotti Log

Using a sharp knife, cut crosswise with knife making 1/2″ slices.

I like to use my Santoku knife to make the slices. A sharp bench scraper might also work well. 

Ready for Second Bake

Place cookie slices on the baking sheet standing up on edge.

I have seen recipes where you lay the cookies flat on the baking sheet. I prefer to stand them up on end so that both sides brown evenly. They are thick enough that they will stand without falling, so no worries there. 

Bake for another 30-35 minutes, until the biscotti feel very dry and crisp around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar.

This recipe makes approximately 24 cookies.

Storing Baked Biscotti

I’ve found that biscotti stores very well. You may store cookies in a covered container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 weeks. Of course, they will probably not last that long!

Serving Chocolate Biscotti at a Tea Party with other Cookies

Serve Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds at a tea party or with your next cup of coffee!

See more Cookie Recipes Here. Browse more Holiday Baking Ideas Here. See more Italian Recipes Here. 

 

Recipe for Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds

Double Chocolate Biscotti with Almonds

I'm a huge fan of biscotti and always thought it would be too difficult to make, but it's so easy! Here's a delicious recipe that earned a "double" thumbs up from my family.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Christmas Cookies, Holiday Baking, Miniature Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Sliced Almonds
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 15

Equipment

Offset Spatula
Silicone Baking Mat
Baking Sheet
Santoku Knife

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1-2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, baking cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips and sliced almonds.

The First Bake:

  • Scoop the dough onto the lined baking sheet and pat it into a flattened log about 13 inches long, 3 inches wide, and about 3/4" thick. Smooth out the top and sides using an offset spatula dipped in water.
    Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

The Second Bake:

  • Remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
    Spray the cookie log with water, spritzing the sides and top. This will soften the crust just enough to make slicing easier.
  • Wait five minutes, then carefully transfer the cookie log to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut crosswise with knife making 1/2" slices.
  • Place cookie slices on baking sheet standing up on edge.
  • Bake for another 30-35 minutes, until biscotti feel very dry and crisp around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Dust with powdered sugar. Makes approximately 24 cookies.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted. 

Nutrition

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 233IU | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 3mg
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Cherry Danish Loaves

Cherry Danish Loaves

I enjoy serving Cherry Danish Loaves on Christmas morning. I always make them the day before, and then give two of the loaves as gifts to both of our parents. Of course, I save two for ourselves, as our kids really love this Danish-style sweet 

Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake

Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake

I enjoy making Orange-Glazed Cranberry Fruitcake during the Christmas season. Made with dried cranberries, raisins, dates, figs, and pecans, it’s not your average fruitcake. Plus, it makes 8 small loaves, so it’s perfect for gift-giving for those on your fruitcake-lovers list. (Post modified on 12/10/21) 

Chocolate Nut Clusters

Chocolate Nut Clusters

We enjoy making Chocolate Nut Clusters with Peanuts for the holidays. They are very easy to make and tasty too! Plus, this recipe can be adapted to make Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters, which are simply heavenly.

 

Ingredients Needed to Make Chocolate Nut Clusters

 

To Make Chocolate Peanut Clusters

  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • roasted Spanish peanuts
  • white almond bark

To Make Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters

  • semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • roasted Macadamia nuts

 

A Few Notes About Ingredients

I like to use a high-quality chocolate when making Christmas candy such as Ghirardelli, Nestle, or Hershey’s.

When purchasing your ingredients, be sure to buy roasted Spanish peanuts and not the raw variety readily available during the holidays, which are used to make peanut brittle. Again, opt for a good quality, such as Planters.

Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts

As for Macadamia nuts, I like to use roasted nuts. They seem easier to locate during the holiday months. When you find them, be careful about storing them. Because of their higher fat content, they can turn rancid quickly.

Once you’ve opened them, be sure to refrigerate or use within 2-3 months for best results. If you buy them in bulk (those larger bags that I seem to find during the holidays), consider repacking them in pint freezer bags and freezing the unused portion.

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

 

To Make Chocolate Peanut Clusters:

Gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper on the table.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl add chocolate chips and white almond bark that has been broken into small pieces.

Cook in microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds until melted. Mostly it depends on the age and strength of your microwave, to know how long to cook the chocolate. You want to bring it just to a melting point.

Set the bowl of chocolate on a table or workspace. Add in the roasted Spanish peanuts and mix until coated.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared waxed paper. Allow to cool until set and hardened. Place candies in a candy jar or store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place, for up to 4 weeks. This recipe will make 2-3 dozen chocolate clusters.

 

To Make Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters:

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters

Line a mini muffin pan with mini baking cup liners. Using a nut chopper, chop roasted macadamia nuts. Set aside until ready to use.

In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in microwave in 90 second increments, stirring until silky smooth.

You may opt rather to temper your chocolate by heating it in a double boiler over simmering water, until it melts. 

Once the chocolate has melted, stir in chopped macadamia nuts until combined.Spoon into baking liners and allow to dry until chocolate has set. This recipe will make 24 cups.

See more Candy Recipes Here. View Chocolate Recipes Here. Browse Holiday Baking Ideas Here.

Recipe for Chocolate Nut Clusters - Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Chocolate Nut Clusters

Here's a candy recipe we make for the holidays. With only three ingredients, it's very easy to make and tasty too! Plus, it can be adapted to make Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters.
No ratings yet
Print Rate
Course: Candies, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Christmas Food Gifts, DIY, Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Holiday Entertaining, Make Your Own, Roasted Macadmia Nuts, Roasted Spanish Peanuts
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 18

Equipment

Glass Mixing Bowls
Paper Candy Cups
Mini Muffin Pan
Candy Dish

Ingredients

A Variation of This Recipe

Instructions

To Make Chocolate Peanut Clusters:

  • Gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper on the table.
  • In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl add chocolate chips and almond bark that has been broken into small pieces.
  • Cook in microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds until melted.
  • Set bowl of chocolate on table or workspace. Add in the roasted Spanish peanuts and mix until coated.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared waxed paper. Allow to cool until set and hardened. Place candies in a candy jar or store in air-tight container.

To Make Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clusters:

  • Line mini muffin pan with mini baking cup liners. Using a nut chopper, chop roasted macadamia nuts. Set aside until ready to use.
  • In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in microwave in 90 second increments, stirring until silky smooth.
  • Stir in chopped macadamia nuts until combined.
  • Spoon into baking liners and allow to dry until chocolate has set. Makes 24 cups.

Nutrition

Calories: 502kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 11mg | Potassium: 371mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 3mg
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German Springerle Christmas Cookies

German Springerle Christmas Cookies

A few years ago I made these hard, licorice-flavored cookies for the first time and had such fun learning about the history of them. There is a great deal of history and baking knowledge when it comes to German Springerle Christmas Cookies. Beautiful Molds that 

Poppy Seed Bread

Poppy Seed Bread

Poppy Seed Bread is a recipe I received from my Aunt Ruth. It’s a super moist bread to share with your loved ones and friends at Christmas and one of our favorites. And while it’s perfect to give as a Christmas food gift, you’ll want 

Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

Here is a traditional German recipe for Christmas Stollen with Marzipan. I love this sweet bread as a snack in the morning or afternoon with tea or coffee. The surprise marzipan treat in the center is probably my favorite! I’m like a kid that way, I guess. 

The first time I made this recipe, I tried to find prepared marzipan. It was hard to find. And once found, it was very expensive. So instead, I think I ended up buying some chocolate covered marzipan candy that I found at an Aldi store and trimmed off the chocolate. Not a very successful story. The marzipan treat in the center, was minimal.

Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

Lesson learned. The next year I made my own marzipan. It was so easy to do. Plus, I could put in as much of the candied almond filling as I wanted. Can you see my eyes twinkling!

Needless to say, these days I always make my own marzipan. If you live in a location where this almond treat is easy to find and not too expensive, go ahead and buy it. 10 ounces should be plenty.

 

Ingredients Needed to Make Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

  • dark or golden raisins, chopped
  • candied red and green cherries, chopped
  • your favorite rum
  • all-purpose flour
  • slivered almonds
  • whole milk
  • butter
  • granulated sugar
  • large eggs
  • salt
  • lemon zest
  • almond extract
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • instant yeast
  • more all-purpose flour
  • marzipan (or use the homemade recipe below:)

 

Ingredients to Make Homemade Marzipan

  • almond paste
  • powdered sugar
  • extra-large egg white
  • almond extract

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Using a Chef’s knife and cutting board, chop candied cherries.

Candied Cherries and Raisins in Rum

In a medium bowl combine the dark or golden raisins, chopped candied cherries, and rum. Let soak for 1 hour. After an hour, add almonds and toss with 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside until ready to use.

 

Prepare the Homemade Marzipan

If you choose to make your own marzipan, start by combining the almond paste (chopped into pieces) and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Blend together on low speed until sandy in texture.

Add in lightly beaten egg white and almond extract. Mix until combined.

Hand knead until smooth using powdered sugar sprinkled on the work surface.

Homemade Marzipan

Form into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 10 oz.

 

Making the Stollen Christmas Loaves

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add milk. Heat until warm (110 degrees).

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the warmed milk mixture, granulated sugar, large eggs, salt, lemon zest, almond extract, and freshly ground nutmeg. Stir in instant yeast along with 5 cups all-purpose flour. Mix until dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured workspace and knead 5-8 minutes, adding remaining flour as needed to make dough smooth and elastic.

Knead in reserved fruit mixture, 1/3 cup at a time.

Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, approximately 60-90 minutes.

 

Assembling the Stollen

Punch down dough on a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each into an 8″ x 14″ oval.

In recent years, I’ve divided the dough into 4ths, making smaller loaves to give as gifts. If you should decide to do this, simply roll each into a smaller oval. You’ll also want to divide the marzipan into 4ths for shorter ropes to fit each loaf. You may also need to adjust the baking time, baking for a shorter period of time, approximately 20-24 minutes. 

Forming the Stollen Bread with Marzipan

Divide the marzipan in half. Roll each into a 12″ rope and place in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it. Pinch the seams together to seal.

Getting ready to bake the German Stollen loaves

Place the loaf, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Let loaves rise for 45-60 minutes until doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and they sound hollow when lightly tapped. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 2 loaves.

Serving German Stollen with Marzipan

This sweet bread makes a delightful food gift and also freezes well. To store, wrap well in plastic wrap, and then in aluminum foil. I then like to place the wrapped loaves in a freezer bag for even more protection. You may freeze the loaves up to 3-4 weeks. Always allow the bread to thaw completely before taking out of freezer bag.

See more Bread Recipes Here. Browse Holiday Baking Ideas Here. 

Recipe for Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

Christmas Stollen with Marzipan

Here is a traditional German recipe for Stollen, including the surprise marzipan treat in the center. I hope you'll enjoy it!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Breads, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: German
Keyword: Almond Paste, Christmas Baking, Christmas Food Gifts, Christmas Loaf, Marzipan, Sweet Breads, Yeast Breads
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 37 minutes
Resting-Rising TIme:: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 7 minutes
Servings: 16

Equipment

Grater/Zester
Glass Mixing Bowls
Polish Pottery Bowl
Baking Sheet

Ingredients

Fruit Mixture:

  • 1/2 cup dark or golden raisins chopped
  • 1 cup mixed candied cherries, red and green chopped
  • 2 tablespoons spiced rum
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

To Make the Bread:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 10 oz. marzipan See homemade recipe below

Homemade Marzipan

Instructions

  • Gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Using a Chef's knife and cutting board, chop candied cherries. Using a small zester, grate lemon rind. Clean off and zest nutmeg, placing the lemon and nutmeg in small prep bowls until ready to use.
  • In a medium bowl, combine dark or golden raisins, chopped candied cherries, and rum. Let soak for 1 hour. After an hour, add almonds and toss with 2 tablespoons flour. Set aside until ready to use.

Prepare the Homemade Marzipan:

  • While the fruit is infusing, prepare the marzipan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond paste (chopped into pieces) and powdered sugar. Mix together on low speed until sandy in texture.
  • Add in lightly beaten egg white and almond extract. Mix until combined.
  • Hand knead until smooth using extra powdered sugar. Form into a flat ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Makes 10 oz.

Making the Stollen:

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in milk. Heat until warm (110 degrees).
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the warmed milk mixture, granulated sugar, large eggs, salt, lemon zest, almond extract, and freshly ground nutmeg. Stir in 5 cups all-purpose flour until mixture comes together.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured workspace and knead 5-8 minutes, adding remaining flour as needed to make dough smooth and elastic.
    Knead in reserved fruit mixture, 1/3 cup at a time.
  • Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 60-90 minutes.

Assembling the Stollen:

  • Punch down dough on a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Roll each into an 8" x 14" oval.
  • Divide the marzipan in half and roll each into a 12" rope and place in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover it. Pinch the seams together to seal.
  • Place the loaf, seam side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Repeat with the second loaf. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Let loaves rise for 45-60 minutes until doubled.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and they sound hollow when lightly tapped. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes 2 loaves.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted.
**If desired, you may divide the dough and marzipan into 4ths to make four smaller loaves. 

Nutrition

Calories: 611kcal | Carbohydrates: 90g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 272mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 3mg
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Molasses Crinkles

Molasses Crinkles

What says “Autumn” or “Holidays” better than the aroma of molasses and spices drifting from your kitchen oven? Seek no further than these Molasses Crinkles! These hefty cookies are full of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and practically melt in your mouth. I love how some