Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011!

I've learned over the years that big resolutions fall by the wayside, so I've been thinking of little things that I can incorporate into my life to make each day more meaningful, to add quality to my life.  There are the usual ambitions -- eat better, exercise more, deliberately save money.  My friend Sue reminds me that little changes, incorporated slowly, can have a big cumulative effect.  So, for 2011, here are some of the little things I have intentions of adopting:

1.  Drink more water.  From what I've read, it truly is the elixer for a healthier life. 
2.  Make time for people I don't see often enough, and change that to see them, often enough.  Especially my Aunt Jeanne (soon, I hope).
3.  Read more.  I don't have cable TV, but I still find it challenging to just sit and read (actually, I seem to have trouble sitting and relaxing!).  I have a pile of good books just waitng for me!
4.  Start swimming again, starting with just a couple of laps.  Because (1) I love it and (2) I'm good at it.  It's the only exercise where I truly get "in the zone" - have to watch out for hitting my head on the pool wall when I'm doing the back stroke!  (I can solve so many problems when I'm swimming!)
5.  Plan for good things or they'll never happen.  I like the idea of a goal, whether it's for a trip to see my daughter or to buy new tires.  Whatever it is, it feels good to set the goal and realize it. 
6.  Discover the world again, through Henry's eyes, and now Peter's.  There's nothing as exciting as those early discoveries, and I feel so lucky to be able to share this time with my little grandsons!
7.  Put down the buttercream and pick up a paint brush - healthier all the way around! 
8.  More beach time.  Absolutely necessary.
9.  Cook more and eat out less.  Wisdom I heard the other day:  eat "from the farm, not the factory."
10.  Spend at least a few intentional minutes each day thinking positively.  My father was a big fan of Norman Vincent Peale, who once said "Change your thoughts, change your world."  Now, those are good words to launch a new year by! 

And finally:  a very sincere thank you to my readers.  This December ADKBaker realized 2,169 visits, compared to just over 600 last December.  I'm very grateful.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Photo Credit and an interesting story on the history of auld lang syne at:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Katie's Rum Raisin Pound Cake

For special birthdays and holidays, Katie likes to bake a rum raisin pound cake.  She bakes it in a special bundt pan that Russ gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  It's shaped like a chrysanthemum flower.  She made it for Christmas dinner this year, and it was great.  It slices beautifully, without any crumbs.  It has a solid, silky texture, and looks beautiful on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream along side.  Last night I asked Katie for her recipe, which she found on  Typically, she adds a light glaze, but was so busy preparing dinner that she never got around to the glaze.  It wasn't missed, at all.


1 1/2 cups brown raisins
2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
7 tablespoons dark rum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons whipping cream
(Katie adds a little rum!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Toss raisins with 2 tablespoons flour in small bowl. Combine remaining flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until light. Add 1 2/3 cups sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs 2 at a time, beating after each addition until well blended. Beat in 6 tablespoons rum and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture. Fold in raisin mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until top is golden and tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack and cool completely.

Stir powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon rum in bowl until smooth. Mix in cream. Spoon over cake. Let stand until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

Original recipe found at:
Read More

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The party continues...

It seems that my family is participating in a marathon of baking/eating/celebrating.  Today is my son-in-law Bill's 34th birthday -- Happy Birthday Bill! -- and to celebrate I made his favorite, a pineapple upside down cake.  He loves this and I make it every year for his birthday.  Then I make sure to wrap his gift in NON-holiday paper.  It seems anti-climactic to have a birthday the day after Christmas -- talk about a tough act to follow!  So, he gets his favorite cake.  This isn't anything difficult or fancy.  For this cake, because I didn't want to spend too much more time in the kitchen after Christmas, I went the simple route.  I used a standard vanilla cake mix and instead of using water, I use the juice from a can of pineapple rings.  It's a simple cake.  The directions follow, but if you've got the energy and ambition, go ahead and make one from scratch.  I can't imagine it'd be any better than Bill's cake, which was outrageously delicious!

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE, the easy version...

1 bar butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 vanilla or yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 standard can of pineapple rings
Pineapple juice and water to equal 1 1/3 cups (there's almost a cup in a can of pineapple rings)

Mix cake mix according to package directions, substituting pineapple juice for as much water as possible, up to 1 1/3 cups.  Make up the difference with water. 

Prepare pan:

Spray a 10" round cake pan (2" sides, at least) well with vegetable spray. 

In microwave, in a microwave-safe container, melt 1 bar butter.  Pour into cake pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter.  Even out with a fork.

Place pineapple rings over butter/sugar mixture in bottom of pan.  Place a maraschino cherry in the middle of each ring.  Pour batter over pineapple and cherries, but stop adding batter when you get within an inch of the rim.  (Use the remaining batter to make a mini-cake or cupcakes.)

Bake for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes, no more or it may stick.  Turn out onto a large plate or platter. (Place plate on top of cake, flip -- carefully! -- and remove pan.)  Allow to completely cool.

Serve with whipped cream.

Photo credit:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

French Toast Casserole for Christmas Morning

After our family moved from house to rented house to rented apartment to smaller apartment, I had incorporated some new Christmas traditions that have taken hold.  That's the nice thing about change - it's an opportunity to start something new.  One tradition I started when our kids had to share their time between my home and their father's was a Christmas morning brunch where I served a couple of quiches, bacon, my friend Sue's sweet roles (always so grateful to get them!) and a french toast casserole.  It's an easy-to-assemble strata of bread, eggs, milk, sweet spices, and maple syrup, assembled the night before and popped in the oven on Christmas morning. 

I'm grateful now to spend Christmas mornings at the home I share with my daughter Katie and her family.  The other night she asked me if I could make french toast casserole this year, and I smiled, realizing that change did indeed bring our family something new that would take hold and become comfortable and familiar.  That's one of my favorite things about kitchen traditions and the memories they create.  I expect french toast casserole will be on the menu in this family for many Christmases.

Merry Christmas, my friends!


The night before or early in the morning:

Spray well the bottom and sides of a 13x9 pan or equivalent-capacity baking dish.

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 lb. loaf of bread (approximately) sliced (you can use white, wheat, french, cinnamon raisin, whatever you love) - enough to fit into pan
8 eggs or two 4-oz. containers of egg substitute
3 cups milk (you can make it richer by using part half-and-half)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup maple syrup

Fresh fruit
Maple syrup for the table

Pour melted butter over bottom of prepared pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over all.
Layer bread over butter/sugar mixture. (You can double this if you want a really sweet sauce on the bottom).

Beat eggs with a fork and whisk in milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  Pour milk  mixture over bread and cover pan with foil or wrap and refrigerate over night or for about an hour if you're baking it the same day.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake uncovered for about 45-minutes or until it tests done.  Serve with warmed maple syrup and fresh fruit on the side (and maybe just a little whipped cream!)

Image credit and another version of this recipe can be found at:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

George Bailey, Ebenezer Scrooge, and a Merry, Imperfect Christmas

Perhaps the reason I so admire the character of George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life" is because his family isn't perfect, and his life isn't either.  His father, Peter Bailey, is depicted as a caring but underachieving business man; his uncle, an irresponsible drunk.  George himself is often bitter and brooding at what life has dealt him, wearing disappointment and jealousies on his shirtsleeves until he is shown the true significance of his own life, of every life, courtesy of Clarence Goodbody, AS2.  What I admire about the relationships in this movie is the acceptance each character ultimately realizes in the embrace of family and friends.  Every life does matter.  Each person has a place in the world.  Whether we realize it or not, we all have a great deal of influence on the lives of those around us. 

Anticipation and planning for the Christmas holidays, particularly, are heightened with expectation and sometimes, anxiety.  We aspire to an impossible ideal and are being sold a bill of goods by advertisers who make us think that we have to behave like the images we see on television.  Commercials depict gloriously reunited family members who are ecstatic to be together once again.  In real life, I've never known any family quite so happy as the actors on television.  Real families are tempered -- happiness is often balanced with equal measures of disappointment and frustration.  It is in the acceptance of each other, flaws and all, that we find family balance, and just maybe the true spirit of Christmas.  I like to think of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, when Ebenezer Scrooge is welcomed into his nephew's home despite years of intentional disconnect and dismissal.  His nephew, always hopeful, still wants his uncle to share the holiday with his family and friends.  When he is finally welcomed into his nephew's home, the past is past and they enjoy each other in the present with acceptance and happiness.  It is a beautiful, liberating moment.

The parallels between A Christmas Carol and It's A Wonderful Life are evident.  Ebenezer Scrooge is guided to see his actual life as it was, as it is, and how it will be if he doesn't change his ways.  It's a harsh lesson but one that finds him rejuvenated and jubilant, loving every second from the moment he wakes, home again in his own bed.  George Bailey, guided by angel Clarence Goodbody, experiences his life's world without him in it, and is able to see first-hand just how he has impacted the lives of the people he loves, and what their world, and the greater world, would be like had he never been born. 

Individuals are just that, individuals, each with particular talents and quirks.  At Christmas time, when the focus on family is sharpened, quirks might seem prominent. We often have more patience, tolerance, and acceptance for those we don't love, who aren't related to us, than we do for those with whom we share a family bond, something I find oddly curious.

At this very special time of year, my Christmas prayer is that every one of us knows the love and acceptance of family and friends.  If you have a family member who is alone this holiday, welcome her in.  If you have a friend who is feeling disconnected, reconnect.  Don't rehash the past.  Forgive. Let go.  Live forward.  Make that phone call.  Pay a visit.  Say hello and that you are thinking of that person.  You have nothing to lose, and just might make a big difference in someone's life, or even your own.

I wish you all a Merry, imperfect Christmas.  Enjoy every minute!

"God bless us, every one."  -- Tiny Tim, in Charles Dickens's  A Christmas Carol

Image credit:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Minute Gifts from Your Kitchen - There's Still Time!

If your Christmas to-do list isn't to-done and baking is one thing that isn't checked off, there's still time to bake without taking up a whole day or creating a big mess in your kitchen. 

For many of us, working every day leading up to Christmas leaves NO TIME to get it all done.  The "wouldn't it be nice" items on the list fall to the wayside with the mental note to plan better next year.  My gingerbread house is one of those list items.  I had grand plans of creating a small but exquisite gingerbread house and now, if it's going to happen at all, I have to do it during three free hours Thursday morning, and I don't like that kind of pressure!  We'll see.  I'd love to do it.  I just wish that the slower schedule the week following Christmas would loan me a day or two this week when the extra time would come in handy!  I'm now thinking that the walls of my gingerbread house will be made with the new gingerbread-flavored graham crackers.  After all, my deal is the decorating. I just need a background for the elaborate design!

There is, however, still time to get some baking done.  Last night I made three batches of dough, and they will become cookies in a snap over the next couple of days.  Believe it or not, I made snickerdoodle, sugar, and peanut butter doughs all in a matter of 10 minutes.  I wrapped them up and put them in the fridge and clean up took 5 minutes.  How did I do it?  I used pouches.  Pouches of cookie mixes -- Betty Crocker -- and last night I was grateful to invite Betty into my kitchen to help me out.  Using these basic doughs, I will put together a platter of a variety of cookies.  Half of the peanut butter will be rolled into balls, coated in coarse sugar, and once baked, plugged with a Hershey kiss.  The rest will be pressed with a fork to make the classic criss-cross pattern, no kisses.  The sugar cookie batter will be divided up:  some will be rolled and cut out, some will be formed into thumb-print cookies, more will be tinted red and roped into candy cane cookies.  The snickerdoodle dough will be rolled in cinnamon sugar.  I can take a little bit of each and on one cookie sheet bake three kinds of cookies for a quick gift for a friend. 

Mixes also come in handy for mini-loaves of quick bread.  Gingerbread, banana nut, or pound cakes are great in little loaves.  You can find decorative loaf pans for next-to-nothing in kitchen stores, or you can grab foil loaf pans in the grocery store.  One mix could make a bunch of mini-loaves.  Buy a roll of cellophane and some wired ribbon, and you can dress these up to be beautifully gifting-worthy!

There are even mixes for quick fudge using Carnation canned milk.  There's an easy recipe using chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff.  There's so much you can do quickly that will mean more to the recipient than something purchased.  A gift from your kitchen means you cared enough to make something special for someone.  I know it always means alot to me when I get such a gift. 

Another short-cut I used one year was to make my own apple jelly and present it in pretty glass jars - I used a good quality apple juice as the foundation for a recipe I found in an old cookbook.  I cut jelly-making time in thirds by starting out with ready-to-go juice.

I still want to make gingerbread men to  hang on my little kitchen tree.  It's decorated with metal cookie cutters and gingerbread men every year, though this morning the tree is till naked in my kitchen!  Because I'm running out of time, I'm going to make my gingerbread men out of a roll of gingerbread dough or convert a gingerbread mix into cookies (directions on side of box).  They are for decoration, and I'm just going for the affect, so I'm taking the easy way out (especially after burning out the motor of my mixer one year, trying to put together that heavy batter!).

If you still want to give gifts from your kitchen, don't abandon the plan.  Modify.  You can do it, and it'll be great!

Merry simple Christmas, my friends!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge from Taste of Home

I love fudge.  I don't think there's anything more satisfying than buying four quarter-pound pieces, all different flavors, and taking them home in a little white cardboard box with a plastic knife!  I love slicing off just a smidge to taste the incredible flavors.  I love the whole artisan process and have often watched fudge being made in the big copper pots with a wooden paddle.  It's fascinating!  One of my favorite places to buy fudge is The Yankee Peddler in Greenwich, New York, a beautiful store.  Upstairs it is a Christmas wonderland, with beautifully decorated trees and every Department 56 collectable you can imagine.  Downstairs, you will find all kinds of beautiful gifts for the home as well as specialty foods and kitchen items.  The heart of the first floor is an old-fashioned candy counter which features superior-quality chocolates by the pound (you can select all your favorites, including sugar-free), jelly beans, striped candy sticks, and FUDGE.  My daughter Katie had their boxed chocolates as favors at her wedding.  The last time I stopped in, two weekends ago, I chose the following fudge flavors:  chocolate (a purist), maple walnut, amaretto, and pumpkin spice.  I took the goods home and we all, very slowly and gradually, slivered those quarter pound pieces away until, surprise!, there was nothing left.  Yep, it's an indulgence, but fudge isn't something most people eat every day.  It is a special treat, and should remain so.
The holiday season is the perfect time to provide my readers with a recipe for White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge.  It comes from, a beautiful Web site and a fruitful resource for tried-and-true recipes.  You will need a candy thermometer for this one.  If you don't have one, borrow one or go buy one for yourself.  It's a good tool to have in your kitchen, it's not expensive, and you'll be grateful you have one when it comes to making special holiday candies. 

from Taste of Home
81 ServingsPrep: 10 min. Cook: 10 min. + chilling

1-1/2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup butter, softened, divided
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
12 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract


•Line a 9-in. square pan with foil. Grease the foil with 1-1/2 teaspoons butter; set aside.

•In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, sour cream and remaining butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil; cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 234° (soft-ball stage), about 5 minutes.

•Remove from the heat; stir in white chocolate and marshmallow creme until melted. Fold in peppermint candy and extract. Pour into prepared pan. Chill until firm.

•Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Gently peel off foil; cut fudge into 1-in. squares. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 pounds.

Recipe and Photo Credit:

Monday, December 13, 2010


This morning a bunch of us brought in cookies to work, to be divided up and packaged as holiday thank-you gifts for the student workers in our office.  My contribution were the Peanut Butter Blossoms from yesterday's post.  There was an abundance, so we were rewarded with a platter of many different varieties of cookies.  I saw what I believed to be a Snickerdoodle, a cookie I don't bake often and love to have whenever possible.  I snagged one before there weren't any left!  It was crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside, and perfectly sweet with cinnamon and sugar.  Joy for the tastebuds!

Many people associate the Snickerdoodle with Christmas.  This recipe (as well as the photo above) is from Betty Crocker, and it rates an impressive "5 spoons" on her Web site (see link below). 


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Heat oven to 400ºF.

Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.

Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Recipe and Photo from Betty Crocker at:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peanut Butter Blossoms by Hershey's Kisses

I put a picture of a batch of these cookies, baked today, on my facebook page, and my friend Nancy asked for the recipe.  It's the Peanut Butter Blossom recipe on the Hershey Kisses package.  We had a fun day here in Middle Grove.  Because of freezing rain, I never left the house all day.  I had cookies to make, and Katie was experimenting with a recipe in her own kitchen.  She made Alton Brown's home-made marshmallows, and I assisted a bit but mostly watched her do her magic.  And magic they were.  Here's the recipe for the Peanut Butter Blossoms, as well as a couple of photos of Katie's marshmallows. 

Peanut Butter Blossoms
by Hershey's

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates

1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

Katie's Homemade Marshmallows

Nothing like the real thing...just incredible!
Cookie Recipe and Photo:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dressed Up for the Holidays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist of Orange and Cranberry

Yesterday my daughter Katie made what looked like a typical batch of chocolate chip cookies. They were golden brown and loaded with chocolate chips, still warm and chewy when I walked into her house after working all day.  I have to tell you, it was a very welcoming aroma that greeted me when I opened her door.  But there was something different.  I don't know how many of you can resist a warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie, but I can't.  One bite and I knew this was a special cookie.  There was an essence of fresh oranges, and the tang of cranberry.  Combined with chocolate, it was DEVINE!  I thought, "OK, these are going on my cookie platters."  We have an abundance of Florida oranges to eat/juice/use up since Russ brought Katie and me each a case at Thanksgiving (thank you, Russ!).

You can make these cookies with your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or, as I encourage people to do if they're pressed for time, grab a quality mix like Krusteaz or Pillsbury and save yourself a little time.  That's an especially good idea for busy moms with two little ones like Katie who spends much of her time feeding 7-week old Peter and the rest of it building block towers with Henry.  Still, she found time to not only bake up a batch of cookies but also to make big, red ribbon bows to adorn each post of the 100-foot split rail fence that lines our driveway!  I was holding the baby as she headed into the night with a staple gun and an arm-full of bows.   Maybe it's her legal training, but when Katie wants to get something done, it happens, even when it's as basic as baking a batch of home-made cookies in the middle of a hectic day.

Katie and the boys

I like the idea of simple, standard cookies that most people love all year occupying space on my Christmas cookie platter, like a plump peanut butter cookie studded with a Hershey Kiss, a ginger snap, spritz or a buttery shortbread.  This cookie will keep those favorites very good company.  Add some snowflake-decorated sugar cookies and a gingerbread boy or girl, a few little candy canes, and some chocolates wrapped for the holidays, and you have a beautiful cookie platter to present to your family and friends. 

Orange Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe batter, prepared
1 tablespoon freshly-grated orange rind
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Mix the grated orange rind and cranberries into the chocolate chip cookie dough batter.  Bake the cookies as your original recipe suggests.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

A favorite cookie to make this time of year is the Jam Thumbprint.  I am very fortunate to have prize-winning jam for my cookies; my friend Catherine Golden wins blue ribbons every summer at the Saratoga County Fair, and she shares!  This year she's given me jars of both her home-made apricot and raspberry jams.  They are the crowning jewels of this cookie, one that always shows up on my holiday platter.

Jam Thumbprints are very simple.  With your favorite rolled sugar cookie recipe (because it is firm, or even packaged sugar cookie dough if you're pressed for time), you form the dough into balls about an inch in diameter, approximately the size of a gum ball from those machines when we were little kids.  Then the dough is dipped into a beaten egg white and rolled in coconut or crushed nuts.  Placed on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, an impression is made in the center (thus the "thumbprint" though I use the handle end of a wooden spoon), just right for a half-teaspoon of jam. 

Catherine Golden's Prize-Winning Jam

I love these cookies.  Here's the simple recipe:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (if you don't have any, go get it.  It's one of the most useful kitchen tools you'll ever have). 

Your favorite sugar cookie dough for rolled cookies
1 egg white, beaten
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (or whatever nut you prefer)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup jam/s

With your sugar cookie dough prepared, form 1" diameter balls, then coat in beaten egg white and roll in either nuts or coconut.  Place on cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.  Make a depression in the center of each ball, about 1/3 of the way down, no further.  Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of jam in each depression. 

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes OR JUST UNTIL THEY VISIBLY START TO BROWN ON THE OUTSIDE EDGES (ovens are different, you really have to watch them). 

Remove from oven, let sit for a minute, then move to wire rack to complete cooling. 

I guarantee, you will love these!

Photo credit:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reindeer Food (aka White Chocolate Party Mix)

A long time ago I was working in an office at Christmas time and a co-worker brought in gifts of "Reindeer Food."  It was a huge hit with everyone in the office, and I couldn't wait to make my own holiday version of trail mix.  This recipe for Reindeer Food is a combination of Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Cheerios, mini-pretzels, nuts, and M&Ms, all mixed together in a giant bowl or pot and then coated with melted white chocolate, which once distrubted and cooled looks like snow.  You can also add craisins, chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows, dried fruit--whatever you want to make this mix your own.  I like to pack a Mason jar full of Reindeer Food and tie a pretty ribbon around the lid.  It makes a colorful and very much appreciated gift.  Now that I have two little grandsons, we may be sprinkling a little bit of reindeer food outside on Christmas Eve, because Dancer and Prancer and all their friends will probably be ready for a snack by the time they arrive our house!

Reindeer Food

3 c. Rice Chex
3 c. Corn Chex
3 c. Cheerios
10 oz. package of miniature pretzels
2-3 cups of your favorite nuts (I like walnut and pecan pieces)
12 oz. - 1lb. bag of M&Ms (use holiday M&Ms if available)
Anything else you want to throw into the mix.

In extra large bowl or pot, stir together all the ingredients listed above.  Set aside.


2  12-14 oz. bags White Chocolate Chips, or white candy-making wafers. You can also  use white-vanilla chips. 

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

In a double boiler, or another large bowl set over a pot of simmering water (or in the microwave following package directions), melt two bags of white chocolate morsels with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, stirring until completely melted.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water and that no water gets into the melting pot -- it can seize up the chocolate beyond repair.   When completely melted, pour white coating over cereal mixture, stirring very thoroughly until it is evenly distributed and the trail mix looks like it's been coated in snow.  Spread out on cookie sheets, foil, or wax or parchment paper until cooled.  Pack in containers.

Photo credit: