Christmas Party Desserts! #TriedAndTrueRecipes
So, every year I have a Christmas tree decorating party for a small group of clients, colleagues and friends. My last post was about some of the appetizers and entrees Ill be serving at this years. But after those are done, what about dessert?
Ill have about 20 people coming, so I like to make quite a lot of cookies and squares. First of all, I think the Christmas buffet table should look like a dinner scene at Hogwarts in a Harry Potter movie, almost groaning with delicious things to eat. Secondly, if theres anything left over, which does happen, I can box it up in pretty Christmas boxes and tissue the next day and drop it off at the homes of those who couldnt make it, or as client pop-by gifts.
The key, Ive found, is variety I always make decorated gingerbread and sugar cookies, but also classic squares. And because Im busy, Im happy to take shortcuts!
One of those shortcuts is that I buy oatmeal cookie mixes (the type where you only add water), then add nuts, chocolate chips and raisins or dried cranberries and bake them according to the directions on the package. You can see these mid-left in the platter below;they are failproof and fast. I can have these in the oven while Im working on something else.
This year, I made sugar cookies and gingerbread, and decorated them, but since I have no patience when it comes to making Royal icing, I buy the pre-made icing in tubes from SuperStore. This is the type where you can screw on the tip you want to use, which makes things a lot easier!
Not shown are the polar bears and moose because my idiot dog managed to get at the platter and ate a whole dozen of them! They were so finicky to make (because of legs and ears that so often break off) that I decided to heck with it I dont have the patience to make them again this year. Next year! But here are the cutters I use theyre pretty cute. I ordered them online from a company in the U.S. and they are great.
The shortbread cookies (shown below) are based on two recipes that were shared with me by a couple of Twitter pals, Jill Skinner and Bill Oates. The two recipes are very similar. Bills is as follows:
1 C butter
3/4 C icing sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1-1/2 C Flour
1/2 C Corn Starch
Roll out onto plastic wrap to 1/4 thick and refrigerate for 30 mins. Bake at 300 for 20 mins.
And Jills receipe is as follow:
I went for a little more flour, as per Bills recipe, so that the dough was a bit stiffer, because I wanted to use a press to make the design. but I used a little less icing sugar (as per Jills).
Before baking, I used a press to put a snowflake design on each one. These are sold at HomeSense, Southgate Mall, for about $6 and make a great stocking stuffer! I bought a bunch of them and am giving them to clients as gifts. Now I wish Id bought them all!
Just make sure the dough has been refrigerated before you use the press as if the dough is too soft, the press will stick and tear the cookie.
I also made mini butter tarts from a fabulous recipe given to me by another Twitter pal, Mike Vlasic, who says it was his grandmothers. This may be my favourite new dessert recipe. Foolproof and delicious!
I used Tenderflake mini-tart shells (they come in packages of 18) and because I didnt have corn syrup on hand, I used maple syrup instead. You can put raisins or currants in; these ones have currants. These are delicious little bites absolutely lovely!
The two squares I made both have Kraft mini-marshmallows in them: classic Rice Krispie squares, with the white mini-marshmallows, and butterscotch confetti squares, with the coloured ones. And yes, I dyed the classic Rice Krispie squares green, to be festive! Those are the Butterscotch Confetti squares below these are a real sugar hit, so make sure to cut them into small squares.
The butterscotch square recipe comes from my friend and fellow boxer, Heather, who posted it on Facebook. (As you can see, I rely on social media a lot for ideas when Im baking!)
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup hard butter
8 ounces coloured mini marshmallows
1 Heat the butterscotch chips, peanut butter, and butter.
2 Stir until smooth. Watch it; peanut butter burns quickly!
3 Cool a wee bit.
4 Stir in marshmallows.
5 Pat into a greased 88-inch pan and chill.
6 Cut into squares.
The Rice Krispie squares recipe is the same one on the box: 3 tbsp of butter, melted together with 4 cups of mini-marshmallows in a sauce pan on low heat; then stir in 6 cups of Rice Krispies.
The only difference is that I add one tsp of vanilla and a few drops of green food dye for colour. (I have tried using red dye but it just ends up pink). I also use an 8 x 8 pan instead of a 9 x 13 pan, so the squares are nice and dense and I press them down using a layer of wax paper and a meat tenderizer to push them down flat. (Useful tip: To clean the saucepan, just heat some water in it and all the sticky parts will release without scrubbing.)Ill cut these into squares just before the party.
And finally, well have a fruitcake (store bought) plus a cheese plate and crackers. My friend, Viola, who goes back over 40 years with me (we lived in the same residence at Mount A in the early 70s) is going to bring some assorted cheeses with her, and fresh grapes.
This should be great! Ive asked my guests to bring an ornament for the tree and some socks to donate to the Sock it to Christmas! sock drive, plus whatever they want to drink. Ill do the rest!