Many years ago when I was my kid’s age I lived in the coastal area of North Carolina and not that far away from our house lived my great grandparents. We would go to visit my great grandparent every so often. I remember their trailer nested between huge homes, The chain link fence and the towering pecan trees in the front yard. When we would visit we would sometimes walk down the boardwalk with my great grandpa or even go to the North Carolina Maritime Museum. There is one thing though that stick out with me more than anything about those visits, the pecans. My great grandma Freda corrected and taught us the proper way to say pecan. It was pronounced like puh-cahn not pee-can because a pee-can was something you kept next to your bed to pee in. There was something that stuck with me more than that gem, picking up pecans. Whenever we would go visit my great grandparents it was my sister, brother and my job to pick up all the pecans that we could. I have no clue how many buckets would end up other than it was a lot. We would always be sent home with pecans too. I remember a pecan pie a time or two also. The thing about pecans though is as a kid I absolutely hated them. I didn’t like pecan pie or cookies with pecans in them… if it had pecans it was not for me.
I don’t know what happened when I grew up but now I love pecans now. Pumpkin pecan ice cream, yes please! Pecans mixed in with the crumb of my sweet potato casserole,yum. Then there are pralines. Oh, sweet pralines! I have always wanted to make my own pralines but they were always a candy I was nervous about trying to make. One day though, I would and I did. They were absolutely perfect and like the pralines I had bought at the store all so many times in the past. I then got this crazy idea. Pralines and bacon, bacon and pralines. After all bacon makes everything better. There is candied bacon and bacon cupcakes and even bacon sundaes. So I made them and they were wonderful, glorious things. My oldest son immediately decided they were a new favorite and my husband wanted more. Needless to say Bacon Pralines have been added to my holiday candy list and I happily share them you for my 3rd day of Homemade Christmas.
Country Girl Gourmet
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 cup cooked bacon, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, white sugar, sea salt and heavy cream. Bring to a boil. Stir in butter, pecans, bacon and vanilla. Heat, without stirring, to 240 degrees F or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
- Beat until thickened (careful not to over stir), then pour immediately onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cool.
adapted from Allrecipes.com
On my second day of Homemade Christmas I have for you chocolate and peppermint treat. Classic flavors of the Christmas season! I have loved peppermint patties for as long as I can remember. When I discovered a recipe to make my own I knew I had to try them. Added bonus is they are less than 5 ingredients and the recipe is super simple. Simply combine the peppermint filling, form into patties and dip into melted chocolate. There is no need for a candy thermometer or any special equipment. The hardest part is melting the chocolate.
These candies are sure to impress and your friends and family will fall in love with them! They will think you spent much more time on them than what you actually did. They are perfect to give as gifts as well at the perfect addition to any holiday cookie and candy platter. Well, that is if they make it out of the kitchen.
Homemade Peppermint Patties
Country Girl Gourmet
- 1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar, plus additional for kneading filling
- 1 (16oz) bag of dark chocolate chips
- 1TB shortening
- In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and peppermint extract. Add 5 cups sugar; beat on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with powdered sugar. Knead lightly to form smooth ball. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on wax paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1½-inch patty.
- Let dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour. In microwave carefully melt chocolate chips with tablespoon of shortening. With fork, dip each patty into the melted chocolate (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Place onto wax paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.
Adapted from Peppermint Patties on Allrecipes.com
The weather is getting cooler and some people have even seen snow, all things that make what I have for my first day of Homemade Christmas perfect. Hot Cocoa Mix is something that is a must have when it gets cold out and especially on snowy days. There is nothing better than coming in from the cold and have a nice, warm mug of Hot Cocoa. Sure you can go to the store and pick up a box but homemade Hot Cocoa Mix is so much better and easy to make. An added bonus is Hot Cocoa Mix makes perfect gifts. You can put it in a jar or for an individual serving size you can use cake decorating bags and make hot cocoa cones. With the jar just layer some of your favorite chocolate and marshmallows on top (Homemade Marshmallows work wonderfully!). Just add some candy canes for stirrers and tie it up with a pretty ribbon and voila you a wonderful homemade gift. That is perfect for family and friends. Being a mom of special needs kiddos who have a ton of teachers and aids this hot cocoa mix has always been perfect for teacher gifts. I know my kid’s teachers have always raved about how good it is.
Try this hot cocoa mix for yourself and see. I am sure you will convert from the store-bought box stuff to homemade. Homemade is always so much better anyways. You will love it and so will your friends and family!
Hot Cocoa Mix
Country Girl Gourmet
- 10 cups dry milk powder
- 6 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1¾ cups powdered non-dairy creamer
- In a large mixing bowl, combine milk powder, confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and creamer. Stir till thoroughly combined. Run hot cocoa mix through the food processor to make it powdery fine. Store hot cocoa mixture in an airtight container. Makes about 15 cups mix, or enough for about 45 servings.
- For 1 serving, place ⅓ cup cocoa mixture in a coffee cup or mug, and add ¾ cup boiling water. Stir to dissolve. Top with dollop of whipped cream or a few marshmallows, if desired.
- *If desired use different flavor creamers for different flavors of hot cocoa mix*
Adapted from Hot Cocoa Mix from Allrecipes.com
It’s that time of year again Christmas time! Seriously, the year has just flown by how can it be time for Christmas again! I have been working hard to bring you my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas again this year. I have made a list, and have checked it more than twice. Heck, i’m still going back and forth with a few of the recipes. I only have a few more days until I start my list but it is coming and you will be able to find links to all 12 days here after they are posted. Just like last year the recipes range from super easy to others that take a little bit of patience and time. There will be cookies and candy and more!
The list is now complete! Check out my 12 days of Homemade Christmas! What treats will you be making for your family? I’d love to see your pics of my treats! Just use the tag #countrygirlgourmet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
Country Girl Gourmet’s 12 Days of Homemade Christmas
Day 1: Hot Cocoa Mix
Day 2: Homemade Peppermint Patties
Day 3: Bacon Pralines
Day 4: Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies
Day 5: Gluten Free Snow Flakes Spritz
Day 6: Melt in your Mouth Toffee
Day 7: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Day 8: Gluten Free Gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream
Day 9: Peppermint Bark
Day 10: Caramels
Day 11: Peppermint Meringues
Day 12: Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free)
From my Family to yours, Merry Christmas!
Where has the time gone? It is time for Christmas again! I have been working hard to bring something special from my home to yours this holiday season. Starting tomorrow I will sharing my 12 Days of Homemade Christmas. I will have recipes for cookies and candy along with a few crafts that you can make for yourself or your family. I will be posting family recipes that have been handed down over the years to other recipes that have become family favorites. They range from being super easy to a bit more difficult but as long as you have patience you can make it too!
Day 1- Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
Day 2- Cinnamon Rolls
Day 3- Swedish Peppakakor
Day 4- Salted Caramel Sauce
Day 5- Peppermint Chip Cookies
Day 6- Sugar Cookies
Day 7- Homemade Marshmallows
Day 8- Reindeer Food
Day 9 – Cocoa Can Fudge
Day 10- Buckeyes
Day 11- Peanut Butter Blossoms
Day 12- Molasses Krinkles
Merry Christmas from my Family to yours!