Oh baby, it’s cold outside! And that means it’s time to do your best, festive aprons, roll up those sleeves, and get cooking with the kiddos to create some edible memories. From layered hot chocolate jars that make the perfect gift to customizable shortbread cookies and fruitcake truffles, there’s something for every sweet tooth this holiday season.
The hard part will be parting with your treats once they’re done!
Layered Hot Chocolate Jars
These pretty jars are layered and ready to give, with a whole lot of TLC. Just add milk, heat, stir, and serve – simple and delicious!
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
- ¾ cup icing sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup milk chocolate mini chips
- 1/4 cup crushed candy canes
- In a small bowl, whisk unsweetened cocoa powder with icing sugar and cinnamon.
- Pour this mix into a 2 cup preserving jar with a lid.
- Top with a layer of mini chips, followed by crushed candy canes.
- Tie a festive ribbon around jar lid with a note that reads: Every 2 tablespoons of this mix, combined with 1 cup of warm milk, makes 1 tasty mug of hot chocolate. Garnish with either mini chips and/or crushed candy canes and real whipped cream. Enjoy!
Fun & Festive Shortbread Cookies
Who doesn’t love a good, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie around the holidays (or any time, for that matter)? These are super simple, can be dressed up any way you like, and make the perfect, pretty gift box for anyone on your “nice” list!
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Optional add-ins: white or dark large chocolate chips, food dye, sprinkles, crushed candy canes
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until texture is fluffy.
- Add salt, vanilla, and flour in two batches and continue mixing just until the dough comes together. At this point, you can dye half the dough (or all of it) a festive red or green using 3-6 drops of food coloring.
- On a flour-dusted workspace, tip out the dough and roll into a three-by-three inch log.
- Wrap the dough log in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm.
- Slice log into 3/4-inch cookies and place on cookie sheet.
- You can press in a chocolate chip or two into each cookie, add your sprinkles on top, or garnish with crushed candy cane pieces.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly on cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
- Box, tie a bow, and gift to whoever is lucky enough to receive this festive treat!
Fruit Cake “Truffles”
These chocolate truffles traditionally include rum- or orange-based liqueur, but to make them kid-friendly, we swap out the hard stuff for vanilla essence and orange juice, and no one’s the wiser. Plus, they taste great and even little hands can get in on this no-bake treat.
- 3 cups pre-made fruit cake, crumbled
- 3/4 cup of good quality chocolate, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons of orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Optional coatings: cocoa powder, crushed walnuts, icing sugar, coconut flakes
- To get fruit cake crumbs, get chunks of fruit cake and pulse in your food processor until you’ve got your crumbs. You’ll need three cups. (Hint: There’s no shame in buying pre-made fruitcake from the grocery store for this step!)
- Add chocolate and butter to a small, heat-proof bowl. Put in your microwave on 20-second intervals on high until melted. Stir between each heating. This could take 4-5 intervals.
- Add orange juice, vanilla, and chocolate mixture to your cake crumbs. Process until you’ve got a “dough” that comes together.
- Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for one hour until fully chilled.
- Shape into bite-sized balls and roll on the coating of your choice: cocoa powder, crushed walnut pieces, icing sugar, or coconut flakes that you’ve set out on to a plate.
- Package and refrigerate until ready to gift or gobble down!