A Tasty Holiday Treat
(Family Features) When family and friends come together in celebration of the holiday season, tasty treats are a must-have for the festivities. You can also celebrate the season of giving with a special giveaway at the end of your gathering to show your gratitude to loved ones.
A simple yet delicious treat, Chocolate Bacon Bark is a sweet-and-salty snack with Gwaltney Bacon as the centerpiece of a crowd-pleaser for nearly any celebration. Try pairing with these creative giveaway bags as a personalized memento to offer a unique memory even after the season comes to a close. The bite-sized morsels are also perfect for individual grab bags by the door as guests make their way home following holiday celebrations.
Visit gwaltneyfoods.com for more holiday recipe ideas.
Chocolate Bacon Bark and Giveaway Bags
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chocolate Bacon Bark:
- 1 bag (12 ounces) chocolate candy melts
- 1 package (12 ounces) Gwaltney Bacon
- toppings such as pretzels, candies and sprinkles (optional)
- Card stock or construction paper
- 24 brown paper lunch bags
- Coloring or drawing materials
- Hole puncher
- To make Chocolate Bacon Bark: Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In bowl, melt chocolate candy in microwave in 30-second increments; stir every 30 seconds.
- Pour chocolate into pan and spread evenly.
- Top with bacon and pretzels, candies and sprinkles, if desired; freeze until hardened (about 12 hours).
- Break into bite-sized pieces.
- To make Giveaway Bags: Using scissors, cut one piece of card stock or construction paper to match width of paper bag.
- Cut length of card stock or construction paper into “V” shape so point comes about 3/4 down bag.
- Decorate card stock or construction paper with sayings or drawings.
- Stuff paper bag with Chocolate Bacon Bark.
- Hold decorated card stock or construction paper to top of paper bag, “V” shape pointed down, and punch two centered holes about 1/2 inch from top and 1/2 inch away from each other.
- Using scissors, cut one piece of ribbon about 6 inches long.
- With holes aligned and decorated card stock or construction paper facing out, insert end of ribbon from back side of bag; tie loose enough knot or bow so paper bag doesn’t rip.
- Repeat process with remaining bags.
Pop Up Holiday Traditions New and Old
(Family Features) From decorating the tree to carving the turkey, there are many time-honored holiday traditions observed by families around the country. However, the holiday season is about more than just celebrating old traditions.
A perfect opportunity for creating new memories and, in turn, traditions, popcorn can serve as an ideal ingredient to bring family time to life. Whether wrapping the tree with garland made from the light and airy treat, filling clear ornaments with freshly popped kernels or simply popping up a bowl as a nutritious alternative to other holiday noshes, popcorn makes it easy to get hands-on while you deck the halls.
These seasonal recipes for traditional treats like peppermint bark and popcorn balls plus edible trees and a more elegant take on a simple snack highlight low-fat, non-GMO, gluten-free whole-grain popcorn as the main ingredient. Find more modern takes on traditional holiday recipes at popcorn.org.
White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn Bark
Yield: 1 pound
- 5 cups popped popcorn
- 12 ounces white chocolate baking chips
- 1 cup crushed hard candy peppermints Cover baking pan with foil or wax paper; set aside.
- Place popcorn in large bowl; set aside.
- In double boiler over barely simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring until smooth.
- Stir in crushed peppermints.
- Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn and stir to coat.
- Spread onto prepared pan; cool completely. When chocolate is cooled and set, break into chunks.
Easy, Elegant Holiday Popcorn
Yield: 8 cups
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- candy sprinkles
- Line baking sheet with wax paper. Spread popcorn in thin layer on prepared pan.
- Place chocolate chips in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave in additional 10-second increments, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle over popcorn.
- Place white chocolate chips in separate microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium 30 seconds; stir. If necessary, microwave in additional 10-second increments, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and smooth. Drizzle over popcorn.
- Sprinkle desired amount of candy sprinkles over warm chocolate-coated popcorn.
- Allow chocolate drizzles to set until firm. Break popcorn into pieces.
Note: Chocolate chips can be replaced with cut up chocolate bars.
Cranberry Popcorn Balls
Yield: 18 balls
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 quarts unsalted, popped popcorn
- In heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cranberry sauce, grated orange peel, cranberry juice, corn syrup, vinegar and salt.
- Bring to boil; lower heat and cook until temperature reaches 250 F on candy thermometer.
- Slowly pour cranberry mixture onto hot popcorn; mix until well-coated.
- Let stand 5 minutes, or until mixture can easily be formed into balls.
- Butter hands and form into 3-inch balls.
Festive Popcorn Trees
Yield: 10 trees
- 10 cups air-popped popcorn
- 1 bag (10 ounces) miniature marshmallows
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- nonstick cooking spray
- green decorating sugar
- blue decorating sugar
- 1 tube white frosting
- small, colorful candies such as sprinkles and miniature silver dragees
- Place popcorn in large bowl.
- In medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir marshmallows and butter until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture over popcorn in bowl. Toss well to coat popcorn evenly.
- Line baking sheet with foil.
- Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray then scoop about 1 cup popcorn mixture.
- Shape mixture into cone, keeping base flat to form tree.
- Sprinkle tree with decorating sugars; place tree on baking sheet.
- Make nine additional trees.
- Using decorating tip, pipe frosting on trees to make garland then decorate with sprinkles and silver dragees, as desired.
- Serving suggestion: Place each tree on sugar cookie and decorate serving tray with shredded coconut to resemble snow.
Notes: For best flavor and color, start recipe with unflavored white popcorn. You can make colored sugar by adding food coloring to sugar then stirring in bowl or shaking vigorously in sealed container. Add additional food coloring for more intense tones.
Source: Popcorn Board
Gather for Gifts From the Heart
(Family Features) If the kitchen is the heart of the home, a gift from your kitchen is truly a gift from the heart. For the holidays, treat everyone on your list to a heartfelt food gift.
Gather for a casual holiday open house and give one of your hand-made or hand-picked creations as party favors. Offer hot cider, cocoa or flavored coffee and serve a spectacular cupcake cake — the latest in show-stopping desserts. Order a holiday-themed cupcake creation from your neighborhood Wal-Mart for easy pickup that morning.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark and Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie are just two easy-to-make treats, perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth. They’re a few favorite recipes from best-selling author of “Semi-Homemade Cooking,” Sandra Lee for holiday gifting. Not only is her complete collection of 200 recipes in the new Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade recipe card collection a great resource for holiday gift treats but it’s also the perfect gift. Packaged in a holiday red tin, the collection is available exclusively at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club locations this holiday season.
There’s something for everyone on your list — friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, postal carrier, hairdresser, even the kids’ teachers. These gifts from your heart are sure to be appreciated.
Create Personalized Goodie Gifts
Gather the contents by collecting goods from the grocery aisles and housewares department of your favorite superstore:
- Holiday sweets: Pre-wrapped and packaged cookies and candies in fun Snowman and Santa Towers are great to have on hand; simply hang a decorative homemade card or gift tag around the neck.
- Help with happy hour: Line a pretty basket with a festive towel and fill with a bottle of sparkling juice or wine, two elegant wine glasses, a fragrant candle, a tin of fancy nuts and some stylish cocktail napkins.
- Love you a latte: Give a bag of gourmet coffee and include a beautiful coffee mug — or pick up an already-packaged gift set.
- Bring brunch for a bunch: Load up a festive gift box or basket with brunch favorites — try fresh oranges and pears, pancake mix, maple syrup, a loaf of cinnamon or banana nut bread, plus an assortment of jams and spreader knives with holiday handles.
- Time for some reel fun: For the film buff, include microwave movie popcorn, king-sized candy bars, a few cans of soda and the latest DVD releases, in a large plastic snack bowl.
- Fuel-up power pack: Fill a draw-string knapsack with energy bars, bottled sports drinks, banana chips, a box of whole wheat pasta and wrist weights for the avid athlete.
Make a list for one-stop shopping for gift ideas by visiting www.walmart.com. Additional recipes are also available by clicking on In Stores Now/Ideas Center.
Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
These pretty-as-a-picture cookies are amazingly easy to make. Let the kids help make these by rolling cookie balls and unwrapping the chocolate morsels.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
- 1 16-ounce container dark chocolate frosting
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup very finely ground almonds
- 48 large chocolate morsels, unwrapped
- Beat chocolate frosting and butter in large bowl until well blended.
- Mix in graham cracker crumbs and almond extract. Place almonds in pie plate or other shallow bowl.
- Shape chocolate mixture into 1-inch balls (about 48). Roll each ball in almonds to coat.
- Place balls on cookie sheet. Using finger, make deep indentation in center of each ball.
- Fill each indentation with chocolate morsel. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until cold.
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Bark
Easy and irresistible — be sure to make a batch for yourself as well. Package in a pretty cellophane bag or in a holiday candy dish tied with a festive ribbon.
Makes 1 1/2 pounds
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
- 2 cups white vanilla milk chips
- 2/3 cup macadamia nuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
- Line 13- by 9-inch cookie sheet with waxed paper, allowing 2 inches of paper to hang over sides.
- Melt 1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate morsels in microwave on medium power for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, or until smooth.
- Pour melted semisweet chocolate onto prepared sheet and spread to cover entire surface and form one even layer.
- Melt 1 3/4 cups white chips in microwave on medium power 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until smooth.
- Drizzle melted white chips over semisweet chocolate layer. Using toothpick or skewer, swirl melted chocolates together, creating marbled effect.
- Sprinkle with nuts and remaining 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels and 1/4 cup white chips. Gently press toppings into melted chocolates.
- Refrigerate 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm.
- Remove waxed paper from chocolate. Cut or break chocolate into bite-size pieces.
Morning Coffee Cake
What better way to wake up the holidays than with a delicious cinnamon swirl coffee cake? Give this breakfast treat on a red or green platter with a ribbon-wrapped serving knife.
Makes 12 to 16 slices
- 7 sweet dinner rolls
- 1 box (1 pound, 14 ounces) cinnamon swirl coffee cake mix
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 10-cup Bundt pan. Slice 1 inch off tops of rolls and tear tops into 1-inch pieces; set aside. Place bottoms of rolls, cut sides up, in prepared pan.
- In large bowl, combine coffee cake batter mix, water, oil and 2 eggs. Beat until well blended.
- Pour half of batter over rolls. Sprinkle with cinnamon swirl packet from coffee cake mix. Pour remaining batter over rolls.
- Whisk remaining egg, milk and sugar in another bowl to blend. Add reserved roll tops to milk mixture; set aside until milk mixture is absorbed.
- Pour roll top mixture over cake batter in pan. Swirl batters together with a skewer.
- Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 25 minutes. Invert cake onto cooling rack; remove pan.
- Place cake, right side up, on platter. Slice cake and serve.
Candy Cane Cocktail
Perfect for an evening of holiday entertaining. Or for gift-giving, bundle the ingredients in a candy cane themed basket complete with martini glasses and a cocktail shaker.
Makes: 1 drink
- 1 shot vanilla rum
- 1 shot white chocolate liqueur
- 1 shot peppermint schnapps
- Candy cane, garnish
- Add all liquid ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with candy cane.