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Chocolate Walnut Toffee Kisses Recipe

1 C. walnuts

8 oz. good quality bittersweet (not semisweet) chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 C. toffee bits for baking (see note)

Spread the nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake on a rack at the center position at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water in a saucepan. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan or bowl from the water.

Coarsely chop the cooled nuts and stir into the melted chocolate. Then stir in the toffee bits.

Using two teaspoons, scoop a generous teaspoon of the chocolate mixture into one, and with the other slide this mixture into a mound onto the foil-lined baking sheet. Continue in this way, leaving about a half-inch around each cluster. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the chocolate from the sides of the pan or bowl during this process. You should get between 28 and 30 kisses.

Refrigerate the sheet of chocolate mounds, uncovered, until the chocolate has hardened and is no longer shiny, 30 to 45 minutes or more. When firm, transfer the candies to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Walnut Toffee Kisses can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. These candies also can be kept in an airtight container at cool room temperature for two to three days; however, they retain a more attractive appearance and will keep longer when refrigerated.

Note: Hershey's Skor English Toffee bits work well in this recipe. They usually can be found in the baking section at the supermarket.

Yield: approximately 28 to 30 candies

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Eggnog Truffle Cups Recipe

Chocolate Cups:
6 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate

6 T. Eggnog
1 (11 oz.) package White Vanilla Chips
3/4 t. Nutmeg

Melt chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. With a 3/4 inch brush coat inside of 30 paper candy cups with melted chocolate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.

Heat eggnog in a small saucepan over low heat just until eggnog comes to a simmer. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and stir until melted. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes while mixture firms up.

Spoon about 1 teaspoon mixture into each chocolate cups. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve.

Just before serving sprinkle with nutmeg. If desired peep away paper cups before serving.

Yield: 30 candies

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Cinnamon Praline Drops Recipe

1/2 C. butter, at room temperature
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1  1/2 C. flour
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans
3/4 C. cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugars, egg, flour, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in pecans and cinnamon chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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Marshmallow Peppermint Sauce Recipe

2/3 C. light corn syrup
3 T. margarine or butter
7 oz. jar (1 1/2 c.) marshmallow creme
1/2 C. half and half
1/2 C. crushed hard peppermint candy

In medium saucepan, cook corn syrup and margarine over low heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in marshmallow creme, blending well. Cool 5 minutes. Gradually add half and half, stirring until mixture is smooth. Fold in crushed candy. Serve warm or cool over ice cream.

Store any remaining topping in refrigerator.

Makes 2 cups.

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Merry Chocolate Nut Clusters Recipe

1 C.  chocolate chips
1/2 C. white chips
1 T. shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
2-1/4 C. (11.5 oz. pkg.) lightly salted peanuts, divided

Place chocolate chips, white chips and shortening in small microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred. Reserve 1/4 cup peanuts for garnish; stir remaining peanuts into chocolate mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls into 1-inch diameter candy papers; top each candy with a reserved peanut.

Refrigerate, uncovered, until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. Store in airtight container in cool, dry place. About 3 dozen candies.

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Peppermint Crunch Recipe

1 package candy canes or peppermints
1 package white almond bark
1 hammer
Ziploc-type bags
Waxed paper

Unwrap peppermints or candy canes and place in Ziploc bag; seal. Pound candy until only small chunks of candy remain. Melt almond bark carefully in microwave. Mix in crushed peppermints. Pour into pans or cookie sheets lined with waxed paper. Let cool (best in refrigerator or freezer). When cool, remove from waxed paper, break into bite-sized chunks and store in cookie tins.

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Cinnamon Nut Mix Recipe

2 C. whole almonds
2 C. pecan halves
6 C. water
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 C. cinnamon
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. ground allspice
1 t. ground cloves
2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large saucepan, cover almonds and pecans with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 minute. Drain well.

In a large bowl, combine the next 6 items. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add nuts and stir until nuts are well coated. Pour nuts into sugar mixture stirring until well coated. Spread evenly on a greased baking sheet. Stir occasionally, baking 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on baking sheet. Store in airtight container.

Makes about 4 cups.

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Santa's Whiskers Cookie Recipe

1 1/2 C. butter
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 T. milk
2 t. vanilla
4 C. flour
1 1/2 C. finely chopped red and green candied cherries
1 1/2 C. shredded coconut

Cream the butter and sugar. Add milk and vanilla. Add the flour. Stir in cherries. Shape into four 8-inch logs. Roll each in coconut. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Slice cookies in 1/4-inch slices and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 F. for 8-10 minutes.

Makes 6 to 8 dozen.

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Santa's Peppermint Hot Chocolate Recipe

1/2 C. chilled whipping cream
7 T. sugar, divided
3/4 t. peppermint extract, divided
6 C. milk
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

Whip cream, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract in a medium bowl to soft peaks.

Bring milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla beans; add beans. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate, cocoa and 6 tablespoons sugar; whisk until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract. Ladle hot chocolate into mugs and top with whipped cream.

Serves 6

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