Holiday baking is big in the south. My grandmother used to tell me it was an important time for all the women in the family to get together and visit before the demands of the holidays got underway. In my family we have several traditional cookies and bars we make to give to neighbors and other people we know. A lot of the recipes were from my grandmother and her mom.
My mom and I have started a new tradition, a few years ago, where we get together with some close friends and each bring a new treat recipe to bake and share with each other. We get to socialize, bake, and find new holiday recipes to add to our collections. Here are a couple of the recipes we love:
¼ cup almonds, finely chopped
6 oz. white baking chocolate
8 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
½ tsp peppermint extract
1/3 cup peppermint candies, crushed
Red food coloring (optional)
Line an 8” x 8” baking pan with foil. Spread almonds in pan and set aside. Place semi-sweet chocolate in microwave safe bowl and microwave on high 1 minute (10-15 second increments after that, as necessary). Stir until smooth. Pour melted chocolate over almonds and allow to harden. Repeat melting instructions for white chocolate.
Stir peppermint extract into white chocolate. OPTIONAL: Pour half the white chocolate into another bowl and tint with red. Slowly pour white and pink chocolates over dark chocolate and swirl with knife, covering the dark chocolate. Sprinkle with crushed candies and chill until firm.
Pull candy out of pan by the foil and break into pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
½ cup butter
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup flaked coconut
15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter. Combine well the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs and coconut in a 9” x13” pan. Press lightly until the mixture is spread evenly and covers the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the pan, covering the graham cracker mixture and sprinkle with nuts (optional). Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
Allow bars to cool slightly before cutting and removing from pan. They’re easier to remove when they’re still a little warm.
These Santa snacks are the treats we have left for Santa every Christmas of my life and my mom did the same. My mom’s great aunt got the recipe for these treats off of a can of sweetened condensed milk about 100 years ago!
I’ve continued this tradition with my own daughter. Does your family have traditional treats you make for the holidays?