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Simple and sweet: How to make last-minute holiday treats

on December 22, 2013 2:00 AM

Nothing says home for the holidays like the smell of treats baking in the oven and a crowded kitchen filled with loved ones.

Christmas is only a few days away, but you can create these homemade holiday goodies in a (ginger) snap.

“The holidays are a time when families are in the kitchen at record rates to bake cookies, build gingerbread houses and create a wide variety of sweet treats,” says Nancy Siler, vice president of consumer affairs at Wilton. “The good news is, even if you only have 30 minutes to spare during this hectic time, you can make amazing desserts for gatherings or gifting.”

Try these easy treat ideas from Wilton to spread holiday cheer:

 

HOLIDAY HELPERS: Invite family and friends for a cookie decorating day to help prepare gifts for upcoming events. You provide the sparkling sugars and sprinkles, peppermint twisted sticks and red and green icing ... everyone else provides the creativity.

 

MIRACLE ON YOUR STREET: Crunched for time with a party to attend? Pick up ready-to-eat cookies and artfully dip them in red and green Candy Melts candy for an elegant upgrade. No one has to know how simple it was to create a customized dessert.

 

INSTANT SNOWMAN: Coat peanut butter sandwich cookies in white Candy Melts candy to create instant snowmen. Decorate with hats, scarves and, of course, carrot noses.

 

IT’S A WRAP: Turn your homemade treats into gourmet gifts. Stock up on holiday-themed gift bags and boxes, colorful tissue paper, ribbons and tags to transform made-from-the-heart goodies into extra special gifts.

For more holiday ideas, recipes and inspiration, visit www.wilton.com.

Festive Peppermint Twists

Dark cocoa, light cocoa, green or white candy melts candy

Peppermint twisted sticks candy

Assorted holiday sprinkles, including holiday nonpareils, confetti and jimmies, red and green colored sugars

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a disposable dipping container or bowl, separately melt Candy Melts candy in microwave following package instructions.

Dip peppermint sticks into melted candy; tap stick lightly to smooth surface. Immediately add sprinkles. Set on prepared cookie sheet; chill until set, 5 to 10 minutes.

 

Cheery Cereal Tree Treats

Makes about 12 treats

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine

4 cups mini marshmallows

Juniper or leaf green icing color

6 cups crisp rice cereal

White cookie icing

Jumbo rainbow nonpareils, sprinkles or sugars, as desired

Prepare 3-D Silicone Tree Mold and silicone spatula or wooden spoon with vegetable pan spray.

In large sauce-pan, melt butter. Add marshmallows; cook and stir until melted. Tint with icing color. Remove from heat and add cereal; mix well. Press into prepared mold. When cool to touch, remove from mold. (If mixture becomes hard to work with, microwave at 50 percent power for 30 to 60 seconds to soften.)

Heat Cookie Icing following label directions. Squeeze snow and garlands on trees; add sprinkles and sugars as desired. Let dry.

Christmas Candy Swirl Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Red and green sparkle gel

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray Easy Decorate Swirl Cookie Pan with vegetable pan spray.

In small bowl, combine flour and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Beat in egg and extracts; mix well. Add flour mixture; beat until well blended. Press dough into pan cavities, filling 2/3 full.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown around edges. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn pan over; lightly tap pan to remove cookies. Cool cookies completely.

Decorate cooled cookies with Sparkle Gel. Let set, at least 30 minutes.

Sweet Snowmen Cookies

White, red, green, black and orange candy melts candy

Peanut butter sandwich cookies

Holiday confetti, holiday and snowflake mix sprinkles

Cinnamon drops

Black sugar pearls

Silver pearlized sugar

Melt white Candy Melts candy following package instructions. Place cookies on a cooling grid positioned over a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Spoon melted candy over top surface of cookie; chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Turn cookies over, candy side down, on cooling grid. Completely cover cookies with melted candy; chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set. Repeat, if needed, to completely cover cookie.

To decorate snowmen, melt Candy Melts candy following package instructions. Using red, green and white candy in candy or disposable decorating bag, pipe hats, ear muff band and scarves, adding colored sugar trim to candy before it sets. For a ball cap, cut a Candy Melt candy wafer in half; attach with melted candy. Attach sprinkles for buttons, earmuffs and decorative accents using dots of melted candy. Using melted black candy and decorating bag, pipe facial features. Using melted orange candy and decorating bag, pipe nose.

Jolly Santa’s Treat Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Red, green and white cookie icing

Red and dark green colored sugars

White sparkling or pearlized sugar

White sugar pearls

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and extracts; mix well. Add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls.

On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Dip Cookie Hugger or “Ho-Ho” Word cookie cutters in flour before each use.

Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 8 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool cookies completely. Outline and fill-in cooled cookies with cookie icing. For “Ho-Ho” cookies, sprinkle with sugars; let set until icing is completely dry. For snowflake cookie, add white cookie icing detail to dried cookie; attach sugar pearls with dots of icing.

Merry Marshmallow Sticks

White, red, green and dark cocoa candy melts

Large marshmallows

Holiday confetti, nonpareils and colored sugars

In a disposable dipping container or bowl, melt candy melts candy separately following package instructions.

Dip marshmallows in melted candy and place on cooling grid positioned over parchment-lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with sugars and sprinkles. Chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set.

Using a candy decorating bag or disposable decorating bag, drizzle melted candy or pipe outlines, if desired; immediately sprinkle with sugars or nonpareils. Attach confetti with dots of melted candy.

Chill 2 to 3 minutes or until set.

With the point of sharp knife, carefully cut through candy on the marshmallow where stick will be inserted. Insert three marshmallows onto each colored lollipop stick, securing with melted candy.

 

Fast and Festive Christmas Cookies

Green, red, white, light and dark cocoa candy melts candy

Assorted purchased ready-to-eat cookies

Holiday confetti, nonpareils, holly mix, colored sugars and sprinkles

In disposable dipping container or bowl, melt candy melts separately following package instructions. Partially or completely dip cookies in melted candy. Place cookies on cooling grid positioned over parchment-lined cookie sheet. If desired, sprinkle with sugars and sprinkles. Chill 5 to 10 minutes or until set.

 

Additional decorating ideas:

• Drizzle with melted candy in a contrasting color. Chill 3 to 5 minutes or until set.

• Attach sprinkles with dots of melted candy. Chill 3 to 5 minutes or until set.

• Pipe melted candy bows and other decorations.

— Courtesy of Wilton Enterprises, Family Features

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