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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas Desserts

Yes, I know this is late, but here is how I spent Christmas 2012.  I had eleventy glorious days off from work.  The thing I miss the most is my mid-day naps.  I swear, I sleep more than the average person.  I also did not go to the gym once in the entire month of December and gorged myself on chocolate.  It was wonderful.
I was busy this Christmas season.  I made everyone's favorite dessert.  Everyone, being everyone who would be there Christmas morning to open presents as is our Bruner family tradition.  Except my brother Richard.  It must be because I do not love him.  Or that he has been gone for two years and I am so used to him not being present that I forgot count him.  Or by the time I got everyone's order I did not want to add another dessert to the list.  Or, since I know my brother so well, I know he would not want anything to add because he does not like dessert that much.  Or it would be some obscure Romanian or European dessert that I would have no hope of tackling in two days.  You should hear him go on his rant as why European Chocolate is superior to American Chocolate.  Or all of the above, take your pick.

 For my husband, J.  Sad to say the Peanut Butter Bars did not make it to my parent's Christmas Morning with the rest of the goodies.  I was forbidden from letting them leave the house for fear they would not return.

Peanut Butter Bars

  • 1 cup Oatmeal
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup melted Butter
  • Combine and mix all of the above ingredients.  Press into an ungreased pan and refrigerate.
    • Chocolate Topping
    • 1 cup Chocolate Chips
    • 1/4 cup Peanut Butter
    • Microwave 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate chips are melted.  Mix in between microwave times until the chocolate is smooth and creamy.  Pour and spread out on top of the peanut butter base.  Refrigerate.

For my Dad

Mexican Wedding Cookies 

  • 1 cup Butter, softened or room temperature.  Any recipe that starts with butter has to be good.
  • 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • * Optional:  3/4 cup chopped Walnuts.  I love nuts, so I always add them to these cookies. For people who are nut-haters or allergic they are perfectly scrumptious without them.
  • Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla.  Add flour and salt and mix until almost combined.  Add the nuts last.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 - 12 minutes.  When cool enough to touch cover in powdered sugar.  This recipe makes 40 - 50 cookies using a small ice cream scoop to portion them.

For my sister, Camilla, and her husband, Steven.  The phone call went like this, "Hi Camilla, what is your favorite dessert?"  "Rocky Road Fudge."  "What is Steve's favorite dessert?" "Rocky Road Fudge."  "Can you get Steve on the phone so I can ask him?" "No, he's busy watching the game and loves Rocky Road Fudge."  Then I come to find out that Steve's favorite dessert is Camilla's favorite dessert by default of marriage and pregnancy cravings.  Sorry Steve.

Easy Rocky Road Fudge

  • 1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 bag (12 oz) Chocolate Chips
  • 1 oz unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
  • 1 and 1/2 cup mini Marshmallows
  • Melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk over low heat, mixing until smooth.  Remove from heat and add vanilla, walnuts, and marshmallows.  Pour into a buttered pan and refrigerate for 2+ hours until set.  Cut into squares.
For my Mom.

Mini Pecan Pies 

Pie Crust

  • 2 and 1/4 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Sticks (1 cup) of cold Butter cut into chunks
  • 8-10 Tbs ice cold water
  • Food processor flour, butter, and salt until grainy.  Add ice cold water 1 Tbs at a time until the dough starts to form.  Toss out onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough comes together.  Separate the dough into two balls and refrigerate in plastic wrap for 30 minutes or longer.  Use only half the dough.  I used the other half for Chicken Pot Pie.

Pecan Pie Filling

  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Butter, melted
  • 1 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 cup whole or chopped Pecans
  • Whisk together all the ingredients then add Pecans last.  
  • Roll out one ball of dough, half the dough, and cut out circles with a biscuit cutter or large cup.  Spray a muffin pan with Pam or other cooking spray.  Put the dough rounds into the pan.  Fill each dough cup with pecan filling. Bake at 375 degrees for around 20 - 30 minutes.
I realized an important thing as I making my family's favorite desserts:  My family is NUTS.  Everything they requested had nuts in it.  


 Our Bruner Family Christmas 2012.  Mom and the Christmas Tree.

 My niece Illianna (Camilla and Steve's daughter) loved opening presents and she did it with such gusto.  We should have just wrapped a bunch of empty boxes for her to open since that was her favorite part.

 Illianna and her Daddy, Steve.
 Illianna, Dad, my brother Richard, and J wearing his new hat.  He is a hat guy.  He has a collection of hats.
 Illianna and her Grandpa.  Daddy also got a new hat this year.  He calls it his "Old Man Hat" to go with his "Old Man Glasses".  I think he looks good in his hat.  
This is my favorite present from my husband.  J made me a pinner apron for my Civil War dress.  I cannot sew so I appreciate the time and skill he spent making this for me.  He has been working on a new hoop skirt dress which he was hoping to finish by Christmas, but since that did not happen he whipped up this apron instead.  I love it.  I love plaid anything.