In a Christmas Cookie Crunch

We all have limited time during the holidays and even less time when you have little ones to take care of. The list of things to do seems to be endless. If you still enjoy baking or want to include the kiddos as well and would like some easy and quick ideas for Christmas cookies, I have you covered. Gone are the days of 10 different cookies including individually cut out and decorated Christmas sugar cookies. (Maybe see you again once the kids are out of the baby/toddler stage). In are the days of easy, fast, and yummy!


These days I'm lucky to get one type of Christmas cookie made, and if I'm feeling particularly in the holiday spirit, I'll pick one recipe that is either new or requires a little more time, and then stick with my go-to standards for the rest. This year that cookie was the Swig Sugar Cookie Copycat and my standards are the Easy Peasy Rocky Road, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss, and Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods. Display them on a pretty festive platter and have them ready for any and all guests that pop over! This Enjoy Holiday Platter (on Amazon) is super fun and unique!

I always make extra cookies so that I can pass on some of the sweet goodness to others. Homemade Christmas cookies always bring a smile to one's face.


Now let's get to cooking making! My mouth is officially watering.




EASY PEASY ROCKY ROAD

This recipe is as easy as they come and requires 0 baking! You can either melt the chocolate and peanut butter in the microwave on 50% power or use a stovetop.

This recipe can still be made for those with peanut or tree nut allergies by substituting or leaving out the necessary ingredients. (Ex. For peanut allergy, substitute almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter and substitute another 1/2 cup of walnuts or pecans for the peanuts. For tree nut allergy, remove the tree nuts, but add 1 more cup of chopped peanuts in its place.)


INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups of semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter

  • 3 cups mini marshamllows

  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used both walnuts and pecans)

  • 1/2 cup peanuts (optional)


STEPS:

1. Spray an 8x8 glass pan with nonstick spray (or use a larger pan for thinner treats).

2. Melt together the chocolate chips and peanut butter over low heat on the stove (or in

the microwave at 50% power) until creamy and smooth.

3. Stir in chopped nuts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add marshmallows and stir to coat. (NOTE: Make sure to let chocolate mixture to cool

a bit so marshmallows remain mostly intact and do not melt.)

5. Spread in pan and refrigerate until firm.


6. Cut into pieces after it has cooled and is firm.

NOTE: If in a hurry, you can put these in the freezer to expedite the firming process.




CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZEL RODS:

This is another easy and pretty treat to make and share with others. There are endless options for the toppings (sprinkles, crushed white chocolate peppermint, crushed candy canes, chocolate drizzles, mini M&M's, crumbled oreos, candy topping, etc.). Here are some I made when we hosted an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party (pre-kids)...

Package them in adorable little Christmas bags with ribbon for a special treat for neighbors, friends, or as a party favor.


INGREDIENTS:

  • almond bark (1 package each of white and regular chocolate for variety)

  • pretzel rods

  • toppings / sprinkles / crushed candy canes (optional)

  • parchment paper


STEPS:

  1. Lay out parchment paper on the counter/table where you'll be placing your pretzel rods.

  2. Melt the white chocolate almond bark separately from the regular chocolate almond bark so you'll have two different color dipped pretzel rods. You can melt the chocolate over the stovetop on low heat until creamy or in the microwave on 50% power. If using the microwave, I put about 4 pieces of almond bark in a microwave bowl for 1 min 20 seconds at 50% power, stir, then put back in the microwave for an additional 30-45 seconds at 50% power. Stir and repeat another 20-30 seconds if necessary.

  3. Dip your pretzel rods in the melted chocolate to coat, hold for a few seconds to set up, and then lay them down on the parchment paper. While they are still wet (no set up yet), decorate the rods by either sprinkling them with festive sprinkles, crushed candy canes, any other topping, or drizzling them with the opposite color almond bark. You can do all the sides by holding it and sprinkling the toppings onto the pretzel or just one-sided by sprinkling them directly on the parchment paper.




CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BLISS:

This is a for-sure favorite in our home. If you love peanut butter, chocolate and a bit of crunch, this is the treat for you!


They remind me of a version of the Girl Scout cookie, Peanut Butter Patties / Tagalongs. And they are super easy and quick to make too!


INGREDIENTS:

  • almond bark (1 package each of white and regular chocolate for variety)

  • Ritz crackers

  • peanut butter

  • parchment paper


STEPS:

  1. Lay out parchment paper on the counter/table where you'll be placing your cookies.

  2. Make a peanut butter sandwich with the ritz crackers and peanut butter. Just spread a little peanut butter on one cracker and top with another cracker. Repeat for as many cookies as you'd like. I usually make at least 20-30 as these go fast in my house!

  3. Melt the white chocolate almond bark separately from the regular chocolate almond bark so you'll have two different color dipped pretzel rods. You can melt the chocolate over the stovetop on low heat until creamy or in the microwave on 50% power. If using the microwave, I put about 4 pieces of almond bark in a microwave bowl for 1 min 20 seconds at 50% power, stir, then put back in the microwave for an additional 30-45 seconds at 50% power. Stir and repeat another 20-30 seconds if necessary.

  4. Drop your peanut butter ritz cookie into the melted chocolate bowl and use a spatula to flip the cookie over so all sides are coated. Using great tongs that are wider than the cookie makes all the difference in being able to quickly grab your cookie without messing up the cookie, shake off the excess, and move your cookie to the parchment paper. This set of Popco Cooking Tongs are some of my favorites and can be used for many other cooking projects as well.

  5. Move the cookies to the parchment paper. Use a fork and drizzle the cookies with the other color almond bark for a picture perfect cookie that not only tastes great but looks fabulous as well! (NOTE: If the you drizzle the cookie while it is still wet, it will give it a different appearance and look than when they are already set up.)


FANCY TIP: Many people ask me how I make the fancy designs on the cookies... Well you're in luck as I'm not a recipe hoarder and am happy to share my secrets. If you want to be creative and add an extra artistic touch to your cookies, try this approach. Start with a bowl of melted white almond bark, and add a few drizzles of regular chocolate and then add your cookie to gently swirl. Using the tongs, flip the cookie over and gently swirl the cookie while still in the bowl to shake off the excess and create beautiful unique patterns on the cookie.