Holiday Party!

I love this time of year.  I love the excuse of the holidays to create absolutely delicious treats that you never make any other time.  Every year I say I am going to make them at some other time, but I never do.  I think it would ruin the pure joy when I do have those tasty treats, like candy cane cookies, chocolate covered peanut butter balls, chocolate covered cherries, chocolate covered coconut balls, and almond bark.
My last year at MSU in Bozeman my friends and I got together to make candies and cookies for holidays.  It was so fun to spend time with my close friends in the kitchen, everyone making something to share.  I decided to carry this with me to New York and for the past four years I have had a party.  Everyone brings their ingredients or dough and makes or bakes their treat at my tiny apartment.  This year I mixed up some mulled wine and baked brie as I pretend to be the perfect hostess. 
The mulled wine was really good and simple and since I was debating between mulled wine and spiked cider, this recipe was a perfect in between.  I was doubling the recipe for the large group and used a $3 Trader Joe’s Shiraz  for the wine and only half the ginger in the recipe because that was all I had on hand.  It was still delicious.

mulled wine in progress, step one
mulled wine, the finished project

 As for the brie, I made it once using the recipe and since then have made it by memory.  I love the raspberry jam and smear a lot of it on top and pour plenty of syrup on the top.  I normally use a round of brie, but this time i used two wedges and two croissants packages.

Bake brie yummyness. Messy looking, perhaps.

Now on to the goodies.  Every year I make favorite candies that my mom and grandma make back home and one new one that and friends mom introduced me to: chocolate covered peanut butter balls, chocolate covered oreo balls, and chocolate covered peanut butter sandwiches.  If you can’t tell, I love chocolate.  We always use almond bark for our covering needs. They have it in white and chocolate.  You can use either one for dipping, but I prefer the chocolate on the peanut butter balls and white on the oreo balls. 

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls 

  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup rice krispies (only if you use creamy PB) 
  • almond bark (or some kind of candy chocolate) 

Mix all ingredients except almond bark.  I like to put it in the fridge for a bit, but you don’t have to.  Roll it into quarter sized balls.  Melt almond bark by directions on package and dip in the balls in chocolate.  Place on wax paper to cool.  Store in the fridge. 

Chocolate Covered Oreo Balls

  • one package of oreos (or Trader joes jo-jos, and excellent alternative)
  • one package of cream cheese 
  • Almond bark

Crush the oreos and mix with the cream cheese.  Roll into quarter sized balls and dip in almond bark.  Place on wax paper to cool. Store in fridge.

Chocolate Covered Peanut butter sandwiches

  • Ritz Crackers 
  • Peanut butter
  • Almond bark

Place peanut butter between two ritz crackers and dip in melted almond bark.  Store in fridge.

The spread of candies, cookies and bars we made this year.

My mom typically mixed the left over almond bark with almond slivers and spread it out on a cookie sheet then break it into pieces once it cooled.  Also called Almond bark.

Oh- one more thing, if you are on the east coast, can you please tell me where to find almond bark?  I bring it back from the mid west every year because I can’t find it here.