Fifth Annual Holiday Baking Party

This year was my Fifth Baking/Candy Party in Brooklyn!  My Fifth! How crazy is that?  I really cannot believe I have been here that many years or that I have convinced people it’s a good idea that many years in a row.  Some of my friends have been able to make it or have known me for all five.  It’s so great to know you have people who are still willing to hang out with you year after year.

Yeah friends! 

It’s even more exciting to see what they will make year after year.  We had peppermint fudge, heath bars, chocolate bark, (in 4 flavors!), little turtles, mini apple pies, peppermint fudge balls, and brownies with Andes Chocolate topping.  I have to say that I am so proud of my old roommate for making her brownies.  It’s one of the first things she has baked completely from scratch with no problems and no burning and they were delicious.  I like to think I rubbed off on her a bit.

Snacks & a kiss tree!

I stuck to my usual  and favorite peanut butter balls and added a new creation I found on Spoon Fork Bacon recently called Cracked Out Rice Krispie Treats.  I like to think of them as Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Rice Krispie Bars.   For my hosting portion of the event, I found a recipe for Spice White Wine Sangria also on the Spoon Fork Bacon site.  I was thinking smart this year and set out a few not sweet snacks for us to munch on so that we might not going on sugar binges and be “hungover” later.  This worked brilliantly and I have saved more of the tasty treats to eat in the weeks to come.  Will keep this in mind for future parties.

Winter Sangria

As for the two recipes I am sharing today, the Rice Krispies and Sangria, they turned out excellent.  I don’t really like white chocolate, but mixing it with peanut butter made me not even notice.  The one thing I would change in the future is to make the chocolate/peanut butter mixture larger.  The bars were really crumbly and needed more of the mixture to bind them together.  I would say don’t double it but 1 1/2 times it.   The sangria was a huge hit and much sweeter than I expected.  I “doubled” the recipe, but somethings were not quite double.  The pomegranate seeds at the bottom are so yummy and the simple syrup makes gives it the perfect spice.

Picture from K

Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink Rice Krispie Bars
(approximately 35  1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ bars)

  • 3½ cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 1 cup small pretzel sticks, broken up
  • 1/3 cup smooth peanut butter (addition 1 tbsp for topping)
  • 6 ounces white chocolate chips, melted (addition 1-2 oz for topping)
  • sprinkles
  1. Place cereal, peanuts and pretzels into a large mixing bowl and gently toss together.
  2. In another bowl stir together the peanut butter and melted chocolate until smooth.
  3. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the cereal mixture and fold together until well coated.
  4. Pat into a parchment paper lined 13 x 9 inch pan.  mounds of the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Mix the addition melted chocolate chips and peanut butter together in a small bowl.  Splash over bars like Jackson Pollock. Add sprinkles.
  6. Place in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours to allow the treats to set quicker. 
  7. Once the chocolate/peanut butter has set carefully peel the treats from the sheet of parchment cut into bars for sharing.

Winter Sangria
(about 16 servings)

  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/1/3 cup water
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 star anise
  • 6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 (1.5l, magnum) bottle pinot grigio
  • 4 clementines, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 10 oz cup pomegranate seeds
  1. Place sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, star anise and cardamom pods into a small saucepan, stir and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. 
  2. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  3. While the spice simple syrup cools, spread tangerine slices onto a baking sheet and sprinkle the tops with a small amount of brown sugar.
  4. Place the baking sheet under a broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to caramelize slices.
  5. Place the orange slices and pomegranate seeds into a large pitcher.
  6. Pour the wine over the fruit and strain the simple syrup into the pitcher- save the cinnamon sticks and star anise. Stir until well combined.
  7.   Add back cinnamon and star anise as garnish. 
  8. Isn’t it pretty?
  9. Place the sangria in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least an hour.

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