Christmas DIY

Desserts, DIY, Graphic Design, Life, Recipes

This post contains the following recipes: Eggnog Fudge, Buttermilk Maple Walnut Fudge, Chocolate Covered Caramels, Protein Energy Balls.

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I just love the holidays and everything that goes along with them. All the family traditions that don’t seem very big that just make the holiday special. And as quickly as it comes.. its gone.

The only thing I don’t like about Christmas is the gift buying. Not because I’m selfish.. although I am broke- but mostly because I hate crowded malls and cramped stores and 45 minutes drives to stores that are 2 miles away. This year (mostly because I’m broke) I did DIY gifts for most people. You all know my love of pinterest and all things crafty. So I decided to do homemade treats. I threw around a lot of ideas, it started at mason jar hot coco, then mason jar cookie mix, then mason jar candies (see the pattern..?) So naturally my final idea had nothing to do with mason jars. Well not entirely, I did 2 different gifts, one was mason jars the other wasn’t.

As mentioned above, I don’t like shopping in crowds, so naturally I don’t do Black Friday either but I did do Black Saturday (do they have a name for the day after Black Friday yet..? I don’t know..) I found these cool mini bread pans at Micheal’s that were 3 for the price of 1. So I bought 9 for $6. Then I did some pinterest searching for a cool treat that I could fill them with. I landed on fudge. So I attempted (key word: attempted) to make 3 different kinds of fudge and layered them in each bread pan. Red Velvet Fudge (um yes.) Egg Nog Fudge (very holidayish.) Buttermilk Maple Cream Fudge (buttermilk and maple- end of story.)

The Red Velvet Fudge failed. Miserably. The final product was edible, just not quite the texture of fudge, more of googey, stretchy candy. Good thing I tested it a week early. So what I ended up doing was making the other 2 fudges which turned out much better and chocolate covered caramels.

Eggnog Fudge

Eggnog Fudge via Design with Influence

What you need

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup eggnog
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10-12 oz white chocolate ships
  • 1 jar/7 oz Marshmallow creme
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla

What you do

  1. Line a 9×9 pan with foil and butter the foil well.
  2. Combine the butter, eggnog, cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stirring occasionally. Once the mixture has begun to boil, reduce the heat and continue to cook until the temperature reaches 240°. The first time I made this (as a test) I didn’t have a candy thermometer so I used the soft ball method (drop some of the mixture into a glass of cold water, once the drop form small soft balls the temperature should be about 240), which I was actually successful with but I do recommend a candy thermometer if you can get your hands on one.
  3. Once it reaches 240, remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate chips. Stir until melted and blended in.
  4. Add the Marshmallow, nutmeg and vanilla and stir until blended in.
  5. Once the mixture if smooth, spread into the foiled pan. Garnish with some more nutmeg if you’d like.
  6. Let cool at room temperature. Once its cooled, I recommend putting in the fridge for another hour or so to harden- it makes cutting the fudge easier.
  7. Cut and serve.

Store covered, in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Eggnog Fudge via Design with Influence

Buttermilk Maple Fudge

What you need

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup walnuts

What you do

  1. Line a 9×9 pan with foil and butter the foil well.
  2. Combine both sugars, butter, cream and maple syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stirring occasionally. Once the mixture has begun to boil, reduce the heat and continue to cook until the temperature reaches 240°.
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and walnuts. Stir to mix in.
  4. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes and get ready for an arm workout. After the 10 minutes, stir continuously for about 5-10 minutes. The fudge should be cooled and thick when you’re done. My fudge was a little soft when everything was done.. I think the longer you stir the firmed it will get so stir!
  5. Once you’ve gotten your workout in, pour into the foiled pan and place in the fridge for at least an hour.
  6. Cut and serve. This stuff is actually addictively delish!

My plan was to make labels for the gifts but because my Red Velvet didn’t turn out everything was very last minute and I didn’t have time for that.

In place of the failed Red Velvet Fudge, I did Chocolate Covered Salted Caramels. Like I said, everything was very last minute so I totally cheated here, in the future I will not cheat but I couldn’t take the chance that these wouldn’t turn out and I’ve never made caramels before and have been told they are very difficult.

Chocolate Covered Salted Caramels

What you need

  • If you’re going to cheat.. 2 bags of individually wrapped caramels candies
  • Melting chocolate
  • Sea salt

What you do

  1. Line a cookie tray with wax paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate either using a double boiler or in the microwave. Unwrap all the caramels while the chocolate is melting.
  3. Dip each caramel in the chocolate. Using a fork, remove the caramels from the chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Using another fork, place the caramel on the wax paper, repeat with the remaining caramels. The chocolate will set pretty quickly so pause every few minutes to sprinkle the sea salt on top of each caramel.
  4. Place in the fridge for about a half hour before you remove from the cookie sheet.

The caramels will harden (the teeth breaking hard), so if giving these as a gift recommend to the recipient they do not store them in the fridge, they are completely fine being store at room temp.

With the above recipes I made about 9 gift packages.

I also couldn’t knock my mason jar ideas so I did a few other gifts using masons jars. I just happen to have 5 extra mason jars lying around from when I first moved and thought I would use 12 mason jars as decorations in my house.. so those didn’t cost me anything (but the dollar store sells mason jars!). Then I found this cool pinterest recipe for protein energy balls and thought that a few select people would appreciate them than the sugary fudge so I filed the jars with the protein energy balls.

Protein Energy Balls

What you need

  • 2/3 cup raw almonds
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • 2/3 cup raw oatmeal flakes
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • mini chocolate chips (optional- Surprisingly I preferred them without the chocolate)

What you do

  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
  2. Using a food processor, process the almonds, walnuts, oats, cinnamon and salt to a fine meal.
  3. Add the agave nectar and vanilla and process to mix.
  4. If you’re adding the chocolate chips throw those in and give it another mix.
  5. Roll the dough into small balls and place on the wax paper. Wetting your hands every so often makes rolling the balls a litter easier. Repeat with remaining dough.
  6. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about an hour.

Protein Energy Balls via Design with InfluenceI filled 5 mason jars with protein balls doubling this recipe.

These could have turned out much better if things just worked out how they were supposed to. But of course they never do…

Christmas Fudge DIY via Design with Influence

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