It has been WAY too long, and I have certainly missed reading about all the creative ideas being shared this Christmas season! Fortunately, the project that has kept me tied up since Thanksgiving is complete and I am enjoying the holidays in a major way!! This is by far my favorite time of the year and I absolutely love any opportunity to throw a party. Over the past few days I have been baking my little heart out and have loved every minute of it! Thought I would share a few sweet treats that are not only E-A-S-Y, but a huge hit! I will warn you ... I am not one to follow the directions exactly, so feel free to ask questions :)
Caramel-Chocolate Tartlets from Southern Living at Home
1 (13.4 oz) can of dulce de leche (Nestle)
2 (2.1 oz) packages of frozen mini phyllo pastry shells, thawed (Athens)
1 cup double chocolate morsels or semisweet morsels
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped, or coarsely chopped pecans, or both
- Spoon 1 heaping tsp of dulce de leche into each pastry shell.
- Microwave chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted, stirring twice.
- Spoon 1 tsp chocolate over dulce de leche.
- Sprinkle tartlets with peanuts or pecans.
- Freeze one minute to set chocolate.
- Makes 30 tartlets.
I began by toasting my pastries for about 4 to 5 minutes on 350. This step isn't necessary since they are already cooked, although I prefer my pastries little more crisp. Once out of the oven I used the 1 heaping tsp of dulce de leche, as recommended. What they don't tell you is how STICKY this "sweet milk" is! Try spraying a little bit of Pam on your index finger to scoop the dulce de leche into the shell. Makes the process so much easier, I promise! After scooping into the shell, smooth out to create a full bottom layer. The recipe calls for 1 cup of morsels, where instead I ended up using around 1 1/2 cups to create the top layer (as if more chocolate is EVER a problem!!). The recipe calls for peanuts or pecans, but I decided to spice mine up a little! Since pecans are a staple item during the holidays, I used what I had available. After being chopped, I placed the pecans on aluminum foil and lightly dusted them with Pam and topped with cinnamon. I also had coconut leftover from pumpkin bread I made during the Thanksgiving holidays and toasted it, as well. The directions say to put the tartlets in the freezer for a minute. Because my freezer is FULL and also on the bottom, I placed mine on a baking sheet and left them in the refrigerator for about 10 to 15 minutes. Works just as well! These sweets are hands down one of the prettiest I have ever made and will be perfect for my cocktail party! See what you think ...
Another big hit were the Holiday Pretzel Treats from Disney's Family Fun Magazine. I needed something quick to make and easy to package, and this definitely fit the bill. A friend recommended this recipe after seeing it on Pinterest where she used them for school Christmas favors. Note, the Hugs don't take quite as long to melt so you may get the "double bump". (Insert jokes here ... I did!! Hilarious!!) They didn't stay around long for anyone to notice the difference between the regular Kisses and the Hugs, especially since the Hugs were my favorite! Take a look ...