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Grazing with Gary

Holly jolly holiday treats

By: Gary Gilligan
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How we love the holiday time of the year. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and if you have any leftovers in the fridge, it is time to toss it out. And the bad news keeps rolling in: Can you? Or can’t you eat romaine? How about turkey? What is next on the recall list? This is why it is important that you shop the farmers’ market. Local farmers control their product and animals. Now let’s get back to the fun holiday treats. Enjoy these recipes.

 

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 8 candy canes, crushed

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill the bottom of a large pot with 3 inches water and bring to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, then place a large heatproof bowl on top. Add semi-sweet chocolate and stir occasionally until chocolate has melted. Pour into prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
  2. Over the same pot of barely simmering water, place another large heatproof bowl. Add white chocolate and stir until melted. Pour over set semi-sweet chocolate then top immediately with candy canes. Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.


 

Oreo Cookie Tree

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 6 drops green food coloring
  • 15 Oreo cookies
  • Christmas nonpareils
  • Gold sanding sugar
  • 1 thick pretzel rod
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • Mini M&Ms

Directions

  1. In a small heatproof bowl, combine chocolate chips, coconut oil, and food coloring. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth.
  2. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip each Oreo in green melted chocolate, using a spoon to fully coat, then place on baking sheet. Sprinkle immediately with nonpareils and sanding sugar.
  3. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, about 10 minutes.
  4. Arrange Oreos in a large triangle, side by side, on a serving platter to form a tree. Break off a small piece of a pretzel rod (about 2 inches) and dab a bit of melted chocolate on the broken side. Stick pretzel rod on the bottom middle Oreo to create trunk.
  5. Transfer remaining melted chocolate to a small Ziploc bag and snip the corner. Pipe chocolate to look like string for Christmas lights on the tree. Arrange mini M&Ms on top of the melted chocolate to look like lights.
  6. Let set 5 minutes before serving.


 

Sugar Cookie truffles

Ingredients

  • 15 baked sugar cookies
  • 1 (8 ounces) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips
  • Christmas sprinkles, for garnish

Directions

  1. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large food processor, process cookies until sandy. Alternatively, place cookies in a large resealable plastic bag and use a wooden spoon to crush cookies into crumbs.
  2. In a large bowl, stir to combine crushed cookies, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt. Using a small cookie scoop, form cookie mixture into small balls and place on the cooking sheet. Repeat until all mixture is used and place baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix coconut oil with white chocolate chips. Microwave on low in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until white chocolate is completely melted.
  4. When the balls are chilled, dip them in the chocolate and place back on cooking sheet. Decorate immediately with Christmas sprinkles. When all truffles are dipped and decorated, return to freezer for 10 more minutes to set.