A while back my dear young friend Claire from Claire K Creations emailed asking if I’d participate in her first ever Foodie Secret Santa. I love getting packages and I love to cook and bake so I was in.
I had no idea what to make and as usual, I went off half cocked and didn’t read everything correctly. AND, I didn’t go back and re-read before I started cooking. I had read it, I knew what I was doing. Uhh, no, I didn’t.
I remembered reading that I needed 3 items for 3 other secret santas. That’s not what the deal was at all. I did get the number 3 right for the secret santas but I only needed to make one item. Do you ever make more work for yourself than necessary?
First I made decorated sugar cookies because I love them at Christmas time. These were quite small and the recipe is my favourite. Yes, I was covered in icing and food coloring gel but that’s part of the fun.
Rob, my number one recipe tester ate the first cookie and gave his approval.
I couldn’t have Christmas without some Russian caramels (it’s fudge, really). It’s easy to make – only 3 ingredients and I’m addicted to it.
The winner on the day were the chocolate, coconut and walnut balls. Think Almond Joy but with walnuts. These took a bit of time but they were really easy to make. If you haven’t made all your Christmas goodies yet, give these a try. My only problem was I made the balls with a scoop and I could have made them half the size they were and probably should have remade them.
Why didn’t I? I would have ended up eating all of these because I couldn’t bear to toss them out. So my 3 secret santas got jumbo balls.
- 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk (not one can)
- 1½ teaspoons almond extract
- 8 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
- One 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate morsels, melted
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- After the balls have set up, melt the chocolate and shortening until smooth. Dip into the chocolate to coat evenly and lightly. Place onto a parchment or foil lined sheet pan to dry.
- Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chocolate-coconut-balls-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback
- In a bowl mix together the nuts, condensed milk, almond extract and coconut.
- Using your fingers, form the mixture into balls about ¾-inch round. (make them smaller rather than large like I did - about one bite's worth)
- Place onto baking sheet and let rest at room temperature for 4 hours or in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- After the balls have set, melt the chocolate and shortening in a bowl over slowly simmering water. Stir until smooth.
- Dip into the chocolate to coat evenly and lightly and pull out with a meat fork. Place onto a baking paper or a foil lined baking sheet to dry.
And what did I get? I have no idea who sent this but it was a delightful package of Gingerbread Biscotti and a jar of gingerbread syrup. Yes, you read that right, gingerbread syrup. I was over the moon.
I received my last two gifts today and can I say, “Welcome to Queensland?” It’s 28C/82F and it’s hot and humid but I suspect the packages went through an even hotter place because the chocolate melted together. No worries though, because a knife can cut chocolate mints out of that mass of chocolate and they are delicious!
Finally, from Lisa the Gourmet Wog, I got these candied orange peels dipped in chocolate. I know it’s a secret santa but she posted that she sent these and that they’d gone to Queensland. I’m pretty sure I’m right on this. I tasted that one that fell off the crowd and yum!
Don’t forget to check out the other Foodie Secret Santa gifts over at Claire’s place.