Easy-To-Make Holiday Treats for Everyone

Winter is an amazing time to start baking and having fun in the kitchen with family. There are all sorts of treats varying from peppermint hot cocoa, gingerbread, shortbread cookie, eggnog, and fudge. So many delicious ideas, there are two  different recipes in this article, one for Non-Alcoholic Eggnog and the other, Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Fudge. First is the Non-Alcoholic Eggnog you will need, 4 cups unsweetened almond milk, 6 egg yolks, 2/3 cup raw honey, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, plus more for topping (optional), 1 1/2 tsp ground, cinnamon, plus more for topping (optional), 1 tbsp whole cloves, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract. Now for the instructions,  First (in a kitchen blender), add the unsweetened almond milk, egg yolks, raw honey, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon, and then blend for a minute or so until smooth. Next, pour your mixture into a saucepan or deep pot, add the whole cloves, and heat over medium heat. Cook the eggnog for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to thicken and slowly cook the eggs. It will be frothy at first. You want the mixture to get hot, but not simmer or boil. If it gets close to boiling, you can whisk vigorously and temporarily remove from the heat.
Once the eggnog has thickened, turn off the heat, and stir in the vanilla extract. Strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer to remove the cloves, then pour into an airtight container and place in the fridge to chill for 6-8 hours, or overnight. Lastly, serve.

The second recipe is the Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Fudge, you will need 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter (plus more, softened, for pan), 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 3 cups sugar, 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (2/3 cup), 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract, 16 striped peppermint candies (coarsely crushed [1/2 cup]), 8 ounces white chocolate, melted.

For the instructions, start out by buttering an 8-inch square cake pan; lining it with parchment, leaving a 1-inch overhang on two sides, then butter the parchment. Next, place butter in a large heatproof glass bowl set on a wire rack. Now you need to heat the cream, sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder, corn syrup, and salt in a heavy saucepan over a medium flame, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and chocolate is melted, it takes about 10 minutes. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and bring mixture to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Then boil, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 238 degrees, which will take about 15 minutes. Take chocolate mixture and pour it into a glass bowl (do not scrape the saucepan). Attach the candy thermometer to bowl; let stand (without stirring) until mixture reaches 110 degrees, it will take about an hour and 30 minutes. After the mixture has reached 110 degrees, stir in the peppermint extract with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring and folding until mixture starts to thicken, lightens slightly in color, and begins to lose its sheen, again, will take about 5 minutes. Now pour your mixture into the prepared cake pan (do not scrape bowl), pressing evenly with your hands, then smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with your peppermint candies, pressing to adhere and let cool for an hour. Then Spread the melted white chocolate over the candies and refrigerate until firm, at least 15 minutes and up to 3 days. To serve and preserve, run a sharp knife around edges of fudge to loosen; remove using parchment. Cut into about 1-inch squares. The fudge can be stored in refrigerator, between layers of parchment, up to 1 week, do not forget to bring the fudge to room temperature before serving.

The Triple-Chocolate Peppermint Fudge and the Eggnog takes a long time ut both recipes are perfect for the Winter season and upcoming holidays. Both of the recipes are time consuming and very involved, but,if you like to bake, cook, and/or experiment, they are perfect to make during Winter break!

By Bailey Brown

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