Christmas Fudge

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I try to make some food-related gift every year for extended family members and this year I decided to make fudge (the easier “cheater” kind because I have a five-week-old and limited time to fiddle with cooked sugar mixtures). Plus, Zach’s family (who we’ll be celebrating with this year) likes their desserts sweet.

While I do have a sweet tooth, I prefer dark to milk chocolate and can’t stomach things like cotton candy and white chocolate. Or fudge, often. All the better that I’ll be less tempted to eat it.

We’re going up north to celebrate with Zach’s mom’s family this Saturday so I made a big batch of Buckeye Fudge today. It was reasonably easy – I made a double-batch in a quarter sheet pan and that was enough to fill a dozen of the little gift boxes I ordered here.

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I wrapped the boxes with elastic ribbon from Hobby Lobby (bought at 50% off) and tags from World Market that were actually cheap. The boxes are lined with parchment to prevent grease spots on the outside. And since this fudge contains 2 cups of butter and 2 cups of peanut butter, that was definitely a very real concern.

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Christmas baking¬†is in¬†full swing around here as the day approaches all too rapidly. I remember when I was a kid it seemed like Christmas would never come. Now it always sneaks up on me. Last night I baked cookies with friends, I’m also making cinnamon rolls for our trip Saturday, and I’ve begun prepping the macarons I make for Christmas Eve. I’m making raspberry this year – last year was chocolate mint.

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I decided after I got married that I would try to add a new tradition or two to Zach’s and my Christmas celebration every year. Last year it was macarons (which Zach LOVES – plus they’re gluten-free, and fiddly enough to be really special) and cinnamon rolls for breakfast before our trip up north. This year I want us all to have Christmas pajamas for Christmas Eve (and take a family photo) and I’m going to make something special for us for Christmas Day breakfast.

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Do you have any yummy food gift ideas (homemade or otherwise)?

Halloween + Harry Potter Party

DSC_0228Bellatrix (me), Dobby, and Professor Trelawney

I know everyone seems to have already moved on to Thanksgiving, if not Christmas, but I like to take the holidays at a slower pace and I’m still fondly reminiscing about the Halloween party we threw at our apartment this year. It was also a Harry Potter themed birthday party for a dear friend so everyone dressed up as their favorite Potter character. I was blown away by everyone’s creativity and dedication. Yes, we are all over the age of twenty.

DSC_0233Zach as Dumbledore

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Some friends made their own wands, which was way beyond anything I would have attempted.

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I did, however, help with the butterbeer.

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We served veggies, chips, and chili dogs. Fancy!

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 Oh, and mac n cheese. I apologize for the grossness of this picture.

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 Fortunately, we had our own Harry.

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 And a Remus and Mad-Eye.

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¬†Oh and Ron and Hermione. We didn’t have any character repeats, fortunately!

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 I made a red velvet cake and gluten-free pumpkin spice cupcakes.

Ah….now I’m ready for the upcoming holidays.

A Handmade Birthday

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My youngest sister’s birthday is one day before mine. Today she turned five and tomorrow I turn twenty. We celebrated today with lunch at Steak n’ Shake and cake and presents at home. Low-key, and for me and my fiance, bookended by homework, but that’s life.

I stayed up until 2 last night making my sister’s cake. It has two layers of chocolate cake and two layers of funfetti cake; it’s filled with fudge frosting and frosted with pink vanilla buttercream. The best part of making homemade cakes is cutting them and seeing the layers, cohesive and colorful, cake dissection.

Her gift was a crocheted panda amigurumi. I used¬†this¬†tutorial and it’s excellent. This birthday came together easily. Sometimes I try to force myself to be creative for special occasions and it backfires, but this was lovely.

Christmas Truffles

PicMonkey CollageI picked up some Martha Stewart gift boxes on sale earlier this year and decided they would be perfect for packaging truffles for family members.

Instead of traditional ganache truffles, I got creative and made peppermint chocolate cake truffles and scotcharoo truffles. The first are basically cake pops with no sticks, but the second are an invention of my own. I made scotcharoo bars (rice crispies, sugar, corn syrup, and peanut butter) but rolled the mixture into balls instead of pressing it into a pan. I dipped each ball into the traditional scotcharoo bar topping: a mixture of melted chocolate and butterscotch chips.
Scotcharoo bars are really rich so this is a great way to enjoy just a bite. Christmas creativity always seems to come to me last minute (when I have free time to actually think about something other than school and work).