So since we are tight on money I made a lot of homemade gifts this year (can’t list them all as my family is probably my main reader and they are the ones getting them!). But ironically because I’m tight on time with the Little Angel (LA) I did not make as many Christmas cookies and candies as I usually do.
But I thought I’d share one new thing I did and one old favorite 🙂
So the old faithful gift that I made is Apple Butter.
I LOVE Apple Butter and I hope most of my gift recipients do too. If not, it should be easy to pass on.
I use a recipe from allrecipes (can find it here) with some alterations. I love it because it’s easy and it pretty much cooks itself.
I use different types of apples, basically the ones I like best- Golden Delicious, MacIntosh and some Red Delicious. I don’t bother chopping the apples up in tiny pieces, just slices (saves time). And I add a bit more sugar and cinnamon.
Plus I cook it WAY longer than they do. Usually over night or all day on low. Then I let it sit a bit more on the warm status. I like to make sure it’s really carmalized and dark.
Then I put it in the little canning jars I got at Albertsons. I read up on canning (which is really complicated) and I basically fill my big soup pot with water, put a small hand towel in the bottom (so nothing bounces around) and put my jars in there. Then I bring it to a boil. When it gets to a boil I turn off the heat and let it cool. When I pull the jars out they have sealed.
Voila! Canned, homemade apple butter with minimal effort!
The second thing I tried this year was new. I saw it on the Bakerella site after one of my friends on facebook announced she was trying to make them. Thus began an obsession with these things. They are delicious, look way more complicated than they really are and did I mention delicious?
They are Red Velvet Cake Balls covered in chocolate 🙂 Here is the recipe. Now I’ll tell you tricks I learned to make it easier. I have not yet perfected them. I suppose I’ll have to make them a few more times to figure that out…. poor me. Poor Steve… poor family and friends. But I must figure it out. And we all must eat them until I do! Poor us 🙂
Here are some tricks I used. First you bake the Red Velvet cake… the trick here is not eating all the cake! This was a tough one for me. Then you mix it with a can of cream cheese frosting.
Then you begin to roll the mixture into little balls. I had a hard time making them into nice smooth balls… don’t worry we’ll fix it later.
It’s a sticky mess and afterwards it will look like you killed someone.
Then stick them in the fridge. Let them set for a while and then go back over them. This time they should form smoother balls.
Next melt some chocolate. I was just careful and used regular chocolate chips. I melted in smaller batches because it can take some time and I didn’t want the chocolate to get hard. Then I dipped them in and coated the balls. You can use white or milk chocolate. Next time I will use some food coloring and make the white chocolate green and red for some festive snacks! 🙂
I struggled with getting the chocolate smooth since the Little Angel kept waking up every time she sensed the chocolate had melted!
Then I packaged them up with some chocolate covered pretzels and gave them as gifts! They are delicious and look way more complicated than they are… the hardest part is cleaning your hands and not eating everything you just made!
And this is our stash!
And besides the chocolate dipping phase LA helped by sleeping or happily watching Mommy make a mess!