Holiday Desserts on a Dime
Strapped for cash this holiday season? Large family coming over for food and festivities? Impress your guests and keep cash in your wallets with our quick and easy dessert recipe’s this holiday season. Try them out and let us know which recipe is your favorite by using #TitleMax!
Pretzel Christmas Trees
- Pretzel Rods
- Green candy melts
- Sandwich bag
- Waxed paper
- Mini M&M’s
- Lay out a generous sheet of waxed paper out and place the pretzel rods about 6 inches apart from each other.
- Melt half a bag of the candy melts in the sandwich bag according to the direction. When the melts have reached a liquid form, snip a super tiny piece of one of the corners off the bag.
- Squeeze the candy melt out of the bag starting from the top of the pretzel rod, gradually creating a tree shape.
- Sprinkle your choice of toppings on the candy melt to create the look of ornaments. This is a great step for the kids to do!
- Let the candy melt cool completely before serving. Cool over night to make sure they had set appropriately.
Buttery Shortbread Cookies
- 2 cups butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
- Optional: Your favorite sprinkles
- Serves:approx 40, depending on cut-out size
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and brown sugar. Using paddle attachment, mix until fluffy and light. Add 3½ cups of the flour and mix until combined.
- On a large board, sprinkle ½ cup flour. Knead dough by hand for 5 minutes, adding as much of the remaining ½ cup flour as needed to make a soft dough. The dough should end up soft and pliable, similar to play-dough, not sticky. Work in desired amount of sprinkles, if using. (You may not end up using all the flour, depending on how your dough feels.)
- Form a ball, wrap tightly, and chill for about 30 minutes. Roll dough out to about ½ inch thickness. Either cut into 3×1 rectangular strips, triangles, or use cookie cutter for shapes. Place each cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Poke cookies with fork to design if not using sprinkles.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. If your shapes are smaller, bake less time. Bake longer for bigger shapes.
- Cool completely on wire rack.
Source: Chew Out Loud
Candied Popcorn Stars
- 1 c. sugar
- ⅓ c. light corn syrup
- ⅓ c. water
- 2 tbsp. butter
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 8 c. Popped Corn
- ⅓ c. red and/or green nonpareils
- ¼ c. cinnamon candies
- Combine sugar and next 3 ingredients in a heavy sauce pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 255 degrees F.
- Remove from heat; stir in salt and vanilla. Quickly pour mixture over popcorn; toss gently to coat. Add nonpareils, tossing gently to combine.
- Moisten or grease hands. Working quickly, press the mixture into 5-inch star-shaped cookie cutter. If candied corn becomes too hard to shape, place in a warm (200 degrees F) oven for a few minutes to soften.
- 3½ c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. coriander
- ½ tsp. ground cloves
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1½ stick unsalted butter
- ⅔ c. light-brown sugar
- ½ c. dark corn syrup
- ¼ c. molasses
- 4 c. confectioners’ sugar
- 6 tbsp. Warm water
- 3 tbsp. meringue powder
- Brown, pink, and red gel food coloring
- In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, coriander, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and molasses; cook, stirring frequently, until blended. Pour into flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms. Cover and refrigerate until cool enough to handle, about 1 hour.
- Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and pat each into a square. Roll out each square between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer to a baking pan, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove and unwrap 1 dough square. Using lightly floured cutters, cut out 6 each of pig, cow, rooster, and horse shapes. Transfer to 2 parchment-lined pans, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Bake until firm, 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
- For Royal Icing: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high, beat confectioners’ sugar, 6 tablespoons warm water, and 3 tablespoons meringue powder until thick and glossy, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Divide icing among 4 bowls. To tint icing for pig cookies: Dip a toothpick 3/4 inch deep into pink gel food coloring and stir into first bowl. For cow: Stir 1/4 teaspoon brown gel food coloring into second bowl. For rooster: Stir 1/4 teaspoon red gel food coloring into third bowl; dip a toothpick 3/4 inch deep into brown gel food coloring and stir into icing. For horse: Leave fourth bowl white.
- Decorate cookies with specified colors Royal Icing. To package, fill 4 boxes with shredded wood excelsior. Nestle 12 cookies (3 of each animal shape) in each box.
Santa Hat Strawberry Brownies
- 1 pan of your favorite brownies, cooled and cut into desired size and shape (I used a round cutter)
- 12-16 small strawberries, cleaned and hulled
- vanilla-mascarpone buttercream (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla extract and salt. Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth. Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.
- To assemble, pipe a ring of vanilla buttercream on top of each brownie. Cut off the base of a strawberry so it is flat and place it upside down on each brownie, pushing slightly to secure in place. Top the tip of the strawberry with a dot of buttercream to finish the Santa hat.
Snowman Mini Donuts
- Mini Powdered Donuts
- Candy Corn
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- White Frosting
- Press the big end of a candy corn into the hole of the mini powdered donut for the nose.
- Use the white frosting to adhere the mini chocolate chips onto the mini powdered donut for the face.
Christmas Crack Toffee
- 50 saltine crackers (approx.)
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cubed
- 1 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 1/2 to 1 cup M&M’s, chopped nuts or sliced almonds
- Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
- Line a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray and then line the pan with saltine crackers.
- Place the butter and sugar in a medium sized pot over low medium-low heat. Stir until the butter is melted. Once the butter has melted, bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Stir constantly.
- Once it’s nice and bubbly, remove pan from heat and pour evenly over saltine crackers. Spread mixture with a knife… however it doesn’t have to be perfect. Try to move fast during this part so the toffee doesn’t harden.
- Place pan in the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes. The mixture will spread evenly over the crackers as it bakes.
- Remove pan from oven and then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the toffee while it’s still hot. Let the chocolate chips melt for a few minutes and then spread all over the toffee with a spatula. Sprinkle M&M’s (or nuts) on top and then place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once chocolate has hardened break pieces off the foil and in an container. It will stay fresh for 1 – 2 weeks.
- 3 cups white chocolate chips
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Cinnamon-sugar mix for sprinkling on top
- In a medium saucepan melt chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk over medium-low heat. Stir continuously.
- Once completely melted together remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and cinnamon.
- Pour into a bread pan lined with parchment.
- Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top.
- Let chill for 2 hours. Cut into one-inch squares.