Cranberry Hazelnut Fudge + Bonus Recipes

One evening in mid-November after a long day at work, I was sitting inside my condo relaxing and watching a little bit of TV. I glanced out the window and I saw the prettiest of sights. Large fluffy snowflakes were dancing to the ground. It was the first snow fall of the year. Even though it was dark already, the sky was still a bright grey. The sky was heavy and felt as though it was closing in on the city. For a brief instance, I felt like I was living in a snow globe that someone had turned upside down, shook and set back upright. It was so pretty. The snowflakes looked lovely passing through the path of the street lamp light and falling slowly to the streets. Needless to say, this imagery put me in the christmasy of Christmas moods! I jumped up off the couch, turned on the new Michael Buble Christmas CD and started to bake. 

Normally I don’t start my Christmas baking so early, but I could not help it this year. Luckily, a lot of the recipes I’ve been making freeze well and there will be a ton of tasty treats for the week of Christmas. Well, one can only hope! I have to admit….I’ve been snacking a little already :)

Today, to kick start the Christmas season, I thought I’d post two recipes I’ve already made and two my mom has made. She could not wait to start Christmas baking either. *hah* The first recipe is Hazelnut Cranberry Fudge. It is probably my favourite item to make at Christmas. It’s full of rich chocolate, tart cranberries, pecans and Nutella. Mmm! The second recipe is something a little more uncommon in the realm of Christmas baking – coconut mango rum squares. They are a nice change of pace. The third recipe is from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook I bought while in New York City in October – White Chocolate Pecan Shortbread. And the final recipe for today is my mom’s Snow Capped Chocolate Crinkles. They look so Christmasy to me.

What are you planning on baking this Christmas season?


Recipe # 1: Easy Hazelnut Cranberry Fudge

Ingredients
  • 1-12 ounce bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup of hazelnut chocolate spread such as Nutella
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
  • 1-12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup of pecans; roughly chopped

Method

1. Line 8 x 8 baking dish with foil; set aside.

2. Put milk chocolate chips, evaporated milk, chocolate hazelnut spread, vanilla, salt and semisweet chocolate chips into a medium pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth (about 5 minutes). 

3. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Transfer mixture to the prepared dish. Shake and tap dish gently on the countertop and remove any air bubbles from the fudge. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Cover and chill until set (about 3 hours).

4. Loosen fudge from dish and turn out onto a cutting board. Remove and discard the foil. Using a serrated knife, cut fudge into pieces and serve.

Source: Whole Foods website

Recipe # 2: Coconut Mango Rum Squares

Ingredients
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter; melted
  • 1 can (300ml) of sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons of amber rum
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of macadamia nuts; coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup of sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup of chopped dried mango
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 1 cup of salted butter; at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon of amber rum
  • 2 cups of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

Method


1. Make Crust: in a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, brown sugar and butter. Mix until everything is moistened with butter. Press into a parchment paper-lined 13 x 9 metal cake pan. Bake at 325’F for 15 minutes (or until slightly browned). Let cool on a wire rack.

2. Make Filling: in a medium bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, rum and flour. Stir in the nuts, coconut and mango. Spread over the crust. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 325’F (or until golden and set). Allow to cool.

3. Make Icing: In a bowl, beat together the butter, milk and rum until smooth and fluffy. Beat the icing sugar in gradually. Once icing is fluffy, spread over the filling and refrigerate the sqaure for a minimum of 1 hour before cutting it. Cut into bars.

Source: Canadian Living Magazine

Recipe # 3: White Chocolate Pecan Shortbread

Ingredients
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter; softened
  • 1 cup of firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg; at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of pecans; coarsely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of pecans; coarsely chopped

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350’F. Grease and lightly flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. 

2. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until creamy (about 2 to 3 minutes). Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the pecans. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

4. Remove the shortbread from the oven and immediately sprinkle the white chocolate chips on top. Let stand for 5 minutes and then gently spread the melted chocolate in a thin layer over top of the bar. Sprinkle with pecans. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Source: Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

Recipe # 4: Snow Capped Chocolate Crinkles

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 4 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate; melted and cooled
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Method

1. In a large bowl, mix the oil, chocolate, white sugar and vanilla. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

2. Heat the oven to 350’F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

3. Drop dough by the teaspoonfuls in the powdered sugar and roll to coat well. Roll into ball shape while in sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.

4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until almost no imprint remains when lightly touched in the centre. Immediately remove from cookie sheets and cool on wire cooling racks.

Source: Betty Crocker

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