Twice-As-Nice Holiday Treats

MISSION, Kan., Dec. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — (Family Features) With 334 days leading up to December, make the most of the season by enjoying the holiday’s quintessential flavors like gingerbread, peppermint and cinnamon – with double the festive treats to please every taste.

Transform one vibrant holiday flavor into two festive treats that family and friends are sure to love. Nothing signals the holiday season like the sweet and spicy snap of gingerbread. Enjoy this must-have flavor in freshly baked Gingerbread Men Cookies or a Triple Chocolate Gingerbread cake.

Peppermint offers a refreshing, sweet taste that’s perfect for gifted treats like Peppermint Crunch Popcorn and Peppermint Bars. Also, cinnamon stars twice as nice in a Peanut Butter Snickerdoodle Tart with Cinnamon Peanut Crust and decadent Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Bars.

Find more gingerbread, peppermint and cinnamon treats at McCormick.com.

Gingerbread Men Cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 24

3  cups flour
2  teaspoons McCormick Ground Ginger
1  teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1  teaspoon baking soda
1/4  teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
1/4  teaspoon salt
3/4  cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2  cup molasses
1  egg
1  teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

In large bowl, mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

In separate large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into thick, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes, or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1-2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Decorate as desired.

Triple Chocolate Gingerbread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 16

1  package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix
1  package (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding mix
4  eggs
1  tablespoon McCormick Ground Ginger
1  teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon McCormick Ground Allspice
1/2  cup sour cream
1/2  cup vegetable oil
1/2  cup molasses
1/2  cup water
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
   nonstick baking spray with flour

Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, using electric mixer on low speed, beat cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, sour cream, vegetable oil, molasses and water until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into 10-cup Bundt pan prepared with nonstick spray.

Bake 50 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and springs back when touched lightly. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack. Cool completely.

Peppermint Bars
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 36

Brownies:
1  family-size package fudge brownie mix

Peppermint Filling:
5   cups confectioners’ sugar
14 tablespoons butter, melted
2   tablespoons heavy cream
1   teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
1/8  teaspoon McCormick Food Color & Egg Dye, Red

Chocolate Glaze:
12  ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
      crushed peppermint candies (optional)

To make Brownies: Heat oven to 350 F. Prepare brownie mix according to package instructions. Spread on greased, foil-lined, 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan.

Bake 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.

To make Peppermint Filling: In large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, cream, peppermint extract and food coloring until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled brownies. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

To make Chocolate Glaze: In large, microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate and butter on high 2 minutes, until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over top of chilled brownies. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Cut into bars.

Peppermint Crunch Popcorn
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16

6  cups plain popped popcorn
1  bag (12 ounces) candy-coated chocolate pieces
12 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1  teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract
1  tablespoon red and green sprinkles

In large bowl, mix popcorn and candy-coated pieces. Line large, shallow baking pan with wax paper. Set aside.

Melt white chocolate according to package instructions. Stir in peppermint extract. Pour over popcorn mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Spread in single layer on prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with red and green sprinkles.

Let chocolate cool and harden completely. Gently break into clusters. Package in cellophane bags with ribbons for holiday gifting.

Peanut Butter Snickerdoodle Tart with Cinnamon Peanut Crust
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
Servings: 8

1 1/2  cups lightly salted roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
3  tablespoons packed brown sugar
3  tablespoons butter, melted
1  teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon, divided
3  tablespoons chocolate milk
4  ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2  cup creamy peanut butter
2  tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1  teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2  cup heavy cream

Heat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, mix peanuts, sugar, butter and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Remove 1/4 cup and spread on small baking sheet. Divide remaining peanut mixture among four (4-inch) tart pans with removable bottoms. Press firmly onto bottom and sides of each pan.

Bake tart crusts and peanut mixture together 8 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

In medium microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate milk on high 45 seconds. Add chocolate; stir until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

In large bowl, using electric mixer on medium speed, beat peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and remaining cinnamon until smooth. Add heavy cream; beat until soft peaks form. Spread in prepared tart crusts. Spread chocolate mixture over top.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or until ready to serve. Cut each tart in half. Sprinkle with toasted peanut crumble.

Cinnamon Caramel Swirl Bars
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Servings: 24

1 1/2  cups flour
2  teaspoons baking powder
2  teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon salt
1 1/2  cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 package (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped
1/4  cup milk

Heat oven to 350 F. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, mix brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and pecans until well blended. Add flour mixture; mix well. Reserve 1 cup batter. Spread remaining batter into lightly greased, foil-lined, 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes, or until firm.

In microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and milk on high 2-3 minutes, or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Cool 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour over baked layer in pan, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges. Drop reserved batter by spoonfuls over caramel layer. With knife, cut through batter several times for marble effect.

Bake 15-20 minutes, or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack. Lift from pan. Cut into bars.

Michael French
mfrench@familyfeatures.com 
1-888-824-3337
editors.familyfeatures.com

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