This year Michelle and I broke with tradition and didn't attend the Black Friday sales. I slept in and ventured out around noon on Black Friday. While I missed the extra 25% off at the registers, I also missed the crowds and the long lines.
The last two weeks I have been busy knitting socks for Christmas gifts. Both Brittany and Diana have strongly hinted that they would like a pair of hand knit Merino wool socks. The first pair is finished and the second and third pairs have one sock left to knit. I used Dream in Color Smooshy (Fierce Scarlet) for the first pair and Valley Yarns Huntington for the other two pairs. Smooshy is easy to work with and produces uniform, well defined stitches. Huntington is a soft, reasonably priced ($4.79/ 218 yd. skein) Merino wool/ Nylon blend. Unlike Smooshy, the Huntington tends to slip off the needles and the yarn has a tendency to split making it hard to pick up dropped stitches. The two socks that were knit in Huntington are so soft. Overall Huntington is a good value and I would consider knitting with it again.
|Top to bottom: Dream In Color Smooshy, Huntington Brown and Huntington Scarlet|
Last week I was browsing through stores looking for items to add to gift baskets. A small box of chocolate truffles (6 per box) was $12.99. That was only the beginning. I could easily spend over $100.00 to fill a small gift basket. Then the inspiration hit me, why not make my own packaged cookies and treats? After several stops I had enough supplies to make my own creations. Michaels sells Wilton decorating supplies (chocolate, flavorings, decorating sugars, gift boxes and bags), Staples sells Avery Labels for the bags and boxes, and BJ's Wholesale Club was the source for the giant industrial sized package of Oreo cookies.
|Chocolate Mint Oreo Cookies|
|The chocolate appears shiny until it hardens.|
|Cookies in Gift Box.|
Avery.com was the source for the Santa graphic and font for the label.
For this project you will need a silicone baking mat and a cookie sheet and some way to melt the chocolate coating for the cookies. Last year I invested in a Wilton Chocolate Pro melting pot. It melts the chocolate evenly and keeps it at a consistent temperature. The Chocolate Pro sells for about $30 but Michaels will let you use the 50% coupons on this item.
Directions for Choclate Mint Oreo Cookies:
This is a quick and easy project- it only takes about an hour start to finish. Beware of predators that may lurk around your kitchen ready to pounce on "samples". You may want to make extra cookies so that you will have enough to wrap for gifts.
Wilton Chocolate Pro Melting Pot- you can use a double boiler or microwave to melt chocolate if you prefer.
Wilton Christmas Sprinkles (red, white and green combination)
Wilton Melting Chocolate-milk chocolate wafers (this is about $15/bag but it's real chocolate and not chocolate flavored coating). There is a definite difference in the taste.
Wilton Candy Flavoring Oils-don't use liquid extracts that are used to flavor cakes and cookies. The liquid will cause the chocolate to seize and become grainy and unusable.
Oreo Cookies- 10 sleeve box This project uses half a box of cookies (5 sleeves).
Silicone baking mat- You can line the baking with parchment paper instead of the silicone mat but the silicone mat gives the underside of the cookie a smooth surface. Any chocolate that seeps from the edges of the cookies as they harden can be scraped from the mat and re-melted.
Wilton small metal spatula
Baking sheet or pan
Wilton Chocolate dipping tools-slotted spatula You can also use a fork. Be careful not to let the fork scratch your melting pot's non stick interior.
Avery 22804 Glossy White Oval Labels
Wilton Treat Boxes 3 inch x 4.5 inches
Decorative cupcake liners from Walmart
Red Ribbon- 3/8 inch wide
1. Add a small amount of chocolate to the melting pot. No more than 1/3 to 1/2 full. Stir with a heat resistant silicone spatula until the chocolate is melted.
2. Add 2 drops of Wilton Creme de menthe candy flavoring to the chocolate and stir.
3. Dip one Oreo at a time in the chocolate. Make sure the cookie is evenly coated. Lift the cookie out of the chocolate using the slotted spatula. Shake off the excess chocolate and transfer to the baking mat. Decorate the cookies with the sprinkles before the chocolate hardens.
4. After the chocolate has hardened, carefully lift the cookie from the baking mat with the small metal spatula and transfer to another baking sheet until all the cookies have hardened and ready to wrap.
5. Load the Avery Oval 1 1/2 inch x 2 1/2 inch white labels in the printer (I used a laser printer). Use your own design or a design from Avery.com for your label. Preview the label before you print it. If using a laser printer change the paper option from plain to label. The label option will print slower than the plain paper option, allowing the design more time to adhere to the label. This will help to eliminate streaks in the printed design.
6. Add a label to the top of the treat box. Place the cookies in a cupcake liner and place in the bottom of the box. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit snugly in the treat box. Place the parchment paper over the layer of cookies and place cookies in cupcake liners on top of the parchment paper for a second layer.
7. Attach a label to the upper left side of the treat box window. Cut a piece of red ribbon long enough to tie around the box and make a bow.