This is my favorite family tradition! A whole weekend of baking, Christmas movies, and my brother’s favorite breakfast! Each year we make Christmas tins for colleagues and friends made up of our family’s secret cookie recipe, Dad’s Almond Roca, Muddy Buddies (aka Puppy Chow, Reindeer Poop), fudge and bark. Sometimes we add pecan fingers if we’re not too exhausted after everything else! Each year we make a different kind of fudge and bark, but the rest stays the same. These recipes are requested every year! Friday night we go shopping and start the baking, we split the jobs between the five of us; everyone pitches in!
Unfortunately, I’ve been told I cannot share the family’s secret cookie recipe☹, maybe someday when my mom is retired I’ll be able to convince her to sell them online! We’ve been asked time and time again for the recipe, cookies at other times of the year (mom has made them for birthdays upon request), and what in the world makes them taste the way they do…I don’t even know! The texture of the cookie is unique, I just can’t even describe it! Frosting the cookies is the best part! Tanner has really got the art of frosting down! We started him early, years ago there would be piles of candy sprinkles on globs of frosting😊. We start the cookies on Friday night and freeze them to frost on Saturday. One piece of the secret I can tell you (and if you already have one, it’s not a secret!) is that we wouldn’t even try to make these without our KitchenAid Mixer! This thing is a lifesaver!
The Muddy Buddie recipe you can find on the back of Chex cereal boxes when Christmas is near! I still remember the first time I had Muddy Buddies, I was in 2nd grade at a school Christmas party. Goodies were being handed around which included these weird little brownish-white, clumpy things. One bite and I was hooked! We found the recipe and have made them every year since! I’m still shocked at how many people haven’t heard of these. The Muddy Buddie making job is usually given to my brother and Tanner on Friday night, so we can snack on them all weekend😊.
I’m not sure which recipe is loved more, the cookies or Dad’s Roca! And guess what?! He’s letting me share the recipe! This is a two-person job unless you want hand cramps! My Dad and I are usually in charge of this one. This is a Saturday project and can be done in one day. Grab a friend and try it!
Time for a break and we’ll resume in the morning! This is my favorite time! Hallmark Christmas movies!! Tanner’s already quoting parts of the movies and the songs, love it! He gets this from my brother, the guy can see a movie once and throw around hilarious quotes all day! Finding Christmas, A Royal Christmas, and Christmas Melody are among our all-time favorites! Spoiler: they fall in love! – I think I just covered every Hallmark Christmas movie ever made:)
Ah, Saturday morning. Tanner wakes me up just so he can run out to the living room and lay on the couch with his dad. Why did I get up?? Once my mom is up, it’s rolled-up pancake time! You would think my reading this blog post that my mom is the cooking type but the cookie recipe, pecan fingers and rolled-up pancakes are pretty much the extents of her abilities😊. She’s really perfected these few though, so I’ve got to give her credit! My brother and I loved rolled-up pancakes as kids and still do as adults! Try it! The secret is in the thinness of them, so you can dust them with sugar and roll! Check out the recipe!
After breakfast, we start again! Frosting cookies, making the bark and the fudge! I search Pinterest and choose different kinds each year. I try to get more and more unique with my picks. This year I’m making Salted Chocolate Cookie Butter Bark (by wineandglue.com) and Cinnamon Roll Fudge (found at ohbiteit.com)! While making the Cookie Butter Bark I forgot the salt and threw the bark right in the freezer to harden! My dad saved the day though when he suggested putting the pan of bark in the oven to soften, then add the salt and put it back in the freezer. It worked great but keep a very close eye on it. I suggest not even walking away. We preheated the oven to 200 degrees and it was only in for two or three minutes.
Saturday night and Sunday are all about the tin crafting! I make lists of everyone I want to make tins for. After Christmas sales are best for buying lots of tins for the next year, I have tons saved up! I label all the tins to keep everything organized and line all the tins with tissue paper to start. I start filling the tins with the heavier cookies, then top with the lighter candy and sprinkle in the Muddy Buddies as a filler.
I hope you’ve had fun living out my family’s Christmas tradition with me! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss anything!