treats.

The last few weeks have been spent making tons of Christmas-themed desserts for my friends and family – which means my waistline now hates me. The recipes seem to be popular with those who have tasted them, so I thought I’d share some pictures of the final products and links to the directions to prove anyone can make them without it turning into a Pinterest fail.

First up: Christmas crack (recipe). This recipe is addicting and easy to put your own spin on, i.e. I made two kinds. The coconut and Heath bar Christmas crack is for my mom and me. My dad, who hates coconut, gets Heath bar and crushed pecan Christmas crack. It’s simple to make, a fast clean up (when you put foil on the baking sheets) and the recipe is almost perfect.

To have the best Christmas crack possible, use three packs of graham crackers instead of what the recipe recommends (14 crackers). The homemade caramel won’t make the graham crackers mushy if it’s spread more thinly.

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Next: Oreo balls (recipe). I made the first round of these directly following the directions. They weren’t very good – the taste of cream cheese was extremely overpowering. I don’t like cream cheese on a good day, so this overuse of it almost induced vomiting. The second time I made them, I bought mint-flavored Oreos in the hopes that they would be a better match for the cream cheese. I also used less cream cheese (about 5.5oz) when it actually came time to form the balls. Those two switches made for some delicious snacks, which is proven by the fact that half of them are gone and it’s only been three days since I made them.

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Thirdly: chocolate caramel pretzels (recipe). I followed this recipe almost exactly, minus the addition of coconut oil to the chocolate while melting it. You can use melting chocolates, like I did, or add Crisco to the chocolate to get it smooth (for those who, like me, don’t keep coconut oil on hand). They’re delicious, but be sure to put foil under the pretzels to keep the melted caramel from sticking to the tray in the oven. Whatever you do, don’t use wax paper – unless you enjoy picking bits of it off the backs of the caramel pretzels, that is.

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Finally: sugar cookie cake balls (recipe). My mom described these as “very sweet,” but I haven’t received complaints from anyone else. The recipe suggests making your own sugar cookies, but I used ready-bake dough from the store, which worked fine. I would advise doubling the recipe if you plan to share these. The amount of cream cheese for this recipe was spot on (read: didn’t induce vomiting). As is clear from the picture, I decorated the tops of the cake balls with crushed candy canes (instead of the sprinkles that are called for in the recipe) for a very simple reason: I wanted the Oreo and sugar cookie cake balls to be more unique.

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