Twice-As-Nice Holiday Treats

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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 .

Gingerbread Men CookiesPrep time: 20 minutesCook time: 8 minutesServings: 24

3  cups flour2  teaspoons McCormick Ground Ginger1  teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon1  teaspoon baking soda1/4  teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg1/4  teaspoon salt3/4  cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar1/2  cup molasses1  egg1  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 GingerbreadPrep time: 10 minutesCook time: 50 minutesServings: 16

1  package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix1  package (4-serving size) chocolate instant pudding mix4  eggs1  tablespoon McCormick Ground Ginger1  teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon 1/2  teaspoon McCormick Ground Allspice1/2  cup sour cream1/2  cup vegetable oil1/2  cup molasses1/2  cup water1 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 BarsPrep time: 15 minutesCook time: 15 minutesServings: 36

Brownies:1  family-size package fudge brownie mix

Peppermint Filling: 5   cups confectioners’ sugar14 tablespoons butter, melted2   tablespoons heavy cream1   teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract1/8  teaspoon McCormick Food Color & Egg Dye, Red

Chocolate Glaze: 12  ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped1/2 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 PopcornPrep time: 10 minutesServings: 16

6  cups plain popped popcorn1  bag (12 ounces) candy-coated chocolate pieces12 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped1  teaspoon McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract1  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 CrustPrep time: 30 minutesCook time: 8 minutesServings: 8

1 1/2  cups lightly salted roasted peanuts, lightly crushed3  tablespoons packed brown sugar3  tablespoons butter, melted1  teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon, divided3  tablespoons chocolate milk4  ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped1/2  cup creamy peanut butter2  tablespoons sweetened condensed milk1  teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract1/2  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 BarsPrep time: 25 minutesCook time: 35 minutesServings: 24

1 1/2  cups flour2  teaspoons baking powder2  teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon1/4  teaspoon salt1 1/2  cups firmly packed brown sugar1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted2 eggs1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract1 cup coarsely chopped pecans1 package (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped1/4  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 1-888-824-3337

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Globe Newswire: 15:02 GMT Thursday 6th December 2018

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