Celebrating the Season: Holiday Tradition #2


Every year, for I think the past 5 years (?) my friends Bianca and Rebecca and I do a baking exchange. We each back four to five things, multiplied by three, so we have huge baskets to give to our friends and family during the holiday seasons.

It is always a fun time, and I always look forward to what my two gal pals will bake and bring to the exchange.  I always have to make homemade chex mix, Bianca always makes her yummy pretzels, and Rebecca makes the BEST chocolate crinkle cookies.  Those are standards, but each year we make something new and test it out.

I made mini lemon poppy seed muffins, along with chocolate covered peanut butter ritz crackers, chex mix, and seasoned oyster crackers.  Here are the recipes:

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
1/2 cup sweet creamy butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 lemons, zest of, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F Coat muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time  Beat well after each.

In a separate bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, poppy seeds, and lemon zest.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating two times with the buttermilk, then lemon juice, and then vanilla.  Beat just until smooth.  In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gently fold them into the muffin batter until blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, 3/4-full.  Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely.  I sometimes sprinkle the muffin mixture with sugar prior to putting in the oven just to add a little extra sweetness.

Tex Mex Chex Mix

6 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix dry, (1.25 oz)
1 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce (I used Tamari, so that it is vegetarian)
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
8 cups rice or corn, or combo of both chex mix
1 ½ cup peanuts
1 ½ cup pretzel sticks broken into two
1 cup Cheez Its
1 cup Provolone cheez its
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Melt Margarine in large oven safe bowl.  Stir in taco seasoning, worcestershire, and hot pepper sauce.  Gradually add cereal, peanuts, and pretzels; stir to coat evenly.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Spread on absorbent paper to cool.  Store in airtight container.

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