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I was inspired to make these funny guys after reading about nisse (or tomtar) from Scandinavian folklore. These little fabled creatures have long white beards and pointed caps, and they are associated with winter and Christmastime. In older versions of lore most nisse are benevolent, but if they are mistreated then trouble is not far behind. Modern versions of nisse are said to bring Christmas presents in Sweden and Norway, like Santa Claus!

These delicious salty-sweet squares are a wonderful hybrid of dark chocolate brownies and peanut butter candy. They are studded throughout with roasted salted peanuts which give them texture and crunch. The hardest part about this recipe? Waiting for the bars to cool so you can slice and eat them!

Eating divinity candy at Christmastime is a tradition here in the south, and it seems like everyone has a beloved family recipe. The recipe I use is not a family heirloom, but is from a 1987 Hershey's cookbook that is filled with vintage recipes. Like all divinity recipes, it uses simple ingredients, but it can be temperamental to make. Similar to meringue cookies, divinity should be made on dry days with low humidity. Too much humidity will prevent the candy from setting.



When the weather is cold and dry and my hair has enough static electricity to stand on end, I know it's the perfect low-humidity day for making meringues. It's not hard to whip up a big batch, and I'd been dreaming of pink, green and red cookies for a few days. I piped them in all shapes and sizes, and used white nonpareils for texture on some of them, too. All piled together they remind me of Christmas tree ornaments.

There must be a million different melting snowman treats on the blogosphere, so when my friends at Food Network approached me to make a melting snowman cake, I wanted it to be something fresh and different. I'd never seen a melting snowman bundt cake, so that became the plan. One bundt cake turned into two stacked high, so we ended up with a double bundt cake that will feed the masses at your next holiday party!

Rumor has it that today is National Cocoa Day! I'm not sure that pink strawberry hot cocoa was what they had in mind when the holiday was created, but that's okay. It's delicious and makes a super cute gift-in-a-jar.
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