If you’ve read my post on Mom’s Easy Microwave Caramel Corn, you know I have a problem with overreaching at Christmastime. Upon further reflection, all my craziness can be blamed on my Mom.
Linda is always a terror in the kitchen, but during Christmastime she takes it to a whole other level. Her uniform is her robe, which she never changes out of because there just isn’t a spare moment to. Growing up, we were assaulted with Christmas music continually playing while she cooked and baked in the kitchen all day and night. (Much props to Dad for finally wiring kitchen speakers so the music no longer had to blare excruciatingly loud from the family room stereo.) Linda had lists to knock out a mile long of what to make for Christmas Eve, Christmas morning breakfast, hosting Christmas dinner, and all the baking to do.
The holiday baking was really an animal in itself. The whole kitchen and dining room was stacked with baking sheets of cookies and treats waiting to be cooled, drizzled with chocolate, sprinkled, or filed away in one of her insane number of cookie tins. Filled cookies tins were stacked on the dining room floor for us to eat with abandon around the holidays. At all points of the day you could hear one of us opening and closing the stacks of tins to find the kind of cookie we wanted. Finally, my younger sister and I got sick of all the time wasted opening tins, and decided to label them on the lid. Genius, I know, but Mom couldn’t break from the cookie factory to ever take initiative with this task.
And don’t get any silly ideas like we all just loafed around and gorged on cookies all day while Mom slaved away in the kitchen.
“MISSI!! COME MAKE THE TURTLES!”
“JENNY! I HAVE ALL THESE OREOS YOU HAVE TO DIP!”
“PUT THESE COOKIES AWAY! I NEED ANOTHER COOKIE SHEET!”
“WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO DECORATE THESE COOKIES!”
Even though Dad couldn’t make a cookie to save his life, he wasn’t spared either. Dad was in charge of running back and forth to the store when we ran out of butter, eggs, chocolate, and powdered sugar.
“TERRY! I NEED MORE EGGS!”
Why did we make such a ridiculous amount of cookies? I really have no idea. We just had to knock out the list, and the list kept growing. It always started with the staples that would have been sacriligous if they weren’t there on Christmas, like chocolate crinkles, monster cookies, turtles, various types of biscotti, peanut butter blossoms, decorated sugar cookies, and peanut brittle. Then she had to make all her and our favorites like chocolate dipped oreos, kolaches, snowballs, peanut clusters, magic rainbow bars, meringues, and toffee. We topped off the list with all the new cookies we wanted to try from magazines, cookbooks from the library, and cooking shows on TV. If a cookie was desired, it would be baked.
What could we possibly do with 6,000 cookies and treats when we were finished? The eight of us found a way work through them, and when we had friends over the cookie tin towers took their breath away. On Christmas Eve we packaged up plates to take to all the neighbors, we brought them to Christmas Eve celebrations, polished off a lot on Christmas Day with more family, and then they made road trips to visit my older sisters and brothers. If they were any leftover, they were usually only the ones Mom liked. (She was either because she was too busy to actually eat one or she was so sick of looking at cookies she couldn’t stomach them anymore.)
So here you go, Mom. A new one to add to the list. Lucky for you these Salted Caramel Marshmallow Nests only takes a few minutes to make, or you can just yell at me to do it next time I come over.
How to Make Salted Caramel Marshmallow Nests:
- 2 cups lightly crushed pretzel sticks, regular or gluten free
- 11 oz bag caramels
- 1½ tbsp. milk or cream
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- 24 large marshmallows
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper and spray with cooking spray.
In a large microwavable safe bowl place caramels and milk. Cook on high for 30 seconds and stir. Cook about 1 minute more, stirring and checking every 15 seconds until it is all melted and smooth. Be care to not overheat because caramel will become very hard when cooled.
Gently mix in crushed pretzels.
Using 2 spoons, scrape about a tablespoon full onto the cookie sheet. Push a marshmallow down firmly into the center. It's okay to really push it down, so the pretzels spread a little and the marshmallow sticks to the caramel.
After all the marshmallows are placed, melt the chocolate and oil together in another microwaveable safe bowl. Cook on high for 45 seconds, stir. Continue to cook for about 1 minute more, checking every 15 seconds, until all the chocolate is smooth.
Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate over the marshmallows and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.