Friday, December 30, 2011
Moving away from Christmas cookies, but I think this cookie with the combination of ginger and macadamia nuts would certainly fit as a holiday cookie. It’s not super sweet, but I think that’s ok after all of the sweets that you’ve probably eaten recently.
This recipe comes from a British cookbook, via the Guardian newspaper. I probably saw them somewhere else on a blog I follow, but I can’t remember! As this is a British recipe, the measurements are in grams so I have converted the weights here. The original recipe called for 3 knobs of candied ginger and I’m not exactly sure how big a knob is! I think I used about ¼ cup and it worked out. I used a Jamie Oliver recipe for Christmas dinner and it had similar measurements. I’m a bit of a control freak but I just have to trust that I know enough about being in the kitchen to make it work.
These cookies are quick to put together, but they taste better a day or so after you bake them. The ginger becomes more pronounced once the cookies have time to sit. They have a nice crunch and the buttery flavor of the macadamias adds a lot. These are really amazing, so hopefully you aren’t cookied-out and will give them a try!
Ginger Macadamia Biscuits
9 tablespoons butter, softened
7 ounces brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup finely diced candied ginger
2 ounces coconut
7 ounces flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking of soda
5 ounces salted macadamia nuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 335 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until smooth and light, and then stir in the egg. Add the candied ginger and coconut and stir until combined. In a small bowl combine the flour, ginger, allspice and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir on low just until incorporated. Stir in the macadamia nuts.
Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Dan Lepard, via The Guardian
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
This is the final week for Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking from My Home to Yours. Every recipe in the book has been selected and we are finished with the book. Dorie Greenspan herself chose this last recipe: Kids’ Thumbprints . Dorie is the host this week so you can get the recipe on her blog. Of course, make sure that you visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site and see how all of the bakers did this week with the last recipe.
I joined Tuesdays with Dorie in 2008 and my first recipe was posted on September 9, 2008: Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops. I’ve had the opportunity to select two recipes: Chewy Chunky Blondies and Far Breton. I’ve made 167 recipes for Tuesdays with Dorie and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve made things that I never would have tried before. I’m very good at making custard now. And I’m willing to try baking new things because I feel much more confident in my baking skills. This group has been wonderful, and I’m looking forward to next year when we start baking through another Dorie book.
These thumbprints are peanut butter cookies, rolled in chopped peanuts and filled with jam or jelly. I used concord grape jelly because I couldn’t think of a more kid friendly combo than PB and grape jelly. I never used to be a fan of thumbprints, but I’ve tried a number of versions now that I like. I like these: the peanut butter cookie is crunchy and the grape jelly has a distinct flavor that can’t be beat. Another great recipe from Dorie and I can’t wait for more to come.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 163
Monday, December 26, 2011
Happy Boxing Day! We don’t celebrate Boxing Day here in the states but it’s a big holiday in England and in Canada (and other places I'm sure). I originally had planned to post these as part of the 12 Days of Cookies, but then I figured that they weren’t technically cookies; they were tarts. They certainly wouldn’t be out of place on a cookie tray during the holidays, but I wanted to present them for Boxing Day. These are very Canadian, and the recipe comes from a Canadian blog, so I thought they would be perfect.
I was in England for Boxing Day a number of years ago and we went to a fox hunt. I think it is really just ceremonial; no foxes were harmed on the occasion. You wait for the hunters to take off and there were some folk dances and it was pretty fun, but really cold outside! I think the whole point of the festivities was to go to the pub after the hunters left. That was fun too!
These are small pastry cups filled with a maple, nut and raisin mixture. You could make your own pastry or use store bought. I happened to have some store bought pastry on hand and it worked just fine. The recipe has you make these in standard-sized muffin cups, but I think you could cut the pastry rounds smaller and use a mini muffin cup. I love the maple in these! These are fairly quick to put together and look impressive when served. Enjoy and Happy Boxing Day.
Maple Butter Tarts
Pastry for a one crust pie
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
Roll the pastry out to 1/8” thickness and cut out twelve 4” circles. Press the circles of dough into standard-sized muffin cups. Chill the muffin pan for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the egg, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the walnuts and raisins. Pour the mixture into the pastry-lined muffin cups.
Bake until set, about 15-25 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Closet Cooking
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Merry Christmas! I’m always looking for new ways to use mincemeat, since I’m such a fan of the flavors of mincemeat. I came across these cupcakes and thought that they would be great. I ended up sharing them with people at work. It’s a good way to introduce people to mincemeat. I have to saw that these generated a lot of conversation, because many people think that they contain meat, but of course now it is made with apples, dried fruits and spices.
These are great cupcakes, very moist. You can use any liquor in the frosting, and I used Grand Marnier since I thought that would go nicely with the spices in the mincemeat. One of my friends at work doesn’t like orange and she thought that the Grand Marnier was good. These are festive and a great way to share the flavors of the season with friends and family.
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces mincemeat
¾ cup flour
1 tablespoons corn starch
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In the large mixer bowl, cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, then beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the fruit mincemeat and stir until well incorporated. In a small bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder and salt; carefully fold the mixture into the butter mixture – do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until risen and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the icing: in the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, add the milk and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar, and then beat until you have a smooth, light and creamy buttercream. Stir in the brandy. Pipe the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.
Recipe from Technicolor Kitchen
Friday, December 23, 2011
12 Days of Cookies Day 12: Christmas pudding cookies. I have been waiting to make these and I’m so excited to share them. I’ve had these pinned on Pinterest and I’ve had about 200 people re-pin the recipe. They are so fun and they are just very fancily decorated chocolate cookies. They don’t taste like Christmas pudding but they sure look like them.
If you’re not familiar with Christmas pudding, it’s a steamed pudding made with dried fruits and spices. The first time I went to England it was during the Christmas season and you’d find wrapping paper and greeting cards with puddings on them and I thought it was so cute. So I’m always looking for puddings. I have a couple of Christmas tree ornaments that are puddings and one year I even found some wrapping paper that had puddings on it. When I saw these I knew I had to make it.
This isn’t a cookie that you make on a whim. I ordered a special leaf fondant cutter so that I could make nice looking leaves. With my artistic ability, I knew it would be a mess otherwise. I was able to find mini M&Ms to use as decoration, which would be really hard to find in England. This recipe, like many other recipes from the UK, uses self-rising flour, so I’ve given a recipe on how to make that. I used a squeeze bottle to help pipe the white chocolate so that it looked like dripping frosting. I really love how these turned out! I hope you also enjoy them!
Christmas Pudding Cookies
3 ounces dark chocolate
5 ounces self-rising flour*
1 ounce cocoa powder
4 ounces butter, cut into small cubes
3 ounces brown sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
Dark brown mini M&Ms or mini chocolate chips
6 ounces white chocolate
Green ready-to-roll fondant
Red mini M&Ms
Using a food processor, chop the dark chocolate into small pieces, remove from processor and put to one side. Into the same processor, add the flour, cocoa powder, butter, sugar and vanilla. Pulse until you have a fine mixture. Add the chopped dark chocolate and the egg; pulse until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Roll out the dough to a ¼” thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out rounds with your cookie cutter and place on the prepared baking sheet. Randomly push the mini M&Ms or chocolate chips into the bottom half of the cookies, to resemble currants.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they are just starting to brown. Cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
To decorate: melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Spoon or pipe the white chocolate onto the top of the cookies, to resemble icing. Roll out the fondant and cut out small leaves. Before the white chocolate has set, press two fondant leaves and one red M&M to the top of the cookies to resemble holly leaves and berries.
*You can make your own self-rising flour by combining 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt. This will be more than you need for this recipe.
Recipe from Cherrapeno
Thursday, December 22, 2011
12 Days of Cookies Day 11: Melomakarona. These are a Greek cookie dipped in honey syrup and topped with walnuts. I like to make cookies that are common in some parts of the world, but are not so common here in the United States. I saw these cookies on Elly Says Opa! and they just sounded so good that I added them to my list of Christmas baking. I had noticed that she had made them around the holidays, but I wasn’t sure if they were Christmas-y. I was really happy to see that she recently posted about these again, saying that these were the cookies she made at Christmas, without fail.
I don’t typically like to use walnuts in baking, but I figured that was crucial to this recipe so I didn’t change that. I made half of the recipe but it still made a lot of cookies, so perhaps I made mine on the small side. The dough for these cookies was quite different and I wasn’t sure if I had added enough flour. They baked up fine so I guess I was ok. The dough smelled like yeast dough, which was unusual they contained no yeast. I baked them up and then let them sit overnight. My husband tried one before I had dunked it in honey syrup and he declared them unfinished.
I made a full batch of the honey syrup despite baking a half batch of cookies because I figured these cookies were all about the honey syrup and I didn’t want to be skimpy. I dunked the cookies in the syrup and let them sit and then sprinkled with the walnuts. My kitchen smelled divine when I was making the honey syrup! Yum, what a great cookie. I love the honey in these, which pairs so well with the orange juice in the cookie dough and the walnuts on top. I really loved these and I’m really inspired to try some more international flavors in my baking.
3 cups flour (plus additional if required)
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces walnuts, finely chopped
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup honey
Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until just incorporated. Add the oil and orange juice, mixing until smooth and combined.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. If necessary, add more flour to make a workable dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
Roll cookies into oval shapes with the palm of your hand and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Press the cookies down slightly with your fingertips, and then prick them with a fork several times. Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to sit out overnight before dunking in the honey syrup.
Mix the walnuts, cinnamon and cloves together in a bowl and set aside.
Make the syrup: bring the water, honey and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Boil for a minute or two; the mixture will thicken slightly. Skim the foam off the top. Turn burner to low, just to keep the syrup warm.
In batches, dunk the cookies in the honey syrup. Leave them in the syrup for about a minute and then remove them with a slotted spoon. Place the cookies on waxed paper and top with the walnut mixture.
Recipe from Elly Says Opa!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
12 Days of Cookies Day 10: Honeycomb Bars. These bars aren’t technically Christmas cookies, but I figured a bar with orange juice, candied orange peel, sliced almonds and dried cherries were inherently Christmas-y. I love bar cookies and hadn’t made but one other bar cookie this Christmas. This starts with sweet pastry dough and is topped with a candy-like combo. Yum!
I’ve been looking forward to making these and have been picking up the ingredients as I’ve been able to. Candied orange peel is not likely something that you have on hand. We sometimes have it in the cupboard, but even the Christmas (fruitcake) we make doesn’t used candied fruits. You can find it at the store this time of year, but the candied fruits are often horribly artificially colored. I picked up this candied orange peel at an Italian grocery store in Pike’s Place Market. It’s really good quality and I think that makes a big difference. Yes, candied fruit should be sweet, but not sickeningly sugary.
I changed this recipe ever so slightly in that I didn’t roll out the dough. I just pressed it in the pan. I also made the dough in a food processor, since that makes the work so easy. Since I wasn’t rolling it out, I didn’t refrigerate the dough. I thought that would save time, but then I was reading the recipe and realized I needed a candy thermometer. Hmm, I used to have one somewhere, but I had no idea where it was so off to the store I went to buy a candy thermometer! These are very sweet, so cut them in small bars. I love the orange flavor combined with the cherries and almonds. These are very candy-like, but so, so good.
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
Pinch of salt
¾ cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup diced candied orange peel
2 tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
1¼ cups heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
½ cup butter
Shot of bourbon
2½ cups sliced almonds, toasted
In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar. In a small bowl whisk together the heavy cream, egg yolk, and vanilla. Add this to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add the flour and salt until just combined. (Or to make in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter it cut in. Add the egg yolk and process until the dough comes together.)
Turn out the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and form into an oblong disk. Wrap the disk tightly in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan.
Roll out the dough into a large rectangle roughly the shape of the pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, and press into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides).
Cover the dough with foil. Place dried beans or pie weights over the dough and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beans and parchment paper and bake for another 5 minutes. Keep the oven on while you make the filling.
In a medium bowl, toss together the dried cherries, orange peel, cake flour, and salt. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, heavy cream, honey, and butter. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and bring the mixture to 240 degrees F. Do not stir the mixture while it is coming to this stage. Once the mixture reaches 240 degrees, add the bourbon and remove from the heat.
Fold the dry ingredients and the almonds into the hot sugar mixture and pour the mixture into the crust. Spread the filling evenly, and smooth the top.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the bar is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting.
Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
For Tuesdays with Dorie this week, we got to do a rewind, which means we can remake a favorite or make one of the recipes that you hadn’t made when it was picked. I let my husband pick the recipe this week. My cookbook is marked with the recipes that I’ve made and which ones I haven’t. He picked the Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake.
This recipe was chosen was back in February 2008, when Tuesdays with Dorie was still in its infancy. I think it was the seventh recipe picked. It was originally picked by Jaime at Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats and she has the recipe posted on her blog. I’ve followed Jaime’s blog for a few years and I’m not surprised that she picked such a great recipe! Cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and a cooked apple filling. Yum!
I decided to make the variation using spiced apple butter. Instead of cooking apples with brown sugar and adding that to the cheesecake filling, you make the filling and then swirl in spiced apple butter. I had that on hand and for once it was nice to use up the entire jar of apple butter before it spoiled.
Mine came together just fine but I really had a lot of problems cutting it. I’m not exactly sure what went wrong, but the crust hadn’t really set up and the cheesecake seemed too soft in the center, despite being refrigerated overnight. I managed to get one ok-looking piece, but I know it isn’t the best picture. It tastes really good and I love the spiced apple butter with the tang of the cream cheese. Not the best success in the serving department, but really tasty.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Monday, December 19, 2011
12 Days of Cookies Day 9: Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies. Sometimes, cookies aren’t really Christmas-y at all with the exception of the color. Red Velvet cookies aren’t spicy or gingery or have cranberries or any of those other traditional flavors of the holidays. But man, they are so red and look so festive! I thought that these would be a fun addition to the selection of cookies this year and I was right. They are so fun and they just look great.
You make the dough in the food processor, which I’m becoming a big fan of doing. It just seems like it streamlines the making of the dough so much. Plus, with all of the food coloring you’re at risk of getting it all over your kitchen. I used gel food color, which provides very intense color. Mine was a little dried and I think I may have used more than 1 tablespoon; it was really hard to measure. My dough was pretty crumbly, which is not atypical of shortbread dough, but I was a little worried. The color looks browner than red before they are baked, but they became a beautiful red color once baked.
The cookies by themselves, without the white chocolate, are simple. They have a slight cocoa flavor but that’s about all. The white chocolate really adds a lot, so don’t skip that step. I again tried using a couple of different types of sprinkles, but these Christmas sprinkles looked the best. I really liked these cookies, but I’m not going to kid you, my kitchen was quite a mess after making them. Red food coloring gets everywhere! When I was doing the dishes after making these I thought my hands were bleeding because of the food coloring. Good to know that red gel food coloring could be used as fake blood in a theatrical production!
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon red food coloring
3 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon shortening
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Cover and pulse until combined. Add butter and red food coloring. Process with on/off turns until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Then continue to process until mixture begins to clump together.
Place the dough in a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until nearly smooth. Roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a floured 1-1/2-inch round cutter, cut out dough. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press scraps together and reroll.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until centers are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
In the top of a double boiler or in the microwave, melt white chocolate and shortening. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate. Sprinkle with sprinkles, nonpareils or colored sugar. Let stand on waxed paper until set.
Recipe from Recipe Girl
Friday, December 16, 2011
12 Days of Cookies Day 8: Shrewsbury Biscuits. When I plan my Christmas baking, I create categories so that I will have a nice variety of cookies. Chocolate cookies, mint, nutty, fruity, etc. I also have a category for British cookies, since there are flavors and many different cookies that my husband is familiar with. I’ve already done a cookie with mincemeat, and I have one very special British cookie planned for Day 12 of the 12 Days of Cookies.
This recipe comes from my husband’s British Good Housekeeping cookbook. Shrewsbury Biscuits are kind of like shortbread/sugar cookie with added currants. The dough is very simple: butter, sugar, flour, and egg yolks. My husband says that he’s always had them with currants, so I’ve added them here. In the cookbook’s recipe the currants are optional. You could also use candied orange or lemon peel if you have that around for the holidays.
The dough takes no time to put together and you don’t have to chill the dough before rolling, so these come together in no time. I suppose that you could cut them in different shapes, but I’ve always seen them as rounds so I stayed with the traditional route. Cutting them out with the currants in the dough is a little tricky, so make sure your cookie cutter is nice and sharp. I love the combination of lemon zest and currants in these. They are a simple cookie, perfect for tea, but very special in their own way.
½ cup butter, room temperature
5 ounces sugar
2 egg yolks
zest of 1 lemon
8 ounces flour
2 ounces currants
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg yolks and the lemon zest. Slowly add the flour and the currants. Stir until the dough comes together.
Roll half of the dough on a lightly floured surface until ¼” thick. Cut the dough into rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Reroll the dough scraps and cut as many cookies as possible. Do not reroll the dough too many times.
Bake the cookie for about 15 minutes until very lightly browned on the edges. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from The Good Housekeeping New Step-By-Step Cookbook (British Edition)
For this round of the recipe swap, we had to submit Holiday Treats. I received this recipe from Nichole over at The Cookaholic Wife. After making so many cookies this holiday season, it was nice to make something different. You’ve probably seen these before, big pretzels dipped in chocolate and decorated. What’s not to like?
I find that big pretzels can be too dry, so I got some medium-sized ones. These were easier to work with and easier to eat. I melted the chocolate in the microwave, since that can be easier. Just microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted. I also only dirty one dish doing it that way, and these days, with all the baking I am doing that makes a difference.
I tried these with a couple of different sprinkles for topping. I liked the ones with crushed candy canes the best, but they didn’t photograph very well. I had large candy cane and snowflake shaped sprinkles, but they didn’t really work. The Christmas sprinkles are great. They do have one hazard in that they bounce all over the kitchen and when they get damp they turn in to little paint balls. So a bit messy when cleaning up the kitchen. I enjoyed making these. Thanks for the recipe Nichole!
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
10 ounce package pretzel rods
8 ounces milk chocolate
sprinkles for decorating
In a double boiler or the microwave, melt the chocolate stirring frequently.
Once the chocolate has melted, dip one end of the pretzel in the chocolate. Place on waxed paper. Top with different sprinkles.
Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until the chocolate has hardened.
Recipe from The Cookaholic Wife
Thursday, December 15, 2011
12 Days of Cookies Day 7: Chocolate Peppermint Patties. I know that people either like or don’t like the chocolate/mint combination, but I really like it, especially this time of year. This cookie takes this year’s trend of cookies stuffed with other things. That’s certainly not a new trend, as I remember my grandma always made Surprise Cookies at Christmas, which was a sugar cookie with a chocolate mint inside. These are a little different because they use peppermint patties with a creamy filling and chocolate dough.
I made the dough for these a couple of days in advance and then let it come to room temperature before forming the cookies. Be careful not to let the dough get too soft, as then it is really hard to mold around the peppermint patties. I think mine was too soft, and thus quite sticky, which made for really messy hands when making these. They are substantial cookies because the mint patties are sizeable and then mold cookie dough around it. This is no petite tea cookie!
These baked up ok, but a couple of cookies had blow-outs where the peppermint cream filling escaped. They still tasted good. Drizzled with the white chocolate they are a spectacular looking cookie. I was worried that the peppermint patties would get hard after baking, but they remained nice and soft. If you like the chocolate/mint combination, these are a great cookie to try.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter, slightly softened
24 mini peppermint patties (refrigerated)
4 ounces white chocolate
In a large mixer bowl, stir to combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the softened butter and the egg and stir until the dough comes together. Turn out the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk; seal. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Working with approximately 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, use your fingers to evenly encase each of 24 miniature peppermint patties with the dough.
Bake until just firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let cool slightly. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or on top of a double boiler. Drizzle the melted chocolate on the cooled cookies.
Recipe from Pip & Ebby
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Day 6 of 12 Days of Cookies: French Christmas Cookies. Ok, these aren’t French at all and I have no idea where the name came from. I really doubt that the French would use graham cracker crumbs and use milk chocolate. It’s just not their thing. Maybe they would use dark chocolate, but certainly in a different combination. None the less, these sounded good and I like things that bake in little cups. Plus they seemed easy to put together. It’s good to have a mix of cookies that require more effort and those that require less.
The recipe that you see here is a half batch, as the original said that it made over 9 dozen cookies. With all of the baking that I am doing this Christmas, I didn’t need anything that made 9 dozen! Mine must have been a little bigger, and this half batch made just over 3-1/2 dozen. They are super-fast to put together; the most time was spent processing the graham crackers to make crumbs. Just mix everything together in the mixer and they are ready to bake. They seem a little bit like a no bake cookie, as you could eat all the ingredients in their raw state. But these bake for a bit and they become great little cookies.
Maybe they are called French Christmas Cookies because they are small and similar to French truffles? They do have a candy-like quality to them and are surprisingly rich. I love the graham flavor coupled with the milk chocolate chips. You could add some marshmallows and make s’mores cups, which would also be very tasty. So I will never know the reason for the name behind these cookies, but they would make a great addition to any Christmas cookie tray.
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup milk
1-1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cups finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
1 teaspoon shortening
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have mini muffin cup liners ready. You will need about 4 dozen liners.
In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in milk. Gradually add the crumbs and mix well. Stir in chips and pecans.
Fill the baking cups three-fourths full. Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set. Cool on wire racks.
Melt the ¾ cup chocolate chips and the shortening in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle the cooled cookies with chocolate.
Recipe from Taste of Home
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The first of this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipes was selected by Julie of Someone’s in the Kitchen. She chose Puffed Double Plum Tart. The tart uses fresh plums and prunes, but of course fresh plums are nowhere to be found this time of year so my tart is a pear and prune tart. The other Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for this week, which I didn’t have time to make, was picked by Laurie of Slush. She chose the Unbelievably Good Chocolate Blueberry Ice Cream, which sounds interesting, doesn’t it? You can get the ice cream recipe on Laurie’s blog and the tart recipe on Julie’s blog.
This tart uses a puff pastry base and then is topped by prunes that have been steeped in red wine and orange zest and the fresh fruit. I love prunes and soaking them in wine makes them even better! I used port for the red wine as that is the standard red wine we use in our household (powerful stuff!). The house smelled so good when the red wine mixture was boiling away. I was supposed to reduce the wine mixture and make syrup, but I boiled mine too long and it became molasses. So I didn’t brush the fruit with the extra syrup, but it worked out ok anyway.
This came out of the oven puffed and beautiful. I don’t always have the best luck with puff pastry, but I had no problems at all. It was beautiful with the dark rows of prunes and the light row of pears. This is fairly simple, but it’s really a lovely little tart. I like the combination with the pears, but I like plums a lot so I would be up for trying this again once plums are in season. This was a great choice, and we’ve only got one new recipe left for Tuesdays with Dorie. I’m so sad that we’re done with the book, but it’s such an accomplishment, too.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 378
Monday, December 12, 2011
Day 5 of 12 Days of Cookies: Peppermint Kisses. These are a twist in the peanut blossoms that are so common on cookie trays this time of year. This summer, when my husband and I traveled to Michigan for a family reunion, we stopped in the town of Frankenmuth. In addition to housing the world’s largest Christmas store (it was HUGE!) it is known for Zehnder’s Restaurant. I picked up the dessert cookbook when I was there. It includes lots of cookie recipes, including 6 recipes for Lebkuchen. I’m not sure I’ll have time this Christmas to try all of those, but this recipe for peppermint kisses was immediately placed on my Christmas baking list.
The recipe in the cookbook calls for regular milk chocolate Kisses, but I knew they made peppermint ones so why not use those? I’d been looking for them in the store, and sure enough, I found them in stock the day after Halloween. I grabbed a bag and set them aside for these cookies. I’m also lazy and bought pre-crushed candy canes. You can find those at coffee shops and kitchen stores this time of year.
I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, since I had made peanut blossoms before and had an idea about what would and wouldn’t work. The recipe has you dip the cookies in egg white and then roll them in sugar. I did this with about 6 cookies and they were pretty messy when they came out of the oven. So I just left out the egg white and the sugar adhered with no problem. It also had you press the Kisses into the cookies before baking, and I did this with one cookie just to see what would happen. Out came a browned Hershey’s Kiss, which didn’t look that appetizing. With the changes, these look great and are perfect little bites of holiday cheer.
¾ cup butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
½ cup crushed candy canes
½ cup sugar
Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and ¼ cup sugar until light. Stir in the vanilla and the egg. With the mixer on low, slowly stir in the flour. Stir in the crushed peppermint candy.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the ½ cup sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until barely browned and set.
Once the cookies are removed from the oven, immediately press a Candy Cane Kiss into each cookie. Allow to cool completely.
Adapted from From Grandma with Love by John Zahnder
Friday, December 9, 2011
Day 4 of 12 Days of Cookies: Cranberry Macadamia Butter Cookies. Usually when I think about cookies, I don’t think about being healthy. This recipe comes from Cooking Light, which I typically just use for dinner recipes. These cookies were just inside the back page of the magazine and they’re from the recipe hall of fame. These looked so good and I’d made another cookie with macadamia butter so I thought that I would give them a try.
It’s not hard to make macadamia butter. I haven’t tried it on toast but it sure is great in cookies. The flavor isn’t quite as pronounced as peanut butter would be, which I think pairs nicely with the cranberries. The richness of the macadamias coupled with the tartness of the cranberries is a winning combination. They’re easy to make too, very similar to a peanut butter cookie!
These cookies contain 78 calories each, according to the nutritional information I even took care to make exactly 30 cookies as it was supposed to. These don’t taste at all like they are healthy or like they are anything but a decadent treat. They keep fresh for quite a while, so you can make them in advance of the holiday season. These are a wonderful cookie and perfect if you want to treat yourself without going too far overboard this holiday season.
2/3 cup macadamia nuts
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Place nuts in a small food processor and process until smooth. In a large mixer bowl, combine the macadamia butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low until combined. Stir in the chopped cranberries. Chill 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 30 portions and roll each portion into a ball. Roll the balls in sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the cookies with a fork.
Bake for 9 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Recipe from Cooking Light, December 2009
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Day 3 of 12 Days of Cookies: White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread. Don’t these look so festive? I know that Christmas cookies don’t have to be green or red, but it sure is fun to make such brightly colored cookies! I love cherries so I was really looking forward to making these. They take a little bit of extra effort, with the white chocolate dip and the sprinkles, but I love spending time to make things extra special this time of year.
I always use the mixer to cut in the butter, which I suppose is cheating but I just find that I get better results that way. Sometimes I use the food processor. My hands get so tired when I do it by hand and the butter gets too soft. So far I have lucked out doing it this way. My dad uses a pastry blender to mix dough whenever he makes some, but I guess his hands are bigger and stronger than mine.
I’m really pleased with how these came out. My cookies aren’t perfectly round, but that’s ok. I baked them for the longer end of the time and they still seemed fairly soft. They did set up more as they cooled so resist the urge to over bake these. I used white chocolate candy melts and they worked great. I have a bad track record with white chocolate seizing on me when I try to melt it, but this was foolproof. I made some with Christmas sprinkles and some with red decorating sugar. The ones with red decorating sugar almost looked like Santa hats, so it you are really creative you could give that a try.
½ cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
2-1/2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate melts, finely chopped and divided
½ teaspoon almond extract
Red food coloring (optional)
2 teaspoons shortening
Sprinkles or coarse sugar, for decoration
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Drain the cherries on paper towels and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Add the cold butter and cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the cherries and 4 ounces of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in the almond extract and, if using, the red food coloring. Knead until the dough comes together.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Dip a drinking glass in sugar and flatten the balls to 1-1/2” rounds.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are set. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
In a microwave or to top of a double boiler, melt the shortening and the remaining white chocolate. Dip each cookie half way in the white chocolate. If desired, roll the edges of the cookies in sprinkles or coarse sugar. Place the dipped cookies on waxed paper and allow to harden.
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
For Day 2 of 12 Days of Cookies, I give you these gingerbread cheesecake bites. I have to admit that I have been planning my Christmas baking for several months now. But I saw these over at Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and I knew I needed to make them right away. I love ginger and my baking list was a little short on ginger/spice recipes so I thought this would be a good addition. Peabody’s recipe had an orange cheesecake filling, but I opted to flavor it simply with a little lemon zest.
Whenever I made a recipe that I’ve seen on another blog or on Pinterest, I pretty sure that mine won’t look as perfect as the inspiration. These cookies are fairly foolproof and the really looked great. The trick was figuring out how to make the indentations in the gingerbread dough balls. I tried a couple of different tools and finally ended up using the end of my large whisk, which made the perfect indentation. I hadn’t planned to pipe in the filling, but that ended up being easier. The indentations were pretty small so trying to fill them with a spoon or a cookie scoop was too clumsy. It seemed like it would be too much trouble, but in the end it saved time.
With the exception of the chilling time, these cookies are impressive without too much fuss. Of course, you could use store bought gingerbread cookie dough as the original recipe suggests, but the dough wasn’t too hard to make. They bake so quickly, in fact, I thought that there was no way that they could be done after 9 minutes! I had a little bit of dough and quite a lot of cream cheese filling left so I made 3 4-inch cookie tarts. These are so good and the tang of the cream cheese is perfect with the spicy gingerbread. These are certainly a winner!
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cream cheese
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
In a large mixer bowl beat the butter and brown sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Stir in the molasses, egg and vanilla; beat well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture on low until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 48 mini muffin pan with paper baking cups.
Roll two teaspoons of cookie dough into a ball for each cookie and place in the muffin pan. Make an indentation into each ball of dough.
Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Place filling into a piping bag and pipe about one teaspoon of filling into the indentation in the cookies.
Bake for 9-10 minutes or until cookie tested with tooth pick comes out almost clean. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.
Recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
The second Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for this week was picked by Nicole of Bakeologie. She chose Earl Grey Madeleines. We’ve made a couple of madeleines for Tuesdays with Dorie, but these caught my attention. You take tea leaves and infuse the butter for a short while and then strain the butter and use that for the cookies. What an interesting idea! You can get the complete recipe for these madeleines on Nicole’s blog and take a look at all the links for this week’s recipe on the Tuesdays with Dorie site.
I don’t really like floral teas like Earl Grey, so I decided to use a different type of tea. We’re recently visited a neat tea shop near the Pike Place Market and I had purchased some Cranberry Orange Rooibos tea. I drink a lot of Rooibos tea since it is caffeine free and has a good flavor. I thought cranberry orange would be good for the holiday season. When I infused the butter with the tea leaves, the butter turned a light shade of pink. I had hoped that the madeleines would have a slight pink tinge, but they didn’t.
I used my new hand mixer to make these and it worked great! I used to think that madeleines were difficult, but I don’t think that at all now. These came out of the pan very cleanly and they just looked beautiful. I don’t think that the tea flavor is very strong, but they have a slight aroma and flavor of the tea. I imagine that the Earl Grey might be more pronounced, but I liked these quite a bit. Madeleines are my boss’s favorite cookies, so I took some to her and she (and her husband) liked them a lot.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 169
The first Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for this week was picked by Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table. She chose Honey Almond Fig Tart. Since figs are not in season, I think you will see many variations of this recipe! You can get the complete recipe on Kayte’s blog. Dorie suggests substituting grapefruit for the figs, but grapefruit is good only in moderation in my book. I used pears and made mini tarts and I was so pleased with the results.
The key to this tart is the honey almond cream, which is outstanding. You could pair this stuff with anything and it would be good. Ground almonds, honey, butter, sugar, and eggs sure come together in a very good way. I thought that the tart kind of tasted like baklava. I love honey and I was so happy that that flavor came through so much. I topped each tart with a few thin slices of pears, which I think went so nicely with the almond honey cream. I’m sure this would be good with figs but I’m not sure it would be better than the pear.
I think that this is one of my favorite recipes that I have made as part of Tuesdays with Dorie. I’m surprised that we saved it until the very end, but it was so good. I’ll certainly be making this again!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 373
Monday, December 5, 2011
Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies! Over the next two weeks or so I will post 12 different Christmas cookies recipes. Hopefully you will be inspired to try something new. I had a lot of fun picking all of the recipes to try this year. I’m mainly trying new recipes, but a couple of favorites are in there as well. I tried to mix it up and pick a variety of types of cookies, with different flavors, shapes, etc. I hope you like what I have picked.
The first recipe I am including is a recipe for Mincemeat Bars. When I went to England the first time to meet my husband’s family, it was Christmas and I got to experience the traditional English Christmas treats. I had never had mincemeat before and I discovered that I really liked it. I now make mincemeat pies each Christmas, but I’m always looking for other ways to include mincemeat in recipes. The site where I found this recipe had a couple of good ideas, and even included a recipe for homemade mincemeat. I haven’t ever made my own mincemeat, but I’m sure that someday I will give that a try. (And if you are worried, take a look at the recipe and be reassured that that mincemeat contains no meat!)
Since this recipe came from a British site, the measurements are in weight and I have converted the quantities to what is common here in the US. Sorry that they may seem unusual! This recipe doesn’t make very many, since you make it in a large loaf pan. The cookies are very substantial, but they’re a little crumbly. They’re just pastry topped with mincemeat and a nut/oat topping. Simple, but very good. I thought that using the mincemeat in this recipe really highlighted the flavors. If you’ve never tried mincemeat, I encourage you to give it a try!
3 ounces flour
0.3 ounces powdered sugar
1.75 ounces butter, cut in pieces
1-2 teaspoon ice water
7 ounces mincemeat
1 ounce flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ounce rolled oats
1 ounce sugar
1 ounce cold butter
1 ounce pecans, chopped
1 ounce sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8-1/2” x 4-1/2” loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a food process, combine the flour and powdered sugar. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add some ice water and pulse until the dough comes together. Press the dough into the prepared pan.
Spread the mincemeat evenly over the pastry base.
Combine the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, oats and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the nuts and run your fingers through to mix. Scatter the crumble over the mincemeat. Press the crumble topping down firmly with your hands.
Bake in for 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into bars or slices.
Recipe from The British Larder
Friday, December 2, 2011
For this recipe swap, people submitted different Thanksgiving desserts. I lucked out and got this pumpkin s’mores bar cookie recipe from DeLish. I love making bar cookies and I had originally planned to make these closer to Thanksgiving, but having my oven die changed those plans. The oven has been replaced and now I can bake again to my heart’s content. These certainly work for an occasion beyond Thanksgiving. They’re great no matter when you make them.
S’mores are all the rage these days, especially this past summer. I have a bunch of s’mores recipes bookmarked, but so far the only thing that I have made is a s’mores cake for a friend at work (and I haven’t gotten around to posting that yet). I was happy to give another s’mores recipe a try, and I was curious about the addition of the pumpkin. I’ve grown to like pumpkin a lot more than I used to, and I like all of the other flavors in these bars so I figured they would be really good.
These are kind of Christmas-y since I used Christmas marshmallows. My husband had picked those up at the store and they make the bars festive. It’s a little hard to tell when these are fully baked through as you can’t test them very easily with all the chocolate chips and marshmallows on the top. I baked mine a little over 30 minutes to make sure they were done. These bars are very tricky to cut, as the marshmallows are very sticky. My marshmallows were bigger, too, which may have made them even more challenging to cut. So they don’t cut the cleanest, but they taste very good! Thanks for the recipe DeLish!
1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
3 cups mini marshmallows or 1/2 bag of large marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” x 13” baking pan.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in egg until combined. Add in the pumpkin, then vanilla. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir the graham cracker mixture into the butter mixture. Press the graham cracker mix over the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and marshmallows on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brown. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.
Recipe from DeLish