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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Biscotti

Christmas Biscotti
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons anise extract
6 large eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups diced candied mixed fruit (fruit cake mix) I used the whole container
1 cup sliced almonds
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Blend in eggs and anise extract.  In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and blend well.  Add about 1/3 cup flour to the candied fruit mix to keep it from clumping and add the fruit and almonds to the dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill dough at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 (if your oven runs hot, 325, mine runs cool)
Divide the dough into two even portions.  Put each portion on a parchment lined baking sheet. Pat each portion into  a log about 12 inches long and about 3 inches wide.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 15 minutes. Slice on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Place the slices, standing up, on the baking sheet.

Return to oven and bake for another 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly toasted.
Cool on racks.  Store in airtight containers.
Freezes well.
Makes about 5 dozen biscotti.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Marscapone Cookies

This one is a new favorite.

Marscapone Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup marscapone
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Jam. I like the contrast of a nice tart jam with the delicate flavor of this cookie. I used raspberry and apricot.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add marscapone, keep beating till smooth.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add to marscapone mixture.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment
Using a medium scoop, place balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. If you want smaller cookies (which would be really good too, a two bite cookie instead of a 4 bite cookie) use the small scoop. With you thumb or the other end of a wooden spoon, place a well in the center of each cookie

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. When just out of the oven and resting on the baking sheet, take the other end of a wooden spoon and gently push the indentations down again. (if you use your thumb you will burn your thumb). Remove cookies from pan to a wire rack. Add jam while cookies are still warm. Let the cookies stand till jam is set, a couple hours. Then store in airtight container. Should last a week there. These are not going to make it till morning.
Makes about 2  1/2 dozen.

This recipe double well and freezes well.  ( I doubled this, because what was I going to do with 1/2 a container of marscapone, besides eat it with a spoon. A good option, but these cookies are yummy! )

Gingerbread Boys, Girls and Stars

Ginger Bread Cookies
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Frosting if desired

Mix shortening, sugar and molasses thoroughly. Add water. Mix well. In a separate large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.  Add to molasses mixture. Beat until smooth.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured board. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Stars, boys, girls or Ninjas.

Do not crowd on baking sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no imprint remains when lightly touched.
If you want to ice the you can use any frosting.  Just ice when cool.
makes 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cookies depending on size of cookie cutter

Tiramisu Cookies, Or Pick Me Up Drops

I was looking for the flavors of Tiramisu in a cookie. It is a friend's favorite dessert, but when you just want a bite of the flavors it can be tough. I found this recipe on line, changed a few bits. There are bits I still need to tweek I think, but overall, it is good.

1 cup almond flour *
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup flour
8 ounces marscapone cheese ( 1 container, usually)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream (or more to make a smooth filling)
ground chocolate

*if you can not find almond flour or almond meal, use 1 cup slivered almonds and grind till fine.

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper 

In a food processor, pulse almond flour and sugar, but do not make a paste.  Cut softened butter into chunks and add to almond mixture, add vanilla.
In a small bowl combine flour, salt and espresso powder.  Add to almond mixture. Pulse until a smooth dough is formed.
Using the medium cookie scoop, place balls of dough about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

With your thumb or the other end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in each cookie.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
To make the filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add marscapone and beat until smooth. Add sugar and continue to beat for 1 minute. Add enough cream to make a smooth filling. Put filling in a pastry bag or a zippy bag then snip the corner. Fill each well with the marscapone mixture. Dust the tops with ground chocolate.

The ground almonds/almond flour (meal) add a nutty flavor, if you want a smoother cookie, make it all with regular flour.
Makes about 36 cookies.
I have not frozen these. Not sure the marscapone would freeze well. If you need to freeze the cookies, do not fill and fill them once they are thawed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Coconut Haystacks

These are a favorite at our house. Dressed up or plain! I will show you all three.
all dressed up!

Coconut Haystacks
7 cups coconut
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1 can)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
Mix the coconut and cornstarch. Try to make sure there are no lumps in the coconut. Add the rest of the ingredients. These should be moist and hold together well. If you live in a very dry climate, you might want to add up to another 1/3 cup of milk.

Using a medium scoop, drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet (or lightly greased, but parchment works much better) They do not spread so you can put them about an inch apart

Bake for 15 minutes or until they look like toasted haystacks.

These are a bit delicate when they come out of the oven. Let the stand on the pan for about 5 minutes then gently move them to the racks to cool. Once cool, they will be much sturdier.
To dress them up, I added an whole almond to some of them before baking.  I also dipped the bottoms of some of them in chocolate (which ever kind you want, we like the dark here with the sweet coconut). I dipped some of the almond ones in chocolate too. 
Makes about 3 dozen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Two Kinds of Tassies!

Tassies are a great little one bite pie!

Tassies all start out with the same dough

Pecan Tassies and Raspberry Almond Tassies
The Dough:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 ounces of cream cheese
1 cup of flour

Mix butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add flour. Blend well.   Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, seal well. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight.  Once the dough has chilled, use the medium scoop to scoop out tablespoon size balls of dough. Place the dough balls round side up in lightly greased (just a small spray of Pam) tassie pans.

The little wooden tool in the flour bowl is a tassie tamper. This tool makes these cookies SO much easier.  For me it went from an all day cookie to a cookie I can make in the morning.  Use the lightly floured tassie tamper to make the dough balls into cups of dough.  (Tassie Tampers are available from Pampered Chef, if you do not know a Pampered Chef consultant, find one for this tool. Trust me on this. It is a miracle tool.) 

Then make the fillings. There are so many fillings you can try! I also put my mince in this dough.

Raspberry Almond Filling
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond paste (use the kind in a can, not the tube, the tube is too sweet for baking)
1/4 cup raspberry jam
sliced almonds

Crumble up the almond paste a little bit. In the bowl of an electric mixer blend almond paste and sugar. Blend in egg.
Add 1/2 teaspoon (no more! it won't make them better and it will make them overflow and stick to the pan) of raspberry jam to each dough cup. Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of the almond mixture over the jam. Sprinkle with some of the sliced almonds

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. (I accidentally left the oven at 350 and it was just fine too)

Each dough/filling recipe makes 24 tassies

Pecan Filled Tassies
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 large egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash salt
1 cup shopped pecans

Mix all filling ingredients in a bowl.  Fill each dough cup with about 1 tablespoon of filling.  Do not overfill or it will be difficult to get out of the pan.

Bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes.  Each dough/filling recipe makes 24 tassies.

This cookies needs a name

This cookie has no name. As of yet. I changed around this wonderful recipe I found, it is faster and easier without losing any flavor. They are wonderful flavors too! If you think of a wonderful name for these Indian style thumbprints, let me know!

Cookies in search of a name
1 cup butter
1/2  cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoon's vanilla yogurt  or you could use plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pistachios. (on the finer side, but some larger chunks are okay)
orange marmalade or apricot preserves

In the bowl of a mixer blend butter, sugar, brown sugar and yogurt until creamy.  Add the egg, beat well to blend.  In another bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, cardamon, and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts.
Chill for at least 2 hours or over night.
Using the medium scoop, scoop out 1 tablespoon sized ball of dough and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place your thumb in the center of each one to make a nice impression, not all the way to the bottom.

Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool completely on racks.
When cooled fill the impressions with orange marmalade or apricot jam  and dust with powdered sugar.  Apricot jam worked well, I used it since I was out of marmalade.
Makes about 4 dozen

Russian Tea Cakes

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas around here. The cookie of the week blog will be a little more active, at least for a bit.

Russian Tea Cakes
2 cups soft butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar for rolling

In a the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  In another bowl, blend together the salt and flour.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture with the walnuts.  Turn dough out onto plastic wrap. Wrap well, and chill at least 2 hours if not over night.

I used the smallish medium scoop to make the tablespoon sized balls.  The dough is very stiff, so it is hard to scoop. 

Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes or until very lightly browned on the edges .  Cool for about 4 minutes, then do their first roll in powdered sugar. Let them cool completely and roll in powdered sugar again.  They freeze well.
Makes 68 cookies
This is the how the recipe looks in my book.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry Pistachio Coins

I have my problem with the computer solved, and now I will start posting all the Christmas baking. Starting off with this lovely little two bite cookie! 

Cranberry Pistachio Coins

1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios (unsalted, unroasted)
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup softened butter
6 ounces white chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup shelled natural pistachios
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper
In a small bowl whisk together egg and the extracts
In a food processor pulse together flour, pistachios, sugar and salt until well combined. Do not pulse too much that the pistachios are super fine.  Add butter in pieces and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the motor running add the egg mixture and pulse until a dough forms.
(if the weather is very dry, turn out onto a work surface and knead slightly until the dough comes together) The dough formed up nicely in damp Seattle.
With the small cookie scoop (or medium one if you want bigger cookies 3 or 4 bite) place a ball of dough onto prepared cookie sheet. With your thumb make an indentation in the center of each dough ball, almost all the way to the bottom.
Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes or until pale golden brown. Let cool on pan for a minute then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Melt together chocolate and cream until smooth.
In the food processor pulse nuts and cranberries together until they are well chopped, not too fine but not big either.
Put the white chocolate mixture (ganache) into a bag (a pastry bag or a zippy bag with the corner cut off, both work) and pipe about 1/2 teaspoon into each center. Work with only 10 or less cookies at a time. After pipping on the ganache, add some of nut mixture to the top and gently press into the ganache before it cools.  Let the ganache set for at least 30 minutes before storing between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container or one layer in a large zippy bag.
They will freeze, but only for a couple weeks. 
Makes 24 medium scoop cookies of 36 small scoop cookies.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Post is late

I know the blog is late. sorry. I am working on my tech difficuties.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sweet Potato Supremes!

Sweet Potato Supremes

My Grandmother has a recipe we use at Thanksgiving for a sweet potato dish with nuts and coconut. It is heaven on a spoon. I wanted to see if I could make a cookie that was almost as wonderful.  I found a couple of sweet potato cookies on line, morphed them and added the nuts and coconut. Add an orange glaze and we have these!

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup coconut

Orange Glaze
1 1/2 powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. 
Mix, in a medium bowl,  flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt. I use a whisk.
In the bowl of the mixer, cream butter and sugars till light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Blend well.
Add in sweet potatoes. With a spoon, add pecans and coconut.
Line two baking sheets with parchment. 
I used the medium cookies scoop and placed the balls of dough on the prepared pans.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Or until bottoms are slightly brown. Remove to a rack to cool completely

Orange Glaze
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. It will seem very thin. You can make it thicker with more powdered sugar if you wish and drizzle over cookies. I just dipped the tops of the cookies into the glaze. It gives the cookies a lovely little extra flavor

Makes 36