Christmas Treats

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Christmas Treats

Post by Xena on Mon 20 Feb 2017, 9:23 pm

COCONUT-CRANBERRY CHEWS

Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour
Yield: About 6 dozen cookies

About 1½ C butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 C sugar
1 T grated orange peel
2 t vanilla
3¼ C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
¼ t salt
1½ C dried cranberries
1½ C sweetened flaked dried coconut

1. In a large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat 1½ C butter, sugar, orange peel, and vanilla until smooth.

2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 5 minutes. (The mixture will look dry until it comes together as a dough. If it’s too crumbly to form into balls, the dough needs to be mixed longer; it should be a smooth, homogeneous mass.)

3. Mix in cranberries and coconut.

4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on buttered 12x15 baking sheets. (I use parchment paper instead of buttering the baking sheets.)

5. Bake in a 350 degree regular or convection oven until cookie edges just begin to brown, 8–11 minutes (shorter baking time will yield a chewier cookie; longer baking time will yield a crispier cookie). If baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their baking positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.


I don't normally like coconut, but I love these cookies!

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Select: Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark

Post by Xena on Mon 20 Feb 2017, 9:27 pm

I got this recipe from epicurious.com a few years ago, and it's become a favorite of my kids:

LAYERED PEPPERMINT CRUNCH BARK

Makes 36 pieces.

17 ounces good-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Baker's), finely chopped
30 red-and-white-striped hard peppermint candies, coarsely crushed (about 6 ounces)
7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Turn large baking sheet bottom side up. Cover securely with foil. Mark 12 x 9-inch rectangle on foil. Stir white chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of barely simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water) until chocolate is melted and smooth and candy thermometer registers 110°F. (chocolate will feel warm to touch). Remove from over water. Pour 2/3 cup melted white chocolate onto rectangle on foil. Using icing spatula, spread chocolate to fill rectangle. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crushed peppermints. Chill until set, about 15 minutes.

Stir bittersweet chocolate, cream and peppermint extract in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until just melted and smooth.

Cool to barely lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour bittersweet chocolate mixture in long lines over white chocolate rectangle. Using icing spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate in even layer. Refrigerate until very cold and firm, about 25 minutes.
Rewarm remaining white chocolate in bowl set over barely simmering water to 110°F.

Working quickly, pour white chocolate over firm bittersweet chocolate layer; spread to cover. Immediately sprinkle with remaining crushed peppermints. Chill just until firm, about 20 minutes.

Lift foil with bark onto work surface; trim edges. Cut bark crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Using metal spatula, slide bark off foil and onto work surface. Cut each strip crosswise into 3 sections and each section diagonally into 2 triangles. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container.) Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.


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Thumbprint Cookies

Post by Xena on Mon 20 Feb 2017, 9:28 pm

THUMBPRINT COOKIES

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk (save egg white)
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. vanila
jam or jelly, small jar (I use currant or raspberry)


Topping

3/4 - 1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon

Cream butter and brown sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Gradually add in flour. Roll into 1 inch balls, dip in egg white, then roll in pecan, sugar & cinnamon mixture. Press a thumbprint impression into each ball. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Fill with jelly or jam of your choice.

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White Christmas White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Post by Xena on Mon 20 Feb 2017, 9:30 pm

Cookie exchange time at work so I'm making a huge batch of these cookies tomorrow.

White Christmas White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

2 2/3 cups rolled oats (not quick or instant)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried cranberries
6 oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
1/2 cup walnut halves, finely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk oats, flour, baking soda, and salt together in a med. bowl; stir in dried cranberries, white chocolate, and nuts.
3. In a med. saucepan, melt butter over med. heat. Continue to simmer over med-low heat until the milk solids turn golden brown, about 4 mins; take care not to burn.
4. Pour browned butter into a large bowl and whisk in brown sugar until combined. Whisk in cinnamon, then whisk in eggs and vanilla, beating well after each. Add dry mixture to wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Mixture will be thick. Drop by generously rounded tablespoons 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
5. Bake until light golden brown and just dry to the touch, but still a little soft inside, about 10 mins.
6. Slide parchment onto racks to cool completely.

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FANTASY FUDGE

Post by Admin on Mon 20 Feb 2017, 11:29 pm

FANTASY FUDGE


Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min
Makes: 3 lb. or 40 servings, about two squares each

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup) (Do not use sweetened condensed milk.)
1-1/2 pkg. (12 squares) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, chopped
1 jar (7 oz.) JET-PUFFED Marshmallow Creme
1 cup chopped PLANTERS Walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla

LINE 9-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan; set aside. Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.

ADD chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted. Add walnuts and vanilla; mix well.

POUR immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.


Variation - Classic Fantasy Fudge
Prepare recipe as directed, using 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) margarine and substituting 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips for the chopped BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate and a 13x9-inch baking pan for the 9-inch square pan.
Use Your Microwave
To prepare the fudge in the microwave, place butter in 4-qt. microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 min. or until melted. Add sugar and milk; mix well. Microwave 5 min. or until mixture begins to boil, stirring after 3 min. Stir well, scraping down side of bowl. Microwave 5-1/2 min., stirring after 3 min. Let stand 2 min. Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; continue as directed

http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf/recipes/recipedetail.htm?recipe_id=51833
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Glass Candy

Post by Xena on Tue 21 Feb 2017, 10:14 pm

Glass Candy / Old Fashioned Hard Candy

A couple of suggestions: DON'T alter the recipe (doubling, etc.) unless you're willing to throw away a batch. Follow the instructions exactly. Keep your face away from the pan after you put in the flavoring (a lungful of peppermint, while it does clear your nasal passages, is mighty uncomfortable). I also find it helpful to line the cookie sheet with foil before pouring the stuff in -- it keeps the pan from absorbing the smell, and makes it easier to break into pieces. The only place I've been able to find the flavorings is at Ben Franklin. They also have cheap candy thermometers -- which is essential.

2 c. sugar
2/3 c. light corn syrup
1 c. water

Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, then stop stirring and put the lid on the pan (it's best to use a tall saucepan because once the stuff starts boiling, it will splatter on your stovetop & be really hard to clean up). Cover and bring to rolling boil. Remove cover and put in the candy thermometer -- DON'T STIR. Continue boiling over medium heat until candy thermometer says 275. It seems like it sits at 220 for a really long time, but once it starts to move after that, keep an eye on it cuz it'll start moving fast at about 250. Once it hits 275, IMMEDIATELY remove from heat. Quickly stir in flavoring (I use 2 one ounce bottles per batch cuz I like it strong) and food coloring, and pour into foil-lined cookie sheet.

Let it cool completely. Before breaking it into pieces, dust surface with powdered sugar. It'll make the pieces easier to handle.

If you want to mess with people's heads, mix up the colors & flavors (e.g., make cinnamon green, clove red, etc.). I did that once to my brother & it was hilarious.

I do two batches at a time (I make lots of this), but don't start the second batch until the first one's at 225 or so -- you have to move fast when it's time. Also, be really careful. This stuff can actually be pretty dangerous when it's hot. Also, the cinnamon oil can burn skin.

Misc. Notes:

Keep the different flavors separate until you're ready to "serve" it. Otherwise, they all tend to blend together & they all taste the same.

Don't store the candy in plastic unless you want the container to smell like that forever. I have one that still smells after two years!

To clean the pan and spoon, fill the pan with water, put the spoon (and thermometer) into it and put it back on the stove for a while.

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