Holiday Cookies & Recipes

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Hi Everyone,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope your holidays have been wonderful so far. Among all the gatherings and traditions, there is so much food, so much dessert.

Which brings me to today’s topic- Cookies.

Usually I make my three standard Christmas cookies every year which are the Chocolate Crinkle, Sesame (Regina) and Grandma’s honey bow ties. Everyone knows by now that I am not the baker and I rely on the local bakery to fill in my Christmas dessert tray.

Well, I was inspired by all the food groups on Facebook so I decided to give baking another try and I got carried away. I made a total of eight varieties of cookies and fudge; yes I said eight…

This year was the first year that my son was not home for Christmas. I wanted to send a little “taste” of home to him for Christmas so I asked what cookies he would like and the list kept getting longer and longer.

I decided to send a care package to him and also to the other residents that are working with him in the hospital on the dreaded Christmas Eve through Christmas Day shift. And so the baking began.

I wanted to share my results with you along with the recipes.

The standards…

Chocolate Crinkle

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

5 ounces UNSWEETENED chocolate, broken into pieces

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ tsp salt

4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar

  1. Melt chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in a microwave until about ¾ melted. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted and smooth,
  2. Meanwhile, stir together (or sift) flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on hand, beat eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla extract until creamy, about 2 minutes. Whisk chocolate –butter mixture until smooth, and beat into egg mixture until smooth. Add about 1/3 of flour mixture and mix on low. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended. Dough may be thin; that’s OK because it will firm up upon cooling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to roll into balls, at least 6 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift some confectioners’ sugar into a wide shallow bowl. Roll dough between your palms into 1-inch balls, and then roll in confectioners’ sugar. Place balls 1-inch apart on cookie sheets.
  5. Bake until puffed and crackled in appearance, and surface is dry to the touch, about 12 minutes; centers will still feel somewhat soft. Slide parchment paper onto racks to cool cookies completely. Makes 80 cookies.
  6. Store at room temperature in airtight containers.

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Sesame (Regina)

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Sesame Cookies- by my friend Paula Gati


1 lb. Crisco vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar

4 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons of vanilla
4 lg eggs
approx. 2 cups of toasted sesame seeds
1 cup of milk

1. Cream Crisco and sugar add eggs and vanilla, add flour and baking powder. A little at a time…till soft dough forms…
2. Turn on floured board. And just mix all well. Break off in small amounts like the size of a walnut then make into log shape…

3. roll in milk then seeds and bake 12 minutes till bottom is light brown 350 degree oven

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Grandmas’s Honey Bow ties
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Grandma’s Honey Bow ties

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ lb all purpose flour
  • 8 or 10 eggs (depending on size)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 oz vanilla extract *
  • 1/2 oz rum extract *
  • 1/2 oz lemon extract *
  • 1/2 oz orange extract *
  • 1/2 oz almond extract *
  • Honey (large jar) –approx 4 cups
  • Confetti sprinkles
  • Vegetable or Canola oil
  • Water – approx 1 cup
  • Sugar (optional)

Make a well with the flour on a large pastry board. Beat the eggs and place in the well. Next add the 1-½ tsp baking powder and ½ oz each of the 5 extracts (1/2 a small bottle each or 3 tsp) and some cinnamon and sugar.

Work all this together and knead the dough. When the dough is ready for cutting and shaping the dough should have bubbles in the center (cut the dough to see if it ready).

When ready, cut into pieces and roll like a hot dog, and then run the dough through the manual pasta machine on the following settings:

First on # 1 then # 3 then # 4 then # 6

Cut in strips with a pizza cutter and shape into bow ties

After shaped, fry in Wesson vegetable /Canola oil until gold in color and drain (very quickly-be careful not to burn them and make them too dark)

Next, prepare the honey and water mixture (1 jar of honey to ½ jar of water) on a low flame to thin out the honey a bit. Place 4 bows at a time in the honey and dip the cookie. Layer the dipped cookies on a platter and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sprinkles. Continue this process layer after layer. (Store in aluminum foil in a cool place)

* ½ oz = 3 tsp

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And now the new additions…

Pistachio Cookies

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Pistachio cookies

PISTACHIO COOKIES by way of my friend Michael Gottuso…

The recipe:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 large package instant pistachio pudding
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
Roll in balls. Bake 350 degrees. 13 – 15 minutes.
Drizzle with melted white chocolate and sprinkle with crystals.

Cook’s Note: I added chopped pistachios meats to the batter.

Cooks Note: I used a confectioners sugar glaze instead of chocolate.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

Step 1

In a medium bowl, stir milk into sugar. Add vanilla. Drizzle on your favorite dessert.

Step 2

May be thickened with confectioners’ sugar or thinned with milk or other flavored liquids.

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Pignoli Cookies and Chocolate Almond Cookies

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Pignoli Cookies and Chocolate Almond cookies

Pignoli Cookies-Marlene Scire by way of Paula Gati

2 cups almond paste
2 cups sugar
4 egg whites-room temp
Break almond paste up in bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment

Add sugar and mix till it resembles wet sand
Add eggs one at a time..should be firm not too wet or loose
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
Scoop out with small cookie scoop and roll in pine nuts
Bake on parchment lined cookie sheets for approx 20 min or till bottoms are light brown..dont over cook..

Cool and dust with confectioners’ sugar

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Chocolate Almond

This was my own creation by adding 1/2 cup cocoa powder to the pignoli dough and adding chopped almonds

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Rainbow Cookies

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Rainbow Cookies

 Rainbow Cookies by Marlene Scire by way of Paula Gati

1 (8 oz.) can of solo almond paste (I use different brand of almond paste I get from restaurant supply which =1 cup)
1 cup butter (recipe calls for margarine or butter… I use butter)

1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
2 cups of sifted flour
20 drops red food coloring
12 drops of green food coloring
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1 6 oz. bags of chocolate chips= 1 ¼ cups

Preheat oven to 350. Grease pans and line with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer add almond paste and bread up with paddle attachment, add butter, sugar, egg yolks and beat till light and fluffy

Add flour and mix well…

In a separate bowl beat egg whites till soft peaks form and fold gently into flour/almond mix

Remove 1 ½ cups of batter and add red food coloring, do the same for green
should have 1 ½ cups of white batter left.

I use specific pans that I purchased 3 pans just for these cookies. Got a Wm Sonoma…they measure 9 x13 and they are approx. 1 inch high. You can use a 1/4 cookie sheet pan also…

Spread batter in prepared pans and bake approx. 10-12 min….do not overcook…edges should be just turning golden…remove and completely cool each pan.

Put sheet of parchment or foil on table and remove green layer and place on parchment and spread with raspberry preserves, top with white layer and top that with apricot preserves. Then top with red layer.

Pick up parchment and place these three layers back into baking pan, which has been clean. Make sure you leave enough parchment to overhang so you can easily remove after.

Cover top red layer with a sheet of parchment or wax paper and either use a thin cutting board or one of those flex type ones on top of the wax paper/parchment and put something slightly weighted on top to weigh down and compress the layers…and then put in fridge overnight.

The next day remove. Cute edges to square off and give nice even layers. Melt chocolate and spread on top and let harden. When chocolate is hard….cut into rectangles…. (If while cutting through chocolate. And if it’s too hard. Dip knife in hot water and then cut. Wipe off any water before cutting, this will help knife cut through chocolate enabling you to have nice clean cutting lines)

Cook’s note: add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil to chocolate to make it more pliable to cut.

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Chocolate Biscotti

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Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti by my friend Michael Gottuso

Oven – 350 degrees
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Beat butter and sugar until light fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla to butter mixture and beat until well combined.
Gradually stir in flour mixture.
Add nuts and chocolate chips.
Scoop onto lined baking sheet, making two rough logs.
With lightly floured hands, smooth dough into log shapes, about 2 inches wide by 12 inches long. Slightly flatten logs.
Sprinkle tops of logs with confectioners’ sugar.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until logs are slightly firm to the touch. Do not overbake.
Let logs cool for at least 30 minutes.
Cut biscotti into 3/4 inch wide slices. Arrange slices standing up on lined baking sheet.
Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
Cool completely.

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And Peppermint Fudge

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Peppermint Fudge 

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, about 1 ½ cups
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup candy cane crunch
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Combine the chocolate chips, milk, and marshmallows in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir frequently as the chocolate melts. Add the candy cane crunch and vanilla. Stir to combine
  • Remove from the heat
  • Lightly grease a 10-inch square pan or line with parchment.
  • Pour the fudge into the pan and spread with a spatula.
  • (optional- I decorated with additional candy cane pieces)
  • Chill in the refrigerator until firm
  • Slice into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator

Cook’s Note: This fudge can be made ahead of time and kept in the freezer for several months. Thaw in the refrigerator when ready to serve

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Well, I have to say that this was a labor of love.  I had some failures along the way, but all in all I was happy with the results and most importantly, my son LOVED them.

I hope you give theses cookies a try or file the recipes with your holiday baking list for next year.

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Diane

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