Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Day 12 - Congo Bars

(Day 12 - This is last day of the 12 days of Holiday cookies. Enjoy!)

1 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. or 1 1/4 sticks butter
2 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
1/2 c. walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10 x 15 inch pan. Beat butter and sugar in bowl until creamy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each egg. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; blend well. Fold in chips and nuts. Turn in pan, spread evenly. Bake until top is lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; let cool. Cut into bars. Congo bars will freeze. Makes 32 bars.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Day 11 - Linzer Cookies

(Day 11 of the 12 Days of Holiday cookies. Look for another recipe tomorrow.)

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1-1/3 cups plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 jar (12 ounces) raspberry jam
Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease baking sheets; set aside.

In medium bowl, combine flour, almonds, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, with electric mixer, beat butter and 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and almond extract, scraping sides occasionally. Beat in flour mixture just until blended. On prepared sheets, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart.

In small bowl, add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Moisten flat bottom of a glass with water, then dip moistened bottom in sugar. With glass, gently flatten one cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies, dipping glass just in sugar before flattening each cookie.

Bake 9 minutes or until lightly golden around edges. On wire rack, cool 2 minutes; remove from sheets and cool completely.

With 1-inch cookie or aspic cutter, cut hole in center of 1/2 of the cookies. Spread jam on bottom side of each remaining whole cookie; top each with cut-out cookie. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Day 10 - Thumbprint Cookies

(Day 10 of the 12 Days of Holiday cookies. Look for another recipe Monday.)

Makes about 3 dozen

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1/2 cup jam or preserves

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and 1/2 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla; beat well. Whisk together flour and salt, and add to mixture, beating on low until combined.

2. In a small food processor, combine almonds with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and process until almonds are finely ground. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg white. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Dip in egg white, then in almond-and-sugar mixture. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet. Make a deep indentation in the center of each ball with your finger or bottom of a thick wooden spoon.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, and press down the centers again. Fill the center of each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of jam. Rotate sheets, and bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes more. Remove from oven, and place on a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Day 9 - Pecan Tassies

(Day 9 of the 12 Days of Holiday cookies. Look for another recipe tomorrow.)

Makes 16

For The Dough:

1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

For The Filling:

1 large egg
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Make the dough: Process pecans in a food processor until finely ground (you should have about 1/3 cup); set aside. Put mascarpone and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until well blended. Add flour, ground pecans, and salt; mix just until dough comes together. Alternatively, stir together ingredients with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.

2. Roll dough into sixteen 1-inch balls, and press into bottoms and up sides of cups of mini-muffin tins.

3. Make the filling: Whisk the egg, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, butter, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in pecans. Spoon about 1 1/2 teaspoons filling into each muffin cup.

4. Bake pecan tassies until crust begins to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely in tins on wire rack. Unmold. Pecan tassies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Day 8 - Magic Cookie Bars

(Day 8 of the 12 Days of Holiday cookies. Look for another recipe tomorrow.)

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees for glass dish). In 13x9-inch baking pan, melt margarine in oven. Sprinkle crumbs over butter; pour EAGLE BRAND® evenly over crumbs. Layer evenly with remaining ingredients; press down firmly.

Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Chill if desired. Cut into bars. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Day 7 - Giant Ginger Cookies

(Day 7 of the 12 Days of Holiday cookies. Look for another recipe tomorrow.)

Makes 12; Prep time: 30 minutes; Total time: 50 minutes

To preserve the appearance of the sugary tops, layer cookies between parchment or wax paper when packing them for school lunches or as gifts.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/3 cup for coating
6 tablespoons molasses
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350°, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, allspice, and pepper.

With an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 20 minutes.

Divide dough into twelve 2-inch balls. Place remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar in a bowl. Roll balls in sugar to coat; place at least 4 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Flatten into 3-inch rounds. Sprinkle with sugar remaining in bowl.

Bake until brown, rotating sheets halfway through, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Note: Freezing the dough for twenty minutes makes it easier to work with. Cookies can be baked up to two days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Day 6 - Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

(Day 6 of the 12 Days of Holiday cookies. Look for another recipe tomorrow.)

4 tablespoons butter
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup powdered sugar

In a large, heavy saucepan over low heat, melt butter and chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until smooth; remove from heat. With a heavy wooden spoon, stir sugar into warm chocolate mixture. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt; stir until smooth. Stir in walnuts.

NOTE: This will be a soft dough and must be refrigerated. It may be left in saucepan or transferred to a bowl. Either way, cover and refrigerate, preferably for 1 1/2 hours; dough may be refrigerated longer or overnight, if you wish.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Adjust two racks to divide oven into thirds. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, place powdered sugar. Sugar palms of your hands with some of the powdered sugar. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll balls around in powdered sugar and place 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until tops of cookies are barely semi-firm to touch. Reverse position of sheets top to bottom and front to back once during baking to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

DO NOT OVERBAKE - these should be slightly soft in the centers. (If you bake only one sheets at a time, bake high in oven.)

Yields 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Day 5 - Rum Balls

(Day 5 of the 12 Days of Holiday cookies. Look for another recipe Monday.)

2 T. corn syrup or honey
2 c. vanilla wafers, ground
1 c. powdered sugar
2 T. cocoa powder
1 c. nuts, ground
1/4 to 1/3 c. rum
Granulated sugar

In a large bowl, combine corn syrup or honey, vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and nuts. Add 1/4 cup of rum. Mix well. Mixture should be able to hold a ball shape but not be too tacky. In necessary, add more rum to get the right consistency. Shape into balls about the diameter of a nickel. roll in granulated sugar. Store in an airtight container.