Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, whatever you celebrated as well as welcoming in 2012. The brief hiatus was actually due to Cookie Palooza 2011. I’m sorry guys, no excuse! I made well over 15 types of cookies (and STILL doing some!) Along with all the Christmas festivities going on, buying gifts, making gifts, sigh…I got so side tracked, I never got to post a “Happy Holiday” or “Farewell 2011″ post. So let me just say how well Cookie Palooza went on. My first item up was a Chewy Gingerbread Cookie. The recipe makes about 4 dozen and they are so good! The day before, I made up the dough and chilled it. Thursday, I baked them as well as made the dough for my Mom’s “Secret Cookie”. I unfortunately can’t give out that recipe…After that, I did some Candied Walnuts and MORE Cranberry Orange Iced Cookies (Art ate almost ALL the first batch and I only found out as I plated some cookies…) and some Iced Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies. (Can you tell I was in a cranberry mood?) We have a roll out sugar cookie recipe that is a yearly tradition only instead of the milk it calls for, we use orange juice. My Great Uncle was lactose intolerant so my Aunt revised it and it just simply stuck! After they’re baked, we cool them and ice them with colored icing made from 10x, OJ, and food coloring. Adding to the list, I made 3 kinds of fudge, Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Creamsicle. Let me just tell you, SO good! My favorite is always the chocolate but the creamsicle turned out so pretty, swirled to perfection. As for our traditional Christmas get together, I made a delicious Red Velvet Cheesecake. It turned out AMAZING! Just make cake batter as directed (use a box or recipe, doesn’t matter). Divide it into 2 pans (springform are best!) and bake it as directed. Let it cool and make a basic cheesecake (recipe follows cookies). Equally spread on the cakes and bake again for 40-45 minutes at 350* (for light pan, and 300* for dark)-just until set in the center. Chill for 4 hours and enjoy. YUM!
Here are a few recipes to get you started. Hope everyone had a wonderful start to 2012!
Chewy Gingerbread Cookies
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2/3 cup granulated or coarse sugar
In large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in egg and molasses. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours. (I do overnight)
Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with cooking parchment paper or silicone baking mat. In small bowl, place granulated sugar. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. On cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until set and soft in center. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 teaspoons orange juice
Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and orange peel with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients.
On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart.
Bake 11 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack; cool completely, about 15 minutes.
In small bowl, stir powdered sugar, vanilla and enough orange juice until thin enough to drizzle.
Cathedral Cookies *no bake*
1 Stick, Butter
1 (12-ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 package colored mini marshmallows
Melt butter and chips in microwave at 50% stirring occasionally until melted. Fold in marshmallows. Divide in half, spread on sheet of wax paper and roll. Repeat. Chill. Removed paper and slice into 1/2″ slices.
Butterscotch Haystacks *no bake*
1 (12 oz) package Butterscotch Chips
3 oz. can Chow Mein Noodles
1/2 C. Peanuts
Melt chips in microwave at 50% stirring occasionally until melted. Mix in noodles and peanuts. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper. Cool.
Red Velvet (or any other flavor) Cheesecake
Use a favorite recipe or box mix and prepare as directed.
Bake 30 minutes at 350* for light pans, 300* for dark
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese , softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream
Beat Cream cheese and sugar, add sour cream and vanilla. Beat in eggs 1 at a time until combined. Spread equally over cakes and bake again for 40-45 minutes or until center is barely set.