Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Cookies

The tree and advent calendar are finally up, (only 12 days into the month of December), and now it is time for baking.

I am planning on making some of my very favorites, but am also looking for a really good cutout cookie recipe. I have tried different versions every year and still have been unsuccessful in finding that one recipe that makes me say WOW these are really good. I have tasted some good ones in the past, so I know they exist. If you have a recipe to share, please do so.

Kolachkes
1/2 pound butter
1/2 pound margarine
4 cups flour
3 egg yolks beaten
1 c. sour cream
jam fillings
powdered sugar

Cut margarine and butter into flour. Add yolks and sour cream. Blend with fork.
Refrigerate overnight.
Sprinkle flour and sugar on board and roll out small portions.
Cut into squares.
Put filling in center of each square and pinch middle closed.
Bake at 350 for 25 - 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar once cool.

Mrs. Fields Mother Lode Brownies
Brownie Layer
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 oz. semisweet chocolate
3/4 c. unsalted butter
1 & 1/2 c. light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Caramel Layer
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3 tbs. water
1/4 c. heavy cream, scalded
2 tbs. unsalted butter

Toppings
1 c. coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
1 & 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. milk chocolate chips

Grease and flour a 9 X 9 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 325.

Make the brownie layer: In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda.
In a double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate and the semisweet with the butter. Stir until smooth and set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl with a mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs until lightened and pale in color. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla. Gradually add flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 -50 minutes, or until center is set but moist and a bit fudgy. Cool in the pan.

Prepare the caramel layer: In a small, heavy saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then let boil without stirring until the syrup turns a deep amber. While the syrup is boiling, brush down the sides of the pan from time to time with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the hot cream (be careful, it will bubble rapidly). Continue stirring, over low heat if necessary, until all the caramel is dissolved into the cream. Stir in the butter until smooth. Set aside until cooled slightly but spreadable.

Assemble: Preheat the oven to 325. Spread the caramel over the cooled brownies. Sprinkle the toppings over the caramel layer and place the brownies in the oven for 5 minutes to set (do not let the chips melt completely)

Cool and enjoy.

Holiday Spritz
1 c. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
2 & 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
Food color if desired.

Preheat to 400.
Beat butter, sugar and egg in large bowl with mixer on medium speed. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Place dough in cookie press. Form desired shapes on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 5 to 8 minutes until set but not brown. Immediately remove from sheet to wire rack.
Decorate as desired.

Peppermint Bark
16 oz. almond bark, broken into pieces.
candy canes left over from Christmas.

Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, waxed paper or parchment paper. Melt the almond bark.
Smash candy canes in whatever way possible in a heavy plastic bag. Stir the broken candy into the melted bark.
Spread evenly on cookie sheet. Let stand for about 1 hour until hardened. Break into pieces.

There are several more that I will post later.

2 comments:

Mom to Almost Four said...

I will be passing along my mother's sugar cookie recipe. My absolute favortie in the whole world. No other sugar cookie cut out tastes quite like it - I can't bear to have any other. I am a "Mom's Sugar Cookie Snob."

Post it soon.

Mom to Almost Four said...

yep, Crisco shortening - the real stuff.

for the lemon flavoring, go down the baking aisle where the vanilla extract is. It should be there. There are all kinds of different flavorings out there.

good luck and enjoy!