Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mocha Crackle Cookies


Hello again! These cookies were exchanged at my work's cookie exchange event last Thursday. I really liked how they kept their shape very well (a nice dome look) after baking, and the "crackles" came out nicely too. The chocolate flavor depth was enhanced by the coffee granules, I thought, but you could omit the granules if you don't like/can't have the caffeine flavor (which is not overpowering at all). 
Hope you enjoy them too!
Mocha Crackle Cookies

Ingredients:
·         ½ cup butter
·         5 oz unsweetened chocolate
·         1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
·         4 eggs, room temperature
·         1/8 tsp salt
·         1 cup sugar
·         1 cup packed brown sugar
·         2 cups + 3 Tbsp AP flour
·         2 tsp baking powder
·         ~1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, for coating

Directions:
1.    In a microwave or saucepan, heat butter, chocolate, and coffee until chocolate is melted; cool slightly.
2.    In mixing bowl, combine eggs and salt. Add sugars. Stir in chocolate mixture; mix well. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to egg mixture to form a soft dough. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
3.    Roll dough into ¾ inch balls. Roll in confectioners’ sugar; place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Recipe originally from Taste of Home - Mocha Crackle Cookies
For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rudolph Treats


If you are looking for kid-friendly Christmas treats/projects, look no further! This is an easy and fast treat that you can even put together with your little ones, with no baking required! I made this for the kids to go along with the Candy Cane Cookies I posted about earlier this week, and everyone loved them! And like I said, with no baking and just some assembly required, it comes together very easily.
The original recipe called for black decorating gel, but since I had made a batch of chocolate frosting for my Coffee Bonbons, then I just used it to make the pupils in the marshmallow eyes and glue the marshmallows and M&M noses in place.
Oh, here is an idea too: if you want to display these reindeer together, you can make 7 of them with brown noses and one with a red one! :) And if you really wanted to use a different candy bar, I'm sure you could do that too, just as long as they can hold the pretzels well. 
Rudolph Treats

Ingredients:
·         12 miniature pretzels, halved
·         12 fun-size Almond Joy candy bars
·         12 miniature marshmallows, halved
·         Chocolate frosting or black decorating gel
·         12 red M&M’s miniature baking bits

Directions:
1.    Insert an end from 2 pretzel halves into each candy bar to form antlers. Apply a small amount of chocolate frosting or decorating gel on cut side of marshmallow and gently press it to onto each candy bar for each eye. Dot top of marshmallow with frosting or gel.
2.    For nose, attach an M&M to the top of each candy with frosting or gel. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Original recipe from Taste of Home - Rudolph Treats
For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Coffee Bonbons


Cookie, cookie, cookie!!! Man, these cookies are by far my favorite so far... if you like coffee, you just MUST try these! When you take a bite of these cookies, they just crumble and melt in your mouth, and the icing gives it a nice sweet touch. The coffee flavor comes from instant coffee granules! These cookies were so simple to make, and are definitely making it to the Christmas table!
About the frosting, I piped it on to make it pretty for the Christmas gathering we were bringing them to, but you can certainly spread it on the cookie too.
Coffee Bonbons

Ingredients:
Cookie base
·         1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
·         ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
·         ½ tsp vanilla extract
·         1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
·         1 ¾ cups AP flour
Chocolate Glaze
·         1 Tbsp butter
·         ½ oz unsweetened chocolate
·         1 cup confectioners’ sugar
·         2 Tbsp milk or heavy cream

Directions:
1.    In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Combine coffee and flour; stir into creamed mixture and mix well. Chill for about 30 minutes.
2.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Shape dough into ¾ inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
3.    Meanwhile, for glaze, melt butter and chocolate together. Add confectioners’ sugar and milk (or heavy cream) in 2 increments to chocolate mixture, mixing well until smooth. Frost cookies while still warm.
 Original recipe from Taste of Home - Coffee Bonbons
For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Creme de Menthe Truffles


Hello again! Here is a treat for the grown-ups ;) If you like the combination of chocolate and mint, you may like this treat. I must warn you though: the truffle filling is pretty sweet (for my taste, although my husband didn't think so), so this would go really nicely with a hot cup of coffee or tea on the side. 
I also sprinkled some colored sugar on top of each truffle while the chocolate was still soft for decoration, which the original recipe didn't call for. It added a small cuteness factor to the truffle. And who doesn't eat with their eyes, right? ;)
Crème de Menthe Truffles

Ingredients:
·         ½ cup butter, melted
·         1 cup finely chopped pecans
·         ¼ cup crème de menthe liquor
·         4 cups confectioner’s sugar
·         2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips, to melt
·         2 tsp shortening
·         Green colored sugar, for decorating (optional)

Directions:
1.    In a large bowl, combine the butter, pecans, and crème de menthe. Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or until easy to handle.
2.    With hands lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar, shape mixture into one-inch balls. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
3.    In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth (~1-2 minutes on high, in ~40 second increments). Dip balls in chocolate mixture; let excess drip off. Return to waxed paper; sprinkle decorative green sugar on top of each truffle while chocolate is still soft (optional). Chill until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here. 

Candy Cane Cookies


Hello again! I had a really productive Saturday in baking lots of yummy cookies. Friends from church got together for an early Christmas party, and so I asked to bring the dessert! It was my way to try out some of the recipes I've been itching to get to. 
Here is one treat I made for the little (and some big ones too) kids. Since you can use store-bought sugar cookie dough, this comes together super easy! My cookies did not come out as pretty as the picture from the original recipe though... So thinking back, what I will do next time is once I've got the cookies shaped, I'm going to freeze them for another 15 minutes before baking them. That should let them hold their cane shape better without becoming so flat. I'll adjust the directions once I figure out the "secret" :)
Candy Cane Cookies
Makes ~2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
·         ½ tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough, softened
·         2 Tbsp AP flour
·         ½ tsp peppermint extract
·         ½ tsp red food coloring

Directions:
1.    In a large mixing bowl, beat the cookie dough, flour, and peppermint extract until smooth. Divide dough in half; mix food coloring into one portion.
2.    Shape 1 tsp of white dough into a six-inch rope. Shape 1 tsp of red dough into a six-inch rope. Place ropes side by side; press together lightly and twist.
3.    Place on an ungreased baking sheet; curve top of cookie to form handle of cane. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies 2 inches apart on baking sheets.
4.    Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before carefully removing to wire racks.

Original recipe from Taste of Home - Candy Cane Cookies
For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Snowballs


Heeeeeeeello again! Here is the latest cookie from my cookie challenge: Chocolate Snowballs. It was a pretty simple recipe to make, with just a little planning ahead needed since the dough needs to be made the night before. My husband got to try these cookies and he loved them! These cookies are very chocolate-y and go so well with a nice glass of milk. :) These may be great cookies to leave for Santa, if your family leaves any left that is!
Chocolate Snowballs
Makes ~ 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
·         ¾ cup butter, softened at room temperature
·         ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
·         1 egg
·         ¼ cup milk
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         2 cups AP flour
·         ½ cup baking cocoa
·         1 tsp baking powder
·         ½ tsp salt
·         ¼ tsp baking soda
·         Confectioner’s sugar, for coating

Directions:
1.    In a medium bowl, sift and combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
2.    In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add the flour/chocolate mixture to the creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
3.    When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Shape dough into one inch balls; place them two inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the tops are crackled. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
4.    In a shallow bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar (about 1 cup total, variable). Roll the cookies in the sugar to coat well.

Original recipe from Taste of Home - Chocolate Snowballs
For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Swedish Butter Cookies


Hi! Another day, another cookie recipe :) Today's cookie recipe was chosen for this cookie challenge just because of how pretty they look. I know, I know, not nice to judge a book by its cover right? Well, but in this case, the looks of this cookie was just the beginning! The pecans that cover the cookie just make it so nice and crunchy, but the inside of the cookie just melts in your mouth! So overall the cookie was great, and I had a little fun with the maraschino cherry colors, and made both green and red cookies.
The cookies are a little time consuming to make, but I think they were worth it in the end! Go try these cookies now!
Swedish Butter Cookies
Makes ~3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
·         2 cups AP flour
·         ½ tsp baking powder
·         ½ cup finely chopped pecans
·         1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
·         ½ cup sugar
·         1 egg, separated
·         1 Tbsp heavy cream (or half-and-half)
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         Additional chopped pecans (~1-1/2 cups), for coating
·         Halved red maraschino cherries or red jelly of your choice

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift and combine flour, baking powder, and chopped pecans in a medium bowl; set aside.
2.    In a large mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture in the bowl and mix until well incorporated. Roll dough into ½ ~ ¾ inch balls.
3.    In a small shallow bowl, beat egg whites. Dip balls in egg white, then them roll in additional pecans. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4.    Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Top each ball with a cherry half or fill with jelly. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Carefully remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Original recipe from Taste of Home - Swedish Butter Cookies
For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thumbprint Cookies


Hello everyone; hope you had a wonderful weekend! I've been busy trying out more cookie recipes this weekend, and will be posting the other ones soon. 
Today's cookie is actually one of my favorite holiday cookies! The cookie itself is simple and yet totally melts in your mouth! And if you can make the cookies differently every time depending on the fruit flavor of jam/jelly you choose. I made these with strawberry, but I also got some apricot that I will be making very soon.
One note about the indentation that you need to make on the cookie: I don't have a wooden spoon that has a rounded handle (all mine are flat handles), so I decided to use the bottom of my 1/2 tsp measuring spoon. It worked well to make the indentation, but as the cookies baked, the indentation went away!! So make sure to really make a deep indentation on your cookies to make sure they hold their shape better. Next time I'm going to try that and hope that the indentations stay...
Thumbprint Cookies
Makes ~ 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
·         12 Tbsp butter (1/ ½ stick), softened
·         1 cup sugar
·         2 eggs
·         4 Tbsp canola oil
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 tsp butter flavoring
·         3 cups AP flour
·         ½ cup cornstarch
·         2 tsp baking powder
·         ½ tsp salt
·         Assorted jams

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, oil, vanilla, and butter flavoring. Sift and combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
2.    Roll into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the center of each.
3.    Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks. Fill each cookie with ~1/4 tsp jam; cool. 

Recipe originally from Taste of Home - Thumbprint Cookies
For more of my cookie challenge cookie recipes, click here.