Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 12

My last goodie of this whole adventure is not a recipe, but a decorating post. The cookies I used are gingerbread, but you really could use any roll out cookies. I picked gingerbread because of the color (you'll soon see what I mean). To start roll out your dough, cut out circles and bake like you always would.

Once the cookies are cooled, attach a red M&M, with some melted chocolate, to the cookie.

Next, pipe two small dots of melted chocolate to make eyes.

Then pipe two lines above the eyes. After that make three smaller lines on your larger line. Make the smaller line have a slight angle. You have just created an antler.

This is probably the easiest decorating you could do on a cookie, and it is just about the cutest cookies for the holiday season (at least in my opinion).

Use brown M&Ms too, and you have Santa's team already for Christmas. Merry Christmas to all of you who have followed me on this fun project the last twelve days. I hope you have discovered some new goodies to add to your Christmas celebration. Enjoy your holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 11

Just in case you have someone in your life who has been naughty this year, I have a goodie for them. Nothing says "you've been bad" like some coal. But it's always best to see the good in people this time of year, so how about some edible coal.

Oreo Bars

1 package Oreos
5 cups large marshmallows
4 Tbsp butter

Butter an 8x8 cake pan and line with parchment or wax paper. Make sure the paper goes up the sides of the pan.

Using your food processer, pulse the oreos to make a fine crumb.

Combine the marshmallows and butter in a saucepan. Melt until combined. Stir in the Oreo crumbs.

Grease your hands and press the mixture into the prepared pans. Let stand for at lest 10 minutes.

You can cut into squares, or to make it look it like coal, rip into pieces. Best tasting coal ever.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 10

My husband only made one request for a Christmas goodie this year. I of course, granted this wish for my Honey. So in our house we now have a container full of Peanut Butter Balls. This is my Mother-in-law's recipe that she gave me when we first moved here.

Peanut Butter Balls

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened

Put all ingredients in a bowl. One tip, if you buy an 18 oz jar of peanut butter, you have your 2 cups without having to measure it all (anything to save doing more dishes).

Mix like you would a pie dough. I even broke out my pastry blender.

I also suggest using your hands to finish mixing. Check that the mixture will stay together for you. If it seems a little dry, add a little more butter.

You can make the balls any size you would like, I like to keep them closer to bite size.

Melt some chocolate coating and dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate to thoroughly cover them. Set on a baking sheet to dry.

And that's all there is to it. No oven, little measuring, lots of yummy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 9

This goodie of the day is one I discovered back when I worked in a restaurant. I picked this recipe because it used Guinness and we just so happened to have Guinness in our refrigerator. I will have to warn you, this recipe is kind of coming from the dusty old files in the back of my mind. If you saw what I have written down as the recipe, you would wonder how in the heck a cake was going to come out of it, but here goes anyway.

Guinness Gingerbread Cake

1 cup Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350

Combine stout and molasses in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add baking soda and cool.

Whisk together the eggs and sugars until lemon in color.

Whisk in the oil.

Stir in molasses mixture and combine thoroughly.

Combine flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together. Gradually add the flour mixture into the cake batter. Pour into a greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean.

I tried my new silicone tube cake pan that I just got. I thought it would make a great cake for Christmas. Sadly, the cake didn't quite come out of the pan as clean as I would of liked it. So as the saying goes, when the world (or in this case, my oven) hands you lemons...

Make gingerbread cake pops! I let the cake cool, threw it in a bowl with some vanilla frosting and mixed it all together. Dipped the pop in some milk chocolate, topped it off with a little fondant to resemble royal icing and then embellished with some candy holly leaves and berries.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 8

Thumbprint cookies are relatively easy to make and always look nice on a cookie display. And they are also easy to change up the flavor combination depending on what filling you choose.

Cherry Pecan Thumbprints

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup Smuckers Black Cherry Spreadable Fruit

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and extract.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Beat well after each addition and make sure dough is thoroughly combined.

Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in chopped pecans. (I will say I wish I had chopped my pecans a little finer then what I did)

Place on cookie sheet and use your thumb to create a small hole in the dough. If you wet your thumb a bit each time before using it, it helps stop the dough from sticking to you. Fill with jam.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown. I like the deep jewel color these cookies add to the plate. Enjoy!

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 7

I use to make today's goodies all the time when I was working at a catering company. They go by many names, but the name I have heard used the most is Magic Bars. Here is the version I used this year.

Magic Bars

3 cups finely ground cookies (12 ounces), such as graham crackers or chocolate wafers, or a combination
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375. Line a jelly roll pan with a Silpat or parchment paper.

An easy way to create cookie crumbs is to put the cookies in a zip lock bag and then use a rolling pin to crush them. Combine crumbs, sugar and butter in a bowl. Press evenly to the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes until firm and lightly browned. Cool for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle pecans and chocolate chips over crust. When I went to make these, I discovered I didn't have enough chocolate chips, so I add some crasins to the mix.

Pour condensed milk over crust and spread evenly, which I have to admit is easier said then done without moving all you chips and nuts.

Put a layer of coconut on top and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until coconut is toasted.

Let cool, preferable on a wire rack. Then cut into squares. You can trim the edges if so desired.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 6

Today's goodie is one you can easily do with the kids. I didn't grow up with these little yummies, and I don't even know for sure what they are called. My one friend calls them Belly Buttons, so I'll go with that.

Belly Buttons

60 pretzel rounds
60 Hershey Kisses
60 M&M's (I used red and green ones)

Preheat oven to 225.

Lay pretzel rounds out on a cookies sheet that is lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Place one Hershey Kiss in the center of the pretzel round.

Place in oven for 2-3 minutes until the Kisses are melted. They should have a nice shine to them. Don't stray from your oven, you don't want to over heat the kisses.

Using the M&M, push the melted Kiss into the pretzel round, making sure the chocolate touches the sides of the pretzel. Let the chocolate cool and enjoy. I know my first batch didn't last the night in our house. Thank goodness these are quick and easy to make since they disappear so fast.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 5

Now you can't have hot chocolate without topping it off with some marshmallows. Sure you can just buy them, but believe it or not, marshmallows are simple to make, so why not try making some for yourself.

Simple Homemade Marshmallows

3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
powdered sugar for dredging

Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup cold water. Bring to a boil. Let the sugar mixture boil for a minute.

Pour boiling sugar mixture into gelatin and mix on high speed. Add salt and beat for 12 minutes.

Add vanilla, or any other flavoring you choose. Pour marshmallow into a pan that is lined with oiled waxed paper. Lightly oil a spatula, or your hands, and spread marshmallow smooth.

Top with some powdered sugar and let set for a few hours. After that you can cut them in to squares or use a cookie cutter to create fun shapes. After cutting, dredge marshmallows in powdered sugar. Shake off any extra sugar.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 4

Nothing goes better with cookies on a cold winter's day then hot chocolate. So today's goodie is hot chocolate, but with a slight's hot chocolate on a stick. When I first saw these guys on pinterest, I so wanted to make them right away. Once again, a very simple and pretty quick recipe. And once again, I thought I had pictures of the whole process, but sadly only the end stages.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

1/2 cup heavy cream
14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
18 oz (about 3 cups) chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chips
4 oz (about 3/4 cup) chopped unsweetened chocolate
25 lollipop sticks

Start by preparing an 8x8 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the two chocolates in a bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the heavy cream and condensed milk, and heat to a simmer. Pour the hot liquid over the chopped chocolate and let sit for a minute to soften. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until it's smooth and shiny. It will be thick. Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan and smooth to have an even layer. Let sit overnight or 3-4 hours in a refrigerator.

Once the chocolate is firm, cut into 25 squares. The best way to get a smooth cut is to run your knife under hot water (and then dry the knife) before each cut. A hot, clean knife works the best. Gently push the lollipop sticks into each square.

To make the hot chocolate, heat a mug a milk, not water, and place a square into the warm milk. Let sit a minute or two and then stir to dissolved the chocolate.

Wrap up and use a gift, that's what I did. You can store the squares in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature, two weeks in the refrigerator, or up to a month in the freezer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 3

Day 3 brings another super easy recipe and a gluten free one at that. I have friends and family who have to eat gluten free, so I figured I should include a cookie they could enjoy. And it doesn't hurt that's it's chocolate and super yummy.

Flourless Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 to 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare your cookie sheets by lining with Silpats or parchment paper.

Whisk together the powdered sugar , cocoa and salt in a bowl.

Whisk in the vanilla and egg whites starting with just two of the whites. Beat the batter until moistened. It should look like brownie batter. If it's too thick, then add another egg white, and then the fourth egg white if still too thick.

Fold in chocolate chips. Use a scoop to portion the cookies onto the cookie sheets leaving room for the cookies to spread. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies have a lightly crackled and shiny top.

Store in an air tight container, if they last that long in your home. ;) Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Twelve Days of Goodies - Day 2

Welcome back for day 2. Now these next cookies I made for our Thanksgiving dinner, but I thought they could be a different flavor for a Christmas cookie. Who says pumpkin needs to be limited to just Halloween and Thanksgiving. So here is the recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. Sadly I had forgotten to take the step by step pictures, but rest assured, these are made pretty much like standard chocolate chip cookies, and therefore very easy.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup canned pumpkin
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda and cinnamon, set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the pumpkin into the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop, with a scoop or with teaspoons on to a baking tray. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

The recipe should yield about 4 dozen. The family really enjoyed these and I will definitely be making them again.