Friday, December 29, 2006

Holiday Baking, Finally!

I waited until Christmas Eve to bake holiday cookies. We traveled to Atlanta, GA to spend the holidays with my husband's side of the family. The packing, unpacking, flying, and getting settled wasn't very easy with our little guy but we had a very pleasant time. I thought I would have a hard time baking on a kitchen other than mine but that was easy and I had a good time. The house smelled like cookies all day.
I went traditional on some of them, made lots of sugar cookies in holiday shapes such as bells, sugar canes, snow flakes and had the help of my little niece K to decorate them. I also made grown-up cookies -- half moon sugar cookies topped with chocolate covered cherry and white frosting. This recipe is very straightforward and I used store-bought icing to make things easier.

Grown-Up Cookies

3 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup soft butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tsp almond extract

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate
Maraschino Cherries with Steam
White Icing with small tip

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and almond extract, beat until light and fluffy. Combine dry ingredients and add to batter, stirring to blend.
Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Using a rolling pin, roll on dough between parchment paper. Cut out, bake on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 5-8 minutes at 400 F. Remove the cookies from the oven. Let cool completely.

Melt 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate on a microwave safe bowl using 30 seconds cicles and stirring the chocolate between them until completely melted. Drain the maraschino from the cherries, pat dry with paper towels, dip in melted chocolate and allow to dry on a flat surface.

Melt 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate using the method above. Using the back of a spoon, spread on cookies, allow to dry.

Using a small tip, make a round bed of icing, place the chocolate covered cherry on top and let dry.

This is the second year I made this Chocolate Wreath. It's very easy and looks so nice.

Chocolate Wreath

12 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounce can walnuts, plus more for topping
Cherries to decorate top
Softened butter to grease an 8 inch round cake pan

Grease an 8-inch angel food cake pan with softened butter. Pour the chocolate and butterscotch chips, condensed milk and vanilla into a medium saucepan. Put the pan on the stove and turn the heat to low.

Stir the chips and milk until they melt together, about 3 minutes. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour the mix onto the angel food cake pan. Decorate the wreath cherries and walnuts.

Put in the fridge and chill until firm. Loosen the sides and bottom of the wreath with a spatula to remove from cake pan. Cut the fudge into thin slices to serve.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe doesn't need to be posted. It's the same of the back of the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip bag. The recipe directly from their website is located at Original Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies


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