Eggnog Fruit Bread

Eggnog Fruit Bread

Eggnog Fruit Bread

Oh eggnog, eggnog, how I do love you.  You are just the ticket for smoothing out a little hootch, happily consumed on Christmas eve in the name of good cheer.   You are the perfect accompaniment to some of those Christmas cookies,  and mixed into the egg mixture, you made marvelous French Toast on Christmas morning.  But why, dear eggnog, is there so much of you left when the celebrations are all over?

Well, there’s just one thing to do…. turn you into something else.

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Poof!  You are now a fruit bread.

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FRUITED EGGNOG BREAD

Yield:    Makes two  7.75″ x 3.75″ loaves, or ( 1 ) 9″ x 5″ loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flourIMG_8803
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. mace (nutmeg is a good substitute.)
  • 1 1/2 cups eggnog
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. rum flavoring
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup mixed candied fruits

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 9″ x 5″ pan or two smaller pans ( approx. 8″ x 4″); or line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long sides of the pans.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and mace.

3.  In another smaller bowl, beat the egg with a whisk, stir in melted butter, eggnog and rum flavoring.  Add all at once to flour mixture and stir with a spoon just until flour is moistened.  (Mixture will be lumpy.)

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4.  Fold in pecans and fruits; spread batter in pan(s).  Bake 1 hour or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.

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5.  Cool breads in pan on wire rack 10 minutes, remove from pan(s) to cool.

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This bread will freeze nicely if wrapped in plastic wrap and then foil..   Thaw at room temperature.     Makes 1 large, or 2 smaller loaves.IMG_8837

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The flavor of eggnog is apparent in this bread, but it is not overly sweet.  We like it lightly toasted and served with coffee.  It’s also a nice snack if served with a glass of cold milk or more eggnog.

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Twice Baked Potatoes with Kale

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale

It’s the weekend after Christmas and we’ve been to three parties plus a family get-together this past week.  I’ve eaten so much rich food, appetizers and dips, cheese this and cheese that, not to mention all the desserts,  that I woke up this morning with the urge to eat pie for breakfast.  Is this where the holiday festivities have brought me?

No, no, and no way.  I will not succumb to any more temptation.  I will overcome the gravitational pull to the wrong foods and make wholesome choices once again.  Yet somewhere along this righteous path to eating kale salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I remembered that kale salad tastes absolutely nothing like pie, cheesecake, or chocolate thumbprint cookies, so that was the end of that.

However, my reasoning tells me that there must be a middle ground here.  By Sunday dinnertime I’d found that middle ground; a happy medium between total submersion in butter, cream and chocolate, and the kind of austerity measures that never quite make it past the 24 hour mark.  I give you the twice-baked potato, restuffed with not only the usual sour cream and cheese, but a whole lot of greens.   Greens make everything healthy,  don’t they?  Of course, we all know that!

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The basis for this recipe came from Healthy Eating food blog, but I ended up veering a bit off the recipe, using less cheese (I know, I can’t believe it either) and sour cream, adding a softly cooked onion, and then, although kale was supposed to be the green used, I actually used a combination of baby kale that I had on hand, and some baby spinach.   What that means is that you, too, can take liberties with this recipe:  any green of your choice such as Swiss chard, or all spinach.  For the cheese you could use parmesan, goat cheese or cream cheese instead of the traditional cheddar.  If you’ve got a surplus of scallions, shallots or leeks you could use them where I used a small onion.

I really hope you make these potatoes, because I can’t emphasis loudly enough how much they hit the spot—toasty and a little decadent, but green enough that I didn’t even feel the need to make a salad on the side.  I served this with sautéd asparagus and it was the perfect light dinner to cap off a week of heavy eating.

TWICE-BAKED POTATOES WITH KALE

Yield:  Serves 6 as a side dish,  3 as a hearty main

Ingredients:IMG_8813

  • 3 russet potatoes ( mine were 8 to 9 oz. each)
  • 1 bundle lacinato kale or swiss chard or spinach
  • coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar,  or 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan, or 1/2 to 2/3 cup cream cheese, or goat cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Cook potatoes the first time.  Gently scrub potatoes but do not peel.  Pierce all over with a fork so steam can escape.  Bake about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced in center with a skewer.  Remove potatoes, but leave oven on.

2.  While potatoes bake, prepare your filling:  Tear kale, chard or spinach leaves from stems.  Plunge into cold water to remove any dirt or grit.  No need to dry them.   Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add greens and a pinch of salt. Cook them in the pan with just the water clinging to the leaves until they wilt and collapse.  Transfer to a colander and when cool enough to handle, wring out any extra moisture in small fistfuls.  On a cutting board, finely chop greens.  You will have about a cup of wrung-out, well chopped greens;  a little more or less won’t matter.

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3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add butter and oil.  Once both are warm, add onion and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until softened, stirring occasionally.  Try not to let it brown.  Add chopped greens into the skillet and warm up with the onion, 1 minute.  Transfer mixture to a bowl.

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4.  Prepare the potatoes:  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness, so you are leaving a shell inside for stability.

A melon-baller is a good tool for scooping out the potato.

A melon-baller is a good tool for scooping out the potato.

Add potato filling to the bowl with the greens.

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Arrange the potato shells on a baking sheet or shallow baking dish.  Mash potatoes, with onions and greens until smooth.  Stir in sour cream, 3/4 of cheese and more salt and pepper that you think you need.

Potato filling and greens mixed with sour cream and cheese.

Potato filling and greens mixed with sour cream and cheese.

Heap the filling into the potato shells.  Sprinkle with remaining  1/4 of cheese.

Fill potato shells with the filling.

Fill potato shells with the filling.

5.  Bake potatoes a second time:  for 20 to 30 minutes, until bronze and crisp on top.

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A light meal to cap off a week of eating too many rich foods.

A light meal to cap off a week of eating too many rich foods.

 

 

 

Christmas Greetings

Victorian Father Christmas

Victorian Father Christmas

This Victorian Father Christmas is from my collection of  “Gift Givers”, a series of Christmas figures from many cultures who brought gifts during the Christmas season.  These were all handmade by me, at an earlier time.

To all my readers and faithful followers,  I wish you the warmest thoughts and best wishes for a Joyous Holiday Season, and a very Happy New Year.

I hope your day is filled with good friends, family and good food, for that is what makes happy memories.

 

Gingerbread Scones

Gingerbread Scones

Gingerbread Scones

By now your plans for Christmas morning breakfast are probably all set, but just in case they are not, here’s a suggestion for scones that are quick to make and will bring back memories of Christmas mornings past.  Ginger bread in another form, what’s not to like here?

This spicy-sweet combination of molasses and ginger is a hallmark of the holiday season.  So just like Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”,  it doesn’t take much to put us in the holiday mood.

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Beside it’s strong, robust flavor, gingerbread also packs a punch with its unmistakable aroma.  Like many aromas, it can transport you across many years and many miles to when you were first introduced to it’s spicy goodness.

The delightfully cozy combination of spicy ginger, bold molasses, cinnamon and cloves will work their memory whether you have it in the form of cakes, cookies or scones, as I made here.

GINGERBREAD SCONES

Yield:   Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flourIMG_8642
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, separated
  • coarse sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk the first eight ingredients ( flour through cloves).   Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Dry ingredients and wet ones prepared to mix together.

Dry ingredients and wet ones prepared to mix together.

3.  In another bowl, whisk milk, molasses and egg yolk until blended; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.

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4.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently just a few times.  Pat into an 8-inch circle.  Cut into 12 wedges.

8-inch circle of dough, cut into 12 wedges.

8-inch circle of dough, cut into 12 wedges.

Place wedges 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.

5.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.  Brush over the tops of the scones.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with LOTS of sugar for a crunchy top.

Brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with LOTS of sugar for a crunchy top.

Bake 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Do not over bake, as they can become dry.

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Best when served warm.    Especially good with a flavored butter, such as cranberry butter, or honey butter.  These make a nice addition to a luncheon or a tea.

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I really liked these scones as they are not sweet, so a flavored butter adds a nice touch.  The next time I make them I will also add some chopped candied ginger, to really emphasis the ginger flavor.

SOURCE:    A Taste of Home

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cake

This cake, oh man, did it turn out well!  What started out as a plain, but exceptionally good, pumpkin cake morphed into a gigantic cinnamon roll.

The cake is fine textured and velvety smooth.  It just melts in your mouth.  As if that weren’t enough before baking it I swirled some cinnamon roll filling into the top which got all gooey and caramelized as it baked.  Once out of the oven and still warm, I finished it off with a buttery cinnamon glaze that creeps into all the crevices, making this the best darn cake if I do say so myself.

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This would be fabulous for Christmas morning, or an addition to a holiday buffet or brunch, but it can certainly hold its own as an after dinner dessert as well.  The cake recipe is one that I use often, it’s my favorite pumpkin cake.  You could bake it in the form of cupcakes, a loaf cake, or whatever.  You won’t be sorry with this cake recipe.  I particularly like that it makes a small cake, perfect for two or a small family.  Double all ingredients if you want to go bigger, it can handle it!

If you know someone who is obsessed with anything pumpkin, make this cake for them and watch them swoon 🙂

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PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLL CAKE

Yield:  1  8 – 9-inch round cake

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/8 cup light brown sugar (I measure 1/2 cup, but don’t pack it)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup milk

Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 – 2 tsp. milk, if needed

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease or spray an 8 or 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar for 2 – 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Add the oil and pumpkin, beating until smooth.

4.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches alternating with milk,  starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Don’t over-mix.

5.  Pour batter into the pan and smooth the top with an off-set spatula or knife.

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6.  Stir together the filling ingredients. Carefully pour filling into a piping bag, or use a glass measuring cup with a spout.  Swirl the filling onto the top of the cake.

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7.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until baked through and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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For Glaze:

8.  Whisk together the melted  butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  (Start with 3 T. of sugar and add the 4th if it seems too runny.  Stir in the cinnamon and add milk if needed.  You want the glaze to easily spill off the spoon and not be too thick.

9.  Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake and serve while warm.

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SOURCE:   The cake recipe was adapted from Food and Wine

 

Apricot Butter Horns

Apricot Butter Horns

Apricot Butter Horns

These are cookies for the sake of cookies,  cookies for December, cookies for Christmas, or just so I can stand in my kitchen and do something that will result in a mouth-watering morsel of deliciousness.   Lets see how many of these warm, apricot-filled, powdered sugared bites we can fit into our mouths.

The answer for me is 2.5.  That’s how many of these cookies it takes to fill my mouth.  Does that mean I have a big mouth?  I don’t think so, but some people might say “yes”.  So be careful.

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Although I’m making these cookies for Christmas, I’m thinking about other up-coming events, and just general winter-time cookie desires.  These buttery filled cookies fit the bill.  Tender, cardamom-scented, honeyed bites of powdered sugar clouds.  If you’re thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day, these would be lovely with a cherry filling, and I also think a fig filling would be a wonderful accompaniment to the spices used in the cookie dough.  I just talked myself into making them again with a different filling.

I’m throwing down a challenge here…..what kind of filling can you come up with for these cookies?  I want to know.

APRICOT BUTTER HORNS

Yield:   4 dozen

Ingredients:IMG_8718

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup apricot cake and pastry filling
  • powdered sugar
The best flavor comes when you grind the cardamom fresh.

The best flavor comes when you grind the cardamom fresh.

Cardamom seeds are encased in these white papery pods.

Cardamom seeds are encased in these white papery pods.

Grind them with a mortar and pestle.

Grind them with a mortar and pestle.

Directions:

1.  In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and honey; beat till fluffy.  Beat in the egg.

2.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt.   Add dry ingredients to the beaten mixture, stirring to make a soft dough.

3.  Divide dough into thirds; wrap in waxed paper, or plastic wrap.   Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

4.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350*F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5.  On a well-floured surface roll 1 portion of dough into a 12-inch circle. (keep the remaining dough refrigerated until ready to use.)

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.

6.  Spread 1/4 cup apricot filling over dough to within 3/4-inch of the edge.  With a fluted pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut dough into 16 wedges.

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Roll up each wedge into a crescent.  Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

7.  Bake at 350*F. for 12 minutes.

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Cool on a wire rack.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.  Before serving sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar.

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SOURCE:   Better and Homes and Gardens,  Special Interest Publications,  Christmas, 1996

Just some of my collection of old issues.

Just some of my collection of old issues.

Decorating Cookies: A Simple Glaze

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When this container appears in my kitchen, it means it’s time to get serious about cookie decorating.  After all, Christmas is only a week away, and the cookies I baked yesterday, must be finished today!

This is how I begin:

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I set up my center island in the kitchen with an old tablecloth, pour myself another cup of coffee, and begin to lay out all the necessary supplies, equipment and other stuff I may or may not use. ( Nice to have it out and handy just in case inspiration strikes.)  It’s time to break out the tools and have some fun.

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If you’re like me you have the cookies all baked, cooled and stored in an airtight container, ready and waiting to be decorated.  This may have been done up to a week ahead.

Next I make the decorative icing.  I used to make royal icing, whipping it up like crazy, covering it with layers of damp paper towels or a cloth towel in an attempt to prevent it from drying out.  I still do make it if I want to get really fancy in my decorating, but for the most part, I get just as much bang for my buck, in a lot less time, with this Simple Cookie Glaze.

Here’s how to make it.   Put the following in a deep mixer bowl:

  • 2  1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1  1/2 to 2 Tbsp. milk, plus 1 teaspoon milk
Ingredients for glaze.

Ingredients for glaze.

Mix together the sugar and corn syrup.  Then add 1  1/2 tablespoons milk, and begin to mix.  As you mix it together you will get a thick, pasty blob forming in the center of the bowl.

Thick blob forms.

Thick blob forms.

Now add 1 more teaspoon milk.  Continue mixing until things begin to smooth out; but it you’re using all your might to draw the whisk (or spoon) through the mixture, or you electric mixer overheats and stops working, (just kidding), you’re allowed to add 1 additional teaspoon milk.

This is what the texture looks like:

Smooth and thinned out.

Smooth and thinned out.

The frosting falls in a ribbon, but disappears back into the pool of frosting in the bowl within a few seconds.

Perfect consistency.

Perfect consistency.

I bring out a few of my re-purposed “to-go” containers with lids.  This glaze can’t be left uncovered for more than a few minutes before it begins to thicken up, dry out, and develop a crust.  So I divide it up into several containers with lids, so that I can tint smaller portions in the colors I plan to use.

Coloring small amount of the glaze.

Coloring small amount of the glaze.

Also, if I know that I will be using this icing again in a day or so, these containers are just right for keeping it moist and ready to go when I need it.  An additional drop or two of milk will loosed it up if it should get a little too thick.

I put some plain glaze in a container, give it a healthy blob of gel paste food coloring, then mix it up.  Dip your cookie into the glaze, or spread it on the cookie with an off-set spatula.  If you want them to be sparkly, sprinkle on some fine decorating sugar, or sprinkles.  If not, just let the glaze dry.  Then you can draw or write on it with food-safe colored pens.  These are great for drawing on faces or accenting details of the cookie mold.

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I like to use squeeze bottles with decorating tips on them to write on cookies or make details.  Just spoon white or colored frosting of choice into the bottle, screw on the cover with tip attached, and gently squeeze the bottle.

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That’s how I made these. Trees with snow on them. Aren’t they cute?

 

With the batch of Swedish Ginger Cookies that I made yesterday, and only 1 batch of the Simple Glaze, I was able to get this variety of cookies.

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It’s easy to make an impressive and colorful assortment of cookies that look like they required more work than they actually did, using this decorating method.

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Now, go……bake,……decorate,……have fun!   🙂

 

Swedish Ginger Cookies ( Pepparkakor)

Swedish Ginger Cookies

Swedish Ginger Cookies

I’m into gingerbread and ginger flavored baked goods in a big way this year.  Don’t know why!   That’s not usually the case in previous years.  But for whatever reason, this year is different and I just can’t get enough ginger-spiced goodness.

This vintage Swedish Ginger Cookie recipe has been in my family for a long time, and I just love to make it.  Besides the fact that the flavor is so perfectly spicy, it makes a LOT of cookies, it can be rolled out thin for cutouts, or rolled into a log, and sliced.  The dough is pliable and handles really well; and you can reroll it at least 3 times without it becoming tough.

Makes lots of cut-out cookies.

Makes lots of cut-out cookies.

The dough is made a little differently than some of the contemporary gingerbread cookie recipes.  Instead of creaming butter and sugar together (like most any cookie recipe), the molasses is heated to boiling, then the butter and sugar are added to it so they melt.  Then you let the mixture cool a little and stir in the egg and dry ingredients.  Really very easy to make. Another reason why I love it;  no need to take out butter to soften up,  you can make these any time you want to with cold, hard butter, because it gets melted.  Hee, Hee!

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It’s recommended that you chill the dough overnight before rolling and cutting so the molasses and butter can firm up, but then you are in for a treat as you work with it.  I love it, but you don’t have to be Swedish to love these cookies.

SWEDISH GINGER COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 10 dozen small cookies

Ingredients:IMG_8714

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Heat molasses in a small saucepan to boiling.  Allow to boil for 1 minute.   Add sugar and butter and stir until butter is melted.

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2.  Cool, then beat in the egg.

3.  Whisk or sift together the flour, salt, soda and spices.

Mix spices in with the flour.

Mix spices in with the flour.

Add to molasses mixture and mix thoroughly .

4.  Cover bowl tightly and chill overnight.   When ready to bake, divide the dough into 3 portions and work with one portion at a time, keeping the rest chilled.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

5.  On a lightly floured surface or pastry cloth, roll the dough out thin.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place on greased cookie sheets, or use parchment paper to line the baking sheets.

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Bake at 350*F for 6 – 8 minutes.  The shorter baking time will give you a more chewy cookie,  while the longer time will produce a crisp cookie.

6.  This dough may also be shaped into a log (roll) and wrapped in wax paper or plastic wrap.  Chill thoroughly overnight or longer.  Slice thin and bake in moderate oven (350*).

These cookies should be stored in an airtight container to allow flavors to “ripen”.

My post tomorrow will show you how I decorated these cookies with a simple, easy glaze.   Y’all come back!

SOURCE:   old family recipe

 

 

Mocha Fingers

Mocha Fingers

Mocha Fingers

Recipes, ingredients and baking equipment change over the years, but cookies have always been a family favorite at Christmas.  Each cookie that we make is a sweet bite of memory, and cookies tell the story of who we are, who we have been, and who we will always be.

The recipe for these “finger” cookies appeared originally in a Special Interest Publication by Better Homes and Gardens, back in 1996.  I have a hugh collection of these special publication magazines devoted to Christmas and each year I get them out and look through them for inspiration on baking and cooking for the Holidays.  These cookies are not hard to make and they are so good.  A little more work to make than a simple drop cookie, but well worth the effort.

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Which will it be?  In your cup or in a cookie, mocha–a blend of coffee and chocolate–is one of the season’s hottest flavors.  It’s a flavor that I particularly love at any time, but around this time of year it seems so right.

These are sophisticated, butter-cream-filled chocolate cookies.  Marvelous with a glass of eggnog!

They are not difficult to make–mix up a simple chocolate dough, roll out thin and cut into “fingers” measuring 1 1/2″ x 3″. Once baked two crisp cookies are sandwiched together with a velvety smooth mocha butter cream filling.  Really pretty simple, but awesome in flavor!

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Warning!!  Once you know how to made this mocha butter cream, you’re going to want to find other uses for it.

MOCHA FINGERS

Yield:  Makes about 27-28 sandwich cookiesIMG_8713

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick), softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  •  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg

Mocha Filling:IMG_8757

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1 -2 tsp. milk or light cream as needed

Directions:

1.  Into the large bowl of electric mixer, combine butter and sugar, mixing on low to blend.  Add egg and continue to mix.  Blend in dry ingredients, (flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder).  Scrape bowl occasionally and mix until well combined. Note: Chilling the dough is not required, but I find it easier to roll the dough if it has chilled at least an hour.

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease 2 large cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

3.  On a lightly floured surface, with rolling pin, roll half the dough out into a 9″ x 9″ square, about 1/8-inch thick.  Cut dough into thirds; then cut each third crosswise into nine 3″ x 1″ rectangles.  Place cookies about 1 inch apart, on cookie sheets.  With a fork, prick each cookie in several places for decoration.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar if desired.

Cut dough into rectangles and prick with a fork before baking.

Cut dough into rectangles and prick with a fork before baking.

4.  Bake cookies 15 minutes or until firm.  With a spatula remove cookies to wire rack to cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

5.  Make Mocha Filling:  In a small bowl with mixer on low speed, beat 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, and 2 tsp. espresso powder.  Add milk in tiny amounts as needed to get a creamy spreading consistency.

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6.  Assemble cookies:  Spread bottoms of half of cookies with Mocha Filling; top with remaining cookies, top-side up.

Spread back side of one cookie with filling, top with another cookie, right side up.

Spread back side of one cookie with filling, top with another cookie, right side up.

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Store cookies in tightly covered container.   Makes about 27 sandwich cookies.

 

SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens, Christmas Cookies

Festive Swirl Cookies

 

Holiday Swirl Cookies

Festive Swirl Cookies

What began as a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, was transformed into a holiday cookie by substituting red and green swirl morsels for the chocolate chips.  They still offer the crunch and chewiness of a chocolate chip cookie, but with a festive, dressed up appearance.

This could be one of the first cookies you bake, as they are good keepers.  They will stay fresh for 1 week or more in an air-tight container, and they also ship well if you are sending a “care” package any distance.

They may not be as fancy a cookie as some that make their appearance at this time of year, but they are a favorite non-the-less, one that you can count on to always be good.  The cookie dough may be frozen so you can have some ready to bake if unexpected visitors drop by, or the baked cookies may be frozen, and pulled out in a “cookie emergency”.

 

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FESTIVE SWIRL COOKIES

Yield:  2 1/2 – 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/4 cups all-purpose flourIMG_8680
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup swirl morsels, green and red, mixed
  • cooking spray

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Coat baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk to blend.

3.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugars and butter.  Beat at medium speed until well combined.  Add vanilla extract and egg whites; beat for 1 minute.

4.  Add flour mixture and mix to incorporate, you may need to stir in part of the flour mixture.  Fold in the chips.

Folding in the chips.

Folding in the chips.

5.  Drop dough by tablespoons, 2-inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets.   Bake at 350*F.  for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, but still soft.  They will firm up as they cool.

6.  Cool on pans for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks.  Store in an air-tight container.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light