Holidays


This is probably the best cookie recipe I have ever made.  The recipe comes from AllRecipes.com (submitted by Barbara Hart) and is definitely in my Christmas baking repertoire.
The cookie is just undercooked and gooey, with the surprise cherry centre.  Top it with a rich frosting made of more chocolate and you have a melt-in-your-mouth holiday treat! 
 
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 10-oz jar maraschino cherries
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I have also used milk chocolate chips)
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
 
 
DIRECTIONS
~ Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, cocoa, 1/4 tsp salt, baking powder, and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
~ Drain cherries, reserving 1 1/2 tsp of the juice. Pat cherries dry. Shape 1 Tbsp of dough around each cherry (do this rather quickly as the dough tends to dry out). 
~ Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.  (Word of Advice: these cookies do expand slightly as they cook but they don’t reshape. When done, they will look exactly as they do now so shape them
as you want to).
~ Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until set (don’t overbake). Cool on wire racks.
~ Frosting: In a saucepan, heat chocolate chips and milk until chips are melted (I have also used the microwave, cooking at 15 second intervals until smooth); stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in reserved cherry juice and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Frost cookies.  (Some recipes skimp on the frosting but this recipe allows a good amount of frosting on each cookie). 
Delicious! 

 

This is a Kraft recipe that I have made the last two years and fell in love with. It is already a part of my own Christmas tradition. It’s a cross between a big cookie and shortbread with peanuts and white chocolate mixed into the batter. The chocolate drizzled over the top makes it beautiful and festive and even more yummy!
 
INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pkg (6 squares) white chocolate, divided
1 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 square semi-sweet chocolate

 
DIRECTIONS
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with foil or parchment paper, with ends extending over sides of pan. Spray foil/paper with cooking spray; set aside.
~ Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs, flour and baking powder. Chop 5 squares of the white chocolate; stir into batter with peanuts. Spread into prepared pan.
~ Bake 20 to 25 mins or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in pan. (Be careful not to overcook… two years in a row I have cooked it just a bit too much and it makes the edges crispy).
~ Melt remaining square of white chocolate and drizzle over baked rectangle. Melt semi-sweet chocolate and drizzle over baked rectangle. Lift from pan, using foil handles. Cut into triangles.
~ Stays moist and chewy for up to two weeks in a tightly sealed container or for up to a month tightly wrapped in the freezer.

From one of Martha’s Holiday magazines, for me this is a nice twist on the traditional hazelnut thumbprints that my mom always made.  The vanilla-infused ganache adds a sophisticated taste to the chewy cookie. 

This is a great addition to my holiday baking list. 

 

INGREDIENTS

 For the cookie:

2 c. flour

1 c. + 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tsp. coarse salt

1 c. butter, softened

1 1/3 c. sugar

2 large egg yolks

2 Tbsp. heavy cream

2 tsp. vanilla

~

For the Chocolate and Vanilla-Bean Ganache:

1/3 c. honey

1/3 c. heavy cream

1/2 vanilla bean, split & scraped, pod reserved

4 oz. dark chocolate, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces and softened

 

DIRECTIONS

Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to medium and add yolks, cream, and vanilla.  Scrape sides of bowl, then beat in flour mixture until just combined. 

Roll balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each and roll in sugar.  Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Use the handle of a wooden spoon to create indents in the center each cookie. 

Bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies are just set.  If the indentations lose definition, press centers again.  Let cool slightly on baking shhets, then transfer to a wire rack.  Let cool. 

Spoon warm ganache into each cookie.  Let stand until firm (about 15 mins).  Cookies only keep, covered, for up to 3 days so you might want to freeze them. 

~

Chocolate and Vanilla-Bean Ganache

Combine honey, cream, vanilla seeds, and pod in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until honey dissolves.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 20 minutes. 

Place chocolate in a food processor.  Return cream mixture to a simmer, then strain through a fine sieve.  Discard solids.  Pour cream mixture over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute.  Process until smooth.  Add butter and continue to process, scraping down sides occasionally, until butter is incorporated. 

Let cool slightly and then use immediately.