Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Wow, for the first time in several days, the morning temperature here is above zero. Granted, it’s only 5 degrees outside this morning, but since our high temperature for the past couple of days has only reached 4 degrees, the warmer morning temperature looks promising. They are forecasting that our temperatures will climb into the 20’s this weekend, and we’ll even get a bit more snow. I’m sure all the winter outdoor recreation enthusiasts out there will enjoy the snow, since we’ve only received about 3 inches of it so far this season.

Even though it’s still pretty chilly out this morning, at least I have my baking to help keep me warm. Today we have Christmas Cookie #2 – Christmas Pinwheel Cookies! These light, crisp, peppermint flavored cookies are perfect for the holidays. I think the swirls of red and green look so festive, and I just know these cookies are going to look great on this year’s Christmas cookie platter.

~Enjoy~
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Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
red food coloring
green food coloring

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; approximately 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the peppermint extract. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.

Divide the dough in half. Add several drops of red food coloring to one half of dough, and several drops of green food coloring to the other half. Mix until well combined. Form red dough half into a 4″ x 4″ square; wrap in plastic wrap and set aside. Form green dough half into a 4″ x 4″ square; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate both dough halves for at least 30 minutes.

On parchment paper, roll red dough into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. On another sheet of parchment paper, roll green dough into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Place green dough over red dough; peel away parchment paper. Cut dough horizontally in half. Roll each half into a tight log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Slice logs into 1/4 inch pieces. Space 1 inch apart on cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you a very happy and safe holiday season!!

~Enjoy~

Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

One of our local grocery stores recently had a sale of 50% off a large variety of spices and extracts – which was terrific, since I still have a lot of baking I’d like to do before the holidays.

while looking over the selection, I spotted a small bottle of vanilla butter & nut flavor extract. It was the first time I’ve seen that particular flavor offered at the store, so I grabbed one of the remaining two bottles on the shelf and added it to my cart. After I got home, I did a little online research and learned that the vanilla butter & nut flavoring is a combination of vanilla, butter and almond extracts, which are pretty common flavors used in baking recipes.

I decided to try the extract in this Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge recipe. As I was adding it to the mixture, I suddenly realized that there was a real possibility that the mint flavor would overpower the vanilla butter & nut flavoring. I was right. Although the fudge is absolutely delicious, the mint is the dominant flavor. The next time I whip up a batch of this fudge, I’ll probably use plain vanilla extract.

Not to worry though, I have big plans to use the vanilla butter & nut flavoring in a batch of Cutout Sugar Cookies that I’ll be making real soon. :)

~Enjoy~




Easy Mint Chocolate Fudge

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 (10 ounce) package Andes Crème De Menthe baking chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla butter & nut flavor extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Line a 9-inch square pan with a piece of plastic wrap that is longer than the pan. Leave the ends out to cover the finished fudge.

Combine all ingredients in the top of a double boiler. Place over simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Pour and spread mixture into prepared pan. Cover lightly with the ends of the plastic wrap.

Refrigerate until firm. Lift out of the pan and cut into small squares.

Store in refrigerator.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles – Large Batch

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

We’re having a cookie exchange at work on Monday, so I decided to make Eggnog Snickerdoodles for the event. I had to make a very large batch of cookies for the cookie exchange, so I decided to update the recipe that I had previously posted on my blog back in 2009, to include the ingredient measurements necessary to make 9 dozen cookies. If you don’t need to make quite that many cookies, you can view my previous post here, which includes measurements for a smaller batch.

I found some cute, limited edition Ziploc bags with holiday designs on them, and made individual bags for each cookie exchange participant. You can see some of them laying out on the table, in the photo above.

I sure hope my co-workers like the cookies, and I hope you do too.

~Enjoy~




Eggnog Snickerdoodles (large batch)

5 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 teaspoons rum extract

3 teaspoons nutmeg
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Stir in rum extract.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix until well combined. Chill dough in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.

Combine the nutmeg and 3/4 cup sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approximately 9 dozen cookies.

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Red Velvet Holiday Cookies

Red Velvet Holiday Cookies

Red Velvet Holiday Cookies

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!! I, as usual, ate way too much and have way too many leftovers. Maybe one day I’ll learn to scale the menu down a little bit. ;)

Even though I’m still stuffed from overeating at Thanksgiving, I’ve already started baking Christmas cookies. I like to start my baking right after Thanksgiving, and store the cookies in the freezer. That way I always have something on hand for holiday visitors and cookie swaps.

Today’s cookie is a red velvet cookie dipped in white chocolate. The cookies are soft and moist, and they look really festive and pretty dressed up in their white chocolate and sprinkles.

~Enjoy~




Red Velvet Holiday Cookies

Cookies:
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk

White Chocolate Dip:
1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips
6 teaspoons shortening
festive sprinkles

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and food coloring.

Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites, with clean beaters, until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For White Chocolate Dip: In a small heavy saucepan, melt white chocolate chips and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Dip half of each cooled cookie into melted chocolate. Place cookies on waxed paper or parchment paper. Sprinkle chocolate with festive sprinkles, if desired.

Makes approximately 7 dozen cookies.

Happy Holidays!!

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder



Wishing all my readers and blogging friends a safe and very happy holiday season!!



German Spritz Cookies

German Spritz Cookies

German Spritz Cookies

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical when I started making these cookies. I don’t believe I’ve ever made a baked good before using hard boiled egg yolks. I thought the cookies would turn out dry and crumbly – due to the low amount of liquid ingredients – but I was wrong. :)

The cookies turned out great!! The dough was thick, but workable…which made it perfect for using with a cookie press. The cookies themselves are crisp on the outside, but wonderfully moist on the inside.

~Enjoy~




German Spritz Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 hard boiled egg yolks, mashed
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks, almond and vanilla extracts; stir until well-combined. Gradually add flour, mixing well.

Using a cookie shooter, press onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the edges are just brown. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Makes approximately 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

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