Wednesday, 18 December 2013

#WIAW - Christmas Cookie Recipes

Psst... its WIAW and I have a secret. And I think I should let you all in on it... We have entered the most magical time of the year. That time of the year where cookies, chocolate, and dessert are all calorie free! Yep! It's a little known fact, but from December 15th-January 1st you can eat as much you as want and just enjoy everything! Isn't that awesome?!

At least that is how things work around here! It is cookie central! And it is one of my favourite times to experiment in the kitchen. There are some classics - my Moms Gingerbread, Gran's Nanimo Bars, and Nana's Peanut Butter Balls - that you just don't touch. But everything else is fair game! And I love to try new cookie recipes!

After scouring the Internet, pursuing my holiday magazines, and scoping out my library of cookbooks - I narrowed it down to 3 new Christmas treat recipes. They all turned out pretty well if I do say so myself, so I thought I would spread the cookie love this week.

*Soft Ginger Cookies from Runner's World
If you like Gingerbread, than you are going to LOVE these. They are spicy and delicious!

3/4 cup hot coffee
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup organic blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 cups organic spelt flour or whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Combine coffee and dates and stir in baking soda. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Put mixture in a food processor; process until nearly smooth.
3. In a bowl, whisk eggs and molasses. Continue whisking and add date puree. In a small bowl, whisk flour, salt, and spices. Stir into date mixture. Stir in ginger pieces until just combined.
4. Freeze till very firm but scoopable (30 minutes). Using a teaspoon, drop dough into little mounds, a few inches apart, on a parchment-lined tray. Sprinkle sugar over cookies.
5. Bake 10 minutes or until they feel spongy yet firm and spring back when gently poked. Makes 30 cookies.

* Cranberry Squares from The Best of Bridge
1/2 cup of cold butter
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of flour

Cranberry Filling...
1.5 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Cut butter into sugar and flour until crumbly. Pat into an 8" square pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.
2. In a saucepan, cook cranberries and 1/4 cup of brown sugar over medium heat until berries soften and skins pop (about 10 min.) then set aside to cool.
3. Beat eggs and gradually add 1 cup of brown sugar. Beat until thickened, then add vanilla and the dry ingredients.
4. Stir in cranberry mixture, and then spread over baked crust. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

* Almost-Famous Peppermint Bark from The Food Network
My no-fail Double Boil Set-Up

12 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
1 pound good-quality white chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 candy canes or 12 round hard peppermint candies, crushed

1. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny-side up; smooth out any wrinkles. Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat until steaming.
2. Put all but 3/4 cup of the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until one-third of the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan; keep the steaming water over low heat. Gradually stir the reserved 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate into the bowl, a few pieces at a time, until all of the chocolate is melted. Return the bowl to the saucepan, 5 to 10 seconds at a time, to help melt the chocolate, if needed. Do not rush this step: It may take up to 10 minutes to melt the chocolate.
3. Wipe off any moisture from the bottom of the bowl. Stir 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract into the chocolate, then quickly pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Firmly tap the dish against the counter to remove any air bubbles. Set aside at room temperature until almost set, about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, put all but 1 cup of the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and repeat the melting process over the steaming water; dry off the bottom of the bowl. Stir in the remaining 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract; pour over the semisweet chocolate and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle immediately with the crushed candy canes, gently pressing them into the white chocolate. Set aside at room temperature until firm, about 1 hour. Lift the bark out of the pan using the foil and break it into pieces.

 What are your favourite Holiday Treats?
Happy Holidays!! I hope you all enjoy!!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,