Showing posts with label Holiday Baking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday Baking. Show all posts

Friday, December 18, 2015

Free Form Rustic Tart with Berries

Yay, I finally found a pie I can make successfully.  What?  This isn't a pie--but, the crust is flaky and it has a fruit filling.   For me, this is pie at our house.

Confession time--I am the worst pie maker ever!  Have you ever noticed that I don't post pies during "pie season"?  It's not my thing.  It's my sister-n-law Amy's thing. She makes the best pies.

I make this instead.  Remember my blog is Simply Gourmet and I like to keep things simple.  This is simple because you roll it out flat, toss in your fruit, crimp the edges, and bake.

TA-DA--you have a Free Form Rustic Tart, a Galette or, in my case, a pseudo pie.

More than likely you will be covering it in whipped cream or ice cream anyways.

We like our version and my kids never complain except when the last piece is going out of the kitchen on someone else's plate.  Usually Dads!  HA HA HA


If you are hoping for a "fancy" recipe you won't find it here.  This is too simple for a formal recipe.  Here is what you do:

1.  Use your favorite pie crust recipe.  You know the one that has been handed down for generations and generations--yeah, that one.  If you don't have that recipe handy, then try this one here. It is my go to pie crust because the one I was given by my grandma... I can't make.  #terriblepiemakerremember

2.  Round up your fruit and some sugar.  I recommend trying your fruit first.  If it is sweet then only add a little bit of sugar...BUT...and this is huge, if your fruit is sour and tart and that is NOT what you are going for, THEN, just add the damn sugar.  It's a tart-pie-thingy.  A little sugar won't hurt.  I "PUCKERED" my family once with a super tart Tart and they were not happy.  Taste your fruit!

3.  Buy or make a whipped topping or ice cream.  It really does add to the experience as it melts over the fruit and down the sides of the tart to pool under each slice of deliciousness.  Trust me. 

Then make your daughter pose for a bunch of pictures on the day that she is waiting to here back about a job, her RX at the pharmacy is delayed and she has a cold from hell---promise her this pie-tart-thingy--and all is good.

The holidays are busy and can be stressful.  This dessert is simple. It looks gorgeous and whips together in no time. In fact, you can make it the day before and reheat it up in the oven.  How about that?

Let's make this thing.

Preheat your oven to 400, roll out your pie crust on parchment paper, transfer to a cookie sheet or round stone, add your fruit combined with sugar to taste (+plus 1 tablespoon corn starch), fold up the edges (see pictures) and bake.  My oven took 35-40 minutes.  I would check after 30 and then add more time as needed.

NOTE:  I used fresh fruit: raspberries, blueberries and slices of orange.  I have not made this with frozen fruit before.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Peppermint Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies

I love a cookie that melts in  your mouth.   These little morsels of tenderness have a wonderful texture that is soft.   The  buttery flavor reminds me of my grandmothers sugar cookies.  The frosting on top adds a little cloud of fluffiness and to top it off, the peppermint candy bits,  add the right amount of color and flair.

The reason I used these Thin Mint Peppermint Bits is because I made Cookies and Cream Popcorn with mini chocolate filled cookies and decided to throw these in the bowl for flavor and color.  It turned out pretty good.  So, don't fret about using the whole bag because you can easily make both items.

I am excited for the Christmas season in our home. We have a new baby and my parents are coming for a visit.  We have not spent a Christmas with them in 9 years.  My big kids were so little and now they are almost out of the house.

We will fill our home with lots of goodies and these cookies will be at the top of the list.


Peppermint Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies
{adapted from Taste of Home Quick Cooking, 2009}

Makes 30 small cookies

1 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 & 1/4 cup flour, sifted (to make gluten free-use an all purpose gluten free flour blend)
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

*Eggs are not used in this recipe


1 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Crushed Candy Canes or Peppermint Thin Mints

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  Cream Butter and powdered sugar together in a medium size bowl; add extract and beat well. 

2.  Combine flour and corn starch in a separate bowl. Gradually add to butter/sugar mixture. Mix well. 

3.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Using a small cookie scoop, space cookie scoops two inches apart.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Do not over bake. 

For Frosting:   

1.  Beat cream cheese until its fluffy.

2.  Add powdered sugar, milk, and peppermint extract until smooth.

3.  Spread over cooled cookies and sprinkle with crushed candies.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pecan Crescent Cookies

Around election time our friends throw a "bologna party". This was the first year that we were invited. We all brought a few of our favorite things and enjoyed each others company.  The bologna sandwiches were amazing.  Iris also made Chicken Matzo Soup!  That was a real treat.

I brought two salads:  Broccoli  Salad and a family favorite,  Pea Salad.   I also wanted to test this recipe with the gluten free flour conversion. I brought a whole plate of these delicious Pecan Crescent Cookies or also known as Rugelach.

When ever I bring something to a party and I am testing a recipe I am always very honest with my friends.  In return, I need them to be very honest with me in their evaluation of the dish.  I don't get offended.  I expect all types of reviews.   After all, we are all different and like different things.

Everyone had rave things to say, but one friend in particular, ate half the pan.  I am not joking.  He could not get enough of this delicate pastry like cookie-gluten free or not.  I am going to take that as a fantastic review of the product--LOL

The only thing I notice to be a bit different in the dough are the layers.  The batch made with all purpose flour definitely had a more flaky texture, but the gluten free version was not far off in texture.

I also noticed that the gluten free dough was a bit different.  You want the dough pliable-not too dry and not too wet.  Do what you need to do to make sure this is the case by adding a drop or two more water if the dough is too crumbly or adding a bit more white rice flour if the dough is too wet.

Like with most pastry like doughs, handle it gently and not too much.

The recipe below is not gluten free.  To make it gluten free I substituted the 2 cups of flour for this conversion:

1 cup of very fine white rice flour (I purchase this from our local asian store)
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum

**Use the white rice flour to dust your surface and rolling pin.  Use a generous amount--I did.

The last thing I would suggest is to roll the cookies as tight as possible.  Any of the dough (for both versions) that was not rolled tight had a tendency to unroll during baking.  Take your time and you will have a successful batch of delicious cookies.

I can tell you that even if they don't turn out perfect, they still taste really, really good.  I had three piles on my plate--the first batch (not pretty), the second batch (getting better) and the the third (beautiful).  It took me a few rounds to make the perfect rolled up crescent cookie.

I hope that my few tips will help you make the first batch flawless.


Pecan Crescent Cookies

Makes 36 cookies

*Dough needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours before being used

Easy Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour (for gluten free conversion, see above)
1 cup butter
1 cup cottage cheese


1/2 cup  butter, softened  
1 1/2cups packed brown sugar
1 cup pecans, chopped small

1.  In medium bowl add flour and butter. Use a pastry blender to blend until crumbly. Stir in cottage cheese. The dough will still be a bit crumbly but it will come together after resting in the refrigerator. Divide dough into thirds; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3.  Remove dough from plastic wrap and knead 4-5 times until dough is well combined. On well-floured surface, roll one part of the dough into 10-12 inch round.

4.  Combine brown sugar and pecans in a small bowl, set aside.

5.  Using a butter knife, spread one third of the butter used for the filling onto rolled out dough. Sprinkle with one-third each of the brown sugar and pecans; lightly press into dough with hands.

6.  Cut each round into quarters. Cut each quarter into 3 wedges. Roll up starting with long end; place, point side down on lined cookie sheets. 

7.  Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned. 

8.  Remove immediately from cookie sheets to cooling racks.  The brown sugar will melt onto the cookie sheet but there is still enough filling to make the cookie quite tasty.

Cool completely.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies

This is my favorite spatula and the handle is broken. My family has been threatened more times than I like to admit about the consequences of throwing this away.  I love the metal paddle because it is perfect for cookies and pancakes.  My biggest fear is when guest come and help with the dishes--they always want to trash this precious kitchen tool.

Have you missed me?  I have missed you.  My life seems to be moving without much time to breathe or slow down.  Summer schedules have taken over my life with running two teenagers to work and back and chauffeuring Isabella to her many camps, classes and play dates.

Making a baby is tiring, exhausting to be exact.  I know it sounds like an excuse to nap all day but I am sure feeling (kicking and all) the process this time around.

My taste buds are all off. I am still cooking and trying to stay active in the kitchen but  I will be the first to admit that we have eaten out way too often over the last few months.  I have spent time remaking the recipes on the blog to "test" them one more time.  My family has enjoyed revisiting some of their favorite meals without wondering what "new" cooking experience they will encounter at the dinner table each night.  LOL

When I sit in front of my keyboard I don't know what to write--baby brain, I guess.  I have felt a waves of emotion, thoughts and ideas over the last 6 months but, to be honest, they have been challenging thoughts.

Thoughts that have brought me down at times, made me question a few things, had me in tears other times and down right depressing.  I don't like to write about these things but maybe I should---who knows.

I was recently told that I like my life to be "fairy gardens" and " cat pictures".  This was in response to me unfriending  someone on Facebook.  I was accused of not wanting to have adult conversations.  I laughed.  This person did not know me and her statements were purely her opinions based on my personal Facebook updates.  In part she is right--I do like my life to be filled with things that make me smile, cheer others up and share a positive message.  My childhood was rough--it sucked to be quite honest.  I became who I am because of those challenges and have chosen to become someone better because of it and not let those things define me.  I don't want to be bitter, upset, a victim or focus on negative things.  I choose to see life with a smile, peace in my heart and with an abundance of joy towards other.  I spent most of my youth worrying about the opinions of others and letting fear be my beacon.  I have not lived this way for a very long time and don't intend to go back to that lifestyle--EVER.  For this reason, I have found myself in a place of not wanting to write my true feelings in blog post and updates.  I have waited for the time when I felt good and my thoughts were not percolating with random ideas.  Sometimes we need the time to refocus and regenerate ourselves to a higher place.  These past few months were necessary for me to slow down and regroup.  I find that if I listen to the small inner voice and accept the council it pays off in the end--I did and I feel good.

I am starting my 7th month of pregnancy and still have only bought a handful of items.  I am not sure if this is normal or not with your fourth child.

My Mom is shocked and might even be a bit worried for her latest grandchild.  I honestly don't feel the rush like I did when I was 28 with my first baby to have the nursery complete.  Finnley (her name) will be our fourth child and I am pretty sure I know how to do this.  The first few months she will eat, sleep and dirty a diaper or two.

Her needs will be simple and I want to keep things simple for myself too.   I don't want to over spend on all of the things that we will use for a month or two and then have to store.  Our home is small and I am trying to be very particular about the items I bring into our house, after all, they will be a part of the furnishings for a while.

Our goal of living on the road in two years is still in the planning stages.  We have already done this once and I know that many of the things we purchase now will be sold later at a huge estate sale.  I am shopping consignment stores and yard sales.  Doing it this way takes more time because it has to be safe, the right price and in good shape.  I like looking for the perfect deal.  We will be buying two things brand new though: a car seat and crib (and no I have not bought either of them yet--LOL)

If it sounds like I am rambling, it is probably because I am.  I have a lot to say but don't want to bore you with all of the details so I will get to the recipe of these soft and chocolaty cookies.

I make these for my family when we need a quick "cocoa" fix.  They are cake-like and make the perfect dunking cookie.  Oh yeah--it helps that you check if you have milk before you make them.  LOL  My kids were so mad the last time because our milk bottles were empty.  How can you eat cookies without an ice cold glass of milk?

An emergency store run was made and the troops were once again happy.  I hope you enjoy this snippet into my life over the last few months and I will try to be better about keeping the blog up to date with recipes and updates on family, travel and Finnley.

Recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies
Makes 24-30 cookies depending on cookie scoop used.

1/2 cup almond meal (purchased at Traders Joe or make yourself)
1/4 cup tapioca starch (can also be called flour)
1/4 cup super fine white rice flour (purchased at Asian market)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
7 tablespoons butter, soft
1 large egg
2 teaspoons coffee grounds ( I use the grounds from one of my Keurig cups)
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.

In a medium bowl add butter and sugar, beat until butter is light yellow in color.  Add coffee grounds, egg and milk.  Combine well.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.

Using a cookie scoop, space cookies 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes.

Transfer to a cooking wire rack.  Serve while still warm or store in a sealed container for later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies, gluten free

The one thing that seems to be constant when I become pregnant is the need for peanut butter.  If at anytime--and this has been most of the time over the last two months--I start to feel queazy, I long for a peanut butter fix.

In searching the internet and pinterest I found this delicious recipe.  I have changed it just a hair and added my own special ingredient but the original recipe can be found on a blog titled Laurens Latest which another blog titled The Spiffy Cookie shared too. 

I am pretty sure I have made these too many times to count.

They are easy.

They are tasty.

They are my new favorite.

I added the uncooked oatmeal to add more texture and to add more fiber.  I think the pairing of the three flavors works well. 

Tell me what you think?  A keeper or what?  

Have a wonderful start to your 2013 Spring, I know I will.

Recipe:  Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies, Gluten Free

1 1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter  (260 g)
1/4 cup white sugar (55g)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (55g)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup uncooked old fashion oats (20g)
Course Salt, optional

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl blend peanut butter and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla.  Blend until smooth.

Stir in oatmeal.

Scoop onto cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and transfer to wire cookie rack to cool.  While still hot, use something to make a well in the top of the cookie.  I have an old spoon that works well.

Place Nutella in baggie and pipe into the well of each cookie.

Let finish cooling and then serve or eat them hot, either way they are moorish and you may find yourself making a second batch immediately...LOL

Written by Sherron Watson

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Berger Cookie--Gluten Free Version

New York has their Black and White Cookies that are adored by many; Baltimore has their Berger Cookies that seem to have an equally enthusiastic crowd of followers. I love how we can attach our love to a city because of a simple tasty treat, a cookie. I have reviewed many comments about the Berger Cookie and how people travel to the city never knowing that they are about to be mesmerized by this cake like, shortbread tasting, fudgy topped cookie.

It is a delight to many the first time they sink their teeth through the two layers of fudge and cookie. Oh, and their are two layers. The fudge is piled high on the cookie; it is a sight to see. The cookie holds together and welcomes the teeth with that last and final have now introduced your taste buds to a new favorite.

My challenge is to try and get as close as possible to this beloved cookie only in a gluten free recipe.

Is it and would it be possible? The question of the day!

I had to try. I found a recipe from 2009 that was printed in the Washington Post which was adapted from a King Arthur recipe. The recipes were both given great reviews and seemed easy enough to follow.

I knew that in order to make an exceptional cookie, I had to start with the best ingredients. For the butter I chose to stick with my favorite, Kerry Gold. For the rice flours I purchased super fine blends because they work the best in delicate desserts. I used whole milk and eggs from our local dairy; milk was creamy white and the yolks were a nice orange.

I followed each step and I hope that you will too. The recipe is one that builds the batter from the first ingredient to the last. With out the gluten in the flour to help the cookie bind together we must add "air" and a foundation for the batter to be perfect. The batter is thick but fluffy and spongy at the same time. This is what you want.

The final key to the success of this gluten free cookie is the pan I used.  I know from experience that some gluten free cookies don't hold their shape and flatten to nothing; then there are others that don't budge...the way you scooped them is the way they bake (those are a bit disappointing to open the door and see a scoop instead of a round cookie).  To make sure that this would not be the case with these cookies, I got creative.   A few months ago at a Goodwill, I bought a whoopie pie pan.  It makes six cookies at a time.  I only paid $2.00 for it and thought what the heck.  I brought it home and threw it in to my cookie sheet drawer and there it sat...until today.

It was the perfect shape and size for the Berger Cookie.  It held an ice cream scoop of batter and allowed the batter to bake and rise without spreading into one large cookie.  The cookies ended up being about a 1/4 inch thick, cakey and buttery--oh, they are delicious! 

You will notice that the frosting on my cookies is not the suggested 3 tablespoons from the original recipe.  I knew that my family would not want to eat the cookie with that much rich and sweet frosting. I think you can add any amount that you're comfortable with and not feel guilty, unless you plan on eating the whole may just never know.

Are you ready for a cookie that is gluten free and will knock your socks off?  I thought so.

Recipe:  Baltimore's Berger Cookie, gluten free
Adapted from a recipe found in the Washington Post on 10-29-2009

NOTE:  I used a scale to weigh all of my flours and starches.  I have included estimates in cups for those that do not have a scale.  I would recommend a scale because then your measurements can match mine in the recipe. 

Cookies depend on size of scoop you use.  I was able to get 21 large cookies.

8 ounces of unslated butter, at room temperature
1 1/2  (184 g) cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups (293 g) of fine white rice flour or powder (the later can be purchased at an Oriental store)
1 cup (122 g) tapioca starch
1 cup (135 g) fine brown rice flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup  (240 g) whole milk, at room temperature


1(12 oz) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (Gheridelli is what I used)
3 ounces of unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons of brown rice syrup (you can use corn syrup if you prefer)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar

To make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray your pan with Pam or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, starch, salt, and baking powder.  Mix well with a wire whisk.

In a large bowl add butter.  Beat for 3 minutes until pale yellow and fluffy.

Add the powdered sugar and beat for 2 minutes, add vanilla and combine well.

Add each egg separately and blend well after each egg is added.  You should notice the batter starting to be fluffy.

You will alternate the milk and the flour mix into the butter mixture.  Mixing well after each addition.  It took me 5 sets of flour then milk, then flour again, repeat.   The batter should be increasing in volume and yet still fluffy.

You can make the cookies any size you want.  I used an ice cream scoop and did one scoop per bun circle in my bun pan.  (see note and link above).

Cook each sheet of cookies for 9-11minutes.  Do not over bake them.  You want them cake-like, not dry and crumbly.  The edges should be lighlty brown and the tops a pale yellow.

Let cookies cool on wire rack.

To make frosting:

I will tell you this is like no frosting I have ever made, its very fudgy and stiff yet shiny and moldable.

In a large sauce pan on the stove top, set your heat to medium low.

Combine the first 5 ingredients, mix well.  You do not want to burn this chocolate, so stay by the pan and keep stirring the bottom.  It takes about 5 minutes for every thing to melt together.   

Turn heat off and let cool slightly.

Add confectioner's sugar and beat for 2 minutes.

Slather each cookie with the amount of frosting your family would enjoy.

This is my husbands hand holding the cookie, it is a big cookie!

Written by Sherron Watson

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Currant Amaretti Cookies

Looking for a recipe is a lot of fun for me.  I spend a fair amount of time searching blogs, magazines and Pinterest.  I get recipes mailed to me by total strangers. These recipes have been handed down from family member to family member.  These usually come with just the ingredients and the person emailing would like me to figure out how it goes together and the technique used to get from a list of ingredients to a fabulous recipe.  

I have stacks of papers that I have printed in piles around my office.  My husband thinks I am a hoarder when it comes to paper…LOL

Why the constant search?  For me it is the creative process that I use to develop a recipe.  I take lots of input on certain ingredients, cooking methods, flavors, techniques and foods and then an idea starts to grow.  

I always have a notepad with me…ALWAYS!  When I am sitting waiting for a friend or my kids I write notes and lists.  As my ideals come together and the recipe starts to form I feel a certain amount of excitement and joy.  I would relate it to an artist staring at a blank canvas and once the paint hits the brush, then the white slowly transforms into a picture, the story unfolds and a masterpiece is born; or in my case, a recipe.

I find a lot of inspiration among my friends in the food world.  I printed a recipe about a month ago for an Apricot Amaretti Cookie by my friend Irvin from Eat the Love.  At the time I printed the recipe I had no idea that he was the author.  I was captivated by the photography and the fact that the recipe was naturally gluten free.  

I did not see any need to adapt his recipe, other than I did not have apricots on hand, so I used dried currants.  My method of preparing the ingredients is a bit different from Irvin's and I will share that below but please go visit his site and see how lovely his cookies turned out.

The joy that my mouth experienced after the first bite is almost indescribable.  The only way I can explain the fusion of this cookie is a soft, chewy inside similar to a macaroon; the pillowy, crispy exterior that is fragile to the touch and yet sturdy to the bite. 

 BLISS is what comes to mind, in fact, that bliss cost me about 15 cookies  the first day.  

If you are a fan of macaroons, almonds and totally addicting cookies, then I suggest you give these a try. 

 Simply wonderful and divinely gourmet is the true essence of this cookie from Italy.

Recipe:  Currant Amaretti Cookies
Adapted from Eat the Love

3 cups of almond meal, purchased from Trader Joe's
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup dried currants, purchased from Whole Foods

Coating the cookies:

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Note: I used almond meal and did not need the meal to be any finer than what I had purchased it as.

Combine the almond meal, sugar and confectioners sugar in a bowl attached to your table mixer with the paddle attachment. 

 Add the vanilla and almond extract.  Combine until mixed.

Add one egg white at a time and COMPLETELY mix in each egg to the flour/extract.  The dough will start to form.

Gently fold in currants. 

With two small bowls, fill each one with the two different sugars. This combination of the two sugars creates that wonderful exterior of the cookie that makes it so unique.

The dough is thick.  I was able to use a cookie scoop and scoop the dough and drop each one into the white sugar.  Using your hands roll the ball first in the white sugar and then in the confectioner's sugar.  

See image below. They will gently spread a bit and then spread more when baked.

Bake for 24-28 minutes for a soft, chewy cookie and a bit longer for the crispier version.

The recipe will make 3-4 dozen, depending on size of cookie scoop. I used a tablespoon scoop so I got the smaller number.

Written by Sherron Watson


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Oreo Wafers

When I was a kid I would share my Oreo's with my dog.  He got the creamy center and I got the cookie.  Now that I am a parent, I used to share my Oreo's with my kids.  They got the white soft center and I got the cookie.  With this recipe I solved my issue, no creamy white soft center.  Just a nice simple, thin wafer all to myself.   I still share though.  

Recipe:  Oreo Wafers
Simply Gourmet

Yields: 30-32 cookies
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 7-9 minutes
skill level:  easy

Preheat oven to 375.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten

In a Kitchenaid bowl, combine all ingredients.   If you don't have a counter mixer, then use a medium size bowl and mixer, combine all ingredients.  

Mix ingredients until well blended.  Batter will be similar to thick brownie batter.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using a scoop, scoop cookies 2 inches a part.  These cookies spread and you will need the whole cookie tray.  Don't try to make them fit or you will end up with one large cookie.

Bake for 7-9 minutes.  They are very thin and will burn if you over bake them.

Remove cookies from oven and let rest on sheet for a few minutes, remove carefully with spatula to a cookie cooling rack.

If you would like to have a filling, let cookies cool completely and then fill.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

3 Easy Peppermint Recipes for Christmas

We love peppermint in our home.  We like to drink peppermint tea, especially Iced Tea.  We enjoy peppermint candy canes, peppermint truffles and mints and peppermint dairy creamer (this is our new favorite).  The creamer mixed with your coffee first thing in the morning is like having a jubilee chorus singing "hallelujah"... it's that tasty.  LOL

Over the last week I have played around with a few peppermint, easy and kid friendly recipes for the holidays.

I recently had peppermint bark and was immediately in love.  Why had it taken me so long to find this yummy candy.  I was having a moment and decided to make my own.  Super easy and what a fun gift for the neighbors.

Our next yummy treat is a Peppermint Pretzel Bite.   I first had these at a cute hotdog haus in a neighboring town.  I originally had them the pretzel dipped in cinnamon and sugar.  I thought I had taken a bite out of a piece of french toast, it was really good.  This was my original plan when I set out to make these last week.  As I was preparing the ingredients, I found the baggie of left over crushed candy canes…an IDEA popped into my head.  I could dip them into the candy cane and have a pretty treat.  It worked and they are so more-ish.

Finally, a cookie was to be made.  I saw these cute pink cookies dipped in white chocolate with peppermint sprinkles on them.  They sounded good, but they also looked so pretty!  I set out to make these and discovered that I did not have some of the ingredients and had to improvise.  I was so happy with the result that I will share them with you  too.  Cranberry Pomegranate Shortbread cookies are the perfect blend of sweet and tart….with a snap of peppermint sugar crystals…so good and yummy!

Recipe:   Peppermint Bark

1 cup of dark chocolate chips
2 cups of white chocolate chips or Baker cubes (2 boxes)
candy canes

Have a cookies sheet, lined with parchment paper, ready.  Crush your candy canes by placing 4 in a baggie and using a rolling pin, roll back and forth using your body weight.  You should be able to get very fine or chunky pieces, this is up to you.  I chose to have chunky pieces

Melt your chocolates in two different bowls.  You can microwave the chips in 30 second intervals, stirring each time OR use a bowl onto of a sauce pan with boiling water.  The water only needs to be an inch  and the chocolate should be stirred until melted.  Do not over cook or you will ruin your candy.

Spread the chocolate layer to a thin layer and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until hard.

Melt the white chocolate using the same method above.  Carefully pour the white chocolate over the dark chocolate trying not to melt and swirl the two together.

Sprinkle your candy cane pieces over the white chocolate and gently using your palms, push the pieces into the white chocolate.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until hard.

Remove from fridge and let the chocolate set for an hour.  The candy should peel away from the parchment paper and broken into bite size pieces.

Recipe:  Peppermint Pretzel Bites

1 Bag of Snyder's square pretzels
3 cubes of Baker's white chocolate or 1/2 cup of chips
4 candy canes
cinnamon and sugar mix (option)

Select a shallow bowl to melt your candy in so that when you dip your pretzels, you hands do not get messy. Melt white chocolate by using the microwave method or stovetop.

Crush the candy canes using the baggie and rolling pin method.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Dip a pretzel in to the white chocolate, half way, and then dip pretzel into cinnamon and sugar OR the crushed candy cane.

Place the pretzel on the cookie sheet and place in fridge when full.  Remove after 15 minutes.  These can be stored in a baggie.

Recipe:  Cranberry Pomegranate Shortbread Cookies w/ peppermint sprinkles

Original recipe can be found here by Better Homes and Garden.  I changed the ingredients, but the technique used in the original recipe is the same for both.

1/2 cup dried cranberries, minced finely
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cold butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup of fresh pomegranate juice
2 drops red food coloring (optional)

To decorate:

12 ounces white chocolate baking squares
Peppermint sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in cranberries and pomegranate juice. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

5. Melt chocolate by using the microwave method or stovetop. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off.  Roll edges in peppermint sprinkles. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. 

Written by Sherron Watson

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