Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My favorite holiday recipes: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

Looks like Christmas.


















Don't these brownies just look like Christmas? They are truly delicious and look very impressive. Something a little different from the traditional Christmas Cookie, they are perfect choice for a cookie exchange party or as an addition to your dessert table at Christmas dinner. I just happen to know Santa loves them too.


Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

recipe adapted from Sunny Anderson, host "Cooking for Real"

Red Velvet Layer:

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Layer:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan, and set aside.

Brownie layer: Add melted butter to a large bowl and add the sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, in that order, mixing between additions. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and stir it into the cocoa mix. Fold in the flour until lightly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/4 cup of the batter for the top.

Cream cheese layer: Blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gently spread the cream cheese layer on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Dollop the remaining brownie batter over the cream cheese layer. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, drag the tip through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

My favorite holiday recipes: Creamcheese Spritz Cookies

These are for mom.



















As far back as I can remember my mom made tins and tins full of spritz cookies.  My siblings and I would always try to sneak cookies out from the tins before my mom gave them away, so she started hiding them from us.  To me, these cookies represent sweet memories from my childhood.  They are subtly sweet and have a delicate crumb.  I have continued the tradition from my mom and make these most years as well.

Christmas Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
adapted from Allrecipes.com

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix together the flour, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. If desired, decide the dough in half and add food coloring to the halves until you reach the desired color (I used about 8 drops of green food dye). Fill a cookie press or pastry bag with dough, and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugar or sprinkles to decorate.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown on the peaks and on the bottoms. Remove from cookie sheets at once to cool on wire racks.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My favorite holiday recipes: Cookie Dough Truffles

Always a crowd favorite.
























I have seen similar versions of these making the rounds on various sites lately.  I like to think it is because they came across one of my posts.  I first made these back in 2009 (as a cookie dough pop) and they have always been a favorite of friends and family.  Like the Buckeyes, these freeze exceptionally well!

Cookie Dough Truffles
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened (it is even okay if it is melting a little)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 - 2 tablespoons water

Assorted candy melts

In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add water if mixture is too dry to form into balls. Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper (Should make approximately 20). Chill for several hours or freeze for 15-20 minutes until firm.

Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on package (30 sec intervals, stirring in between). Gently dip the cookie dough ball into the candy coating. Once covered remove and let the excess chocolate fall off. Place back on wax paper to dry.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place melted chocolate in a plastic sandwich bag. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smaller the drizzle. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the cookie dough truffle until you reach the desired look.