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.

Friday, December 4, 2015

My favorite holiday recipes: Mint Chocolate Delights

The perfect balance of mint and chocolate.

I first made these cookies in 2010 and fell in love with them.  Historically I had not been a huge mint person, but these cookies changed my mind.  I tend to make them these days with Mint Chocolate or Peppermint M&M's instead of the mint chips and it results in the same flavor profile.  You better believe I am making some of these for Santa this year.

Mint Chocolate Delight Cookies
recipe adapted from Nestle

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 1.4 oz package of instant chocolate pudding Mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Combine flour, cocoa, pudding mix, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My favorite holiday recipes: Buckeyes

Or Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls as my husband likes to call them

Buckeyes are my all-time personal favorite holiday treat.  I can eat my weight in them.  I like to make them in large batches and then freeze them to give away or set out for company as needed.  I eat them straight from the freezer too!

recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup butter, softened
1teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners' sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla and confectioners' sugar. The dough will look dry. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping) and chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth. Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeyes. Put back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until serving.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My favorite holiday recipes: Candy Cane Blossoms

Holiday Baking Season

I have been away from the world of blogging for a while now, but that does not mean I have been away from baking.  As a mother of two and a full time accountant, I decided to put this little blog on the back burner for a while.  I could not forget the importance of sharing beloved holiday recipes. For the next three weeks I have decided I am going to share with you some of my favorite holiday recipes, some old and some new.  I hope you enjoy!

This first recipe has become a fan favorite on Baked Perfection to I thought it would be a perfect kick-off.  These cookies are so festive and delicious.

Candy Cane Blossoms
recipe from Hershey's

1 bag Hershey's Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar, sprinkles,

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35).

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 3 to 5 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies