Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Baking

So this year I decided to do a lot of baking so that I could share plates of goodies with neighbors & friends. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook have seen all my tweets about my baking. So I thought I'd share the recipes I used this year. All of these recipes are peanut/nut free as my daughter is severely allergic. I use Blue Bonnet Margarine everywhere it says butter or margarine. I use Meijer semi-sweet chocolate chips (Nestle's are not peanut/nut free!). If you have any questions about any of these recipes, feel free Hope you all enjoy!

Christmas Plate Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Nestle TollHouse modified)
2 ¼ c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter - melted
¾ c. sugar
¾ c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz bag Meijer Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 375º
Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar & vanilla. Add eggs.
Gradually beat in flour, baking soda & salt. Add more flour if needed until spoon stays upright in dough. Stir in Chocolate Chips
Bake 8 ½ - 9 minutes.

Cookie Cutter Sugar Cookies (Joyce Young)
2 c. butter
3 c. powdered sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
6 c. flour
2 tsp soda
1 tsp cream of tartar

Beat butter until creamy. Add sugar & beat until fluffy. Add eggs & vanilla. Add flour, soda & cream of tartar & stir in. Batter will be stiff. Refrigerate. Roll on lightly floured surface & cut with floured cookie cutters. Bake 6 to 7 minutes at 375º. Cool and decorate as desired. To decorate with sugars only, sprinkle sugar on cookies before baking.

Buttercream Icing (Joyce Young)
½ c. shortening
½ c. butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar (1 lb.)
2 Tbsp milk

Cream butter & shortening, add vanilla. Add sugar 1 c. at a time, beating well on medium speed. Icing will appear dry. Add milk & beat at high speed until light & fluffy. Tint with food colors as desired. Keep icing covered with damp cloth when not using. store in refrigerator. To make icing spreading consistency, add 1 to 2 Tbsp extra milk.

Chocolate Peppermint Candies (Jeanne Fry on Allrecipes.com)
¾ c. sweetened condensed milk
1 ½ tsp peppermint extract
4 c. confectioners’ sugar
3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp shortening

In bowl, combine milk & extract. Stir in 3 ½ to 4 cups confectioners’ sugar to form a stiff dough.  Turn onto a surface sprinkled lightly with confectioners’ sugar. Knead in enough remaining sugar to form a dough that is very stiff & no longer sticky. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Flatten into 1 ½ inch circles. Let dry 1 hour.  Turn & let dry 1 hour longer. Melt chocolate chips & shortening in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl; cool slightly. Dip patties in chocolate mixture & place on waxed paper to harden. **Note: Next time I'm going to actually roll out the dough & cut circles rather than do it in balls. I think it will be more uniform.

Prepare Creamy Christmas Peppermints (Shaheen Bilgrami from www.education.com)
¼ cup or 4 Tbsp cream cheese
several drops peppermint extract
1 cup powdered sugar
red food coloring

add peppermint extract to cream cheese. gradually add powdered sugar & mix until mixture forms soft dough. Break of ¼ dough & add few drops red food coloring. Mix until ball is completely red. Loosely combine the red & white doughs so that the dough has marbled effect. Sprinkle powdered sugar onto surface & roll out dough (about ¼ inch thick). cut out festive shapes using cooking cutters. Leave candies to dry on waxed paper. Refrigerate candies if not eating them right away. **Note: This took almost double the powdered sugar in order to get it stiff enough to roll out. Was very messy to work with.

Chocolate Snow Balls! (Dina Brooks from www.education.com)
½ cup plus 3 Tbsp (11 Tbsp total) softened butter softened butter
¼ cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ c. all purpose flour
3 Tablespoon cocoa
½ cup confectioner’s sugar plus 1 cup, separated.

Preheat oven 350º
Mix butter until creamy & fluffy. add evaporated milk & vanilla. carefully stir one at a time: flour, cocoa & sugar into butter. Shape into balls about 1” wide & place on baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes. Immediately roll in 1 cup powdered sugar. Allow to cool completely, 15 -20 minutes. sift remaining powdered sugar over snowballs.

Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies (recipes.bhg.com)
1 ½ c. flour
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c. butter softened
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 ½ tsp vanilla
10 oz jar maraschino cherries
1 c. (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
½ c. sweetened condensed milk

Mix flour & cocoa & set aside. In another bowl, beat butter until softened. Add sugar, salt, baking powder & baking soda. Beat until well combined. Add egg & vanilla. Beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Shape dough into 1 inch balls on ungreased baking sheet. Press center of each ball with thumb.

Drain maraschino cherries, reserving juice. Place cherry into center of each cookie.

In small saucepan combine chocolate chips & sweetened condensed milk. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir in 4 tsp of reserved cherry juice.  Spoon about 1 tsp of frosting over each cherry on unbaked cookie, spreading to cover cherry. (thin frosting with additional cherry juice if needed). Bake in 350º oven for 10 min or until done.

Easy Fantasy Fudge (from Jet Puffed Marshmallow Creme Jar)
¾ c (1 ½ sticks) butter
3 c sugar
⅔ c evaporated milk (5 oz can)
Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add 1 12 oz package (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Add 1 jar (7 oz) Puffed Marshmallow creme & 1 tsp vanilla

**Note: This is the old recipe from the Marshmallow creme Jar. I haven't tried the new recipe that takes baker's chocolate squares. You can double the recipe ( I had large jar of marshmallow) but it's harder to work with & stir so completely mixed.

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows (Wendy Fouse)
1 bag marshmallows (can use regular or miniature size)
1 box candy canes unwrapped & crushed (put in ziploc bag to crush)
Bark Coating Chocolate - 6 cubes

Melt 6 cubes of bark chocolate in microwave  for 1 min in glass container or measuring cup, remove, stir to break up cubes, return to microwave & do 30 seconds at a time until chocolate is completely melted & creamy. Carefully roll 1 marshmallow at a time in chocolate, coating all sides (toothpicks are great help here). Sprinkle or dip coated marshmallows in crushed candy & then place on foil or wax paper to set. **Note - I used Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate as none of the coating chocolates were peanut/nut free.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies (Amy Hengst from education.com)
2 ¼ c. flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp fresh, grated ginger (optional)
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
¾ c. margarine, softened
1 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
¼ c. molasses
2 Tbsp. white sugar

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix Flour, dried ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves & salt in bowl. In another bowl, cream together margarine & 1 cup sugar until light & fluffy. Then beat in egg & stir in water, fresh ginger & molasses. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until creamy & well mix. Shape dough into walnut sized balls & roll in 2 Tbsp sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet & flatten slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes. For softer cookies, take them out earlier. For crispier cookies, let them bake couple of minutes longer. Store in airtight container.

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