Tag Archives: baking

Eleventh Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Bear Paw Cookies

Bear Paw Cookies 4

DAY 3: Bear Paw Cookies

An easy and fun alternative to regular chocolate  chip cookies. Bake your favorite plain cookie dough (or use the dough below) and add two different sized chocolate chips after baking to make a paw print pattern.

Use a very small cookie scoop (or make 1” balls)  so that the paw print pattern covers most of the cooked cookie.

Bear Paw Cookies 2

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Fun

RECIPE:

Bear Paw Cookies

  • Servings: 4 dozen small cookies
  • Print

Bear Paw Cookies 4

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
About 1 cup of regular-sized chocolate chips plus about 1 cup of larger baking chips (like Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat in flour, cornstarch, and salt.

Using a small cookie scoop, place level scoops on baking sheets, about 2” apart (I can get 20 cookies on a baking sheet). Roll scoops of dough into balls (about 1” in diameter); return to baking sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes, or until baked through. Cookies will still look very pale. Don’t overbake. While cookies are still warm, press one large chocolate chip and three small chocolate chips into each cookie to make a paw pattern. Cool cookies completely on wire racks.

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Fun

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Eleventh Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies

DAY 2: Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies

A chocolate cookie loaded full of sweet and salty goodness: chocolate chips, pretzels, and pecans. All wrapped around a gooey caramel center.

Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

RECIPE:

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
¾ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pretzels
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
1 pkg (11 oz) caramel squares (about 24)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat into butter/sugar mixture, until just mixed. Stir in pretzels, chocolate chips, and pecans.

Cut caramel squares in half and set aside.

Using a cookie scoop, place level scoops of dough on baking sheets, about 2” apart. Roll each scoop of dough around a caramel square half. Return to baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes; cookies will still look slightly underdone. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets and then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (Honorable Mentions)

These cookies did not make the Top 12, but were close runners-up. If you are looking for more baking ideas, these are sure to please! Also included are some of our favorite Christmas candies.

Honorable Mentions:


Chocolate Walnut Puddle Cookies

Chocolate Walnut Puddle Cookies

Christmas Fortune Cookies

Christmas Fortune Cookies

Almond Toffee Triangles

Almond Toffee Triangles

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cookies

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Cookies

Peanut Butter Snowflake Cookies

Peanut Butter Snowflake Cookies

Raspberry Crumb Bars

Raspberry Crumb Bars

Christmas M&M Cookies

Christmas M&M Cookies

Rocky Road Cookies

Rocky Road Cookies

Snickerdoodles

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Almond Toffee Sandies

Almond Toffee Sandies

Caramel Pecan Bars

Caramel Pecan Bars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies

Favorite Christmas Candies:

Homemade Caramels

Homemade Caramels

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Turtle Pretzel Snaps

Turtle Pretzel Snaps

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark Snowflakes

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Truffles

Christmas Caramel Chex Mix

Christmas Caramel Chex Mix

Lots More Christmas Cookies and Treats:

1st Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

2nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

3rd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

4th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

5th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2015)

8th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2016)

9th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2017)

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

After an extensive process of nominations and voting, these are the cookies that our family voted as their favorites. It is not an exhaustive list, and the voting may have been skewed by the child who hates anything chocolate. Tomorrow I will share a few Honorable Mentions and some favorite Christmas candies.

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!

DAY 1: Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

DAY 2: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies 3

DAY 3: Swedish Peppar KaKar (soft, mild gingerbread)

ninjabread-men-3

DAY 4: Russian Teacakes

Russian Tea Cakes 2

DAY 5: Sugar Cookies

Snow Capped Christmas TreesStained Glass Sugar CookiesSugar Cookies 2Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

DAY 6: Chewy Molasses Cookies

Chewy Molasses Crinkles

DAY 7: Andes & Rolo Cookies

Andes and Rolo Cookies

DAY 8: Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread (12)

DAY 9: Old-Fashioned Coconut Macaroons

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DAY 10: Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

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DAY 11: Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies (7)

DAY 12: Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints 1

 

 

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Vanilla Scones

Vanilla Scones 1

For our Scottish themed book group meeting, I made a variety of different Scottish foods, more of which I will share here shortly.

Scottish (or English) scones are a light, tender biscuit that can be adapted to many different flavors. Scones can be a savory food or a dessert. Or breakfast, or a snack, or just about anything you want them to be.

These vanilla scones, while not sweet themselves, are more of a dessert food. Especially if you serve them with Clotted Cream (or whipped cream) and jam. They also make a great base for Strawberry Shortcake.

I served them with a Homemade Clotted Cream (made in an Instant Pot) and Homemade Red Raspberry Jam and Cinnamon Pear Jam.

Vanilla Scones 3

Scones can also easily be frozen either before or after baking.

To freeze before baking: Prepare scone dough. Cut out scones and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. DO NOT brush with egg wash. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes.

To freeze after baking: Prepare and bake scones. Cool completely and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 300°F for 10-12 minutes.

RECIPE:

Vanilla Scones

Vanilla Scones 1

2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 Tbs unsalted butter
½ cup buttermilk
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (optional)
Egg Wash: 1 egg + 1 Tbs cream

Clotted Cream and Jams, to serve

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut cold butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. **SEE NOTE BELOW

In a separate bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, mix together buttermilk, 2 Tbs cream, egg, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds. In a small bowl, mix together egg wash and set aside.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in buttermilk mixture. Use a rubber spoon to gently mix, until most of the dry ingredients are mixed in.

Turn dough out onto a flour coated surface and pat and/or roll dough to about 3/4” thick. Use a scone or biscuit cutter to cut into rounds. Place on prepared baking sheet. Gently reroll scraps to make additional scones.

Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve scones with clotted cream and jam.

**NOTE: To easily cut butter into dry mixture, freeze one stick of butter for 30 minutes. Fold back the paper wrapper to the 6Tbs mark and use the coarse blades of a cheese grater to grate the butter directly into the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to fold butter shreds into mixture.

Yield: about 12 scones

**TO FREEZE SCONES:

Scones can be frozen either before or after baking.

To freeze before baking: Prepare scone dough. Cut out scones and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. DO NOT brush with egg wash. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Brush tops of scones with egg wash. Bake at 400°F for 16-18 minutes.

To freeze after baking: Prepare and bake scones. Cool completely and place on a baking sheet lined with foil. Freeze until firm. Place into Ziploc bag or freezer container and store in freezer. Place frozen scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone mat. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 300°F for 10-12 minutes.

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9th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

Here is a list of the twelve cookies from this year. I hope that you all enjoy the rest of this Christmas season with family and friends.

Scroll to the bottom for links to the previous 8 years of cookies.

Almond-Toffee-Sandies-3_thumb1

DAY 1: Almond Toffee Sandies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies_thumb[2]

DAY 2: Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown-Sugar-Cinnamon-Squares-1_thumb

DAY 3: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Squares

Roasted Spiced Pecans_thumb[1]

DAY 4: Roasted Spiced Pecans

Chocolate Thumbprints_thumb[2]

DAY 5: Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

Chewy-Pecan-Cheesecake-Cookies_thumb[3]

DAY 6: Chewy Pecan Cheesecake Cookies

Almond-Butter-Cookies-1_thumb2

DAY 7: Glazed Almond Butter Cookies

German-Lebkuchen_thumb2

DAY 8: German Lebkuchen

Lemon-Cake-Mix-Cookies_thumb2

DAY 9: Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

Salted Caramel Bars_thumb[2]

DAY 10: Salted Caramel Bars

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies 2_thumb[3]

DAY 11: Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

DAY 12: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Lots More Christmas Cookies and Treats:

1st Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

2nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

3rd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

4th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

5th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2015)

8th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2016)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and other stuff): Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

DAY 12 : Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

A delicious quick bread that makes great gifts for friends and neighbors. It is also great spread with a little cream cheese before eating.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pans 1

Dollar stores and Michaels often sell cute Christmas mini-loaf pans that you can bake these in. Then you can give the cute little pan to neighbors along with the bread.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread Pan

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

Yield: 2 regular loaves or 5-6 mini-loaves

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread 2

4 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 can (16oz) pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two regular loaf pans (or 6-8 mini loaf pans), or spray with Baking Pam.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and pumpkin until well mixed.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.  Stir into pumpkin mixture. Fold in chopped cranberries and walnuts.

Spoon batter into prepared pans. Fill mini loaf pans about 2/3 full.

For regular loaf pans: bake for 60 minutes
For mini-loaf pans: bake for 35-45 minutes

Bake until top of loaf springs back when touched gently (or toothpick comes out clean). Check bread after about 30 minutes: cover loosely with foil if it is beginning to brown too quickly.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

Chocolate Thumbprints

DAY 5: Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

If you are feeling extra ambitious, instead of making these chocolate thumbprint cookies with melted packaged caramels, you can make your own caramel filling.

With a candy thermometer, the caramel filling comes together quickly and turns a good cookie into a fabulous one!

If you want to take the “easy” road out and buy a bag of Kraft Caramels, that recipe can be found HERE.

Here is my tip for getting a good deep pocket for all of that amazing caramel: Use the back of a rounded measuring spoon and press it into the center of each cookie. I use a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon on the raw cookie dough and then a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon on the hot, baked cookie. This is a good alternative to actually using (and burning) your thumbs.

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2016-12-14 09.57.53

RECIPE:

Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Chocolate Thumbprints

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Homemade Caramel Filling (recipe below)

Glaze:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs corn syrup

Prepare Cookies: Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Beat until well combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites in a small bowl. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Set aside. Roll dough into balls. Dip balls into egg white and then into pecans. (I find this easier if I make a whole baking sheet worth of dough balls, then dip them in egg/pecans). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie with the back of measuring spoon (I use a ½ teaspoon) or your thumb.

Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, or until cookies are set.

While cookies are still hot, press center again (use the back of a round 1 teaspoon measuring spoon). Cool.

Prepare Caramel Filling (recipe below).
Spoon small amount of warm caramel into centers of baked cookies. Carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Prepare Chocolate Glaze: Combine bittersweet chips, butter and corn syrup in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20-30 seconds if not melted. Let cool slightly. Pour chocolate into a small Ziploc freezer bag. Poke a hole in the corner of the bag (a bamboo skewer makes a perfect sized hole). Drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Cool until set.

To store: refrigerate or freeze cookies in individual layers; then store between layers of waxed paper in the refrigerator or freezer. They can also be stored at room temperature, but if you stack them, they will stick together.


Homemade Caramel Filling

1 cup unsalted butter
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbs heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt

Combine butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a low but continuous simmer, until caramel reaches 235°F (soft ball stage), stirring occasionally. This will take about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.

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Homemade Crescent Rolls

Crescent Rolls 2

Looking for the perfect rolls to serve with your Easter ham? Or more importantly, to use the next day to make ham sandwiches?

Look no further: these rolls are amazing. They are soft and tender, but also hold up to slicing and using as a sandwich bun.

Leftovers are always the best part of a big holiday dinner. I love cooking once and then repurposing dinner for the next few days. And rolls are the perfect food to make ahead of time, freeze, and then reheat in the oven just before serving.

To help elongate the crescent rolls and keep them from being too thick in the center, I cut a slit in the wide edge, separate the slit slightly, and then roll the dough into a crescent shape.

Crescent Rolls 5  Crescent Rolls 6

This gives longer ends that are easier to curve into a rounded crescent.

Crescent Rolls 4

Happy Easter!

Crescent Rolls 1

RECIPE: 

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Crescent Rolls 3

2 cups whole milk
½ cup + 1 Tbs sugar, divided
1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbs) butter
2 tsp kosher salt
2 pkg active dry yeast (or 4 ½ tsp)
2/3 cup warm water
8-9 cups all-purpose flour
3 beaten eggs
Melted butter (about 4 Tbs)

Combine milk, ½ cup sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until butter melts. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast and 1 Tbs sugar in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups flour and milk mixture. Beat on low for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Add yeast mixture and beat on high for 3 minutes. Add beaten eggs.

Stir in as much remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough. This dough should be very soft–it will be coming away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still stick to your finger when you touch it. Place the bowl in a warm place and cover with a clean towel; allow to rise 1 hour.

Grease large baking sheets, or line with parchment paper or silicon mats.

Punch down dough. Lightly flour your work surface and turn dough out onto surface. Divide in half.

Roll each dough half into a circle and cut into 12 wedges. Cut a ½” slit in the wide end of the wedge, separate slightly and roll  into crescent shapes and place on prepared pans.

Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. When dough has about 15-20 minutes to go, preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden-brown. When done, remove from oven. Brush lightly with melted butter.

Yield: 24 rolls

**To prebake for serving another day: Bake rolls on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until rolls just barely begin to brown. Remove from oven. Cool. Place in Ziploc freezer bags. Freeze.

On serving day: Place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until hot and golden brown. Brush tops with butter.

Adapted from Our Best Bites

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8th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Recap

Here is a quick recap of our yearly baking madness! Scroll to the end for links to even more cookie deliciousness.

A very Merry Christmas to family and friends far and near!

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

DAY ONE: Snow Capped Christmas Trees

 Chocolate Toffee Cookies

DAY TWO: Chocolate Fudge Toffee Cookies

Cinnamon Pecans 2

DAY THREE: Cinnamon Pecans

 Molasses Crinkles

DAY FOUR: Molasses Crinkles

 Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

DAY FIVE: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

 Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

DAY SIX: Butter Pecan Spiced Cookies

 Nutella Fudge

DAY SEVEN: Nutella Fudge

 Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

DAY EIGHT: Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

 Almond Toffee Triangles 2

DAY NINE: Almond Toffee Triangles

 Cream Cheese Mints 
DAY TEN: Cream Cheese Mints

 Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

DAY ELEVEN: Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies  

 Homemade Caramels

DAY TWELVE: Homemade Caramels

 

#LIGHTtheWORLD

 

More Christmas Cookies and Treats:

1st Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2009)

2nd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2010)

3rd Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2011)

4th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2012)

5th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2013)

6th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2014)

7th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (2015)

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