Tag Archives: baking

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 2

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

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.

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

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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.

2016-12-14 09.28.48

2016-12-14 09.57.53

RECIPE:

Chocolate Thumbprints

Chocolate Thumbprints with Homemade Caramel Filling

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

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.

For 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.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
.

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:

Crescent Rolls 3

Homemade Crescent Rolls
————(adapted from Our Best Bites)

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.

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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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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and Treats): Cream Cheese Mints

Cream Cheese Mints

DAY 10: Cream Cheese Mints

Melt in your mouth cream cheese mints.

Making these mints is like playing with scented edible Play Doh. The hardest challenge will be keeping your kids from playing with it and eating it before you can roll the mints.

Cream Cheese Mints 2

RECIPE:

Cream Cheese Mints

Cream Cheese Mints

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs butter, softened
1 lb powdered sugar (plus additional, if needed)
¼–½  tsp peppermint extract (or a few drops of peppermint oil)
Red and green gel food coloring

Place cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Add ¼ tsp peppermint extract or a few drops of peppermint oil. Taste mixture and add additional flavoring, if desired. (Mixture can also be mixed and kneaded by hand.)

Divide dough into thirds and place in separate bowls. Add red and green food coloring to two of the bowls. Knead in coloring until color is consistently smooth. Add additional powdered sugar if the dough is too sticky. It should be Play Doh consistency.

Shape dough into small balls and then flatten with a fork. Place on a sheet of parchment paper. Allow mints to dry for 2 hours (longer in humid locations) at room temperature before storing in a covered container.

Candy molds can also be used to make shaped mints. If you are using candy molds to shape the mints, roll the balls in granulated sugar before pressing into the candy molds to keep them from sticking.

Makes about 50 mints.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Almond Toffee Triangles

Almond Toffee Triangles

DAY 9: Almond Toffee Triangles

A shortbread crust, topped with a sliced almond caramel mixture and then baked to perfection.

Easy peasy!

Almond Toffee Triangles 2

 

RECIPE:

Almond Toffee Triangles

Almond Toffee Triangles

Crust:
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
¼ tsp salt

Topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
¼ cup butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sliced almonds

Crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of a 15×10” pan.

Use a mixer to cream butter and powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. Slowly beat in flour and salt. Press evenly into greased pan.

Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Topping:
While crust is cooking, prepare topping. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almonds. Pour topping over HOT crust; spread evenly.

Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes, or until topping is set. Cool completely. Cut into 2 ½ inch squares. Cut each square in half diagonally.

Makes 48 triangles

 

**To prepare in a 17×13” pan, prepare 1 ½ times the recipe.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

DAY 8: Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Here is a fun Christmas treat to make with kids that is easier than your traditional frosted sugar cookies. All you need is a good sugar cookie recipe, a package of Jolly Rancher hard candies and two different sized cookie cutters.

To begin, you will need to line your baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper so that the candy centers don’t stick.

Prepare your dough and cut out large Christmas shapes (my cookie cutters were about 3” tall). I usually like to make nice thick sugar cookies, but these need to be about 1/8” thick, or the center “window” will be too thin compared to the cookie.

Place cookies on baking sheet before cutting out the smaller design in the center of each cookie. I used the inserts for linzer cookies to cut the center shapes. Cutting out the smaller shape after the cookie is on the baking sheet helps the cookie dough retain its shape. It is harder to move cookie dough with the center cut out.

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy  in the center of each cut out. (Cut candy in half with a sharp knife)  If your openings are large enough to fit the whole Jolly Rancher, then use them whole. You can also crush the candies first, but I found that there are fewer bubbles in your windows if you leave the candies whole. And it is so much easier than crushing hard candy!

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies 3

While the cookies bake, the candies will melt and fill in the centers.

After baking, let the cookies completely cool and the candy window centers harden before removing from baking sheet.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

You could also make these using a Gingerbread Cookie Dough.

RECIPE:

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 package Jolly Rancher candies, cut in half for small openings

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, sour cream and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.  Mix in baking soda, salt and enough flour to make a moderately stiff dough (Start with 7 cups and add more if needed).

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour, if necessary, for easier handling.

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Roll out dough to about 1/8” and cut out with large  cookie cutters. Place shapes on lined baking sheets. Cut out a smaller shape inside of each cookie  (after placing on baking sheet).

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy in the center of each cookie. Use a whole Jolly Rancher if the opening is large enough to lay the candy down inside the opening.

Bake at 375°F for 8 -10 minutes, or until candies have melted; cookies should not be browned on the edges.  They should look white when done. Cool completely on the baking sheet. When candy centers are completely cool and hardened, remove cookies to a sheet of parchment paper.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Makes about 6 dozen (using a 3” cookie cutter)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (and Treats): Easy Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Nutella Fudge

DAY 7: Chocolate Nutella Fudge

Can you ever go wrong adding Nutella to a dessert?

Here is a perfect example: a rich, creamy fudge made even more delicious by adding Nutella. Plus lots of toasted nuts. And nuts are protein, so that makes this healthy, right?

You can also make this completely smooth and creamy, but I love the addition of chopped toasted nuts. I like lots of nuts per bite, so I use 2 full cups of chopped nuts, but if you just want the nuts sprinkled here and there, use less. My ideal fudge would be a pile of nuts with just enough chocolate to hold the nuts together in one piece!

I used a small cookie scoop to scoop the warm fudge into miniature foil cups. You can also spread it into an 8” square pan and cut it into squares.

Nutella tip: to easily measure Nutella, warm the jar of Nutella in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (be sure that all of the foil seal is removed first!). Spray a measuring cup with oil or cooking spray, then pour warm Nutella into the measuring cup.

RECIPE:

Nutella Fudge

Chocolate Nutella Fudge

1 cup Nutella
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (about 1 heaping cup bittersweet chips)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 Tbs salted butter
1/8 tsp salt (omit salt if using salted nuts)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 cups chopped toasted nuts, optional **

If you are making fudge in a pan, lightly grease an 8” square pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper, letting it hang over the edge on 2 sides. If you are making individual fudge cups, lay 48-64 miniature foil baking cups on a rimmed baking sheet or tray.

Place Nutella, chopped bittersweet chocolate, sweet milk and butter in the top of a double boiler. Heat water in the bottom of the double boiler to a simmer, reduce heat to low and place the top of the double boiler with the chocolate mixture over the water. Stir until mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in salt, vanilla and chopped toasted nuts.

Spread warm fudge into the prepared pan OR use a small cookie scoop (or spoon) to drop about 1 tablespoon of warm fudge into each foil cup. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until fudge is firm.

If fudge was prepared in a pan: For easier cutting, run the knife under hot water, then pat dry before using to cut the fudge. Run the knife along the edges of the pan and use the parchment paper to lift out the block of fudge. Rinse knife in hot water again, dry. and cut the fudge into 1” squares (cut larger squares, if desired). Rinse and dry knife before each new cut.

Makes 48-64 servings

**To toast nuts: Coarsely chop nuts and spread into an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake at350°F for 5-10 minutes.

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

DAY 5: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Balls of peanut butter cookie dough baked in a mini muffin pan and then squished by a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Definitely a kid favorite! Both to make and to eat.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies 2

RECIPE:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 pkg (12 oz) Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped **

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a mini muffin pan (or spray with non-stick baking spray).

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in peanut butter, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to mixing bowl and beat until well mixed.

Roll dough into 1” balls and place in greased muffin pan. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until dough puffs and just barely begins to brown on the bottom.

Remove pan from the oven and immediately press a Peanut Butter Cup into the center of each cookie, pressing down until top of peanut butter cup is level with the top of the cookie. Cool completely in the pan and then remove to a wire rack. To remove cookies, hold the cookie by the top edge and twist gently.

Makes about 32 cookies.

**NOTE: A 12 oz package of peanut butter cups usually has 40 candy pieces. The recipe makes about 32 cookies, so you may have a few extra.

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