Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Holiday Baking Extravaganza

Wouldn't you like to get a box of Holiday goodies like this?
I know I would. So after 3 days of work this is what my neighbors and P and my co-workers got as holiday presents. The contents follow below!

Pistachio Spice Cookies and Spritz Cookies

7 Layer Bars

Ingredients -
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 bag of butterscotch chips
3/4 of a bag of sweetened coconut
1/2 cup of pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter in 9x13 pan and cover with graham cracker crumbs. Then top with coconut, chocolate chips, butter scotch chips, pecans and once all of those layers have been added pour the milk all over the whole pan. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool completely before cutting into squares.

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Chocolate Barks

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark, Milk Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Bark, Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond Bark and Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark all basically follow the same easy steps.

1. Melt desired amount of chocolate in a double boiler. I use 2 bags for each batch so it will fit on a cookie sheet.
2. Once melted stir in your other ingredients and spread on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Or in the case of the White Chocolate Peppermint Bark just sprinkle the pieces on top. Its really however you want it.
3. Place in the fridge to cool until hard and then break into pieces.

Spiral Snickerdoodles

Ingredients for the cookie
1 cup of butter
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of AP Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Combine the Flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time making sure to mix well. Add in the vanilla and mix until blended. Add in the flour gradually in 3 additions being careful to not over mix.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, I normally do this over night.

For the filling
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1/4 of a cup of melted butter

Combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Once the dough has chilled. Take it out and place it on a floured surface roll it out to about 1/4 of an inch thick. Try to make it as rectangular as possible. Then take the melted butter and brush it on the whole dough with a pastry brush and then sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture. Then starting from the longer end roll it up like a cinnamon roll. Once you have it all rolled up wrap it in plastic wrap and refridgerate it again for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes take it out and slice it into 1/4 of an inch slices and place 2 inches apart as these cookies tend to spread out.

Preheat the oven to 350 and bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 12-14 minutes. As always I always under cook my cookies so bake them until the firmness you like and then finish cooling on a cooling rack and enjoy.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients -
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of shortening
1 cup of peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups of AP Flour

Preheat the oven to 375.

Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
Cream together the butter and the sugars, once combined add the peanut butter and stir to combine. Add the eggs in one at a time making sure to mix well after each one. Add the vanilla extract and then slowly add in the flour mixture it will look crumbly at times but will work into a very nice looking dough.

Take rounded tablespoons and place on a ungreased baking sheet for 12-15 minutes. I normally just watch until they start to slightly brown on the edges and then I pull them out and move them directly to a cooling rack. I like my cookies chewy not hard though so the time will depends on how you like your cookies.

Double Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients -
2 1/4 cups of AP Flour
2/3 cup of baking cocoa
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of butter at room temperature
3/4 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package of white chocolate chips
It is important to find white chocolate chips not white baking chips which are not chocolate at all. And yes I know white chocolate isn't really chocolate either but lets not get into that.

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream together butter, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour mixture gradually in 3 parts. Once combined stir in the white chocolate chips. You can form these into golf ball size balls or rounded teaspoons depending on what size of cookies you are looking for and bigger is better in my book. Place on a ungreased baking sheet about an inch or so apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes then move them to a cooling rack and while they are still slightly warm move them to your storage container. They will stay nice and soft for you this way.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bacon Brittle

I have been cooking in the kitchen however nothing really all that blog worthy. So to break myself in I tried something I have never done before, Candy making. Well it was actually pretty easy so I don't know if it can truly be called candymaking. As alot of bloggers do I have many saved recipes that I see on other blogs or websites that I want to try so I save them or print them. ( I know horrible how many trees I have killed) Never the less I wanted to get my head back in the game as this weekend my kitchen will be cookie baking central. Well not just cookies but I digress. So i attempted to make Bacon Brittle. And I must say it turned out nicely. P and I went to Fresh Market and picked out some nice Applewood smoked bacon for this as I knew regular bacon would just not do for something like this. I then broke out my new All Clad 3 qt. Saucier. And started cooking sugar. After cooking it to the nice tan shade that you see I mixed in the Bacon pieces and laid it all out on the Silpat. I must say it is a strange combination however it is very good. A nice combo of Salty and Sweet.

Before the breaking.......

After the breaking....

I used the recipe posted on Off the Bone.

Kitchen is done

Well it was done last week I'm just a little late to post the final pictures. So here they are.