Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scandinavian Almond Bars- Easy and delicious.


These cookies are so good and fast to make- ready in 30 to 40 minutes. They are simple to make, unique and pretty.We make them all year long but love them during the holidays.
   Makes 4 dozen 

Dough
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp of almond extract
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Topping
1/2 tsp sliced almonds
2 TBS milk

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
3-4 TBS milk
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  • In a small bowl sift or stir together the flour, baking powder and the salt. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.

  • Add the egg and almond extract and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder and salt; mixing just until combined.
  • Divide dough into 4 pieces, and roll each one into a log about 12 inches long. Place 2 logs onto each well greased or preferably parchment lined cookie sheet-  4 to 5 inches apart. 
  • Flatten each roll by hand until it is about 3 inches wide. The dough is sticky so you may need to flour your hands a bit. They don't have to be perfect, once their cut you can't tell if they weren't totally even. I love that about this recipe!

  • Brush flattened roll with milk and   sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  •  Place both sheets into preheated oven.



  • Bake in preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Rotate trays half way through.





  • While the cookies are still warm,  cut them crosswise at a diagonal, into slices about 1 inch wide.





    • Make the Glaze: 
      • In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk until smooth.
    • Place glaze into a small zip lock bag and snip a small corner off. 
    • Drizzle the glaze, out of the corner hole, over the completely cooled cookies.
       Store in a sealed container. These freeze really well.

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Snowballs, Russian Tea Balls, Swedish Tea Balls, or Mexican Wedding Cookies, by any of these names- Delicious!



    Swedish Tea Balls
    Also called Mexican Wedding Cookies, Russian Tea Balls, or Snowballs

    This is my husband's great-grandmother's recipe and a favorite at Christmas and showers.
    Makes 32 cookies

    1 cup butter softened
    1/3 cup powdered sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 cups of flour
    1 1/2 cups of finely chopped walnuts or pecans

    1/2 cup of powdered sugar to roll baked cookies in after baking

    Preheat oven to 350°

    Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Place walnuts into a food processor and pulse until they are in very small pieces. Take care not to over process into paste.

    Add nuts to dry ingredients and stir to blend.
    Cream together the butter and powdered sugar, on medium high speed, until light and fluffy.
    Add vanilla and beat until incorporated.
    Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour into the butter mixture in 3 batches,
    mixing each addition until just combined and scraping down sides.

    If batter does not hold together add water 1 Tbs at a time until dough
    holds together when rolled into a ball. Do not over beat as that will make them tough.


    Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet or onto parchment paper. They don't spread but do get larger as they bake.


    Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are set and just golden brown on the bottom.
    Remove from cookies from oven and immediately roll cookies into the powdered sugar until coated on all sides.


    Place cookies onto a sheet of waxed paper to cool.
    Store in an airtight container for up to a week at room temperature, 2 weeks in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Chocolate Peppermint Bars- Like Christmas with a twist!

    Makes one 9x13 pan 
    First Layer
    2 squares unsweetened chocolate
    1 cup sugar
    1 stick butter
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup sifted flour

    Pre-heat oven to 350
    Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment or with foil, making sure that edges of foil or paper extend high enough that you can use it to lift bars from pan, grease well.
    Melt chocolate and butter over hot water or microwave 45-60 seconds on high until melted. Blend together.
    Combine eggs and sugar and beat at medium speed until sugar is dissolved and mixture is creamy.
    Add flour to egg mixture blending just until combined then add chocolate. Mix thoroughly.
    Add batter to prepared pan and spread it evenly over bottom.
    Bake on bottom shelf of oven for 20 minutes then transfer to center of oven for 5 more minutes or until a toothpick stuck in can be pulled out without batter sticking to it. Just a few crumbs. Cool completely then remove from pan and place on a cookie sheet.

    Second Layer
    1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
    3 TBS of softened butter
    1 1/2 TBS of half and half or milk
    1 tsp peppermint extract
    2 drops of green or red food coloring if desired I like the red!
    Combine sugar and butter mixing until smooth.
    Blend in cream and peppermint flavoring mixing again until smooth.
    Spread on cooled first layer as smoothly and evenly as possible.
    Refrigerate until chilled.

    Third Layer
    1 1/2 squares of unsweetened chocolate
    1 1/2 TBS butter
    Melt Chocolate and butter over hot water or in microwave until melted and blend together.
    Spread over the second layer as smoothly as possible with a spatula or back of spoon.
    Optional- Lightly sprinkle 3 to 4 TBS of finely crushed candy canes or peppermint candies over the top of the Third layer (chocolate) before layer sets up.
    Hint- An ice cream scoop makes a great crusher for this job.
    Chill well.
    Cut onto 1/2 X 2 inch bars. Makes 64 bars
    Note: I made a double batch in an 18x13 pan in these photos.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Almond Lace Cookie Recipe

    Almond Lace Cookies
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 3/4 cup whole unblanched almonds, ground medium fine
    • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    Preheat oven to 375°
    In a food processor grind 1 cup of almonds until they are a medium fine texture.
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

    In a small saucepan combine butter and cream over medium heat.
    When butter has melted, stir in the flour, ground almonds and the sugar. Cook until gently bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

    Place 4-6 teaspoons of batter 3 inches apart on the parchment paper covered baking sheet.
    Do not put more than 6 because you will not be able to roll any more before they harden. If you are leaving them as flat wafers then you can get 8.
    Bake until lightly browned and crisp, 6 to 7 minutes.


    Remove from oven, and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Working quickly, flip the cookie upside down and then roll up into a cylinder. You can also lay over a rolling pin for a curved cookie or leave flat. Continue baking and forming cookies until batter is used up. Place cookies on a wire rack to cool. If you like chocolate you can drizzle melted chocolate over the cookies to decorate.

    You can also make larger circles with a tablespoon of batter and place into a small bowl shaping carefully to form an edible cookie bowl for ice cream or chocolate mousse.

    Makes 20 smaller cookies.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Swedish Spritz Cookies


    Spritz cookies are a family tradition that go all the way back to my husband's great grandmother. The original recipe called for 1/2 a teacup of sugar and and a ball of butter the size of a man's fist.

    Tools: You will need something called a cookie press to make these cookies. A cookie press extrudes cookie dough through unique shaped steel disks. These disks create the shape of the cookies. Most cookie presses also come with decorating tips to use for frosting and decorating. There are 4 major kinds of cookie presses on the market. In the left hand picture from left to right; an old fashioned crank press, a top trigger press and an electric press. The right hand picture shows a regular trigger press with the disks. I would highly recommend either a regular trigger press or an electric press. I personally like the electric presses or the regular trigger presses. A good press will cost between $15- $25.
    Ingredients:
    1 cup of room temperature butter

    2/3 cup white sugar

    3 egg yolks

    1 tsp almond extract

    2 1/2 cups of flour

    Directions:
    Cream the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy.


    Add the egg yolks one at a time and beat until they are completely mixed in.

    Add the flour and the almond extract. Mix just until the flour is incorporated.

    Divide dough if you want to add coloring to any of it. Many people like the buttery cream color for all of their shapes. I like green trees and wreaths and red and white flowers. so I tint 1/2 the batch green and then the other half I tint 2/3 of it red and leave the other 1/3 white.

    Load the dough into the cookie press. Squeeze the trigger until the dough begins to come out the bottom through the disk. Now hold the press with the disk end resting on the UNGREASED cookie sheet, making sure that the press rests on the cookie sheet Then squeeze the trigger until the dough appears at the edge of the mold. Then lift the press. To make the wreaths, I use the star disk and just press out long zig zag lines of dough on the baking sheet. I then break it into smaller pieces and form by hand into a circle. I press the 2 ends together and then place a red hot on the seam to hide it. As you can see from the photograph at the top, I am not a perfectionist when it comes to making perfect circles.


    There will be a bit of trial and error to figure out how many squeezes or how long to press the button to make the perfect shape. If it is too big then scrape it off and put it into the next batch to press. Once you have the shape you want move the press over 1" and press again. One tube of dough will make about 30 cookies. It is much easier to press cookies out onto a cool cookie sheet. If the dough is too soft when using a cookie press, refrigerate the dough or add a small amount (1 to 2 tablespoons) of flour. If it is too stiff, add 1 egg yolk.

    I decorate my Christmas trees with one gold or silver dragee at the top and my wreathes and my flowers with one cinnamon red hot candy before baking.
    Bake at 400° for 8-9 minutes until just barely golden on the bottom.

    These cookie freeze beautifully.



    Wednesday, December 09, 2009

    Candy Cane Cookies





    During World War II flour was very scarce and heavily rationed. It was during this time that the Quaker Oats company began developing recipes that used oatmeal to replace portions of flour, especially for baking. This is one of their best recipes.

    It is the one cookie that all my kids adore and everyone asks for the recipe once they taste them.

    Candy Cane Cookies

    1 cup Butter softened
    2 tsp vanilla
    ½ cup powdered sugar
    3 Tbs Water
    2 ½ cups sifted flour
    ¼ tsp salt
    1 ½ cups oatmeal

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees
    Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together.
    In a seperate bowl mix together the flour and salt





    Once the butter, sugar and vanilla are light a fluffy, add half the flour mixture and half of the water and mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour and water and mix again just until combined then mix in the oatmeal.
    The dough should not be crumbly. If it is add more water one tablespoon at a time.



    I like to roll my logs out on a silicone mat so that I don't have to use extra flour but a floured counter will work

    just as well.


    Take a ball of dough the size of and egg and pinch it into a log shape. Then with both hands roll into a snake about 1/2 inch wide and 7 inches long


















    Place the log onto a baking sheet, either un-greased or with parchment on it, and form into a cane shape. You can also roll the dough into a ball and flatten with a cookie stamp or the bottom of a glass or measuring cup to make a disk.



    Bake at 325 degree s until they are just slightly golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes.


    Lay out on waxed paper to cool completely.

    Make your glaze by combining 2 cups of sugar and 4 TBS of milk. The glaze should be thick enough to coat the cookies without running off.

    Place the glaze in a wide bowl so that you can dip the cookies into glaze without hitting the sides of the bowl.

    Dip the cooled cookies into glaze and lay out on waxed paper until the glaze is set.



    Take the remaining white glaze and add a few drops of red food coloring to it. Spoon the red glaze into a quart size feeezer zip lock bag and cut a small bit off of one corner to make a piping bag to make the stripes.





    I lay out all the cookies and make large sweeping stripes over all the rows at once.


    You can also stripe them one at a time.


    These freeze beautifully so make a double batch and stash some away .


    Monday, December 07, 2009

    Toffee Brownie Squares

    A woman made these for a teacher luncheon at our high school. They were amazing. How can you go wrong with brownies, whipped cream and toffee candy?



    • 1 cup butter
    • 5 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 1/4  cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup of chopped toffee candy bars- 2-  1.4oz bars
    • 1/2 cup slivered almonds that have been toasted
      Topping
      • 4 oz. cream cheese (from 8-oz. pkg.), softened
      • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
      • 1 tsp instant coffee
      • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • 1 cup chopped toffee candy bar- about 4- 1.4 oz bars
      • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
      1. Heat oven to 350°F. 
      2. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with shortening or spray with cooking spray. 
      3. In large bowl, beat brownie mix, 1 teaspoon instant coffee, butter, water and eggs with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. 
      4. Gently stir in 1/2 cup chopped candy bars and 1/2 cup almonds. Spread batter in greased pan.
      5. Bake at 350°F. for 24 to 28 minutes or until edges are firm. DO NOT OVERBAKE. 
      6. Cool completely in pan on wire rack, about 1 hour.
      Topping:
      1. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon instant coffee with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
      2. Increase speed to high; beat in cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
      3. Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled brownies. 
      4. Sprinkle 1 cup chopped candy bars and 1/2 cup almonds over top. 
      5. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. 
      6. Cut into bars.
      Store in refrigerator.

      Tuesday, December 01, 2009

      Swedish Spritz Cookies


      Spritz cookies are a family tradition that go all the way back to my husband's great grandmother. The original recipe called for 1/2 a teacup of sugar and and a ball of butter the size of a man's fist.

      Tools: You will need something called a cookie press to make these cookies. A cookie press extrudes cookie dough through unique shaped steel disks. These disks create the shape of the cookies. Most cookie presses also come with decorating tips to use for frosting and decorating. There are 4 major kinds of cookie presses on the market. In the left hand picture from left to right; an old fashioned crank press, a top trigger press and an electric press. The right hand picture shows a regular trigger press with the disks. I would highly recommend either a regular trigger press or an electric press. I personally like the electric presses or the regular trigger presses. A good press will cost between $15- $25.
      Ingredients:
      1 cup of room temperature butter

      2/3 cup white sugar

      3 egg yolks

      1 tsp almond extract

      2 1/2 cups of flour

      Directions:
      Cream the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy.


      Add the egg yolks one at a time and beat until they are completely mixed in.

      Add the flour and the almond extract. Mix just until the flour is incorporated.

      Divide dough if you want to add coloring to any of it. Many people like the buttery cream color for all of their shapes. I like green trees and wreaths and red and white flowers. so I tint 1/2 the batch green and then the other half I tint 2/3 of it red and leave the other 1/3 white.

      Load the dough into the cookie press. Squeeze the trigger until the dough begins to come out the bottom through the disk. Now hold the press with the disk end resting on the UNGREASED cookie sheet, making sure that the press rests on the cookie sheet Then squeeze the trigger until the dough appears at the edge of the mold. Then lift the press. To make the wreaths, I use the star disk and just press out long zig zag lines of dough on the baking sheet. I then break it into smaller pieces and form by hand into a circle. I press the 2 ends together and then place a red hot on the seam to hide it. As you can see from the photograph at the top, I am not a perfectionist when it comes to making perfect circles.


      There will be a bit of trial and error to figure out how many squeezes or how long to press the button to make the perfect shape. If it is too big then scrape it off and put it into the next batch to press. Once you have the shape you want move the press over 1" and press again. One tube of dough will make about 30 cookies. It is much easier to press cookies out onto a cool cookie sheet. If the dough is too soft when using a cookie press, refrigerate the dough or add a small amount (1 to 2 tablespoons) of flour. If it is too stiff, add 1 egg yolk.

      I decorate my Christmas trees with one gold or silver dragee at the top and my wreathes and my flowers with one cinnamon red hot candy before baking.
      Bake at 400° for 8-9 minutes until just barely golden on the bottom.

      These cookie freeze beautifully.



      Friday, November 27, 2009

      The 25 Days of Christmas Cookie Recipes

      This is the beginning of The 25 Days of Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange.
      Grab the button and


      and share your favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes with us. Write a post on your blog with your recipe and link it up using the Mr Linky below. Please link to the actual recipe post not just to your blog, so that we can find the recipes easier. It would also be great if in the Your Name box- Put your name and then the name of the recipe for easier browsing. I can't wait to see all of your recipes. Let the baking begin.

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