Christmas Baking Round Up-- the cookies

Spent December knitting my fingers to the bone, then got down to business on the 22nd and started Christmas baking.    I made the old standbys, Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin and Sparkle Cookies.    BarbaraBake's Lemon Bar Cookie Cups are a must.  Then I pulled some recipes I really wanted to try, and hit it out of the park with all of it.

First up, Coconut Macaroons.   Big thanks to Kathleen S for sharing the recipe with me!   I worried when they first came out of the oven, they seemed very hard, but they were perfect.


Coconut Macaroons

Beat together til soft peaks appear: 1 egg white, 1 tsp vanilla & 1 tsp cream of tartar.

Stir in 1 bag (14oz) sweetened coconut & 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk.

Using soup sized spoon scoop onto greased cookie sheets.  (I used a cookie scoop)

Bake in preheated 350 oven 20-25 minutes (mine took about 19).  Remove immediately and allow to cool on rack. When completely cool, dip bottoms in melted chocolate or drizzle chocolate over top, if desired.

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Next up Gingersnap Gems from Midwest Living.   I've tried making Ginger stuff in the past that hasn't been well received, but I didn't care, I wanted these.    I rolled them into raw sugar, and it gave them that nice sparkle and crunch on the outside. 



                     
* Exported from MasterCook *

                             Gingersnap Gems


  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  2               cups  all-purpose flour
  1           teaspoon  baking powder
     1/2      teaspoon  baking soda
  1           teaspoon  ground cinnamon
     1/2      teaspoon  ground cloves
     1/2      teaspoon  ground ginger
     1/4      teaspoon  salt
  1                cup  sugar
     3/4           cup  shortening
     1/4           cup  molasses
  1                     egg
                        Sugar (used raw sugar)

    In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
 

    In a large mixing bowl, beat the 1 cup sugar and shortening with an electric mixer until well combined. Beat in molasses; beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
 

    Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
 

    Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.


Source  "http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/cookies/gingersnap-gems/"




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Next, Raspberry Shortbread Cookies- the blogger made them into hearts for Valentines day, but I did the traditional circles.  I used a cookie scoop, and they turned out rather large, next year I'll move down one size.    These were the big hit of Christmas Eve.   I dusted them with a little powdered sugar at the end.   Huge thanks to Natalie for the awesome recipe.   Lots of good stuff on her blog, and I look forward to trying more recipes!





                     
* Exported from MasterCook *

                    Raspberry Shortbread Heart Cookies


  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
     1/2           cup  unsalted butter -- softened
     1/3           cup  granulated sugar
     1/2           tsp  vanilla extract
  1                cup  all-purpose flour
     1/4           cup  seedless raspberry (or strawberry) jam
     1/4           cup  dark or semisweet chocolate chips

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a medium bowl), cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.  Mix in the vanilla extract until combined.  Mix in the flour until dough comes together.  Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls, and place pairs of balls side by side (touching) on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Use your thumbs or fingers to press two indentations in each pair of doughballs, pressing in the center to form a heart shape.  You will need to shape the bottom of the cookie to form a perfect heart.   Once all pairs of cookies have been formed into hearts, space them about 2 inches apart.

Transfer jam to a ziplock bag and snip off the corner.  Use bag to pipe jam into each heart-shaped indentation, filling the indentation to the very top (the jam will cook down a little when it bakes).  Transfer cookies to the freezer for about 10-15 minutes – this step is important because the cookies will have warmed up from being handled and could spread too much in the oven unless you cool them down.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake cookies in preheated oven for 14-16 minutes, until bottoms are light golden brown.  If they have spread too much after baking, you can try to gently push them back into a heart shape immediately after removing from oven.  Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cookies are cooled, melt chocolate chips in microwave and transfer to a ziplock bag.  Snip off a very tiny corner, and use to drizzle chocolate over the cookies.

Source "http://www.onceuponacuttingboard.com/2013/02/raspberry-shortbread-heart-cookies.html"



Here's a photo of the filled tray we passed on Christmas Eve
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