Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Baking 2011

I share so many of our weekly dinner meals, that I thought it might be nice to share with you some of the baking recipes I use. Since I don't actually do too much baking on a regular basis (aside from birthday cakes), I figured Christmas baking recipes might be a nice expansion.

While we don't have allergies, I leave out the nuts to keep it allergy friendly for the bulk baking I do every year for Bethlehem Live. Which is coming up this week. Come on down and check it out!

Butter Tarts
This is a recipe from a good family friend (thanks Mrs. C). I will make 6 to 8 dozen at a time. This quantity is for 14 tarts. I use store bought shells (usually from Costco). By no means are these healthy, so watch how many you eat at once. I don't wanna support diabetes here...

1/3 c      butter
1/2 c      corn syrup
1/2 c      brown sugar
2/3 c      raisins (or more if you like)
1/2 tsp   vanilla
1/4 tsp   salt
1 egg

  • Melt butter in a small saucepan, stir in everything else but raisins and egg. Heat slowly until sugar is dissolved and smooth. Take off heat, stir in raisins.
  • Beat the eggs slightly (not foamy). Mix into sugar mixture.
  • Spoon/pour into tart shells until 2/3 full. Bake at 425˚F for 15 minutes, or until pastry is lightly golden.

Unbaked Cookies
I've been making this recipe since I was 10years old. This is one I will make a 4x batch.

1 c         sugar
1/4 c      butter
1/4 c      milk
3 tbsp    cocoa
1 1/2 c   oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 c      shredded coconut
1/2 tsp   vanilla

  • Bring first four ingredients to a slow boil. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Turn off heat. 
  • Drop onto wax paper lined cookie sheets and chill until set.

Peppermint Patty Sandwiches
makes 40 cookies
This one is good if you can only spend small amounts of time at once because there are stages of refrigeration required. So if you have half hour blocks of time you can do a little bit at a time.

3/4 c    butter, softened
1/2 c    brown sugar
1/4 c    white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp    vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 c white flour (though I tried whole wheat)
2/3 c    cocoa powder

  • Beat butter and sugars until fluffy; beat in egg, vanilla & salt. Blend flour & cocoa and slowly add to butter mixture until smooth. Shape into two discs; wrap in saran and refrigerate for about an hour.
  • Roll out each disc (between wax paper) unit layout 1/4 inch thick, refrigerate for about 1/2 hour.
  • Using a round/oval 1 3/4 inch cookies cutter, cut out shapes (re-rolling and chilling scraps). Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze until firm (15 minutes).
  • Bake  in 325˚F for about 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Peppermint Buttercream:
1/4 c    butter, softened

1 1/4 c icing sugar
2 tbsp  whipping cream
2 tsp    peppermint extract

  • Beat butter with sugar until fine crumbs; beat in cream and peppermint extract. Fill piping bag or plastic bag with corner snipped. 
  • Pipe about 1tsp icing into centre of half the cookies, using remaining cookies as the tops. 
  • Press gently, pushing icing to edges of the cookie.

Garnish:
2 tbsp    peppermint candy cane, crushed

  • Pipe a dab of icing onto centre of cookie
  • Sprinkle with crushed candy cane
  • Chill for about an hour or until set

If I have time, I will also tackle the classic Linzer Cookies. My Mom always made Jam-Jam cookies, but I was never a fan of the molasses, but really liked the jam. So this is my choice for a revised family favourite.

These recipes below, I am actually not making this year because of time, but will share because they are just so good and easy to make.

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars
I will make it for my diabetic friends, replacing the traditional sugars with splenda and agave syrup.

Deluxe Holiday Fudge
Crazy easy to make and good for the sweet and salt lovers in the family.