Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Treats

This year I had this romantic vision of me taking a Saturday and baking adorable and delicious Christmas treats for all of our friends and neighbors. Well, it didn't go exactly like that, but I have in fact been baking like a crazy woman. Below are the recipes of the treats I attempted. Hope you enjoy!!

Clockwise from top: Cake batter truffles, White Chocolate Cherry Cookies, Snuggles, Apple Cinnamon Cookies, Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies, Muddy Buddy Cookie Dough Truffles
(worst picture ever, I know)

Muddy Buddy Cookie Dough Truffles (from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In the bowl of mixer, beat 1/2 stick butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugars and beat on medium for about a minute, until fluffy (although, it wasn't what I would call "fluffy"). Add milk and vanilla and beat on medium until combined. Add flour and beat until fully mixed.
Roll mixture into balls and place on wax paper. The size is up to you! Place in the freezer for about 20 min so they firm up.
Place powdered sugar in a small bowl. Heat chocolate and 1 stick butter in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring in between. Once melted and fully combined, dip the cookie dough balls in the chocolate, one at a time, removing by sliding fork underneath. Immediately place in the powdered sugar, and quickly coat. Slide fork underneath an place on wax paper lined baking sheet.
Once they have set up a bit, give them a second coating of powdered sugar.
(Mine are NOT round and it was NOT easy to coat them in the sugar and make them look good at the same time. However, they are DELICIOUS so who really cares about their presentation?? Not me!)

Peanut Butter and Nutella Swirl Cookies (from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
Approx. 1/4 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
Add four, baking soda and salt. Drizzle Nutella on top of the dough then swril it through the dough with a butter knife (I used a fork--they look fine).
Chill dough 15 minutes in the refrigerator. (I chilled over night, but then let it sit out to warm back up a bit). Roll into balls by hand. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Using a fork, press the balls to flatten slightly (I forgot this part but they still look yummy!). Bake until edges are very lightly browned (about 7-10 min).
Allow to rest 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring cookies onto cooling rack.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies (again from The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Drink Mix (10 packets-next to the hot chocolate)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinna mon
1 (14 oz) bag of Kraft Chewy Caramels

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper so the caramel doesn't stick)
In a small bowl, which together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Add vanilla and mix well.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut.
Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely.
Shape the dough into a ball, and place on parchment covered cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.
Bake 11-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. They might not look quite done in the center but it is OK!!!
Once the cookies are done, carefully slide the parchment off the baking sheet right onto the counter.
Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When they are cool enough to be firm but slightly warm, carefully flip cookies upside down so they don't drizzle caramel out of the bottom.
Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies. Eat at room temp or slightly warmed in the microwave.

Cake Batter Truffles

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sprinkles

16 oz almond bark or candy melts
4 tablespoons yellow cake mix

Beat together butter and sugar using electric mixer until combined. Blend in vanilla. Add cake mix, flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Add 3 tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm.
Melt bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, quickly stir in cake mix until incorporated completely. Using a forkdip truffles into the almond bark and shake off excess bark by tapping the bottom of the fork on the side of your bowl. Place truffles bark on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles.  Chill in refrigerator until served.

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookies (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons of liquid from cherries)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup  sugar
1/ cup cold butter
12 ounces white chocolate baking chips (you have to chop it up, so the chips are easier than squares)
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 drops red food coloring
2 teaspoons shortening
Red or white sprinkles

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well reserving 2 tablespoons of cherry liquid for later.
In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pasty blender (or 2 forks), cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained and chopped cherries and 4 oz of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in the 2 tablespoons reserved cherry liquid, almond extract, and food coloring. mixture will be very dry and look like crumbs. Don't worry. That's normal. Using your hands, knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball.
Shape dough into 3/4 inch balls. The cookies do not spread much so make sure your balls are well formed. Having slightly damp hands helps here. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2 inch rounds.
Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until centers are set. Do not overbake!! Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Melt the remaining white chocolate and shortening together in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. If desired, roll dipped edges in sprinkles. Place cookies on wax paper until chocolate is set.

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