Friday, December 8, 2017

Eggnog Snickerdoodles

I really like eggnog, and I love including the flavors of eggnog in Christmas cookies. I have to say though, that some “eggnog” recipes aren’t what I would say resemble eggnog very much at all. I’ve seen recipes where there is a teaspoon of rum extract and that makes it eggnog. Yeah, I don’t think so. Rum and nutmeg? Maybe, as those are the main components, but this recipe with prepared eggnog, rum and nutmeg really fits the bill.

Snickerdoodles were the first cookies that I remember making and they are my favorite. Incorporating the flavors of eggnog into my favorite cookie couldn’t be bad, right? I was actually surprised that I hadn’t made these before! If alcohol isn’t your thing, you could use rum extract or vanilla, but the flavor would change somewhat. I halved the recipe that you see below, and it made 25 cookies.

The dough is a different technique that you use with cookies. You put the dough together more like you would put together a cake, where you alternate adding the flour and the liquid. I figured that would lead to a softer cookie, and that certainly is the case. My cookies didn’t crack all that much, a little bit as they cooled, which would have made for a prettier cookie. I think this cookies do a fine job of conveying the flavors of eggnog, and the nutmeg sugar on the outside of the cookies give them a little extra punch.

Eggnog Snickerdoodles
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon rum
1 cup eggnog
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Meat on medium until light. Add the egg and the rum and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar. With the mixer running on low, add a third of the flour mixture, then half of the eggnog. Add another third of the flour mixture, the remaining eggnog, and finish with the last third of the flour mixture. The dough will be sticky.

In a small bowl, stir together the 1/3 cup sugar and nutmeg. Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and roll the balls in the nutmeg/sugar mixture. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, until the cookies are set and lightly browned along the edges. Allow The cookies to cool on the baking sheets for at least 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Let’s Dish

Friday, December 1, 2017

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies

This time of year, it would be amiss to not make something with peppermint. It’s often paired with chocolate. I like that combination, but it can be fairly heavy. This cookie is simple: shortbread paired with peppermint crunch chips. Andes makes two types of mint chips, a chocolate mint and a peppermint crunch chip, which is more like white chocolate and peppermint candies. You use the latter in this recipe. They come in a red bag, so that’s the easiest way to identify the right ones.

This is a refrigerator cookie, which is convenient this busy time of the year. You can make the dough and then bake them up later or the next day. They only need to be refrigerated for two hours, so that was enough time for me to run some errands and have dinner and then baked them up. I mixed the dough up in the mixer, but you could also use the food processor. The original recipe said to cut in the butter, but I don’t typically have the best luck doing that.

The dough for these cookies is crumbly, which isn’t that strange for shortbread, but I was worried that the dough would never come together. It did finally come together, but required some hand-kneading. I added food color, and I will admit that I used too much food coloring. I was aiming for a nice pink and these are more than that. The cookies that I sliced thicker fared better when baking, but you can adjust as you prefer. These have a good peppermint flavor, and are very buttery. Be careful not to bake them too long or the cookies will be too crispy.

Peppermint Shortbread Cookies
2½ cups flour
¾ cups sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut in pieces
1¼ cups Andes peppermint crunch chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
Red food coloring
In a large mixer bowl or food processor, combine the flour and sugar. Add the butter cubes and mix or pulse until crumbly. Add the peppermint crunch chips, vanilla, peppermint extract and food color. Stir until the dough forms a ball. 

Divide the dough into two halves. Shape each half into a log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. 

Unwrap the dough and slice the cookies into slices, ¼” to 1/3” thick. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for about 12 minutes. Cookies will be soft but will set as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. 

Recipe from Mom on Timeout

Friday, November 24, 2017

Mincemeat Cranberry Oat Bars

It’s officially the Christmas season and the first thing that I think of with Christmas in mincemeat. Mincemeat is not very common here in the states, but after the first Christmas I spent in England with my husband’s family, I was in love. I know in my grandmother’s old recipe box, there was a recipe for mincemeat, but it contained meat. The mincemeat that you buy in the store now is more apple/raisin based. I’m not really sure that I would like mincemeat with meat in it.

Mincemeat is like a chunky, spicy applesauce. This recipe was originally an apple cranberry bar, and I thought it would be great for fall baking. When I read the recipe and it called for applesauce, I decided that it would be a perfect Christmas cookie. You could certainly use applesauce if you don’t like or can’t find mincemeat.

You can make these cookies thinner or thicker. I opted to use a 7” x 11” pan, so my bars are thinner. Before I cut the bars, in the pan they looked really thin. Once cut, they are a good thickness so I am glad that I used the larger dish. I was worried that my dried cranberries were a little too dry, but the moisture in the mincemeat helped and they were just fine. The bars are fairly crumbly, but I figured that might be the case as the crumb mixture was drier than crumbles can be. I like the crumbly oats paired with the sweetness of the mincemeat and the slight tartness of the cranberries.

Mincemeat Cranberry Oat Bars
1 cup mincemeat
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Zest of 1 orange

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut in pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square or 7” x 11” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the filling: in a medium bowl mix the mincemeat, dried cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and orange zest. Stir until combined and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the pieces of butter and mix on medium, until crumbly.

Press half of the crumb mixture into the prepared pan, making sure to create an firm, even layer. Top with the mincemeat/cranberry filling. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the filling.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from XO, Katie Rosario