Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Favorite Recipes of 2021

It's almost the New Year (seriously, how did this happen?) but before we get into more new recipes, I wanted to look back on some favorites from this past year.

As usual, every recipe I post is a favorite - I wouldn't take the time to post it if I didn't love it - but these are the recipes that have made their way into repeat rotation at our house. 

I hope you'll try a few now, or in the New Year, and I hope they become your favorites, too.

Here they are, in completely random order:

Chocolate Mint Cake

Monday, December 20, 2021

Peppermint Oreo Bon Bons

I try to include one candy recipe each Christmas baking season. I like the variety it brings to a cookie tray, and it can help fill in little gaps on said tray as well! But let's face it, the real reason, is that candy is delicious. 

These bon bons are a cross between a candy and a cookie since they are made WITH cookies. Oreos get special treatment, combined with cream cheese, dipped in white chocolate, and then covered wiht peppermint. These are beautiful and delicious. They are also rich, so one goes a long way.

I had trouble finding red and white peppermint candies or candy canes, so these bon bons have a sprinkle of green from the striped candy canes I did find. Lesson learned - buy ingredients early in the season! So yours might be more pink and white if you use starlight candies or the traditional canes.

Merry Christmas!

Peppermint Oreo Bon Bons

36 Oreos
8 oz. cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), softened
16 oz. white chocolate melting wafers
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
48 crushed peppermint candies or about 12 crushed candy canes

Place the cream cheese and Oreos in a food processor and process til combined. Scoop out about tablespoons of the mixture and roll into 48 balls, about 1 inch. Place them on a parchment or waxed paper lined cookie sheet. 

Freeze for 20 minutes, or until hardened.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the wafers and the peppermint extract. Microwave for 30 seconds; stir, and then melt again for 30 seconds, until you can easily stir the mixture.

Dip each bon bon in the white chocolate mixture with a fork, roll in peppermint candies, then return to the lined cookie sheet. 

Bon Bons can be frozen. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Eggnog Blossoms

Almost every year, I include a "blossom" cookie in my cookie baking. We are so lucky to have so many varieties of BOTH dough and kisses to choose from - it seems like there is never an end to the supply of blossom options!  In past years, we've had Cappuccino Swirls, Candy Cane Kiss Cheesecake Cookies, Triple Peppermint Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Swirls, Macaroon Kisses, Cherry Kisses, and Chocolate Kissed Gingerbread.

All of those varieties are so good and each one has a different twist - this year's recipe is no different. This time a traditional chocolate kiss sits in an eggnog infused cookie. SO GOOD! 

The dough for these cookies needs to chill before you roll it into balls, and then in more glorious sugar. So be sure to plan for that. While it chills, you can unwrap all the kisses, wrap presents, start baking another variety of cookie, or watch your favorite show. You could even read a book!

Whatever you do, plan to make these cookies. They are a fun addition to any cookie plate, and make great gifts as well.

Eggnog Blossoms

6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup eggnog
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups flour
dash nutmeg
32 Hershey's kisses, unwrapped
1/3 cup sugar (additional, for rolling)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, eggnog and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add in the baking soda and baking powder and mix until combined. Add the flour and nutmeg, mixing until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Roll the dough into 32 balls and roll each ball in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes. They will not brown but do not overbake.

Place a kiss in the center of each cookie. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes 32 cookies. 

Monday, December 6, 2021

Italian Ricotta Cookies


Although I am hard pressed to NOT like any Christmas cookie that I make, I think these were my favorite from last year. I had a hard time keeping my hands out of the proverbial cookie jar (or tins as it were). I especially liked these chilled - we tend to keep our cookie tins in the very cold garage.

They're great at room temp, too. They're just so delicious. The butter and ricotta combine for a texture that melts in your mouth! And the simple glaze is the icing on the cake (or the cookie). For more fun, you can top with a variety of festive sprinkles.

(You can see I put paper towels under the cooling racks to catch all the icing drips. Easy clean up!)

Since they're relatively small, you don't have to feel any guilt about eating several at a time. Not that I would know about that. This recipe also makes a lot of cookies so there are plenty to give away or to take to multiple holiday gatherings. 

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! 

Italian Ricotta Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 - 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
4-5 Tbsp. milk

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, ricotta cheese, and vanilla; mix until well combined. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture; mix well. Roll or scoop the dough into teaspoon-sized balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2-inches apart.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, powdered sugar, and almond extract until smooth. Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze and set upright back on the wire rack.

Immediately top with sprinkles. Repeat for remaining cookies.  

Makes about 5 dozen.
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