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Category: Cookies and Desserts

Peanut Butter Pretzels

Peanut Butter Pretzels

September 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #9

A favorite photo…

A few highlights…

  • Family getaway to Santa Fe, NM
  • 10th annual ride on Thomas the Tank Engine

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Peanut Butter Pretzels
These have been a Christmas standby for 10 years now! I make a double batch and keep them in the refrigerator all month for gift giving. (And of course, plenty of munching too!)
Course Candy
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Course Candy
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Grind graham crackers and club crackers into crumbs using the food processor, if you haven't already.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter and butter until well mixed.
  3. Add both kinds of cracker crumbs and powdered sugar. Blend well. Mixture will be very thick.
  4. Using your hands, roll mixture into small balls about the diameter of a dime and press each on a pretzel. Put the pretzels on a waxed-paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Refrigerate the pretzels at least one hour to firm up the PB mixture.
  6. Melt chocolate and shortening in a mixing cup in the microwave.
  7. Dip the top (the PB part) of each pretzel into the melted chocolate and place back on the waxed paper.
  8. Refrigerate again to set the chocolate, and then stack in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until serving.
Recipe Notes

Since I make this at Christmas time, I often stop plenty of times in the process.  You can refrigerate the peanut butter mixture before pressing it on the pretzels or leave the undipped pretzels in the fridge for a day or two before coating in chocolate.

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Candy Cane Thumbprints

Candy Cane Thumbprints

June 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #6

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • Nathan turns 11
  • Super fun vacation Bible school with an international missions theme
  • Katya finishes Suzuki Piano Book 1
  • Summer backyard barbeques begin
  • Extended family comes for a weekend to watch Beauty and the Beast on stage

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Candy Cane Thumbprints
I got this recipe from a fellow pastor's wife at a cookie exchange many years ago. Even though there is no chocolate involved, they still end up as one of my favorites each Christmas! I always double the recipe when I make it, and then freeze half of the finished cookies for eating later in the month.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Peppermint Filling
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Peppermint Filling
Instructions
  1. Beat butter for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar and salt and cream well. Add egg and vanilla.
  2. Mix in flour until well combined. Cover dough and chill for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned just around the edges.
  4. Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, use the back of a rounded measuring spoon or a melon baller to make an indent in the center of each cookie. Allow to cool completely.
  5. While cookies are cool, mix peppermint filling ingredients together. DON'T ADD THE CANDY CANES! Whip everything else well to form a soft, fluffy icing that holds its shape.
  6. When cookies are cool, spoon filling into indents and then sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.
Recipe Notes

Cookies can be stored at room temperature for several days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

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Mexican Wedding Cakes

Mexican Wedding Cakes

August 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #8

A favorite photo…

A few highlights…

  • Local park adventures with friends
  • Watching the summer Olympics
  • Squeezing in some final fun craft projects before school
  • Back to School for a 6th grader and a 3rd grader

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Mexican Wedding Cakes
These are one of Katya's Christmas favorites. The recipe is too big to double in my mixer, but it still makes a generous amount. I use the instructions from my America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, but I know this is a common one that comes from many places.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. To make superfine sugar, process 1/3 cup sugar in food processor for about 30 seconds. I usually process 1 cup or more and store it in a jar for future use.
  3. Put the 1/3 cup superfine sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, along with the butter. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla and mix well.
  5. Process 1 cup of nuts in a food processor to the texture of coarse cornmeal, about 10-15 seconds. Dump into the butter mixture and barely stir in.
  6. Process the remaining 1 cup of nuts until just coarsely chopped, about 5 seconds. Add them to dough and barely mix.
  7. Stir in flour and salt and blend just until the dough becomes cohesive.
  8. Working with a scant Tbsp. of dough at a time, roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheets.
  9. Bake at 325 degrees until the tops are pale golden and the bottoms are just beginning to brown, about 18 minutes.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Place powdered sugar in a lidded tupperware container or bowl.
  11. Roll warm or room temperature cookies, 3-4 at a time, in powdered sugar to coat well. Store at room temperature for a week or more. If desired, roll in additional powdered sugar just before serving.
Recipe Notes

This dough can easily be shaped and frozen, then baked at a later time.  Just add 2-4 minutes to the baking time.

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Orange Shortbread

Orange Shortbread

July 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #7

A favorite photo…

A few highlights…

  • Annual 4th of July trip to Idaho
  • Fireworks in Idaho
  • Time on my aunt and uncle’s beautiful Idaho “farm”
  • Lazy days of summer

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Orange Shortbread
These lovely cookies were a big new favorite on my 2016 cookie trays. They involved learning how to candy orange peels, and the chocolate dipped candied orange peel was even more popular than this chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookie! Both the candied peels and the cookies made from them will become Christmas gift staples.
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth.
  2. Beat in the salt and flour until large clumps form.
  3. Add orange peel, zest, juice, and vanilla. Mix well and press the dough into a tight ball.
  4. Shape according to how you want your slices to come out (rectangles, squares, rounds, wedges), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Slice the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and place on cookie sheet with enough space between for spreading.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely on cooling racks.
  7. Melt chocolate gently and stir in a bit of shortening to temper it if desired. Dip cooled cookies in chocolate or drizzle with chocolate and let cool until chocolate sets.
Recipe Notes

Original recipe, found via Pinterest: http://userealbutter.com/2008/06/11/chocolate-dipped-orange-peel-cookies-recipe/

*People have had issues with the candied orange peel turning hard during baking. To remedy this, when you make your candied orange peel, store the peels in the syrup rather than drying the individual orange peel slices. You can dry the ones that you want to turn into orangettes, but for this recipe, keep them soft and moist in the syrup. This should help with the texture when baking.  Even peel stored in syrup will gradually harden, but it will take longer!

Here's a link to good instructions for making the candied peel: http://tiphero.com/candied-orange-peel/  I did it just like this, except I didn't toss the finished peel in additional sugar.  I just spread all that sticky goodness out to dry and left it in the spare bedroom for a few days!  The peels got less bitter after sitting for a while, and are good with or without the chocolate.  (But of course, everything is better with chocolate...)

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Peppermint Swirls

Peppermint Swirls

May 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #5

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • School year ends
  • A family wedding with lots of festivities
  • Visit to St. Louis, complete with a backyard Senegalese meal and lots of good family time

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Peppermint Swirls
These pretty mint swirls are fun to make with kids, since they can help with the rolling and swirling. They make a colorful addition to Christmas platters. The recipe originally came from Light and Tasty magazine.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  2. Divide dough into thirds. Stir red food coloring into one portion of dough; stir green food coloring into another portion. Leave remaining dough plain. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Divide each portion of dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-in. rope. Place a red, a green and a plain rope next to each other. Cut through all three ropes at 1-in. intervals, forming sets of three differently colored doughs. Repeat.
  4. Roll each set of doughs into a ball; place balls 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 1/8-in. thickness with a glass dipped in additional sugar. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
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Sugar Cookie Bears

Sugar Cookie Bears

April 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #4

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • Buddy Bear turns 10
  • Spring piano recital

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Sugar Cookie Bears
This sugar cookie recipe is the one my mom used every year for Christmas cookies. It is easy to work with, stays soft, and tastes really good. This year, the fun part was turning the sugar cookie dough into cute little bears!! (As an added bonus, that meant I didn't have to frost them when they were done.) You can find the link to the original bear instructions at the bottom of this recipe.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cream shortening, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream together. Mix well.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until evenly combined.
  3. Divide dough into 4-5 pieces. Place each piece onto a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with an additional sheet of waxed paper and roll to 1/4-1/2 inch thick. (Thicker cookies use more dough, but stay soft longer and are sturdier). Chill for 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  4. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Use a bear shaped cutter to cut out the dough and transfer the shapes to the sheets. Gently press a whole nut into the center of each cookie. Fold the arms securely over the nut. (If the arms fall off, just press them back on!) Use a toothpick to poke in eyes and a nose.
  5. Bake bears at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until set but just barely beginning to brown. Let cool on sheets for a few minutes before moving.
  6. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Cookies should stay soft for a week or more.
Recipe Notes
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Cream Cheese Almond Bars

Cream Cheese Almond Bars

March 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #3

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • Katya turned 8
  • Spring break with family in San Antonio, TX
  • Favorite Easter traditions (especially of egg dying)
  • An especially good women’s retreat with our church

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Cream Cheese Almond Bars
These are one of Than's annual favorites. They should be kept refrigerated, but keep well for a week or more. They get a little messy when you cut them into small servings, but I do it anyway because they are deliciously rich.
Servings
small bars
Ingredients
Crust Ingredients
Filling Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Servings
small bars
Ingredients
Crust Ingredients
Filling Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Crust: Cut butter into dry ingredients. Press into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Filling: Mix sugar and cream cheese until well creamed. Beat in eggs and almond extract until fluffy. Pour over hot crust as soon as it comes out of the oven. The layer of filling might look a little thin, but it really is enough! Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Frosting: Cream sugar and butter together well. Add milk and almond extract and mix until fluffy and easy to spread. Adjust consistency with more powdered sugar or milk as needed. Spread evenly onto baked, cooled bars. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and press them gently into the frosting. Cover and chill to set.
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Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

February in Review, and Christmas Cookie #2

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • I didn’t take any photos.  This picture is really from Feburary 2015!
  • I didn’t write any blog posts
  • What even happened in this month?
  • Maybe there was no February 2016…

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
Thumbprints are always pretty, and these were especially attractive and flavorful. I got the recipe from CookingClassy.com.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Glaze (optional)
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Glaze (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold. If you don't have a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl, then occasionally stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl). Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry at first). My dough never wanted to come together, so I ended up adding an egg at this point and that worked just fine.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of jam). Fill each with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp jam. Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 14 - 18 minutes.
  4. Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle cookies with glaze when when cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Glaze Instructions
  1. Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency.
  2. Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cookies.
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Hot Cocoa Cookies

Hot Cocoa Cookies

January in Review, and Christmas Cookie #1

A favorite photo…

A few highlights…

  • Returning from Senegal
  • Sharing photos and trip stories with so many kind audiences
  • Settling back into routines (and getting snow!)

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Hot Cocoa Cookies
These were near the top of Nathan's list this year, and are always popular at my recital. They just look so festive. The soft texture of the base cookie is also appealing. The original recipe is from glorioustreats.com via Pinterest.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Icing Ingredients
Toppings
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Icing Ingredients
Toppings
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan or microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a mixer bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla on low until well combined.
  3. Add the melted chocolate mixture and blend well.
  4. Gently mix in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  5. Cover the dough and refrigerate about 1 hour. If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease at least two baking sheets. Use a tablespoon or cookie scoop to put the dough on the prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake about 12 minutes.
  7. While the cookies bake, cut large marshmallows in half for a total of 50 marshmallow pieces. (You can also use 4-5 mini marshmallows per cookie). When the cookies have baked, remove the tray from the oven. Press one marshmallow half (or 4-5 mini marshmallows) onto each cookie. Return the hot cookies to the oven and bake another 3 minutes or until the marshmallows have puffed up and adhered to the cookie.
  8. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  9. When cookies are cool, combine all icing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together well. Icing should be pourable but not too runny, so adjust consistency with additional powdered sugar or hot water.
  10. Place cookies on cooling rack over a baking sheet to catch drips. Spoon a small amount of icing on top of each marshmallow. After icing just a few cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing sets. Continue icing and sprinkling until everything looks festive.
  11. Allow icing to dry and set for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

These cookies stay soft and pretty for at least 1 week or more after baking.

Original recipe: http://www.glorioustreats.com/2013/12/hot-cocoa-cookies.html

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

img_1656

One more fall post, and then I promise some pictures from our Thanksgiving travels, followed by lots of Christmas recipes.

These cookies won Nathan’s vote for favorite fall treat.  I think he grabbed one every time he walked past the cookie jar!  Maybe that’s why he is almost tall enough to look me right in the eye…  Love this growing young man so much!!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
These soft cookies are full of satisfactory fall flavor while still meeting my need for chocolate. I got the recipe from a good friend at a cookie exchange many years ago, and it is certainly on our autumn treat rotation. Thanks, Becki!
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until well combined. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in pumpkin.
  3. With mixer on low, add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix just until combined.
  4. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and nuts if desired. Don't overmix.
  5. Drop by rounded spoonful or cookie scoop onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 about 12 minutes or until set and beginning to brown on the bottom. Try not to overbake--Nathan loves them soft!
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