Skip to main content

Christmas Cookies in January?

Hey, look at me. I've really got my act together this year. I am already posting Christmas Cookie recipes - 11 months early!  Not falling for it, are you?  OK, this one falls into the  "a day late and a dollar short", category. I meant to share these with you before Christmas, but I just ran out of time.  Sooo, better late than never, right?

 In my family, we have started a new tradition - we give each other homemade presents for Christmas. I LOVE this! I think homemade presents are always more meaningful than any store bought present could ever be. Not that I am knocking store bought presents! I just think that homemade presents are just so sweet and charming. It reminds me of simpler times. *SIGH*

I think I must get my love for all things homemade from my mother. She is extremely talented and craft-y. She cooks, she bakes, she sews, she paints, she makes jewellery, she scrapbooks. My mom even makes all of her own Birthday/Holiday/Thank you cards. Seriously, my mom could give Martha Stewart a run for her money!

I decided to make beef jerky and tins of homemade cookies this year. Everything was a big hit! As soon as I came across this cookie recipe in the Food Network Magazine, I knew I wanted to make them. I think they were a great choice, and I could definitely see myself making these every year. Chocolate and Peppermint - a marriage made in heaven! The perfect Christmas cookie!

Cocoa Thumbprints
source: The Food Network Magazine Dec. 2011
makes : about 36 cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter,melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
sprinkles, mini marshmallows, mini candies or dried fruit for filling ( I used Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses )

1. Whisk the flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and eggs and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Place the confectioners' sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in 2 small bowls. Roll scant tablespoonfuls of dough into balls; roll in the granulated sugar and then in the confectioners' sugar. Place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Lightly flatten each ball with your fingers and make a deep 1/2 inch wide indentation with your thumb. Place your choice of filling in the indentation. ( I left mine naked and topped with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss when they came out of the oven.)

3. Bake the cookies until puffed and slightly cracked, about 10 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks and cool completely. ( I popped the cookies into the freezer for a few minutes to harden the melted chocolate)

Tags: Christmas, Cookies

Popular posts from this blog

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Button Bones

Button bones are very similar to spareribs, but have a flat, circular bone. A quick Wikipedia check tells me that they are  taken from the bottom 5 or 6 bones located underneath the rib cage. I think button bones sound like something in a children's nursery rhyme - "Have you seen the button bones.. the button bones...the button bones... La La Laaaaa

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Button Bones
servings: 4
recipe source: Beer. Butter. Bacon

2 tsp. Sambal Olek
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. Sriracha
1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper
1 lb. pork button bones
sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnishing
Pour all ingredients in a large plastic zip lock bag. Marinade in fridge 6-8 hours. Preheat oven to 400 F. Bake on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet 40-50 minutes, or until cooked thoroughly. Turn often during cooking.

Tags: Asian, Button Bones, Pork

Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic

Traditionally, Fettuccine Alfredo is a simple dish made with heavy cream, lots of butter, lots of Parmigiano Cheese and pasta.  Delicious? Yes!   Figure friendly? No!   A couple of months ago, I would have had no problem inhaling a big bowl of this buttery, cheesy goodness, but times have changed and I am now really trying to be aware of every bite of food that I eat. Whenever I am contemplating eating higher calorie foods, I ask myself - " Is it worth the calories?" The answer is almost always no. I have discovered that I can make a healthier, lower calorie version of almost any dish that I am craving, that tastes just as good- if not better- than the original.

Light Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic
serves: 3 to 4

1 tsp. olive oil
2 whole heads of garlic, roasted and peeled
4 oz. light cream cheese, cut into cubes ( let cream cheese come to room temp.)
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, plus extra …

Pasta alla Carbonara with Mushrooms

Pasta alla Carbonara - literally translated is"Coal Miner's Spaghetti" in Italian. Carbonara is a classic Italian dish  that is quick, relatively simple and requires only a few key ingredients; pasta, cured pork, eggs and cheese.
Timing is everything when it comes to making the perfect carbonara. Toss the hot pasta with the raw eggs and cheese, add a bit of the starchy cooking liquid and stir vigorously until a creamy sauce is achieved. This is the tricky part -  the pasta has to be as hot as possible, but removed from the heat or it will scramble the eggs. If the pasta isn't hot enough, the eggs won't be cooked and you will be left with a soupy mess. Salmonella is never a popular guest at a dinner party.

Have a hot date coming up? Pull this one out of your bag of tricks and you are going to look like a culinary rock star. Move over Mario Batali!

Pasta alla Carbonara with Mushrooms
(serves 2 -3)

3 strips center cut bacon, chopped
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1/2 small…