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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Almond and Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

I had never ate or made thumbprint cookies, but again I had to make cookies for a kids christmas party....and after using so much chocolate (m&m oatmeal cookies, cranberry white chocolate oatmeal cookies, sweet marie bars, chocolate bark) I decided that perhaps jam might be a nice change and a hit with kids....turns out they like chocolate much more! But they did brighten up the plate with a deep red raspberry jam. The toasted almonds on the outside added a nice crunch and complimented the raspberry flavor really well.
Thumbprint Cookies

2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts of choice (I used almonds)
1/3 cup jam (any flavor - I used raspberry)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt. Gradually stir in flour.

Form dough into 1-inch diameter balls. Dip in lightly beaten egg whites, then roll in nuts. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Press down center of each with thumb.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Just before serving, fill centers of cookies with jam. Or, fill centers with 1/2 teaspoon of jam before baking.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pecan Rolo Pretzels

Yeah there are finally snowflakes in the air making it feel more like Christmas time and that I am not just baking millions of cookies for no reason. I pre-made dozens of cookies and happy that I did because it seems like there is an event every other night to attend which involve festive drinks and food. With so many cookies I decided to wrap some up as a hostess gift. These mini rolo pretzels were simple and make a great gift. You can place them in a jar or festive bag or take out food box. My sister in law made these treats with the help of her 6 and 4 year old boy, making it an easy and fun recipe to do together. They have since named them 'Paws' on the account that when you flip them over they look like dog paws!! Very creative!!
Pecan Rolo Pretzels
1 bag of mini pretzels
12 oz bag of Rolo chocolates
1 bag of pecan halves or almonds
Preheat oven to 250. On a cookie sheet, neatly lay out pretzels, single layer. On top of each pretzel place an unwrapped rolo on top.
Carefully place in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove. Immediately take pecan halves and squish them into the rolo, squishing the caramel out and making the pecan stick.
Cool for 15 minutes, and then place in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, until the caramel hardens.Pack up and give these away before you eat them all.

Drinking hot chocolate at the tree farm.