Merry Christmas To All!

May you and your family have a wonderful holiday!

Many Blessings!

Carroll

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Oatmeal Cream Pies- Move over Little Debbie!

And on the 12th Day of Christmas Cookies I discovered good things were worth waiting for.  Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies are by far the favorite new cookie that I made this year.  They are just plain awesome.  Taste just like Little Debbie’s version, except they are so much better.  Chewy and delicious; kind of ridiculous. 

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

I discovered the recipe at the Beantown Baker.   

Cookies

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp boiling water

Filling

  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp unflavored gelatin (about 1 1/2 packets)
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup water (divided)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces vegetable shortening

These will take you back to Elementary School!

Make the cookies

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside (or use parchment).

Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, flour, and baking powder. Add to the creamed mixture. Add the cinnamon and oats. Mix well.

In a small dish, add the baking soda to the boiling water, and then stir the mixture into the rest of the batter. Mix well.

Drop by the tablespoon onto the baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake until the cookies are firm and just starting to turn golden around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack or a plate.

 

Make the filling

In a small measuring cup, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water. Let stand, stirring once or twice until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup hot water until well blended. Continuing to stir, raise the heat to high and bring to a full boil. Continue boiling for 30 seconds. Immediately remove from the heat. Stir in the gelatin mixture until it completely.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Add the vanilla.

With a mixer on medium speed, beat for 20 seconds. Gradually raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is stiffened, white, very fluffy, and cooled to barely warm, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.

Add the shortening and beat until completely smooth.

The filling will set up as it sits, so wait until it is thick enough to spread or pipe before filling the cookies.

 

Little Debbie Who?

Hope you enjoy the last Day of Christmas Cookies, in my opinion- I saved the best for last!

Happy Baking!

Buckeyes

On the 11th Day of Christmas Cookies I made the cookie that started it all- The Buckeye, a true crowd pleaser.   Years ago a friend included me in her yearly Cookie Extravaganza and I was in charge of the Buckeyes.  It was a full day of baking, from early in the morning to late at night, I might have complained a bit, a lot actually, but there is always a smile on my face when I think about these days.   The Annual Cookie Extravaganza was the inspiration for the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies for sure, and how could I not deliver on my responsibility of the Buckeyes!

Ohio's Treasure, the Buckeye!

Is Peanut Butter and Chocolate ever wrong?     

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening

Buckeyes

Directions

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar blending until the dough is smooth.  Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate.

3. Melt chocolate and shortening together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat.

4. Remove balls from refrigerator. Insert a wooden toothpick into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.

Makes about 5 dozen pieces of deliciousness

Forget the Reece's Cups!

My yearly tribute to The Cookie Extravaganza and all the Cookie Girls out there!

Penuche Fudge

And on the 10th Day of Christmas Cookies I made my Dad’s favorite.  We weren’t a big “fudge” family, but I do recall his love for Penuche!  As a young girl I didn’t understand why he liked it so much, since there was no chocolate in it. I guess I just figured it was a “grown up” dessert, like his love of Mincemeat Pie.   I might not have understood or like Penuche back then but that story has changed for sure! 

Penuche Fudge

Penuche Fudge has butterscotch and maple overtones, due to its caramelized brown sugar.  You can leave the walnuts out if you prefer, but they really do add a great texture.

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar (2 lb.)
  • 1 c. evaporated milk, undiluted
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. chopped walnuts
    Seriously melts in your mouth!

     Method

In a large saucepan, mix sugar, milk, butter and salt. Cook over medium high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Allow it to cook until 238 degrees registers on candy thermometer*. Remove from heat and let stand until lukewarm, 110 degrees. Add vanilla and walnuts. Beat until mixture is thick and loses its gloss. Pour into buttered 9 inch square pan. When firm, cut into squares.

*If you don’t have a high temperature thermometer another trick is to determine when the candy has reached the right temperature is to take a small amount of mixture and drop it into cold water.  If it forms a soft ball you are in ready to remove from heat.

Makes about 3 pounds

No chocolate, but it's still got dessert "cred"!

Fudge is pretty easy to make- it’s all about cooking the candy to the right temperature.  After that it’s simple!!

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies- The Forgotten Cookie

And on the 9th day of Christmas cookies, I made a cookie that I have been making since high school.  One I can make in my sleep, literally in my sleep.  Forgotten cookies were my “go to” cookie in high school, any friend’s birthday, a big game, or even the dreaded Senior Speech.  I went to a high school that required all graduating senior students to deliver an eight minute speech, to the entire upper school.  It was eight minutes that most of us dreaded for years leading up to it; somehow we thought getting cookies on your “Speech Day” would make it a little easier !

They're like little snow puffs!

Chocolate Meringue Cookies, AKA Forgotten Cookies are delicious and so easy.  Just mix them up, drop them on to the cookie sheet and pop them in the oven.  Go to bed and pack them up in the morning! 

Ingredients

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. chocolate miniature chips

    Melt in you mouth!

     

 

Method

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff and glossy. Add all other ingredients to egg white mixture gradually. Drop by teaspoon on non- stick pan. Put in oven preheated to 375 degrees. Turn off heat and leave overnight.

Yield is about 4 dozen

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

It’s been almost 20 years since I made my senior speech, wow….and over 20 years of making Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies.  And now I feel just a little bit older than I did when I started writing this post!

These cookies go absolutely wonderful with the amazing products sold at papereskimo.com.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

On the 8th Day of Christmas Cookies I remembered why I fell in love with Crackle Cookies a few years ago!  It is the season for Christmas cookies and at work many friends bring in plates of cookies to share.  It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday season and to try new types of cookies (and fall off the diet).  I fell for this cookie at first bite!

Good Things Come In Small Packages

There are a ton of recipes for the popular Crackle Cookie, some use dark chocolate, some semi-sweet chocolate, and some even add nuts- hazelnuts or pecans.  My favorite is simple with semi-sweet chocolate as these cookies are so rich. If you are a dark chocolate fan, you can just substitute bittersweet chips in place of the semi-sweet chips.

Of the many recipes for Crackle Cookies I have tried, the recipe below from Culinate is my favorite.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  •  ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  •  ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  •  3 large eggs
  •  1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  •  2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  •  1 ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  •  3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  •  ½ tsp. baking powder
  •  ½ tsp. kosher salt
  •  ¾ cup powdered sugar

Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside!

Steps

1. In a large saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently, until evenly melted. Set aside to cool down to warm, about 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar and then, one at a time, the eggs. Stir in the vanilla extract and the espresso powder.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The batter will have the sticky consistency of brownie batter.

3. Scrape the batter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap the dough into a large ball. Place in the fridge for at least two hours (up to eight hours) or in the freezer for 30 minutes, to firm up the dough.

4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper or silicone baking mats on cookie sheets.

5. Put the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Roll chunks of the chilled cookie dough into 1-inch balls, and then roll the balls in the powdered sugar until evenly coated. Arrange the balls about 1½ inch apart on the cookie sheets.

6. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes (the baking time will vary, depending on how cold the cookie dough is), until puffed and cracked on top. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing the cookies with a spatula to wire racks to finish cooling.

7. Serve warm or at room temperature. Keep in an airtight container for a few days. (Do not freeze, as freezing makes the powdered-sugar coating soggy.)

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

I can’t believe I went so long in life without meeting this cookie! 

Benne Wafers- A Charleston Treasure!

On the 7th Day of Christmas Cookies I pretended to be back in my favorite place in the world, Charleston, SC.  I spent about 5 years there while I was going to the College of Charleston and now my parents reside there.  There truly is no place like home!  And when home is Charleston you are one of the luckiest- Especially if you are a food lover!   The Low Country is packed with history and tradition, creativity and inspiration.  Chefs today redefine the Charleston classics while pushing the envelope in the culinary world- a chef’s playground! 

Benne Wafers

Among other treasures you can find in Charleston are these famous treats- Benne Wafers.   They are light and crisp, native to the Low Country.  It is said that sesame plant was first grown in Africa, and that the West Africans, as slaves, brought it to this country in the 17th and 18th centuries, calling sesame “benne”.   Legend has it that eating sesame seeds brings good luck.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Racks and Racks of Benne Wafers

Method:

Blend butter and sugar together until creamy. Add vanilla and egg; beat until light and fluffy. Mix in sesame seeds, flour, baking powder, and salt. Drop by half teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, allowing enough room for spreading. Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes. Remove from pans immediately.

 Makes 5 dozen cookies.

One of Charleston's Best Treats!

 Happy Eats!