Holiday Ginger Snaps

1 cup Crisco (none other will do!)

1/4 cup soft butter

1/3 cup molasses

1-2/3 cups sugar

2 eggs

4 cups flour

3 tsps baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp ground ginger

Melt shortening and butter and cool for 15 minutes.

Mix shortening mixture with molasses, sugar and eggs.  Stir in all the remaining ingredients – this can be done on an electric mixture to ensure good blending.

Shape dough into 1″ balls and roll in more sugar.  Place 2″ apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Melt 18 oz of good quality white chocolate – do NOT use candy melts -yuck!

Dip half of the cookies in the  melted chocolate and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet.  Immediately sprinkle on a few pieces of crystallized ginger and then let the white chocolate set.

NOTE:  These cookies freeze well for 2-3  months.

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Simply the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

2-1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Mix altogether with a wire whisk and set aside.

In a mixer bowl, cream:

1/2 cup Crisco (no other brand!)

1/2 cup room temperature butter (no margarine!!!!)

Add:

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

When all well incorporated, add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Add 2 cup dark chocolate bits (I use Guittard) and 1 cup  mini chips.

Scoop onto parchment lined sheets.  Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes – remove cookies before they look done.  They will continue to bake a bit after you remove them from the oven.

NOTE:  To be even more decadent, after cookies are cooled, melt some more of the dark chocolate bits (with a tsp of Crisco) and then dip the cookies in the chocolate

White Chocolate Holiday Fudge

White Chocolate Fudge

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16 oz. good white chocolate

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pistachios

Melt the white chocolate and milk in a pan over medium low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat.

Add cranberries, pistachios and vanilla and mix well.

Pour into a prepared (parchment lined and sprayed with cooking spray) 8″ pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

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Almond Strips

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Click image to watch video.

1-3/4 cups flour

2 tsps baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp almond extract

milk

1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds

Stir dry ingredients together.  Cream butter and sugar and then add the egg and extract.  Add the dry ingredients.  Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a log approximately 12″ long.  Place on a parchment lined sheet.  Pat each log down until it is about 3″ wide.  Brush with some milk and top with some almonds.  Press the nuts down into the dough.

Bake at 325 degrees for 12 -15 minutes.

Remove cookies and let cool completely.

When cool, mix 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1/8 tsp almond extract and about 3-4 tbsps milk to make a drizzly icing.  Drizzle over logs.  Let set completely and then cut into strips at a diagonal.

Store in airtight container at room temp for about 3 days or freeze, well sealed, for up to 3 months.

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Pistachio Thumbprints

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Click image to watch video.

1 egg

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp lemon extract

2 cups flour

1/3 cup pistachios

3/4 cups sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 sticks softened butter

In a small bowl,  mix the egg and two extracts.  In bowl of food processor, put the flour, sugar and pistachios.  Pulse 8-10 times.  Add egg mixture and process until the dough comes together.  Remove and put on table and knead till smooth.

Take a generous teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball.  Make a thumbprint in the center.  Bake at 350 degrees or about 12 minutes.  Remove and cool.

Melt 4 oz of good white chocolate in a microwave on 50% at 10-20 second intervals or until melted and smooth.  Put into a heavy duty plastic bag, snip the end and pipe into wells of cookies.  Put some chopped pistachios on top and let set. (You can add some dried cranberries if you wish).

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Chocolate Bourbon Fudge

Chocolate-Bourbon-Fudge-2

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3-1/3 cups sugar

1-1/3 cup heavy cream

4 tbsps butter

16 oz good dark chocolate chopped

1 cup macadamia nuts (or nuts of your choice)

1 tbsp bourbon

Spray a 9″ square pan with cooking spray, line with plastic and spray again.

In a saucepan, put sugar, and butter and heavy cream.  Heat till 230 degrees.

Remove from heat and put in chocolate.  Whisk until all the chocolate is melted.

Add in the bourbon and then the nuts and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan.  Refrigerate for 2+ hours.  Cut in squares and enjoy!

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White Chocolate Christmas Drops

White Chocolate Christmas Drops

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12 oz. (2 cups) chopped white chocolate or bits

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

1/4 cup candied orange peel – optional

Melt the chocolate over simmering water.  Drop by generous  teaspoonfuls onto a silpat lined or buttered baking sheet.

Immediately put some cranberries, pistachios and peel on top.  Gently pat down to adhere.

Let completely set – can do in the refrigerator or at room temp.

Store in an airtight container at room temp for about 10 days or freeze in a well sealed container up to 2  months.

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