Finnish Christmas Stars (Joulutorttu)

2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter

8 oz ricotta

2 cups flour

Beat butter and ricotta together until well combined and soft.  Add the flour and beat till well blended.  Wrap and refrigerate about 2-3 hours.

Remove and roll 1/2 at a time about 1/8″ thick.  Cut into 3″ squares.

Place about 1 tsp raspberry jam*** on each cookie.

Using a small knife, make a slit at each corner and brush corners with egg wash.  Take every other corner and pull towards the center, pressing down after the fourth to seal well.  Brush entire cookie with egg wash.

 

Bake at 425 degrees for abut 10-12 minutes until set and golden. Remove and cool.  Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving.

Icelandic Christmas Cookies (Marengs Kornflexkokur)

Crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside!

4 egg whites at room temperature

1 cup sugar

pinch cream of tartar

1-1/2 cups corn flakes

4 oz mini chocolate chips

1 tsp vanilla

Beat the whites with a whisk attachment till soft peaks, then begin adding the sugar and beat till stiff peaks.

Add the vanilla and blend well.

Add the cornflakes and chips into the batter.

Scoop small mounds onto a parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheet.

Bake 300 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until set.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up 3 weeks (even longer sometimes!)

 

Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp water

1 tsp light corn syrup

1/2 tsp salt

8 oz good quality semisweet chocolate

1 cup (+) of pistachios

In a heavy pot, put the butter, sugar and water.  Over medium-high heat, melt the butter.  When it is melted, add the syrup and salt.  Stir.  Add a candy thermometer.

Stir occasionally to keep well mixed.  When the temperature has reached 265 degrees, begin stirring constantly until it reaches 290 degrees.  When it reaches 290, pour immediately onto a silpat lined baking sheet (or a very well buttered sheet).  Spread out quickly.  Put on 8 oz of good quality semisweet chocolate and let sit 2 minutes.  Then, spread the melted chocolate over the entire toffee right up to the edges.  Immediately sprinkle on about 1 cup (or more if you wish) of pistachios.

Let set until completely cooled and then break into chunks.  Store in a well sealed container in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Or freeze for up to 3 months.

Indian Pudding

2 cups milk

1/2 cup yellow corn meal

1 large egg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark molasses

1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1 vanilla bean

Pour milk into a saucepan and add the ginger, cinnamon and vanilla.  Bring to a simmer but do not boil.

In a bowl combine the cornmeal and 1 cup water and mix well.  Add the egg and salt and mix well.

Strain the milk, removing the vanilla and any ginger pieces.  Pour milk back into the pan and add the cornmeal

mixture along with the molasses.

Cook over medium heat until thick but do not boil.

Pour into a well buttered 2 quart pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for abut 1 hours until mixture is set

Remove – serve warm with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

 

Chocolate Caramel Custard

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsps water

1 tbsps lemon juice

1 cup milk

2 oz semisweet choc

2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup sugar, water and juice.  Heat over medium while the mixture bubbles,

until it begins to turn a light amber brown.  Immediately divide among 4 ramekins and swirl to coat.

Works fast as this stuff hardens quickly.

In another saucepan, heat the milk and chocolate until the chocolate in melted.  Remove and cool slightly.

In a mixture, beat the eggs, the yolks, the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until thickened and smooth.  Pour

the chocolate mixture into the eggs – slowly to temper – and mix well.  Skim as much “foam” off the top of

the mixture as you can and then pour the mixture evenly into the cups.  Put into a baking dish and pour

boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until set.

Remove from oven and then remove the ramekins from the water bath and cool slightly.

To unmold, run a knife around the sides and invert onto a plate – may be served warm or cold.

Mom’s Strawberry Pudding

10 oz frozen strawberries in syrup – drained – reserve both strawberries and syrup

Put the strawberries in a food processor and pulse 3-4 times

In a small saucepan, mix the syrup with 1 tbsps gelatin and heat 2-3 minutes until gelatin is dissolved

Add the syrup to the strawberries in the food processor and process 3-4 times

In a cold mixer bowl, put 1 cup heavy cream and beat till soft peaks

Fold the cream into the strawberry mixture.  Spoon in individual serving cups and refrigerate at least

2-3 hours until set.  Decorate as desired and enjoy!

Chris Mouse Cookies

 

mouse1

3 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) soft butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp almond or vanilla extract

1 large egg

sliced almonds

licorice laces, cut into 3″ lengths

6 oz semisweet chocolate

Whisk flour and salt together in a bowl.

 

In a bowl of electric mixer, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add sugar beating until light, about 3 minutes, beat in extract.

Beat in egg.  Add about 1/3 flour mixture and blend well, Add remaining flour and mix to make a smooth dough.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate

2 hours or overnight.

 

Roll a piece of dough about the size of  marble in your hands in a ball and then slightly elongate one side to form a mouse body.  Place a sliced almond

on each side where the ears should be.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until slightly browned on edges.  Remove pan and immediately, using a wooden toothpick, make a small hole

into the mouse’s “rear end” going in about 1/2″.  Immediately insert a piece of red licorice about 3″ long.  Cool cookies completely.

When completely cool, melt chocolate and put into a piping bag and pipe two eyes and nose.  Let cool till set.

These freeze very well.