Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mint Julep Kisses

These are required by my two besties (Heather and Shannon) for all occasions. They both put them as their favorite cookie I make - so clearly it must be.

Mint Julep Kisses
From Kentucky Derby Museum Cookbook
Yields 6 dozen

4 Each egg white stiffly beaten
1 1/2 Cup sugar, white
1 Teaspoon extract, peppermint
6 Drops food coloring, green or another color if desired
12 Ounce(wt)s chocolate, baking, bittersweet chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually adding sugar. Add peppermint extract and food coloring. Stir in chocolate bits.

Drop by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Put in preheated oven and turn off immediately. Leave in oven overnight or for several hours. Store in an airtight tin box.

Chef's Note: For the chocolate, I grate it with a cheese grater or I pulverized it in a food processor. In a food processor, you will end up with some chocolate "dust," but add it to the batter - it only makes them more chocolatey. If you prefer, you can use mini chocolate chips.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chipotle & Rosemary Roasted Nuts

I always need to have something savory in the baskets - usually a spicy nut mixture. This year I went to Ina Garten for inspiration.

Chipotle & Rosemary Roasted Nuts
From Ina Garten, Food Network
Yields 3.5 pounds

28 Ounce(wt)s cashews whole unroasted unsalted
14 Ounce(wt)s walnuts, English whole
14 Ounce(wt)s pecans whole
6 Ounce(wt)s almonds, whole
0.66 Cup syrup, Maple
1/2 Cup sugar, light brown, packed
6 Tablespoons juice, orange
4 Teaspoons pepper, chipoltle, dried
8 Tablespoons rosemary, fresh minced
1 to taste salt, Kosher

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Brush a sheet pan generously with vegetable oil. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, the maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, and chipotle powder on the sheet pan. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss again.

Spread the nuts in one layer. Roast the nuts for 25 minutes, stirring twice with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary.

Toss well and set aside at room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking as they cool. Taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cool completely and store in airtight containers at room temperature.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

My nephew loves 3 things, cranberries, cookies and icing...honestly the only things these are missing are being dipping in icing to give him the perfect cookie ever...not that he minds 2 out of 3!

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
From Crisco
Yields 3 dozen

3/4 Cups Crisco, butter-flavored sticks
3/4 Cups sugar, white
3/4 Cups sugar, light brown, packed
2 Large egg, whole
2 Teaspoons extract, vanilla
1 Cup flour, all-purpose
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/4 Teaspoon salt, table
2 3/4 Cups oats, old-fashioned
1 Cup cranberries, sweetened dried
1 Cup walnuts, halves chopped

HEAT oven to 350ºF. Coat baking sheets with no-stick cooking spray.

BEAT shortening, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat into shortening mixture until smooth. Stir in oats, dried cranberries and walnuts. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2-inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

BAKE 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Place on cooling rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Orange Brownies

More chocolate...I don't get tired of it, do you?

Orange Brownies
Yields 24

8 Ounce(wt)s chocolate, baking, unsweetened
8 Large egg, whole
16 Ounce(wt)s butter, unsalted
2 Cups flour, all-purpose sifted
1 Teaspoon salt, table
2 Cups marmalade, orange
2 Teaspoons extract, vanilla
4 Cups sugar, white
Optional Ingredients:
4 Cups pecans broken in pieces

Directions: Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat and add salt, vanilla, and sugar, and mix well. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in nuts.

Pour half of batter into greased 9x13 pan and make a smooth surface. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the batter is frozen, spread preserves on the batter in a thin layer. Pour remaining batter over the preserves and gently smooth it over to cover.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Cool pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before cutting brownies. Cool them completely on wire rack. Serve.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Kentucky Bourbon Balls

There is no sour mash when it comes to TRUE Kentucky Bourbon...keep your Jack away from my Evan. This Kentucky Colonel does not mess around with fake bourbons...I would lose my commission.

Kentucky Bourbon Balls
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, KY Yields 50

3 Cups NILLA wafers finely crushed
1 Cup sugar, powdered plus extra for rolling
1 1/2 Tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 1/2 Cup pecans finely chopped
3 Tablespoons corn syrup, light
1/2 Cup bourbon
1 to taste sugar, white for rolling

Mix together vanilla wafers, powdered sugar, cocoa, nuts, corn syrup and bourbon; mix well and shape into 1 to inch balls. Roll in sugar and powdered sugar.

Store in airtight container.

Chef's Note: You can replace the bourbon with dark rum, but why would you want to?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Chocolate Crackled Cookies

Nothing but chocolate does the holidays justice, so when I make my holiday baskets, chocolate is the star. This time, there were 5 or 6 different chocolate options...

First up:
Chocolate Crackled Cookies
From Crisco
Yields 3 dozen
1 1/4 Cup sugar, light brown, packed
1 Cup Crisco, butter-flavored sticks
1 tsp extract, vanilla
2 Large egg, whole
2 Cups flour, all-purpose
6 Tbls cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp salt, table
1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 Cups chocolate chips, mini semisweet
1/3 Cup sugar, white
1/2 Cup sugar, powdered

BEAT brown sugar, shortening and vanilla in large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; beat until fluffy.

STIR together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to shortening mixture, beating at medium speed just until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill 3 hours.

HEAT oven to 375ºF. Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, then in powdered sugar to coat completely. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are set. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.