Sunday, December 6, 2015

Am I crazy?

If you could see all the cookies and candies I've been baking the past couple weeks - you might answer yes to my question above! I think I've been trying to distract myself (duh) and baking is so therapeutic so I'm going to say - NO - it's keeping me sane! Anyway - here is the list so that you can say "OMG" and  "I'm glad I'm your friend/neighbor/client" and "You are insane"

Pistachio Spice Cookies - really my favorite holiday classic - like a shortbread but with all the flavors of the holidays. This one cookie covers it all. If you do only one - do this one. 

Snowballs - classic, adorable. 

1 cup butter at room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon water
2 and 1/4 cup flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar

Beat butter and add sugar mix until creamy. Then add water and vanilla and mix. Next beat in flour and then nuts. Shape into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet baking at 325 Degrees for 20 min or until lightly browned and firm to the touch - let cool on racks completely. Put powdered sugar in a large ziploc and then put in the cookies and gently shake to coat. 

Saltine Toffee - the best! Actually pretty easy the only thing you must have is a candy thermometer. 

White Chocolate dipped pretzels. These are so silly but everybody adores them- no baking required! Hilariously this year we didn't get time on our baking day to do them and we didn't have our long bags to pack them in and of course the first client I delivered them to said "oh, are the pretzels in there??" So now I did the damn things - and yes delicious and cute! 

Chocolate Salted Caramels - from Liddabit Sweets cookbook I made these last year too - the thing they fail to mention is that they are a bitch to A. get out of the pan  B. cut into squares and C. wrap individually in wax paper.  Richard had to get out his tools - a pry bar, rubber mallet and cleaver. They are damn tasty. And yes he washed the tools and covered in plastic wrap for sanitary sake!
We also made Fluffy Peanut Butter Nougat from Liddabit Sweets - it was difficult and delicious. And tricky to cut. 

Cranberry Orange Coconut Cookies - easy and holidayish - and no nuts which seems to be something we have trouble not adding to everything. So disclaimer - all of our stuff is made in a kitchen with nuts, by nuts ; 0

1 and 1/2 cups butter at room temp
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 and 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 and 1/2 cups sweetened coconut

Beat butter and sugar until smooth then add zest and vanilla and mix in. Combine flour with baking powder and salt and mix in until dough is smooth - finally mix in cranberries and coconut. Shape into small 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheets and flatten with your hand. Bake at 350 degrees for about 11 min - or until lightly browned and crispy. 

Gianduja Sandwich Cookies - Jen found this in a cookbook of hers - they were great! Basically little butter cookies with Nutella spread in between - yum.

Jen made 1 batch of peanut butter peanut brittle - this one is a secret!

Black Pepper Almonds - I've been making them for years - always for our xmas party - but I haven't been able to find blanched whole almonds lately - and then I saw them at Lucky's in SF - so if you can find them, make these! Great for a cocktail hour. 

Texas Pecan Pralines - my mom's recipe will post another time - this year they came out too soft - mmhhh is she messing with me?

Marzipan Shortbread Cookies - I bought a beautiful carved rolling pin from Shed last year and needed a cookie that would hold an imprint - well they did but it was pretty subtle. So I also used this dough to make a set of "silverware" very delicate so I carefully dipped the handles in white chocolate and sprinkled with silver sparkles - I took them over last night to Alex and Paula's along with a Sticky Toffee Pudding - and Paula used her "fork" to eat the cake - that's how tender the cake was! 

Finally (maybe) I made my traditional Chocolate spiral cookies and Cornmeal pecan cinnamon cookies - originally Martha Stewart recipes - it isn't xmas without these in my house. 
Whew. Are you dizzy yet?? I am. So get baking, don't eat them all in one day and don't be crazy like me and make them all ; ) Merry Merry.

Post Note: I forgot the mini M&M biscotti! 

Holiday Biscotti

2 and 1/4 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 and half cups mini M&M's these were green and red!

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and mix. Beat in flour mixture until smooth. Gently stir in M&M's. Gather dough on a board and cut in half. Shape each half into a 15 inch log about 2 inches wide. Transfer to lined baking sheet set 3 inches apart and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 min or until firm but not browned. Let cool 15 min. On a cutting board carefully slice using a serrated knife on the diagonal about 1/2 inch thick. Return to pan and bake another 9 min per side turning once until golden and firm. Let cool.
Variation - instead of M&M's try 1 cup dried cranberries and 3/4 cup shelled pistachios - still green and red ; )

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