Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chocolate-Cherry Bonbons

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. A good number of cookies have been baked in the last two weeks, so I should have some good blog content for the next month or so. 

I'll start off my Christmas cookie wrap-up with a cookie I made in early December. It's a variation of Rachel Ray's Chocolate-Orange Bonbons. Since I had no candied orange peel around, I used dried cherries instead. Yummy! 

Chocolate-Cherry Bonbons 

1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 egg white 
1/2 cup cocoa powder 
1-1/4 cups flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries 
1/3 cup white chocolate chips 
1/4 cup powdered sugar 
4 ounces semisweet chocolate 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In mixer, cream sugar, butter, and salt until well blended. Add egg, vanilla, and egg white. Beat for one minute. 

Add cocoa powder and blend at medium speed. Add flour and baking powder. Blend until thoroughly combined. Stir in half of chopped dried cherries (save other half for topping) and white chocolate chips. 

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Shape dough into balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on prepared pans. Bake one pan at a time. If you have a second pan ready, place it in the refrigerator until first pan is finished in oven. Bake 15 minutes. Cool two minutes before removing to wire rack. 

Melt semisweet chocolate in microwave-safe bowl, stirring occasionally until chocolate is smooth. Top cookies with melted chocolate and chopped dried cherries. Let set (about 1 hour) before storing.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

I know that it's rather late in the season for pumpkin, but here's one more recipe. Maybe you can save it for next year. :)

The original recipe came from the Kraft web site. I adapted it slightly so that it would fit in a regular pie plate instead of a springform pan.

(P.S. Don't my friends have very elegant dinnerware? You can tell this classy photo wasn't taken at my house!)
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

1-1/3 cup finely crushed ginger snap cookies
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 can pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix ginger snap crumbs, chopped pecans, and melted butter. Press into bottom and up sides of pie plate.

In large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar. Mix in pumpkin, spice, and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix on low speed until blended. Pour into crust.

Bake 35-40 minutes. If cheesecake starts to crack, take it out right away. Cool. Refrigerate about 3-4 hours before serving.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cookies of Christmas Past

I don't have a new recipe for this week yet, so I thought I'd post links to some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes from past Christmases. Imagine you're Ebenezer Scrooge, and you've just been visited by . . .

Cookies of Christmas Past!

First up is Melting Snowman Oreo Balls.

Next is a recipe I've made several times in different variations: Candy Cane Snowballs.

The slightly difficult but definitely yummy Egg Nog Cups.

If you're Italian, you might enjoy some Cucidati.

Want something easy and simple? How about some Holiday Rice Krispie Treats?

And who could forget Mom's famous rum balls!

Stay tuned to see what I'm baking up this year!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Caramel Pumpkin Mousse Tart with Pecan Crumble

A few weeks ago, I posted an entry asking people to vote for what I should make for a special Thanksgiving dinner party with friends. After some fiercely close voting, the winner was . . . 

Caramel Pumpkin Mousse Tart 
with Pecan Crumble
I will not post the recipe here since you can easily find it on the Kraft website, and I didn't make any changes to it. Instead, here's a quick pictorial description of what I did. 

Step #1--Crush Nilla wafers. This is also called "Having fun with a rolling pin." 

Step #2--Press the crushed wafers and melted butter into the tart pan, and in a pie plate mix together the ingredients for the pecan crumble (basically: pecans, more crushed wafers, brown sugar, butter, pumpkin pie spice). Bake. 

Step #3--Beat pumpkin, cream cheese, more pumpkin pie spice, vanilla pudding and milk. Pour into tart pan and top with Cool Whip. Refrigerate. 

Step #4--Plate it. Before you serve it, top it with pecan crumble and drizzle with caramel sauce.