by Kathy Douglas | Dec 19, 2016 | Desserts
Holiday candy meets easy dessert in a two-bite treat! Our Peppermint Bark Mousse Cups are the tasty combination of cool peppermint and white chocolate mousse inside a dark chocolate dessert cup. Peppermint Bark Lovers will rejoice with this luscious sensation of a favorite holiday delicacy. Perfect for holiday parties and celebrations, and very simple to create, our two-bite dessert is sure to be a crowd pleaser for everyone. ChocoMaker Dark Chocolate Dessert Cups are available at Walmart Grocery.
½ cup heavy cream
1 egg white
4 ounces white chocolate melted
24 ChocoMaker Dark Chocolate Dessert Cups or any store bought mini dark chocolate cups
2 tablespoons crushed peppermint
1 teaspoon cocoa powder for dusting
Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Beat the egg white until it holds soft peaks. Fold the white chocolate into the beaten egg white, then into the whipped cream. Spoon into the chocolate cups and refrigerate until the mousse sets – at least 1 hour. Dust with the cocoa powder and garnish with crushed peppermint.
by Kathy Douglas | Dec 12, 2016 | Appetizers
Super easy, super fast and super tasty. These appetizers will be the hit of the party and they are made with just five ingredients. Using store bought Filo dough shells, tasty Brie, toasted almonds, fruit preserves, and baby mint leaves, you can bake up this dish in less than 15 minutes. So take the pressure off and remove some stress from the Holidays, while enjoying this delicious combination of savory and sweet.
For the best flavor match with Brie – choose one of these tasty jam preserves, marmalade or fruit butter: strawberry, cherry, apricot, fig, orange marmalade or apple butter. Or be creative and use a combination.
¼ cup thinly sliced almonds
4 ounces of brie cheese, rind removed, cut into 30 cubes- ¾” x ¾” x 3/8”
30 mini Filo shells
5 tablespoons of jam preserves, marmalade or fruit butter: strawberry, cherry, apricot, or fig, orange marmalade or apple butter
30 baby mint leaves (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the almonds on a sheet tray and toast for 6 minutes until light brown; remove and cool. Move the oven temperature up to 375 degrees and preheat.
Place one cube of brie into each Filo shell. Bake the shells for 5 minutes or until the brie has melted into the bottom of the shell. Spoon ½ teaspoon of preserves over the melted brie. Place back in the oven and bake 2-4 minutes more minutes or until the preserves have slightly melted.
Remove from oven and immediately garnish each shell with toasted almonds. Cool slightly and add the baby mint leaves (if using). Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 30 Appetizers.
by Kathy Douglas | Dec 5, 2016 | Desserts
Shortbread dough is so flexible and perfect when you want to make an assortment of holiday baked goods using only one batch of dough. With this recipe, you can also customize your treats to suit your taste. We used holiday cookie decorations, but finely chopped nuts will be perfect as well. Get creative with cookie decorations such as colored sugar, jimmies, sprinkles, luminous candy pearls or sparkling dragees. Butter is such a critical ingredient in these treats, so we recommend using a top-quality butter, such as Cabot, Plugra or Kerrygold.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature, use high quality such as Cabot, Plugra or Kerrygold
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
In an electric mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract until fluffy, then beat in the flour ½ cup at a time. The dough may seem a little dry but keep beating till it comes together. If it won’t come together, drizzle in 1 teaspoon of water at a time up to 3 teaspoons until it does. You are creating a stiff dough, so only add as much water as necessary.
Divide the dough in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until use.
Chocolate Candy Cane Shortbread Cookies
½ batch shortbread dough
1 cup chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
½ cup crushed candy canes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using butter, lightly grease one square 9″ cake pan. Place parchment in the bottom and lightly grease the parchment.
Press the dough into a prepared pan, smoothing the surface with you fingers. Chill the dough in the pan for 30 minutes.
Use a fork to prick the dough all over in an even pattern; this allows any steam to escape. Bake the shortbread until it’s a light golden brown across the top surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 25 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Handling the baked dough carefully, immediately turn the shortbread out onto a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into 16 squares. Be sure to do this while the shortbread is still warm; it won’t cut easily if it cools. Transfer the shortbread squares to a rack to cool.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave at 50% power in 45-second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until melted completed. Spread the chocolate in a pattern on half of each cookie then set on parchment to cool. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane, or any decorations you choose, and refrigerate until the chocolate sets. Makes 16 cookies.
Mini Holiday Cinnamon Cheesecakes
1/2 batch shortbread dough
One 8-ounce package cream cheese at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 large egg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
¼ cup white chocolate chips
holiday sprinkles or dragees
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using butter, lightly grease a 12-cup mini cheesecake pan or muffin pan. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and place in the pan’s cups. Press firmly to the bottoms and up the sides. Use a fork to prick the dough all over; this allows any steam to escape. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until set and just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
To make the cheesecake batter, in an electric mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the cream, egg, cinnamon and vanilla; mixing well. Spoon the batter into the cooled crusts, using between one to two tablespoons in each.
Bake the cheesecakes for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20-30 minutes. Use a knife to gently loosen the edges, then carefully remove the cheesecakes from the pan. Chill for 30 minutes. Place the cheesecakes on a parchment lined sheet pan.
Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave at 50% power in 45-second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until melted completed. Using a fork, drizzle the white chocolate over the top of the cheesecakes and immediately add holiday sprinkles, candy pearls or dragees. Chill until the chocolate is set and keep cool until ready to serve. Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.
by Kathy Douglas | Dec 5, 2016 | Desserts
Here are our top 5 baking tips for Holiday Cookies –
- READ THROUGH ALL YOUR RECIPES
Read through all the recipes at once to understand how each recipe will work and map out a plan. Start ahead, and pace yourself, to match the recipes and to bake efficiently. One idea: You can make all your dough at once, cut out and bake another day, and then decorate on a different day. Try our ideas below by using your freezer and refrigerator.
- CHECK ALL YOUR INGREDIENTS FOR FRESHNESS
Freshness counts – it makes a huge difference between successful and unsuccessful baking. Buy fresh ingredients and check the rest of your ingredients for expiration dates. Nuts, seeds, and high-protein flours turn rancid quickly. Test nuts and seeds by smell or tasting them prior to use. Spoiled flour will have a rancid smell. Lastly, be sure to check the expirations dates on your baking soda and baking powder to make sure they are not past their prime.
- UNDERSTAND TEMPERATURE
Temperature plays a variety of roles when baking. Butter won’t cream correctly if it’s too cold or too warm. Your oven’s temperature needs to be accurate. Some recipes call for chilling the dough prior to cutting, rolling, or baking.
The proper creaming of the butter and sugar is critical to the finished texture of your cookies. Make sure you start far enough ahead to have all your ingredients at the proper temperature. If you haven’t checked your oven in a while, invest in an oven thermometer. Make sure your oven is heating to the proper temperature so you don’t over or under bake your cookies. If it’s required by your recipes, always allow plenty of time for your dough to chill properly. Some dough can be left refrigerated for up to a week prior to baking!
- FREEZE THE DOUGH
Make your dough ahead of time and freeze it. Slice and bake cookies can be frozen as a log, then bring the dough back to refrigerator temperature before slicing. Drop cookies can be scooped into balls and frozen on sheet trays. Once frozen, simply transfer to a freezer bag for storage. Cut-out cookie dough can be shaped into disks, then wrapped in plastic and frozen. When it’s time to bake, bring the dough back to refrigerator temperature before rolling and cutting.
- BAKE AND FREEZE THE COOKIES PRIOR TO DECORATING
No time to decorate? Freeze your baked cookies, then thaw and decorate right before serving or giving as gifts. Store them in an airtight container in your freezer to help prevent breaking and separate the cookies with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking.