Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Treats: Gingerbread Men, Christmas Kisses Thumbprint cookies, Magic Bars, Peppermint Bark, No-Bake Chocolate Bon-Bons

What's in your Christmas cookie tin?  In previous years, I usually just do gingerbread mean, but this year I was really in the holiday spirit and baked gingerbread cookies, Christmas Kisses thumbprint cookies, magic bars, peppermint bark, and no-bake chocolate bon-bons.  I gifted these to the techs, receptions, and vets at my work and my family.  Each of these recipes are relatively easy and simple, and I even used a mix to cut down on work for the thumbprint cookies.  The peppermint bark especially, was very tasty to test-try.  The peppermint bark rivals the famous William-Sonoma ones. The gingerbread men are my favorite recipe for producing perfectly crispy on the outside, but chewy on the inside gingerbread men.   The no-bake 5 ingredient bon-bons are great because they use almond butter instead of peanut butter which means my peanut-allergic-self can make them without fear that my fingers will swell up!

Gingerbread man recipe from Food Network Kitchen, Christmas Kisses Thrumbprint Cookie inspired from a Betty Crocker commercial, magic bars recipe that I've been making for a while, peppermint bark recipe from fellow AFBA blogger Serena Lissy, no-bake chocolate bon-bons from Food52

Perfect Gingerbread Cookies
Ingredients:

  • 3&1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbs. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. all spice
  • 6 tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 tbs. vegetable shortening, melted
  • 2/3 c. light brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. molasses
  • 1 egg
  • royal icing (I buy pre-made, but you can see the original recipe for how to make your own)

Directions:

  1. Sift together flour, slat, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and all spice in a bowl.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, mix butter, shortening, brown sugar, molasses and beat in egg.
  3. Mix in flour in two additions.
  4. Divide dough in half, shape into discs, and refrigerate in plastic wrap for at least 2 hours.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out 1 disc of dough to 1/4", leaving the second disc in the refrigerator.  Cut out shapes using cookie cutter.  Collect scraps and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes before re-rolling.  Do the same with second disc of dough.
  6. Bake on parchment lined cookies sheet at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on wire rack, then decorate with royal icing


Christmas Kisses Thumbprint cookies
Ingredients:

  • 1 package Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • butter and egg according to package directions
  • green and red sugar sprinkles
  • Hershey's Kisses and Hugs (or Candy Cane Mint flavor), wrapper removed
Directions

  1. Mix Betty Crocker sugar cookies according to package directions.  Roll into 1" dough balls.  Roll each ball into red, green, or combo sugar sprinkles.  Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  2. Before cookies have cooled, push one Kiss or Hug into center of cookie.  Cool completely on a wire rack
Magic Bars
Ingredients

  • 2 sleeves of graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 1 14 oz. can of condensed milk
  • 8 oz (or about half bag) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 oz (or about half bag) of butterscotch chips
  • half a bag of coconut flakes
  • 1 c. sliced almonds
Directions

  1. Line 13x9" brownie pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in bowl.  Spread evenly on bottom of pan, pressing down. 
  3. Evenly layer semi-sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut flakes.  Pour over condensed milk.  Top with sliced almonds.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.  Cool completely before removing foil and slicing into bars.
Peppermint Bark
Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz. bag of white chocolate chips
  • 1 16 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips (~64%)
  • 1/2 bag of crushed peppermints (or crush your own)
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract, divided
Directions:

  1. Place waxed paper on a baking sheet.  
  2. In a double boiler, melt dark chocolate chips; mix in 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract. 
  3. Spread dark chocolate in center of wax paper, in a rectangle about 12x9"
  4. Refrigerate for 15 minutes
  5. Melt white chocolate chips and mix in 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract in double boiler and spread on top of dark chocolate.  Sprinkle crushed peppermints over white chocolate and gently push down with the back of a fork.
  6. Refrigerate for 25 minutes.  Break up bark into pieces.
No-Bake Chocolate Bon-Bons
Ingredients

  • 6 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
  • 1/2 c. smooth almond butter
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions

  1. In a bowl, melt almond butter and butter in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring once at 30 seconds.
  2. Add powdered sugar and graham crackers.  Form into 1" balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Refrigerate or freeze until hardened 
  3. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave.  Dunk balls into melted chocolate and place back on cookie sheet.  Refrigerate until hardened.










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