Christmas Cookie Madness!

When you’ve been having a tough week, it really helps though when you call your parents and they tell you that they got you the gift of your dreams! Something I’ve been thinking about getting for the past couple of years. They bought a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! OMGS, I essentially combusted due to the excitement!

Sooo of course, once I got home I had to bake up a storm. Also, my Pinterest has been flooded with so many delicious looking Christmas cookies, that I just had to try a few different ones. The three I decided upon were: itty bitty sugar cookie sandwiches, light gingerbread, and brownie cookies.

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First, let’s talk about the mini sugar cookie sandwiches. This is a Baker’s Royale recipe I’ve made a few times now, and I really love it! It takes no time to mix up, bake, and fill. Another plus is that this recipe is egg-free, so if you have an allergy or just don’t have eggs around, this is the perfect recipe for you! I made the dough, rolled it in various sprinkles and sanding sugars, and baked at 350 for exactly 8 minutes. Put the cookies in the freezer to cool completely, and in the meantime, make your favourite vanilla buttercream. Once cooled, pipe some buttercream onto the centre of each cookie, and squish together with another cookie of a similar size. These are a classic at my house, now!

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The gingerbread cookies are actually more like gingerbread-spiced shortbread cookies. They have a very light spice flavor, while the shortbread texture and taste really comes through as well. I received this recipe from a family friend, and it was originally published in a children’s picture book called Gingerbread Mouse. I’m not a huge fan of legitimate gingerbread cookies, so these were perfect! I had some leftover buttercream from the sandwich cookies so I spread it on, and topped the cookie with green sanding sugar and a star sprinkle.

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Now for the masterpiece: Brownie Cookies! This recipe is modified from Bakerella’s “Comfort Cookies” post, and is honestly the best combination of brownies and cookies I have ever had. Go ahead and add any combination of nuts and chocolate chips, because the more stuff that’s in it, the better it will taste.

All three of these cookies make great gifts, tea time treats, and would be great to leave out for Santa!

Have a great Holiday Season, and see you soon!

-G

Itty Bitty Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

Source: Baker’s Royale

Makes 36 sandwiches

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup icing sugar, 1/4 cup plain white sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups all purpose flour

Sanding sugar, or sprinkles, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cream butter, sugars, salt until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat.

3. Add flour and beat until just combined.

4. Scoop by tsp and roll  into balls. Roll around in sanding sugar or sprinkles.

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until bottoms are golden.

6. Fill with buttercream (use any recipe you like), and make sandwiches.

Gingerbread-spiced Shortbread Cookies

Makes 24 large cookies

2 1/2 cups All purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon OR pumpkin pie spice

1 3/4 sticks butter (14 tbsp)

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1. Mix up dry ingredients.

2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy; then add egg and vanilla.

3. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough and chill until firm.

5. Use cookie cutters to make shapes, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Brownie Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. (If desired, roll balls in chopped pecans.)
  • Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Place cookies on cookie rack to cool.
  • Makes about 30 2-inch cookies.
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Chocolate Pudding Mini Trifles

Bonjour! I’m supposed to be working on my Thesis Committee meeting presentation…buutttt instead, I made these Chocolate Pudding Mini Trifles. Okay, I’m not THAT bad, we’re having a holiday lunch tomorrow at the lab, and I said I would bring dessert. I am trying to convince myself that my procrastination is justified. It may or may not be working…

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Anyways, back to pudding! Pudding was my favourite lunch treat back when I was a child. But, of course, it was always from the little plastic cups. This was my first time ever making pudding, from scratch. There is no powder with unpronounceable chemicals involved! Only real ingredients like whole milk, chocolate, and love. This trifle has four simple components: chocolate pudding, vanilla whipped cream, brownies, and strawberries.

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To make the pudding, just go ahead and follow the tutorial on The Kitchn (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-chocolate-pudding-from-scratch-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-195012). SUUUUUPERRR easy! Don’t be frightened! The recipe says it will feed 8, but because of all the extra stuff I added, I got 16 servings.

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For the bottom layer, I baked brownies, and crumbled them up. Feel free to used a mix here, that’s what I did. I know, I know.

I found these cute little plastic wine glasses at the dollar store (don’t judge), and thought they would make a perfect presentation! The first layer was a spoonful of brownie crumbs, then pudding, followed by strawberries, and whipped cream. I topped off each trifle with grated chocolate for some panache!

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This is a great treat for a potluck, or Christmas party.

I hope you try it, and let me know how it goes!

-G

How To Make Chocolate Pudding from Scratch

Makes 8 servings (4 cups)

What You Need

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment
Cutting board
Sharp serrated knife
Large heatproof bowl
Whisk
3-quart (or larger) cooking pot
2-quart storage container
Plastic wrap or wax paper

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate: Use a serrated knife to chop the chocolate into fine flakes. Set aside.
  2. Make a slurry: In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture.
  3. Whisk in the eggs: Whisk the eggs into the cream and cornstarch mixture.
  4. Combine the milk and sugar: Pour the milk into a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the sugar and warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Bring the milk to a simmer: Bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Watch for the surface of the milk to vibrate and for bubbles to form around the edges of the pot.
  6. Temper the egg mixture: Pour most of the hot milk into the bowl of cream and egg yolks. Whisk until well-combined, then pour everything back into the pot.
  7. Bring the pudding to a full boil: Warm the combined pudding mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a full boil. (It should look like lava boiling up!) At this point, the pudding will look much thicker.
  8. Cook the pudding for 2 minutes: After the pudding starts boiling, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly and vigorously. Get your whisk into all corners of the pot.
  9. Flavor the pudding: After 2 minutes, remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Then add the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is fully incorporated.
  10. Chill the pudding: Spread the pudding in a storage container and press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto the surface of the pudding. Cover with a lid and chill. Best eaten within 3 days.