Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies | Bakewell Junction

Pignoli Cookies | Bakewell Junction

I tried two recipes of Pignoli cookies.  I wanted to compare an old recipe I’ve made before side-by-side with a recipe that I got from my friend Chris.  The recipes are similar so the end result is also similar.  I think my favorite of the two turns out to be the newer recipe (Pignoli Cookies 1) Chris gave me.  It produces larger cookies with more pignoli (pine) nuts.  I may add the flavorings from the Family Circle recipe (Pignoli Cookies 2) to my friend Chris’ recipe and make it my go to recipe for Pignoli cookies.

Many people make this cookie for Christmas but, since Easter is right around the corner, these would be a great to finish off a special Easter dinner.  I didn’t think my hubby liked these cookies but to my surprise, he says they’re really good with coffee.

 Pignoli Cookies 2 | Bakewell Junction

Pignoli Cookies 1 

Yield:  24 servings                 Cook Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces almond paste (the almond paste in the can is still 8 ounces)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 ounces pignoli (pine) nuts (I weighted the nuts on an old scale my Grandmother had and it was about 2/3 cup),
  • additional powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sift sugars, flour and salt into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Step 2:  Cut almond paste into small pieces.  I also run the almond paste pieces through my mini chopper, so that it looks like small grains.  This will help the paste mix better and there won’t be almond paste chunks in the cookies.  In separate medium bowl, beat egg whites and almond paste together until the mixture is smooth.  Add the sugar mixture to the almond paste and stir until combined.  Separate dough into 24 1 inch balls and place onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Press dough balls into 1 1/2 inch rounds.  Divide nuts 24 portions, remove skin on the tips of the nuts, if any, and press into the tops of the cookies.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden on the edges.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature.  You can sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if using.

Recipe slightly adapted from my friend Chris.

Pignoli Cookies  2

Yield:  28 servings                 Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces almond paste (the almond paste in the tube is 7 ounces)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon dried orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup pignoli (pine) nuts

Directions:

Step 1:  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cut almond paste into small pieces.  I also run the almond paste pieces through my mini chopper, so that it looks like small grains.  This will help the paste mix better and there won’t be almond paste chunks in the cookies.

Step 2:  In a medium bowl, beat one egg white, sugar and almond paste together until the mixture is smooth.  Beat in the remaining egg white and extracts.  Add the flour and mix by hand until just combined.  Separate batter into 28 balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  This will be a sticky batter.  Remove skin on the tips of the nuts, if any, and cover each cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon of pignoli nuts.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature.

Recipe slightly adapted from Family Circle Bonus (12/12/00 edition) insert booklet by Michael Krondl.

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JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

The last few days were unseasonably warm and a lot of the snow has melted.  Happy day!  The eight foot piles are down to about four feet.  Today the cold weather is back.

I’ve said this before but it bears repeating…I love recreating recipes that are purchased from bakeries or pre-packaged from the supermarket.  A couple of weeks ago I shared Italian Butter Cookies with you and now I’d like to share Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies.  The dough was a little thick for piping, although I did not puncture the Ziploc bag while piping the dough, my hands did get tired.

This is another recipe from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.  I think everyone has seen the sandwich butter cookies in bakeries.  Most of the time they are filled with jam or preserves but sometimes they are filled with chocolate which is what I chose to do because my hubby loves the chocolate version.  These are a tender and delicious cookie - you won’t be able to stop at just one.  Which version would you and your family prefer?

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Finger Sandwich Butter Cookies

Yield:  80 individual cookies                  Cook Time:  7 minutes

Dough:

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, room temperature or softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 eggs (for 1/2 an egg, beat an egg in a small bowl; take 1 1/2 tablespoons to equal 1/2 an egg)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • green (30 drops), red (40 drops) or yellow (optional)

Filling and Garnish:

  • jam (about an 8 ounce jar)
  • coconut, shredded
  • chopped nuts
  • 3 ounces chocolate chips, melted with 1 to 3 tablespoons shortening (double if sandwiching with chocolate)
  • sprinkles
  • powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
  • additional chocolate for drizzle (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed.  Combine egg yolks, vanilla and food coloring (if using) with butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Mix in baking powder and flour at low speed.

Step 2:  The original recipe specified “Using star tip #4 “s” tube, pipe out in 2″ bars on greased baking pan.” but since I don’t have those particular items, I used a Ziploc bag, cut off one corner (about 1/2 to 3/4 inch opening) and piped the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  My cookies were about 3 to 4 inches long and I got about 80 cookie bars which turned into 40 cookie sandwiches  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.  I needed to bake for 7 minutes.  Cool completely on racks.

Step 3:  Filling and Garnish:  Melt 3 ounces of chocolate in the microwave in two or three 30 second increments.  Add shortening and microwave for 20 seconds. Mix thoroughly.  I found that 1 tablespoon of shortening was enough per 3 ounces of chocolate.  Place desired garnishes in small bowls.

Step 4:  Once cookies are completely cooled (it’s better to wait overnight because they are very tender), pair the cookie bars together based on length and shape.  Dip the flat bottom side of the cookie into the melted chocolate or spread with jam.  Top with the flat side of the paired cookie.  Dip one end of cookie sandwich into the melted chocolate on all sides.  While the chocolate is still soft on the end of the cookie, dip chocolate end into garnishes until covered.  Place on wax paper or parchment until dry.  Let garnishes set before storing.

Storing:  Store in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Note:  The pastry star tube is the large commercial size and may be purchased at any restaurant or baking supply house.  4 “S” – 3/8 inch opening.  Use a No. 12 inch pastry bag; cut opening to fit large pastry tube.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe minimally adapted from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.

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Italian Butter Cookie Hearts

Italian Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Italian Butter Cookie | Bakewell Junction

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and I found a recipe for Italian bakery butter cookies that I wanted to try, so I made them into heart shapes.  They’re topped with chocolate frosting and chocolate is always a must have on Valentine’s Day.

I must have made my cookies a lot larger than the original recipe called for because I only got 16 cookies.  I found the dough to be very thick and I needed to add a fourth egg yolk as described in the notes at the bottom of the recipe.  Even with the extra egg yolk, I had a hard time piping the dough.  I wound up puncturing the Ziploc bag with my finger while piping the dough.  While the frosting was a bit easier to pipe, it was pretty thick also.

I love recreating store bought treats at home, whether they are prepackaged snacks or store or bakery made.  While searching for a suitable recipe, I found resources on the internet saying that The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo is the best.  I searched for the book but there are none to be found.  Someone sold one on Ebay last year but that’s as close I got to finding a copy.  I’m so glad I found these wonderful cookies and shared them with you.  This doesn’t mean that I won’t by cookies from the bakery sometimes but now I can make them myself whenever I want.  What store bought treats have you tried to recreate at home?

Italian Butter Cookie Hearts

Yield:  36 – 41 small cookies                  Cook Time:  10 minutes

Dough:

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 ounces) flour

Rosette Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes at medium speed.  Combine egg yolks and vanilla with butter mixture and mix until completely combined.  Mix in flour at low speed.

Step 2:  The original recipe specified “Pipe with bag onto ungreased cookie sheet into rosettes with a #7 “S” tube (or roll into 1 ” balls, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly).” but since I don’t have those particular items, I used a Ziploc bag, cut off one corner and piped the dough into heart shapes onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  You can optionally top with colored sprinkles (jimmies).  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes.  Cool completely on racks.

Step 3:  Rosette Chocolate Frosting:  Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa and set aside.  Cream butter for a few minutes and then beat in 1 cup of sugar and cocoa mixture.  Mix in vanilla.  Mix in remaining sugar alternating with milk.

Step 4:  Once cookies are completely cooled, fill a pastry bag with half the frosting recipe at a time and pipe a large rosette in the center of the cookie.  Let frosting set before storing.

Options:  You may use yellow or pink frosting for rosettes by eliminating cocoa powder and increasing powdered sugar another 2/3 cup (or more if needed), until reaching piping consistency and adding desired color.

Note:  If dough is too firm to pipe through bag return dough to mixing bowl and beat in another egg yolk.

Storing:  Store in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe minimally adapted from The Italian Bakery book by Lee Mangione Cirillo.

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Sausage Stuffing

Sausage Stuffing | Bakewell Junction

Sausage Stuffing | Bakewell Junction

Hi there.  If you’re like me and you’re making a big meal for a holiday or any special occasions, you prefer eating the appetizers, sides and desserts rather than the main meal.  The picture doesn’t do this dish justice and quite honestly I don’t know how to make it better.  I don’t like gravy on my stuffing but you could always add it if you like.

The last few gathering I’ve had this Sausage Stuffing as a wonderful side dish.  My sister-in-law has been making this recipe for longer than I’ve known her (at the risk of dating myself, I won’t go into how long that’s been).  She gladly gave it to me and now I’m sharing it with you.  The recipe uses a store bought stuffing mix but you can substitute a homemade stuffing also.  This stuffing recipe is so good you’ll be going back for seconds and thirds.

Enjoy!

Sausage Stuffing 

Yield:  12 servings                  Cook Time:  45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds removed from casing and crumbled
  • 1 pound of your favorite stuffing package (it’s difficult to find a full 1 pound package, so a 14 ounce one will work)
  • 20 to 30 ounces chicken canned broth (I generally start with 2 15 ounce cans and add a couple of ounces of water if I need it)
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (optional – I skip this ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, sliced in to 8 thin pats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Brown sausage with oil, if using, in a large sauce pan.  The last time I made this I used the broiler to brown the sausage.  Turn the sausage crumbles so the pieces brown on all sides.

Step 2:  Add the onion, celery and garlic, if using, and saute a bit longer.  Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool a bit.

Step 3:  In a half size steam tray pan or a lasagna pan, add the stuffing mix and sausage.  Mix to distribute sausage throughout the stuffing mix.  Add chicken broth and mix to moisten throughout.  If you need a little more liquid, add an ounce or two of water.  Spread mixture evenly in the pan and place the butter pats on top of the mixture.  Cover with aluminum and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  About halfway through cooking, remove the aluminum covering to allow the stuffing to brown on top.  Serve warm.

Tips:  This stuffing is delicious cold out of the fridge or as warmed leftovers.  Also, you can prepare the stuffing the day before up to covering with aluminum foil and then store in the fridge until you’re ready to bake for the special meal.

Enjoy!!!

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Cannoli Cream Filled Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups #ChocolateParty

Cannoli Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Cup | Bakewell Junction

Cannoli Cream filled Chocolate Chip Cookie Cup | Bakewell Junction

Oh, no!  I missed the last two weeks of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop and haven’t posted in a while because my laptop went kaput.  Not fun.  A nasty virus took over the entire machine and blocked me from doing anything.  While it was an old machine anyway, I was trying to eek out some more time with it.

On to better things with this month’s #ChocolateParty.  The theme for the December Chocolate Party is any type of chocolate cookie.

I love Cannoli Cream filling but I was never fond of the Cannoli shell.  To me, the shell is only a vehicle to get my fill of Cannoli Cream yumminess.  I’ve made cookie cannoli shells before but they were very delicate.  I thought that making the shell out of my favorite chocolate chip cookie dough would be less fragile.  My attempt failed because I couldn’t shape the cookies after they were baked.  They broke instead of curling into a cylinder.  I had to change plans quickly, so I changed the shape with the remaining dough into cookie cups using a regular sized cupcake pan.  Boy, you can get a whole lot of Cannoli Cream into those cookie cups!  Yum!

These would be wonderful as an addition to your New Year’s dessert table.  You will need to begin preparing the ingredients ahead of time and assemble just before serving.  I served them as one of the desserts for Thanksgiving and there was no talking as everyone was eating them, just mmmmm’s from the very first bite.  Great endorsement, wouldn’t you agree?

Cannoli Cream filled Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Yield:  30 servings                  Cook Time:  15 minutes

Dough:

  • 4 ounces chocolate bar (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 cup room temperature butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli’s)

Cannoli Cream Filling:

  • 2 lb container Polly-O ricotta cheese, drained overnight in a 2-ply cheesecloth (it drains best at room temperature, provided it’s cooler than 70 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 c mini chocolate chips; plus some additional for garnish

Topping:

  • mini chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
  • Chocolate sprinkles or colored sprinkles (Holiday colored)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the Cannoli Cream filling:  at least three days before serving, mix drained ricotta, vanilla and sugar together.  Move the mixture to a food processor (I used a small Kitchen Aid chopper) and mix until the filling is smooth and is the right consistency.  Depending on the size of your food processor or chopper, you may need to mix in small batches.

Step 2:  Fold in the mini chocolate chips, cover loosely and store at least overnight (better yet two nights) in the refrigerator.  When ready to fill, transfer the filling to a gallon size Ziploc bag make a 1/2 inch cut on one corner of the Ziploc bag.  Use as a pastry bag to fill the chocolate chip cookie cups.

Step 3:  For the cookie cups:  Grate the chocolate bar and set aside.  Grind the oatmeal to a fine powder in a blender, food processor or mini chopper.  Since I only have a mini chopper, I grind this in two batches.  This isn’t mandatory but to make sure the oatmeal is ground finely enough, I put the oatmeal through a sieve and whatever is left gets ground again.  I repeat this process until my mini chopper can’t grind it anymore.  At the end if there’s a small amount that can’t be ground finely enough, I discard it.  In a large bowl, combine the ground oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.

Step 4:  With an electric mixer beat the butter and sugars together for about 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture is fluffy.  Beat the eggs and vanilla into the butter mixture.  Add in the flour mixture using a spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated.  Mix in the chocolate chips and grated chocolate bar.  Optionally chill dough for several hours to overnight.  This helps the flavors meld.  Try not to eat too much of the dough.

Step 5:  Line a regular sized cupcake pan with paper cupcake liners.  Lightly press about a tablespoon of cookie dough into the bottom of each liner.  Add about another tablespoon of cookie dough for the sides of the cup.  Carefully spread the cookie dough evenly around the sides.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 5 minutes.  The cookie cups will be puffed up and look like cupcakes.  Cool 5 minutes.  Using a mini ladle (1 or 2 ounce size), press the cup side down into the cookie cups to make a well in the center.  You can also use the back of a spoon or a pestle to create the well.  Let the cookie cups cool completely.  Repeat for the remaining dough.

Step 6:  Fill the cookie cups with Cannoli cream.  Top with mini chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles and or red and green Christmas sprinkles.  Serve immediately.

Storing:  Store empty cookie cups in a sealed plastic container for a few days.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from the fake Neiman Marcus Cookie recipe e-mail that’s been all over the internet.

Our #ChocolateParty December theme is any type of chocolate cookies.  If you’d like to join in, please follow these rules:

1.)  Blog about your chocolate treat.  Your recipe must include the two ingredients we choose.  It can be a simple no bake treat or a sophisticated layer cake; the complexity level of the recipe is totally up to you.
2.)  Include a link back to the Chocolate party page.  Optionally, add the Chocolate Party logo in your blog post or on your sidebar.
3.)  Your recipe must be published during the current month.  Please do not link old recipes, they will be deleted.

I hope you’ll join our party and bake along with us.  Also, if you’d like to know what are we up to and what ingredients we pick for the next parties, join our Facebook group.
All submitted posts will be pinned to the Chocolate party Pinterest board and will be promoted on other social media platforms using the #chocolateparty hashtag.

Add your link to the Chocolate Cookies Party.  Your link will be displayed on the Roxana’s Home Baking site.

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Jelly Belly Cookies #12WksXmasTreats

Jelly Belly Cookies | Bakewell Junction

Jelly Belly Cookies | Bakewell Junction

It’s time for the tenth week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop.  It’s hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  The blog hop goes live every Wednesday until Christmas.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

Time is flying by so fast.  I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  For this week’s entry, I intended to post a pumpkin pie but it was a failure (a.k.a I didn’t like it).  I had to find a quick and tasty recipe and decided on this one that my friend Chris had given me last year.  This is a tender butter cookie with raspberry jam or preserves in the center.  You can add powdered sugar if you like but I think they are great without.  The hubby and his friend loved them.

Jelly Belly

Yield:  48 cookies                  Cook Time:  12 minutes

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature or softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/8 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups raspberry jam or seedless preserves (I used preserves)

Directions:

Step 1:  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, cream together butter, salt and sugar for a few minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until smooth.  Gradually mix in flour until well combined.

Step 3:  Form level teaspoons of dough into balls (mine had a little more dough) and place on cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.  Indent each dough ball with knuckle or thumb and fill with 1/4 teaspoons of jam or preserves.

Step 4:  Bake 12 to 14 minutes at 350 degrees until edges begin to become pale golden (mine didn’t change color but after they cooled the bottoms were light golden).  Cool completely before removing them from the pan as they are delicate.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Recipe minimally adapted from friend Chris’ family recipe.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 10, November 27, 2013

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Anise Cookies #12WksXmasTreats

Anise Cookies | Bakewell Junction

Anise Cookies | Bakewell Junction

It’s time for the seventh week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop.  It’s hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  The blog hop goes live every Wednesday until Christmas.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

I’m always looking for recipes that remind me of childhood favorites and homemade versions of commercially made ones.  This Anise Cookie fits the bill for both and reminds me of the Stella D’oro Anisette Sponge cookies we had all the time as kids.  My Dad used to work for the company when I was in grade school and we had all different types of their cookies in the house all the time.

This Anise Cookie recipe is easy and you can add powdered sugar if you like but I think they are lovely as is, possibly with coffee or tea.  My husband and his friend gave their hearty approval.  Although the cookie has the shape of biscotti, they are a sponge cookie.  I know you would love them too.

Anise Cookies

Yield:  24 cookies                  Cook Time:  20 minutes

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons anise extract or 2 1/2 tablespoons Anisette Liquor
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:

Step 1:  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour and baking powder and set aside.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, beat together oil and sugar.  Beat in each egg individually.  Beat in the anise extract.  Mix in the flour in two additions until just combined.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let batter relax in a warm place for 25 minutes.

Step 3:  Transfer half the batter to one cookie sheet and form using a silicone spatula into an oblong log about 6 inches wide and 14 inches long.  The dough will be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  The edges will begin to become lightly browned.  Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.

Step 4:  Repeat step 3 for the remaining batter.  Serve when cool and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Recipe minimally adapted from My Italian Grandmother.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 7, November 6, 2013

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Vanilla Venetians #12WksXmasTreats

Vanilla Venetians | Bakewell Junction

Vanilla Venetians | Bakewell Junction

It’s time for the sixth week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop.  It’s hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  The blog hop goes live every Wednesday until Christmas.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

I’ve been looking for a Venetians recipe that I could make for my sister-in-law.  Although she hasn’t tasted the almond flavored ones I’ve made (which can be found here), she always says she doesn’t like them.  I looked for a Venetians recipe that didn’t have the almond paste.  This was no easy task because they sometimes go by Rainbow Cookies, Tri Color Cookies or Seven Layer Cookies and most of them have almond paste.  I found this one that looked good.  My husband and his friend said they were fantastic.  I like them but I may need to try some more recipes so don’t be surprised if you see some more.

Vanilla Venetians

Yield:  36 cookies                  Cook Time:  10 minutes

Batter:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 4 to 6 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 8 to 10 drops red food coloring
  • 8 to 10 drops green food coloring

Filling and Icing:

  • 8 to 10 ounces apricot or seedless raspberry preserves
  • 6 ounces special dark chocolate bar (I used Hershey’s)

Directions:

Step 1:  Prepare 3 11 by 7 inch pans.  I used the half tray disposable aluminum pans for this.  Spray the pans with cooking spray, line with wax paper and then spray the wax paper with cooking spray too.  You can make these in a pan that’s just been sprayed with cooking spray but they are very thin and you will have difficulty taking them out without breaking them.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar for about five minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined.  Mix in the flour in small batches.

Step 3:  In a medium bowl beat the egg whites on high for about 10 minutes until stiff.  Fold into the batter until incorporated.

Step 4:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 cup) and add 8 drops green food coloring.  Mix the food coloring using a folding motion to mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as necessary to get the color you want.  Spread the batter as evenly as possible in a prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  This works best if the rack is in the middle of the oven.

Step 5:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 cup) and add 8 drops red food coloring.  Mix the food coloring using a folding motion to mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as necessary to get the color you want.  Spread the batter as evenly as possible in a prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  This works best if the rack is in the middle of the oven.

Step 6:  Take the remaining batter (about 1 cup) and spread the batter as evenly as possible in a prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  This works best if the rack is in the middle of the oven.   Cool all three cakes completely.

Step 7:  Warm the apricot preserves in a bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals while stirring between intervals.  Heat for a maximum of 1 1/2 minutes.  Place wax paper on a cookie sheet and then the invert the green layer onto it (be sure to invert the green layer if you’re using a pan with ridges on bottom).  Spread 1/2 the apricot preserves on the green layer.  Place the untinted layer on top of the green layer.  Spread the remaining apricot preserves on the untinted layer.  Place the red layer on top of the untinted layer right side up and cover with wax paper.  Place another cookie sheet on top of the layers and place weight on top.  Chill everything overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 8:  Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and remove the weight.  Cut the edges of the layers so there are clean edges.  The cut pieces are great for snacking.  Carefully melt 1/2 the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  Spread the chocolate on the top and sides of the cookies.  Let the chocolate dry.  Turn the cookies over, melt the remaining chocolate and spread on the bottom also.  Let the chocolate dry.  Turn the cookies over and cut into 6 by 6 pieces.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Tips:

  • When the apricot preserves are heated, you can remove any large apricot chunks before spreading.  Heating the apricot preserves allows the preserves to soak into the layers and helps the layers cling together better.
  • To cut the layers into pieces, carefully use a sharp serrated knife.  Have the layers placed with the long edge closest to you. Run the knife under hot water and dry it.  Cut the layers in six slices along the long edge of the layers.  To minimize cracking in the chocolate, start cutting in a sawing motion with the warm knife until you break through the chocolate; then press down until the knife cuts through to the bottom of the layers and chocolate.  You will likely need to repeat running the knife under hot water after four slices.  Turn the pieces that look like long narrow logs sideways.  Repeat running the knife under hot water.  Using the same sawing motion to get through the top layer of chocolate and then pressing down to cut through to the bottom of the layers and chocolate, cut each log into 6 pieces.  You will likely need to repeat running the knife under hot water for each log you cut.  Plus if some of the chocolate cracks, then you have a great snack.
  • Making these a few days ahead of time allows the flavors to meld and they taste even better.

Recipe adapted from My Italian Grandmother.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 6, October 30, 2013

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Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles #12WksXmasTreats #Chocolate Party

Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles | Bakewell Junction

Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles | Bakewell Junction

It’s time for the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop again.  It’s hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  The blog hop goes live every Wednesday until Christmas.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

This is the fifth week of Christmas Treats and I’m combining #ChocolateParty and #12WksXmasTreats.  Since the theme for Chocolate Party for October is candy bars, I decided to make these Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles.  This recipe is a variation of the dough I used for my Deep Fried Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.  I liked it best when it was frozen.  My hubby wanted baked cookies, so I did bake some at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  They turned out sort of flat but he thought they were great.

Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Yield:  40 – 45 truffles

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pasteurized eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed Butterfingers (about 8 or 9 fun size candies)
  • 1 cup holiday sprinkles

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  With an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars for about five minutes.  Add the eggs in two additions; mixing to combine after each addition.  Mix in vanilla and then flour in small batches.  Stir in chocolate chips and crushed Butterfingers.

Step 2:  Chill dough for 1 to several hours to make the dough easier to form.  Form cookie dough balls (about 2 teaspoons), roll in holiday sprinkles, pressing them into the dough so they adhere, and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.  When all dough balls are formed, chill in the freezer at least 1 hour.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Food Network, courtesy of George Duran.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 5, October 23, 2013

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Our #ChocolateParty October theme is candy bars and chocolate.  If you’d like to join in, please follow these rules:

1.)  Blog about your chocolate treat.  Your recipe must include the two ingredients we choose.  It can be a simple no bake treat or a sophisticated layer cake; the complexity level of the recipe is totally up to you.
2.)  Include a link back to the Chocolate party page.  Optionally, add the Chocolate Party logo in your blog post or on your sidebar.
3.)  Your recipe must be published during the current month.  Please do not link old recipes, they will be deleted.

I hope you’ll join our party and bake along with us. Also, if you’d like to know what are we up to and what ingredients we pick for the next parties, join our Facebook group. All submitted posts will be pinned to the Chocolate party Pinterest board and will be promoted on other social media platforms using the #chocolateparty hashtag.

Add your link to the Chocolate Candy Party.

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Anise Biscotti with Almonds #12WksXmasTreats

Anise Biscotti with Almonds | Bakewell Junction

Anise Biscotti with Almonds | Bakewell Junction

I’ve joined the blog hop 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats again this year.  It’s hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  The blog hop goes live every Wednesday until Christmas.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

I missed the first two weeks but I made it for the third week.  Many of my Christmas recipes were submitted in last year’s blog hop but I still have some more to share and may find some new ones too.  This recipe is slightly adapted from my Mom’s distant cousin’s recipe.  It’s easy to make, not too sweet and loved by all.

Anise Biscotti with Almonds

Yield:  18 – 24 biscotti                 Cook Time:  40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons anise extract
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched slivered or sliced almonds (coarsely chopped)

Directions:

Step 1:  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.  Blend eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for three minutes on a medium to high speed.  The mixture should have a custard-like/creamy consistency.  Add butter and extract to the egg mixture and beat about 1 to 2 minutes.

Step 2:  Add 1/2 the flour and mix in at low speed.  Mix in the remaining flour, scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed to incorporate completely.  On low speed, mix in 1 to 1 1/4 cups of the almonds in small increments to evenly distribute them.

Step 3:  Divide dough in half.  The dough will be sticky, so wet you hands with water to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.  On a parchment lined cookie sheet, shape the dough into a 2 inch by 13 inch log.  If using a large baking sheet, leave room for the second log.  Repeat with the remaining dough.

Step 4:  With wet hands, smooth the logs.  Remove any excess water on the cookie sheet with paper towels.  Spread the remaining nuts evenly on top of the logs.  Press the nuts lightly into the dough.  If the logs become a bit misshapen, reshape them a little.

Step 5:  Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 23 to 24 minutes.  Remove cookies from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees.  Let logs cool for 10 minutes.  Cut logs on a slant into equal 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices.  Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 17 to 18 minutes.

Recipe adapted from my Mom’s cousin.12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 3, October 9, 2013

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