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.

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12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 10, November 27, 2013

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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie #12WksXmasTreats #ChocolateParty

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie | Bakewell Junction

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie | Bakewell Junction

It’s time for the eighth 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.

This week I’m combining the #12WksXmasTreats with November’s #ChocolateParty.  The theme for the Chocolate Party is pecans.  I’ve always wanted to make pecan pie…not just regular pecan pie, I’d seen this decadent version has chocolate and another layer of flavor with the bourbon.

I had boxed pie crust mix left over from a bout of pie baking my husband had a while back, so I used that for the crust of this Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe.  You can use a homemade crust or a pre-made crust from the supermarket.  Two of my brothers-in-law were visiting yesterday and this pie came together rather quickly while they were here.  They loved the pie and my hubby (who doesn’t like pecans) even asked for a second piece.  He also demanded that I make it again not just this once for the blog.  I’d say this recipe is a winner.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

Yield:  8 – 10 servings                  Cook Time:  60 minutes

  • 1 – 9 inch deep dish prepared pie crust
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light of corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon (I used honey Jack Daniels)
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups pecans, divided
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

Step 1:  Chill the prepared pie crust in the refrigerator or freezer while you make the filling.  Mix the eggs, corn syrup, butter, sugar, bourbon, vanilla and flour in a large bowl.  I used an electric mixer.

Step 2:  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly on the bottom of the pie crust.  Coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of pecans the pecans and sprinkle evenly on the bottom of the pie crust.  Carefully pour the filling into the pie crust.  For a pretty presentation, place the remaining pecans on the top in a circular fashion.

Step 3:  Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes.  I used a glass pie plate so I baked the pie at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.  Continue baking for 45 minutes.  Cool pie until set, at least one hour.  Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Storing:  Store covered by plastic wrap at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Amateur Gourmet and She Wears Many Hats.

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12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 8, November 13, 2013

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Our #ChocolateParty November theme is pecans 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.  Your link will be displayed on the Roxana’s Home Baking site.

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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.

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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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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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NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie with Ice Cream and Chocolate Syrup

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie | Bakewell Junction

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie | Bakewell Junction

Memorial Day means different things to different people.  It is a day honor those who gave their lives so we as a country could be free.  It also signifies the beginning of the summer season.  This year it’s also a time for my husband and I to keep our doggie quiet since she’s recovering from her ACL surgery last Monday.  As she gets better she wants to run, jump and spin in circles like she normally would.  This is very bad for her recovery, so we watch and wait.

The summer season means lots of barbaques, grilling and campfires.  I originally intended to post a homemade marshmallow recipe which would have been great for roasting or s’mores but the marshmallows were a flop.  It was my first time making marshmallows and the recipe included unflavored gelatin which I couldn’t find in my local supermarket (go figure).  I found some in the natural foods store but it may not have been the same thing and probably didn’t work the same way.

Instead I turned to a recipe that I’d seen recently on Sugarcrafter.  Tracy isn’t the only one that hadn’t tried the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe – I hadn’t either.  It seemed like a relatively easy recipe with a great result and so I made them.

Unfortunately this weekend I was having no luck whatsoever, I made an error with the cookies.  I inadvertently added an extra half stick of butter to the recipe.  In addition, I don’t have a kitchen scale – except for my Grandmother’s really old one that isn’t precise enough – so I divided the dough into 20 equal portions instead of 3.15 ounce balls.  In the end the cookies turned okay.  They spread a bit more than they should because of the extra butter and were crispier too but my husband really liked them anyway.  To dress them up a bit, I added vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

What did you do for Memorial Day – family barbaque, camping or something else?

Enjoy!

NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield:  20 cookies                  Cook Time:  18 – 20 minutes

Dough:

  • Substitute 3 sticks of unsalted butter for the 2 1/2 sticks to the recipe here.

Ice Cream:

  • 1 1/2 quarts of your favorite French Vanilla Ice Cream (I prefer Breyers)

Topping:

  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup for drizzle.

Directions:

Step 1:  For the dough:  Follow the directions found here with the higher butter substitution.

Step 2:  To serve:  Optionally warm the cookie in a microwave save dish for 10 to 15 seconds, top with a large scoop of ice cream and drizzle with Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup.

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

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from Tracy of SugarCrafter.

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Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies

Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies by Bakewell Junction

Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies by Bakewell Junction

I’m sharing a delicious recipe that I made a few weeks ago.  This Christmas my friend Chris sent over her cookies and they were unbelievably delicious.  She agreed to give me her recipe and they turned out wonderfully.

My prior attempt to make Venetians with a different recipe a few years ago didn’t turn out well at all so I hadn’t tried another recipe until now.  My husband and I won’t even eat these if they’ve been purchased because they just don’t taste good.  I can hardly believe how delicious these are.

Although there’s some extra steps in assembly, these cookies aren’t really too difficult to make.  I did learn some things while making this recipe.  My Apricot preserves had some apricot chunks in it and I should probably have removed the chunks (although there were no complaints, mind you).  My almond paste wasn’t broken up evenly and it didn’t incorporate evenly into the cake (again, no complaints).  I’ve added tips at the end of the recipe so you won’t run into the same things.

I hope you try this recipe because you will get what I call the “wow factor”.  When you serve these cookies, anyone that tries them will say wow.  So do you like these cookies from the Italian bakeries?  The cookies have so many names, what name do you use?

Enjoy!

Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies

Yield:  48 or 64 cookies (depending on cut)                  Cook Time:  15 minutes

  • 8 ounces Almond Paste (I used the Odense 7 ounce tube)
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons almond extract
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 drops red food coloring
  • 12 drops green food coloring

Icing and Filling

  • 1 12 ounce jar apricot preserves
  • 1 – 2 Special Dark Chocolate bars (I used a combination of Lindt and Ghirardelli)

Directions:

Step 1:  Spray 3 13 by 9 by 2 baking pans with cooking spray, line with wax paper and then spray the wax paper with cooking spray too.  I didn’t have three pans of this size, so I prepared my cakes one at a time.

Step 2:  Break apart almond paste until it looks like grains of sand and no lumps remain.  Step 3:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine almond paste, butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract.  Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add flour and salt. Mix until combined.  In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.  Carefully fold into the batter.

Step 4:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 cup) and add 10 drops of green food coloring.  Using a folding motion mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as needed to reach the color you want.  Spread the green batter as evenly as possibly in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes until the edges become light golden.

Step 5:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 cup) and add 10 drops of red food coloring.  Using a folding motion mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as needed to reach the color you want.  Spread the red batter as evenly as possibly in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes until the edges become light golden.

Step 6:  Take the remaining 1/3 of the batter (about 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 cup) and spread as evenly as possibly in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes until the edges become light golden.  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 green layer.  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 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 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 and spread chocolate on the bottom also.  Let the chocolate dry.  Turn the cookies over and cut into 8 by 8 pieces or 6 by 8 pieces.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Tips:

  • Breaking up the almond paste can best be accomplished by breaking it into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes and using a food processor, mini chopper or blender to break it up completely.  If you don’t have access to any of these, you can use a grater to break it up.
  • 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 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 eight slices (if you want larger cookies, make 6 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 8 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.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from my friend Chris.

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Black and White Cookies {or Red for Valentine’s Day with White Chocolate} #chocolateparty

Black and Whites | Bakewell Junction

Black and Whites | Bakewell Junction

It’s Valentine’s Day in a few days and I’ve been wanting to share a post for Black and White cookies, so I made a few changes to have them fit the holiday.  These are easy to make and tasty too.  As I wrote this post I noticed that Paula Deen’s original recipe got a lot of negative comments but I didn’t have the same problems and I’m glad when I printed the recipe there weren’t any comments yet or I might never have tried the recipe.

I wanted the cookies to have a heart shape, so I tried two different methods to have the cookies turn out that way.  I first tried to make heart shaped molds out of heavy duty aluminum foil but although the shapes looked okay, the cookies turned out more like biscuits because I made the molds too small so the cookies were too thick (that didn’t hurt the taste any though).  For some of the cookies, I cut the round shapes to have a point at the bottom and a divot at the top.  Do you like the look of the smaller and thicker molded cookies or the cut cookies?

Black and White Cookies

Yield:  20 to 25 cookies                  Cook Time:  15 minutes

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing and Chocolate

  • 1/4 cup boiling water, as needed
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 ounces chocolate candy bar (use your favorite brand)
  • red food coloring, optional
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Step 1:  Mix together flours and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture becomes lighter in color and is thoroughly mixed.

Step 2:  Incorporate eggs into the butter mixture individually at medium speed until each is well incorporated.  Add milk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Step 3:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper.  For regular Black and White round cookie shape, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough on the prepared cookie sheet.  For heart shaped cookie molds, place the molds on the prepared cookie sheet and drop the heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into the molds while ensuring that some of the dough will fill the entire shape.  Space cookies at least 2 inches apart and bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before icing.  If cutting the round cookies into a heart shape, cut the rounded edges from the sides to a point at the bottom.  Then cut a divot or “v” at the top of the circle.

Step 4:  Prepare the icing by mixing the powdered sugar and water (as needed) together in a medium bowl.  The icing should be spreadable but not thin.  If tinting the icing for Valentine’s Day, add 20 or more drops of red food coloring until the icing becomes a nice shade of red.  The flat side of the cookie will become the top for these.  Spread the icing on half of the flat side of each cookie.

Step 5:  Break the chocolate candy bar into small pieces and melt in a double boiler or the microwave.  If using the microwave, melt the chocolate in small increments and stir before additional heating until it’s of spreadable consistency.  Spread the chocolate on the other half of the flat side of each cookie.  Let icing and chocolate set.

Step 6:  If using the additional garnish, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  If using the microwave, melt the white chocolate in small increments and stir before additional heating until it’s of spreadable consistency.  Spoon the melted chocolate into a ziploc bag and snip the corner, making a small hole for piping.  Pipe heart shapes in the middle of each heart shaped cookie.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen on foodnetwork.com.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the button below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

Pfeffernusse Cookies

Pfeffernusse | Bakewell Junction

Pfeffernusse | Bakewell Junction

This week I’m sharing a recipe that reminds me of the Pfeffernusse that my sisters and I loved from Stella D’Oro.  The company is still around but it’s been sold at least once and they no longer make Pfeffernusse or at least I can’t find them.  There are other cookies that we remember fondly but I haven’t found recipes for those yet.

Pfeffernusse (which means pepper nut) are a lightly spiced cookie that’s quite delicious.  Be sure to coat with powdered sugar, since the dough isn’t very sweet.  It’s a great bite-sized treat.

Pfeffernusse

Yield:  75 cookies                  Cook Time:  10 – 15 minutes

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar for coating

Directions:

Step 1:  Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the cloves, cinnamon and anise seeds to the flour mixture and set aside.

Step 2:  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Add the egg and beat well until light.  Beat in the almonds.  The flour mixture will be added to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the remaining ingredients.  Mix in the molasses; then mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture; then mix in the brandy; then mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture; then mix in the honey and lemon rind; then mix in the rest of the flour mixture; finally mix in the lemon juice.  Beat well.  Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 3:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper or cooking spray.  Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place at least 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4:  Place powdered sugar in a small bowl.  While cookies are still warm, roll in powdered sugar until well coated.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from Barbara Grunes’ Joy of Baking cookbook.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the buttons below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

Foodie Friends Friday

Struffoli (Fried Italian Honey Balls)

Struffoli by Bakewell Junction

Struffoli by Bakewell Junction

I have another recipe that you just gotta try.  This recipe is a Neapolitan favorite.  There are similar recipes in other regions of Italy but this is the best.  My husband’s family had a recipe but it just wasn’t quite right, so I was thrilled a few years ago when I found this one.  There are many similarities between this recipe and last week’s post but I always make both because I can’t make just one.

Since this recipe is a little finicky, here are a few detailed tips.

Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and set aside.

Struffoli2 by Bakewell Junction

CuStruffoli3 by Bakewell Junctiont in the butter.

Add the vanilla and the first two eggs.

Struffoli4 by Bakewell Junction

Once combined, then repeat with the next two eggs and again with the last two eggs.

Struffoli5 by Bakewell Junction

Knead dough for 5 minutes and form into a ball.

Struffoli6 by Bakewell Junction

Place the dough on floured cutting board and lightly flour the top.

Struffoli7 by Bakewell Junction

After the dough has rested, begin forming the balls by rolling the 1/2 inch strips and cutting into 1/2 inch balls.

Struffoli8 by Bakewell Junction

A quarter of the dough formed into balls looks like this.

Struffoli9 by Bakewell Junction

After 3/4 of the dough balls have have been formed, begin heating the oil to 375 degrees.  Fry the balls in batches.  To ensure the cookies cook evenly on all sides, I shake the basket to turn them.

Struffoli9 by Bakewell Junction

Just to give you an idea of how much the little balls puff up.

Struffoli11 by Bakewell Junction

Move drained fried balls to a large bowl lined with paper towels.

Struffoli12 by Bakewell Junction

After all the cookies are fried, heat the honey in a medium sauce pan.

Italian Wine Cookies12 by Bakewell Junction

Add the cookies to a rubbermaid container and pour the warm honey over the cookies and turn them to coat.

Struffoli13 by Bakewell Junction

Great for gifts in ziploc containers.

Struffoli14 by Bakewell Junction

Struffoli

Yield:  too many to count                  Cook Time:  90 minutes

Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • oil for deep frying (I use olive oil)
  • 40 ounces honey or more to taste, slightly warmed

Decorations

  • Non-pareils
  • White candy coated almonds (Jordan Almonds)

Directions:

Step 1:  Combine sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until the butter is completely combined.  Mix in the vanilla.  Mix two eggs at a time.  The batter will look like a very thick cookie dough.

Step 2:  Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  Flour hands when the dough is sticky.  Form the dough into a ball and set the dough on a floured cutting board.  Dust the dough with flour, cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for at least 1/2 hour.

Step 3:  Divide the dough into quarters for easier handling.  Roll each quarter into 1/2 inch logs.  Cut into pieces that are about half of my pinky fingernail or 1/2 inch.  This will make a whole lot of little balls.  Be sure to keep them small as they will grow to 2.5 times the size as they cook.  Repeat with all the remaining dough.

Step 4:  When about 3/4 through forming the dough pieces, heat oil to 375 degrees in a sauce pan or a deep fryer.  I use a cast iron deep fryer with a basket.  Deep fry dough pieces about 2 to 3 dozen at a time depending on space until golden brown and cooked through (this works best if one person rolls the dough and another fries them).  Ensure the cookies are cooked on all sides evenly by shaking the basket to turn them or use a fork.  Place fried cookies in a large bowl lined with paper towels to drain.

Step 5:  Once all the cookies are fried and there is no more dough, transfer them to a large Rubbermaid container.  Heat honey in a sauce pan for at least 5 minutes on medium to high heat until it thins out and is quite warm.  Pour warm honey over fried cookies while they are still warm.  Stir cookies carefully (so they don’t get mashed) to ensure they are all covered with honey.

Step 6:  Place the cover on the container and flip the container upside down.  Repeat flipping the container every 30 minutes or so to ensure the cookies are well coated.  The cookies will soak up most of the honey as they are coated and recoated by flipping the container over and over.  Before serving sprinkle the cookies with hard candy colored balls (nonpareils) for decoration and add the candy coated almonds also.  Try not to eat them all.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.  The cookies are fine for many days when stored this way.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from Elodia Rigante’s Italian Immigrant Cooking cookbook.