Saturday, December 11, 2010

christmas is here!

and what better way to kick off the season than with the much anticipated annual cookie exchange?

it was quite an impressive turn out, with all the expected seasonal flavors--and more butter, sugar, and chocolate than anyone could hope for. 

and the winner? these gorgeous little shortbread numbers--as delicious as they are lovely (recipe after the jump)

many thanks to our gracious and gorgeous host. we can't wait for next year!

click here for cookie recipes after the jump

cranberry shortbread
adapted from Ladies Home Journal

  • 2/3 c  dried cranberries
  • 3/4 c  confectioners' sugar
  • 1 c     unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp  salt
  • 2 c     all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz   white chocolate, melted, cooled slightly
  •    Crystal sugar
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-by-9-inch pan with a strip of foil or parchment, allowing edges to hang over opposite sides.
2. In a food processor, blend cranberries and confectioners' sugar until cranberries are finely chopped; transfer to a mixing bowl. Blend butter into cranberry mixture until smooth, then add vanilla and salt. Stir in flour until completely combined. 
3. Press dough evenly into lined pan. Bake until firm and pale brown, about 30 min. Let cool in pan about 10 min.
4. Run a knife around the edges and lift shortbread from the pan using the parchment overhang. Gently score shortbread into 12 4-inch or 18 3-inch triangles and let cool completely.(cut into 24 triangles each batch) Cut cookies following score marks.
5. Place melted white chocolate in a plastic bag, snip off a small corner and drizzle chocolate over cookies. Sprinkle with crystal sugar and tap off excess. (add some chopped dried cranberries on top) Allow to set 30 min. Store airtight for up to 5 days. 
(adaptation notes in italics)

triple coconut macaroons
Inside America’s Test Kitchen, ©2003

makes about 4 dozen

1 cup cream of coconut
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 large egg whites
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of salt
3 cups (8 ounces) of unsweetened, shredded desiccated (dried) coconut (available at Whole Foods)
3 cups (8 ounces) of sweetened flaked or shredded coconut

1. Adjust the oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Lined two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment with nonstick vegetable cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the cream of coconut, corn syrup, egg whites, vanilla and salt in a small bowl: set aside. Combine the unsweetened and sweetened coconuts in large bowl; toss together, breaking up clumps with your fingertips. Pour the liquid ingredients into the coconut and mix with a rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Chill for 15 minutes.
3. Drop heaping tablespoons o f batter onto the parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart. With moistened fingertips, form cookies into loose haystacks. (To make haystacks/ pyramids, square up the bottom of the cookie and work your fingers up the mixture to form into the four-sided “pointed” shape.)
4. Place filled cookie sheets on racks in oven and bake for 7-8 minutes. Turn the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom in the oven and bake for 8 more minutes until golden brown. (15 minutes total but my oven takes a little longer.)
5. Remove from oven and let sit on sheets for 2 minutes to allow cookies to set. With metal spatula, move cookies to wire rack to continue cooling.

chocolate-dipped triple coconut macaroons

cooled macaroons (about 30 minutes)
10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate cut into small pieces or chocolate chips

1. Cover baking sheet with clean parchment paper and set aside.
2. Melt chocolate over gently simmering heat in a double boiler or bowl over a pan. Stir a couple of times until chocolate is smooth. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. Holding the macaroon by its pointed top, dip the bottom and ½ inch up the sides in the chocolate, scrape off the excess and set on parchment. (I’ve also dipped the tops instead of the bottoms.) Repeat with remaining macaroons. Refrigerate until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes.

grown-up buckeyes (salted & spiced)
makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar SIFTED
  • 4 cups bitter sweet chocolate chips 
  • 2 T crisco or other vegetable shortening
  • kosher salt & cayenne pepper to taste
  1. Sift confectioner's sugar into a large bowl. With a rubber spatula, mix in the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla to incorporate. Finish mixing ingredients by hand.  (Note: for a more intense kick, add cayenne to peanut butter mixture. Start with 1 tsp & increase to taste)
  2. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Melt chocolate chips and shortening in a crock pot set to LOW. Stir frequently until smooth. 
  4. Drop frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate, cover completely & retrieve with chopsticks. Put back on the cookie sheet and top with a pinch of kosher salt & a dash of cayenne pepper. Refrigerate to set. Return to room temperature before serving.

mint chocolate truffle cookies
makes about 2 dozen


  • 6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 3/4 cup  (1-1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp.  CALUMET Baking Powder
  • 1/3 cup crushed candy canes

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until well blended after each addition. Add combined flour and baking powder; mix well. (Dough will be very soft.) Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. 

HEAT oven to 350°F. Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place, 2 inches apart, on greased baking sheets.

BAKE 10 to 12 min. or until tops are set. (Do not overbake.) Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy. Cool 1 min. on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


  1. um, can i come next year?? and where are the REST of the recipes? and of course yours were the winner, right? you are amazing!

  2. Thanks for your vote of confidence :) I didn't win! But I did post my recipe for you. Enjoy!