Holiday Baking 2018

Taking a few days off of work gave me some time to start my holiday baking.  With a son who is on a low sugar and low gluten diet (not for any medical reasons, it’s just healthier), I worked out a few new recipes.

Having read somewhere that Stevia can be substituted for half of the sugar when baking, I decided to try to make cookies with a lower sugar content.  Using the traditional Tollhouse Cookie recipe as the base, I made some mint flavored cookies. You really couldn’t tell that there was less sugar in them than the normal recipe.

Mint Chip CookiesIMG_2834
Makes 4 dozen
2  1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granular sugar
3/4 cup Stevia
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Green food coloring
1/2 cup  Mint Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and coloring until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Heat dark chocolate in microwave until starting to melt.  Fold in shortening and mix until creamy. Drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Yummy!!

IMG_2835Next, I decided to try making a new recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, but modified to use Gluten-free Flour (King Arthur Measure for Measure).  The first batch I made tasted great but was extremely crumbly.  For the second batch, I added an egg to the mix.  This gave the dough enough binder to hold the cookies together.

Cherry-Walnut Balls (modified)IMG_2832
Makes 4 dozen
1/4 cup coarsely chopped maraschino cherries
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup  Gluten Free Flour (KAF)
3/4 cup Chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain the maraschino cherries on paper towels.  Beat butter on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugars, egg and flavorings and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in flour.  Stir in nuts and cherries. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 18-20 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar to coat and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Lastly, I planned to make my personal favorite – Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies. However, when I looked into my pantry, I realized that I had some lemon wafers that needed to be used up. So, I decided to try to alter the recipe and make a lemon-lime flavored version.

Lemon-Lime Thumbprint CookiesIMG_2833
Makes 5 dozen
1 cup butter
1 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Green Food Coloring
1/2  teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice powder (KAF)
2 1/2 cups flour
Lemon melting wafers (KAF)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Stir in egg, coloring and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients and stir into butter-sugar mix. Shape into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately top with melting wafer. Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Holiday Baking – Thumbprint Cookies

Day Two of holiday baking included several different of Thumbprint Cookies

Salted img_1981Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Cookie:
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granular sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs (yolks only)
2  1/4 cup flour
Filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 Tbs heavy cream

Combine 1 cup butter, sugars, egg yolks and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Add flour and beat at low speed until well mixed.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1″ balls.  Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, 2″ apart.  Make an indent in the center of each cookie with the end of a wooden spoon handle.  Bake for 7-10 minutes until edges begin to brown.

Combing brown sugar with 1/3 cup butter in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil.  Continue cooking and stirring for one more minute.  Stir in whipping cream.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.  Spoon 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture into the center of each cooled cookie. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookiess img_1972

Trial #1:  Follow the recipe above.  When the cookies are removed from the oven, top with a chocolate star candy and cover with caramel.

 

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Trial #2:  Follow the recipe above.  When the cookies are removed from the oven, top with a chocolate star candy and drizzle with caramel.

Trial #2 looked nicer and tasted better!

 

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookiesimg_1982
I made these last year and really liked them. So, they were included in my baking this year as well.  For the recipe, see the December 15, 2015 posting. 

Holiday Baking – Pretzel Butterscotch Cookies

With Christmas fast approaching, I have started my holiday baking.  Each year I try to find a new recipe or two to try.  This year, I actually come up with a couple ideas myself.

My first idea was  inspired by a recipe that I saw in a magazine – Pretzel Butterscotch Fudge.  When I saw the recipe, I thought that the combination would work for making cookies.  Using the classic Tollhouse Chocolate Chip recipe, I set out to try out my idea.

img_1966

 

For my first attempt, I simply replaced the chocolate chips with butterscotch chips and replaced the nuts with pretzel pieces.   The result tasted good.  But, in my opinion, there was too much butterscotch flavor and not enough pretzel crunch.

 

So, I decided to try again.  This time I reduced the amount of chips by half and doubled the amount of pretzels. The changes were successful – these tasted great!

img_1968

Butterscotch Pretzel Cookies
2  1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granular sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butterscotch chips
2 cup pretzels, broken in to pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips and pretzels. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.