Wednesday, December 16, 2009

9 more days! How is you're shopping going? Mine....soso. One of these days I'll get ahead of the game...I have been saying that for years...but alas....I have yet to change. Another thing I have yet to change is my need for baking at this time of year. I just can't bring myself to buy the goodies of the season...I have to create them myself. But I think that it grounds me a bit..and puts me in the spirit. I always say: If you don't love it...don't do it. I love it! Here are a few fabulous recipes for you this season. They are simple (of course) and are sure to add a little extra to your backside!
Peppermint Stacks

8 oz cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
4 Tablespoons sour cream
10 peppermint candies

With a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar, add the extract and sour cream and beat until smooth. Cool for an hour before using with the cookies. Meanwhile, place the candies on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes in a 400 degree oven until melted and spread out. Cool completely and use as a garnish.

1 1/2 cups APF
3/4 cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cold
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pulse flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a food processor to combine well. Pulse in the butter in small chunks until well combined. Add the milk and vanilla. Mixture should come together and be smooth. Spoon the dough onto parchment paper and roll into a log. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cut the dough into thin slices. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes. Cool on baking racks.

Dulce de Leche Bars

1 stick unsalted butter, softened1/3 cup packed light brown sugar1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract1/2 teaspoon salt1 cup all-purpose flour----1 cup dulce de leche
4 egg yolks, beaten8 ounces 60%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in middle. Butter a shallow 9- to 9 1/2-inch square baking pan . Line bottom and 2 sides with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Butter parchment.
Blend together butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. Sift in flour and blend until a soft dough forms. Spread dough evenly in baking pan pressing well, then prick all over with fork. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack.
Bring dulce de leche and chocolate to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, stirring with a wooden spoon until chocolate has melted into the dulce de leche. Temper into egg yolks and cook for just a minute or so.
Pour chocolate mixture over cooled shortbread and chill, uncovered, until cold and set, about 2 hours. Cut with a hot knife.

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