Thursday, December 27, 2012

Italian Neapolitan Cookies aka Venetians

 
As some of you know, I hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange last week. We had a great time!! As I get the recipes from my friends I will post them here on Punkie Pie's blog. First up we have these delightful Italian Neapolitan Cookies. There are also known as Venetians. They are delicious! My friend says they are some what labor intensive and they need to be made ahead and store in the frig overnight. I do think I will give them a try. Maybe for Easter .. Thinking I could replace the chocolate layer with white chocolate.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can (8 oz) almond paste
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 drops liquid green food coloring
  • 8 drops liquid red food coloring
  • 1 jar (12 oz) apricot preserves
  • 2 1/2 squares (1 oz each) semisweet chocolate
 Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat three 13x9x2-inch pans with nonstick cooking spray; line with waxed apper, allowing paper to come up the short ends; spray paper.Break up almond paste in large bowl.Add butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract. Beat with electric mixer until light and fluffy, 5 minutes.
  2. Beat in flour and salt.
  3. With a clean beater, beat egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold into almond mixture until well blended.
  4. Divid mixture into three equal portions. Add green food coloring to one portion and red food coloring to another, leaving the last portion yello. Separately spread each colored portion into prepared pans.
  5. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Immediately remove the cakes from pans, using the waxed paper overhang.
  6. Heat apricot preserves in small saucepan, strain through sieve. Place green cake layer on jelly-roll pan. Spread half of the warm preserves over layer to edges; slide yellow layer on top; spread with remaining apricot preserves; slide pink layer, right side up, onto yellow layer.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap; weight down with large wooden cutting board or heavy plate. Place in refrigerator overnight.
  8. Melt chocolate in double boiler over hot water. Trim edges off cake. Spread melted chocolate to edges of cake; let dry 10 minutes or until hardened. Cut into 1-inch squares.
Additional Notes:
  • Be sure to use a clean beater when  mixing egg whites.
  • Use enough Apricot preserves between layers to make them stick together, too much and they will slide.
  • I place a heavy book on them in the frig.
  • I melt 1 & 1/2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips for top layer.
  • Be sure to cut while chocolate is warm or, with a warm knife or it will crack.
  • Store in closed containers ~ They freeze well!

Enjoy!

Candy Cane Breadsticks


These Candy Cane Breadsticks were a big hit with my hungry kids while waiting for Christmas Eve dinner to be served. Easy to make and quite tasty if I do say so myself.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Pillsbury Bread Sticks
  • 32 slices pepperoni
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, mix melted butter, garlic powder, dried parsley and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
3. On a flat surface lay out 8 breadsticks (there should be 16 in a tube of Pillsbury breadsticks)
4. Lay 4 slices of pepperoni on each of the 8 breadsticks
Take the remaining 8 breadsticks and place one on each of the breadsticks and pepperoni (like a sandwich - one breadstick, 4 slices of pepperoni, 1 breadstick)
5. Twist each of the 8 the breadstick 'sandwiches' into a swirl pattern then form into a candy cane shape.
6. Place the candy cane breadsticks onto a baking sheet.
7. Brush each candy cane with melted butter mixture.
8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden.


Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cheesy Shrimp Dip




I am a huge fan of dips, especially at the holidays. I found this Cheesy Shrimp Dip recipe from Paula Deen website. Oh my gosh! It is amazing! My guests ate every bit of it. 

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 pound medium fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch cracked black pepper
  • Assorted crackers, for serving
* Note: Use more mayo & sour cream to stretch out the amount of dip.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the red bell
pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and green onions and
cook until the shrimp are pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the
sour cream, cheeses, and mayonnaise. Add the salt and pepper, to taste.
Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Bake until lightly browned
and bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve with assorted crackers.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sugar & Spice - And Everything Nice!



Nothing says Christmas more than sugar & spice. These soft molasses crinkle cookies say it all - Merry Christmas. This recipe has been handed down from my husband's side of the family. You have to make them, not only are they delicious they will also make your house smell AMAZING when they are baking.


Ready For Santa!

Mix:
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses

Sift Together:
2 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ginger

Directions:
Mix thoroughly, form into balls the size of walnuts. Place about 2" apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes in moderate oven (350 degrees). Sprinkle sugar on cookies while warm.





 

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies - A Christmas Cookie Classic!



There's not much to say about these cookie other than they are a classic holiday cookie and enjoyed by many!! There are many recipes around for these cookies. I have found one that I like the most from allrecipes.com. The trick to these cookies is to NOT over bake. And I like to place the kisses on the cookies during the last minute of baking to ensure the kiss stays on your cookie!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extra
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar for decoration
  • 2 (9 ounce) bags milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, and 1 cup white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and stir in the milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture until well blended. Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, and roll in remaining white sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie. Place cookie sheet back in the oven and bake 1 more minute. Remove from oven, and Allow to cool completely; the kiss will harden as it cools. Note: Placing the kisses on the cookies during the last minute of baking will help keep the kisses attached to the cookies. The kisses will harden as they cool. 
 

Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Butter Drop Cookies - A Family Traditional Christmas Cookie





 

This recipe is my mom's recipe. She made these every year when I was growing up. They've always been a favorite so I keep the tradition going by making these each year. We make these in lieu of cutouts. Don't get my wrong, I love cuts but sometimes it's just too time consuming.

These are a melt in your mouth soft butter cookie. The frosting a sugar sprinkles give it just the right amount of extra sweetness.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powders
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white

Directions:
In a small bowl, beat egg white until stiff. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift flour and baking powder.
Add vanilla to milk.
Cream butter and sugar together for 2 minutes, add unbeaten egg yolk and continue beating 1 minute longer.
Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to the creamed butter. Work quickly to avoid over beating. Scrape sides of bowl now and then.
Fold in the egg whites with a spoon.
Drop for spoon onto a buttered cookie sheet (or use parchment paper on your cookie sheet), bake 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees.
After cookies cool, frost and decorate with colored sugar and/or sprinkles.

Frosting for cookies: To make frosting, mix 1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla and 3 tbsp of milk (or cream).
 
Enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cherry Chocolate Kiss Cookies

I saw these Cherry Chocolate Kiss Cookies a few months ago and I told myself I just HAVE make these for Christmas this year. Well, I did, and they are now one of my favorite Christmas cookies!! So good, I'll be making another few batches to exchange at next week's cookie exchange with my cooking club friends.

You will find the recipe below. I made few slight changes to the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened, but still cool
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained reserving 2 teaspoons of juice
  • Granulated sugar, for dipping the cookies
  • 36 milk chocolate kisses, unwrappe
Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Chop the cherries into small pieces. Set aside,
  3. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and slowly add the powdered sugar and salt.
  5. Add the cherry juice and the almond extract until combined.
  6. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the cherries.
  8. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, roll each ball in some granulated sugar, and place the balls on a baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.
  9. Using your thumb, gently press each cookie in its center until the cookie is about 1/2-inch thick.
  10. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes and then remove the pan of cookies from the oven and immediately place an unwrapped chocolate kiss onto each cookie. Place cookie pan back in the oven and bake 1-2 more minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned.
  11. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nutella Almond Crunch Cookies

I've been searching for a good chewy chocolate cookie recipe for Christmas and I found this Nutella Crunch Cookie recipe. I just wasn't sure how they would turn out - what was I thinking? Anything with Nutella is delicious - as are these cookies! I made a slight mortification to the recipe by using almonds for the nuts and added Nutella to the chocolate drizzle. Here is my version:

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup slivered almonds 
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips plus 1 T of Nutella (for drizzle)
Directions:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  2. In a large bowl, add the butter, Nutella, white sugar, and brown sugar and cream together with a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the creamed mixture and mix until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until incorporated. 
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls and then roll one half of the ball into slivered almonds.
    Note: I chill the dough for about 30 minutes before rolling into 1 inch balls.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees F. Do not over bake!
  5. Let cookies cool. Melt chocolate chips with 1 heaping tablespoon of Nutella. Drizzle on cookies.


Enjoy!!




Sunday, December 9, 2012

Peppermint Meltaways Christmas Cookies


 
 
The fun part of Christmas has begun - baking cookies!! Each year I like to try one or two new cookie recipes to go with our traditional cookie baking. This year I decided to try out these Peppermint Meltaways from Land-O-Lakes. I really like them they do melt in your mouth. Some people may think these are a little dry but I like this type of cookie. I wouldn't call them dry, it's just the type that it is. They are a buttery cookies with a slight hint of peppermint that melts in your mouth. 

This is the recipe that I got from the Land-O-Lakes website. The only I suggest is that you use real good butter such as Land-O-Lakes. I does make a difference to make the perfect cookie!

Cookie:





1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Argo® Cornstarch

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter softened
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 drops red food color, if desired
Candy canes or hard peppermint candy, crushed

Directions:

Combine butter, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low; add flour and cornstarch. Beat until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate until firm (30 to 60 minutes).

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and enough milk for desired glazing consistency in small bowl. Stir in food color, if desired. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy.