Dec 18, 2013

My Favorite Christmas Cookies Part 2

Yesterday I shared my recipes for my favorite classic cookies (sugar cookies and gingerbread), today I’m sharing my other favorites: chocolate dipped biscotti, peanut butter balls, and reindeer patties.

Chocolate Biscotti
For me, there’s nothing better on Christmas vacation in the morning than a cup of coffee and a chocolate biscotti.

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup toasted hazelnuts (filberts), chopped*
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside. Beat butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and cocoa powder. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour, the hazelnuts, and 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate with a spoon.

Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a 9-inch-long roll. Place rolls 4 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet; slightly flatten each roll to 2 inches wide. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on cookie sheet for 45 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325°.

Cut each roll diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices, slicing carefully with a serrated knife. Place slices, cut sides down, on cookie sheet. Bake in 325° oven for at least 15 minutes. Carefully turn slices over and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until dry and crisp. Transfer to wire racks and let cool, about 1 hour.

Microwave chopped chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring twice. Add corn syrup and dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate; let excess drip back into bowl. Place cookies on waxed paper; let stand until set.

*Note: To toast nuts, spread them in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 4 to 5 minutes or until nuts are slightly golden brown, stirring once or twice. Wrap warm nuts in a clean kitchen towel. Rub nuts in towel to remove any loose skins; cool completely. Chop nuts and set aside.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles
These cookies freeze really well and are dangerously delicious straight out of the freezer.

1 jar (18oz) extra crunchy peanut butter
1 box confectioners sugar
1 stick of melted butter
Chocolate chips

Blend ingredients together using hands and then form into balls the size of walnuts. Melt chocolate bits with 1 tbs corn cyrup. Dip peanut butter mixture into chocolate and place on a tray lined with waxed paper to set.

Reindeer Patties
Despite the name and appearance, these peppermint chocolate cookies are really delicious.

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages of chocolate mints like Andes

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, butter and water, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove from heat, stir in the chocolate chips until melted and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl, and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Roll cookie dough into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, be careful not to overbake. When cookies come out of the oven, Press one mint wafer into the top of each cookie and let sit for 1 minute. When the mint is softened, swirl with the back of a spoon. For smaller cookies, break mints in half.

See Part 1 for my tips on melting chocolate.

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