Archives for posts with tag: holidays

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During the holidays is the best time to bake up as many treats as you can muster. Why? Because there is never a shortage of people to give them to!! Ever year I wish and wish that the days leading up to Christmas would magically become my days off so that I could spend them at home listening to Christmas music and dancing away in my kitchen. But alas, these activities must be saved for the weekends. And since there isn’t much time on the weekends, it’s important to find items that are quick and easy to make for parties or even just to enjoy while wrapping gifts.

As I had said in a previous post, mini cheesecakes should become the new trend in decadent desserts. Cupcakes have been in the spotlight for a while, and not being a cupcake person myself ( I think that cheesecakes are soooo much better), it’s time for something new!! Not only that, cheesecakes can be made to be just as pretty as their cakey cousin. For this recipe, I was in a hurry to make something for a band Christmas party. Most of the people attending had already tried my other miniature cheesecakes, and so I was immediately volunteered to make the desserts. I made mini peppermint cheesecakes and mini cookies and cream cheesecakes, both with Oreo crusts and topped with chocolate ganache. I made the cheesecakes the night before, so they would have enough time to cool, and made the chocolate ganache a few hours before the party. They turned out amazing, and I can’t wait to make more of them and see what other flavor combinations I can come up with.

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Every year around the holidays, my Mom used to bust our her incredible sugar cookie recipe. She would bake dozens of them and all of us kids would sit at the table and decorate them for hours and hours. I can remember glowing at all the designs we would come up with on all the Christmas cutouts. These are some of my fondest holiday memories, and now that I am older, I still have just as much fun making my own cookies and reminiscing as I “paint” them.

The secret to making these cookies the best is to not skimp out on the dough – you gotta make these babies thick!! Most recipes will say to roll the dough out to about 1/4 of an inch – I say, at least double that for the perfect soft sugar cookie. Here’s what you need (this recipe makes about 4 dozen if rolled out nice and thick):

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

First, mix together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then add flour, baking powder and salt. At this point, you can chill the dough if you desire (some recipes call for this), but I can never wait. So if your impatient like me, just keep going…

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and start rolling out your dough on a floured surface (also don’t forget to flour your rolling pin, or the dough will stick to EVERYTHING). Make sure the dough is thick and even, then start using your favorite cookie cutters. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until you see the bottoms start to brown. You can cook them longer if you like a crispier cookie.

Once finished, eat one and let the rest cool. If you don’t wait through the cooling process all of the cookie “paint” will drip right off and look awful. For the “paint”, mix together powdered sugar and milk until it reaches a nice pasty texture. I like to make 4 or 5 small cups of it so I can have lots of colors to choose from – just use a drop of food coloring in each. I will try to post pictures of these delectable little guys the next time I make them. Unfortunately, I was in such a rush last time that I forgot to take any photos.