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    Bread Slice Sugar Cookies

    These little bread slices bring a fun new shape to slice-and-bake sugar cookies. There's no special equipment required to make them, and they are super simple to decorate! This week I wanted to make something a little bit lighthearted to amuse myself (and maybe you, too!). These tiny bread slice cookies were just the thing. I had developed a version of these years ago for The Etsy Journal in the form of Fairy Bread Cookies, but there are so many other ways they can be decorated. I decided to whip up a batch just for fun, and I'm so glad I did!Continued, click to read more… LEGGI TUTTO

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    Chocolate Dipped Toffee Graham Crackers

    Crisp graham crackers are dunked in rich chocolate and covered with crunchy toffee bits. Toss on some festive sprinkles for maximum holiday appeal.
    This is practically a no-cook, no-bake treat that will be at home on your holiday cookie or candy tray. It’s such a simple, satisfying sweet and kids can help sprinkle on the toffee bits and holiday nonpareils. It really doesn’t get any easier than this!

    The yield is about 24 pieces, which can be divided up into snack bags for cute gifts or stocking stuffers. Who doesn’t love chocolate and toffee together? And with the slightly sweet graham cracker center it’s so crunchable and addictive!

    You can use your favorite graham crackers for this, but I used Honey Maid Fresh Stacks because they are pre-cut into squares. I didn’t even have to break any graham cracker sheets apart! I’m not sure if this was smart or just lazy – or perhaps both (ha!). I could see it being a nice time-saver for busy parents.

    As you drizzle the graham crackers with white chocolate, sprinkle them fairly quickly with toppings  before the chocolate hardens. 

    I think this might become our new holiday tradition! They are so very easy to make and a little too easy to eat. The toffee bits really bring out a buttery note in the graham crackers. 

    If you’re not looking to spend a ton of time in the kitchen this year, but still want to make some holiday treat-making memories with the kids, then this may be the ticket! 

    [click to print]
    Chocolate Dipped Toffee Graham Crackers
    Yields 24 Cookies24 oz. chocolate candy coating (almond bark or Ghiradelli chocolate wafers)
    4 oz. white chocolate candy coating or almond bark
    24 graham cracker squares
    2/3 cup toffee bits (recommend Heath Bits o’ Brickle)
    2-3 tablespoons red and green nonpareilsCover a large work surface with parchment paper.  Transfer the candy coating to a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 100% power at 30 second intervals; stir well between heating until melted and smooth. Place a graham cracker into the melted chocolate and turn using two forks. Lift the graham cracker out of the chocolate with a fork and place on the parchment. Repeat this process with half of the graham crackers. After dipping about 12, the chocolate will begin to harden so re-heat it for about 30 seconds or until it can be stirred smooth. Wash and dry the forks; proceed with dipping the next 12 graham crackers. Allow the chocolate to set up at room temperature, about 20 minutes.Melt the white chocolate candy coating in the microwave as before with the chocolate coating, and transfer it to a disposable piping bag or a zip-top bag. Pour the toffee bits and nonpareils in small bowls and have them ready to hand. Drizzle four chocolate-covered graham crackers with the white chocolate and then immediately sprinkle on toffee bits and nonpareils. Repeat process until all of the graham crackers are drizzled and coated with toffee and sprinkles. Let stand at room temperature until set, about 20 minutes.When the white chocolate is set, peel a graham cracker away from the parchment and break away excess candy from around the edges. Lay on a clean plate or serving platter. Repeat process with all of the graham crackers. Store the coated graham crackers in an air-tight container, or package 6 in each of four clear gusseted treat bags and tie with festive ribbon for gifting.

    link Chocolate Dipped Toffee Graham Crackers By Heather Baird Published: Saturday, December 19, 2020Saturday, December 19, 2020Chocolate Dipped Toffee Graham Crackers Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Festive Black and White Cookies

    Also called Half-Moons, these rich, buttery cookies have a cake-like texture and colorful frosting. The classic black and white version is glazed with vanilla and chocolate frosting, but this version is dressed for the holidays in red and green.It seems strange to call these 'black and white cookies' when they are so obviously not black and white, but I couldn't resist giving this New York native a holiday spin. Contrasting colors of thick glaze covers each side of a large lemon-scented half dome. It's not cake, but I also hesitate to call it it cookie. It's somewhere between the two. What I do know for sure is that their size and heft will power you through any intense gift wrapping marathon you may be gearing up for this week.Continued, click to read more… LEGGI TUTTO

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    Frosted Animal Cookies for Christmas

    These cookies were inspired by a nostalgic childhood treat – Frosted Animal Cookies! This version gives shortbread a holiday makeover in red, green, and white with lots of sprinkles on top.

    These cookies were the result of a happy accident. I ordered a set of cookie cutters (these) for a client project, and when they arrived they were much smaller than I expected! I love miniatures of all kinds, and these cutters were too adorable for words. If you look closely, they are all dog shapes – although the dachshund could pass for a seal which is one of the original Keebler Animal Cookie shapes – ha!

    I instantly knew these cutters were destined to stamp out shortbread shapes for a version of animal cookies all dressed in holiday colors!

    Because the cutters are so small, one batch of dough makes many, many cookies! It’s definitely an intense session of stamping and re-rolling dough, but it goes pretty fast. And the beauty of the icing is that there’s not a lot of fussy detail – it’s simply icing and sprinkles.

    I divided the assorted shapes into three batches and decorated each batch of shapes a different color. I think they look really festive!

    These don’t have to be dog shapes, of course, but if you’re like me and love doggos, or have friends that are dog owners, then bags of these would make fun gifts for them! If you’re more interested in the traditional circus animal shapes, you can find those cutters here.

    These are so buttery which is the hallmark of any good shortbread, and the royal icing gives them just the right amount of sweetness. They are so adorably mini, it makes eating handfuls a totally reasonable thing to do!
    Frosted Animal Cookies for Christmas[Click for Printable Version]
    Yields 8+ dozenSmall animal cookie cutters are required for this recipe. See blog post for sources.Shortbread
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extractPreheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment paper.Sift flour and salt into a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter and lemon zest on medium low speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth, about two minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, gently stirring just until incorporated. Flatten the dough out into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out animal shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters, and place on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes so the dough will firm and cookies will maintain their shape when baked. Bake cut-outs for 7-9 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottoms but still pale on top. Cool thoroughly on wire racks before frosting.Royal icing
    4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    3 tablespoons meringue powder
    1/2 cup warm water, plus more for thinning
    1/2 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
    green gel food color
    red gel food colorRed, white, and green nonpareil mixIn the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, stir the confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder on low speed until combined. Add the water and beat on medium high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add flavoring and beat on low until combined; divide into three bowls and tint one portion of icing with the green gel food color; tint another portion red; leave the third portion white. Bring each to flood consistency.Flood Consistency: Stir drops of water into each bowl until the icing is thinned but still has the consistency of a thick milkshake, this is called flood consistency. To make sure the consistency is correct, drag a spoon through the center of the icing in a straight line, creating an indentation. When the icing is of perfect flood consistency, the indentation should completely disappear in 10 seconds. If it disappears too quickly, then the icing is too thin and will not dry properly. The indentation should disappear as close to the 10 second mark as possible. It is much harder to thicken the icing after it has been thinned than to make thick icing thinner, so take your time and add water drops a few at a time.Place a #2 round decorator piping tip into the bottom of a small piping bag; snip off plastic on the end of the piping bag. Fill piping bag with green icing and seal the open end with a rubber band. Repeat steps with the red and white icing. Stand each piping bag in a tall glass with a moist paper towel in the bottom to prevent the icing from drying out and the tip from clogging.Pour nonpareils in a small container and have them close to hand. Divide cookies into three batches of assorted shapes on large parchment-lined baking pans. Pipe one batch of the cookies with the green icing, stopping to sprinkle on nonpareils immediately after piping each cookie. Pipe the second batch with the red icing and sprinkles, repeat steps with the white icing.Allow the cookies to dry for 4 hours or overnight. When cookies are dry, package assorted shapes and colors of cookies in cellophane bags and tie with festive ribbon. Or, keep them in airtight containers.

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    link Frosted Animal Cookies for Christmas By Heather Baird Published: Monday, December 14, 2020Monday, December 14, 2020Frosted Animal Cookies Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    Dreidel Sugar Cookies and a Tablescape for Hanukkah

    No Hanukkah celebration would be complete without the four-sided spinning top game known as dreidel! This sugar cookie version pays homage to the tradition, and becomes part of a beautiful tablescape dressed in blue hues, gold, and silver. 

    Happy Hanukkah to all my friends and readers who celebrate! This post features the second of three holiday tablescapes I created for HGTV.com (see the first right here). This one is dedicated to the Festival of Lights, and each place setting has an edible dreidel favor in the form of a frosted sugar cookie.

    I absolutely loved putting this table together – pulling items from my own collection, curating a few new dishes, and crafting some table decors, too! 

    I wanted to convey an air of celebration – cue the Hanukkah confetti poppers! Even though there’s lots of gold and silver on the table, it doesn’t feel stuffy or too formal. Metallic table scatter, patterned plates, thrift store blue glassware, along with specially crafted gelt vases filled with roses made everything feel festive yet comfy. 

    The image gallery on HGTV.com is the best place to see all the little details, and you’ll find a link to the to it at the end of this blog post. I hope you enjoy browsing it all!  

    Here’s a little more about the cookie favors! The entire recipe is on HGTV’s website, but I’ll give you a quick preview here. You’ll need a dreidel cookie cutter, or you could cut a dreidel template from a heavy piece of card stock and cut around it with a paring knife.

    You’ll also find my royal icing tutorial alongside the cookies. It’s great for all kinds of designs.

    Gold sugar pearls gave these cookies just enough sparkle. They’re made by Wilton, and are a little different from gold dragees which have a mirror-like shine. These are slightly more matte, and have rich color. You can find them right here. 

    You can freehand the Hebrew characters on the cookies using a food color pen, but a stencil will make them look picture perfect! 

    Here’s wishing all the Jewish families and communities that celebrate this special occasion a very happy first night of Hanukkah!

    Links:

    Dreidel Sugar Cookie Favors

     
    11 Tips for a Guest-Impressing Hanukkah Table Setting

    Glowing Gelt Hanukkah Centerpiece

    DIY Hanukkah Confetti Poppers

    link Dreidel Sugar Cookies and a Tablescape for Hanukkah By Heather Baird Published: Thursday, December 10, 2020Thursday, December 10, 2020Dreidel Sugar Cookies and a Tablescape for Hanukkah! LEGGI TUTTO

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    Vintage Snowman Cookie Pops

    These cookie pops have vintage appeal all while tasting terrific! Their extra-cute rosy cheeks and top hats were inspired by mid-century spun cotton snowmen ornaments.My collection of vintage Christmas decor is getting a little out of hand, so rather than add more to my stockpile, I decided to let them inspire some of my sweets! I spotted some seriously cute spun head snowmen decorations on Instagram by purveyor of excellent vintage wares, Magpie Ethel. Their shape already reminded me of a lollipop, so I had a good place to start!Continued, click to read more… LEGGI TUTTO

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    Kourabiedes Greek Christmas Cookies

    Kourabiedes are Greek almond cookies that are buttery beyond words! This shortbread is kissed with orange blossom water and covered in a flurry of powdered sugar.
    Now is the time when I’m making my cookie list, and checking it twice! I have a whole roster of recipes that I’m ready to dive into, and these are right near the top! Kourabiedes are made from shortdough, usually studded with almonds and flavored with orange blossom water or rose water. I love their wintry air, and I can just imagine how beautiful they’ll look tied up in a cellophane bag for gifting.

    If you reside in the US as I do, you can find orange blossom water in the international section at the grocery store with the Middle Eastern foods, and at most international markets. It’s such a beautiful ingredient in this recipe. 

    The water is misted on the baked cookies with a kitchen-dedicated spray bottle, and then covered in powdered sugar. At first the scent is floral, but after a couple of hours the fragrance develops into a citrusy note. If you find yourself without a spray bottle – no worries! Just lightly brush the orange blossom water on the cookies using a pastry brush.

    After the cookies are misted, they get a generous flurry of powdered sugar on top. Too much sugar is just enough here, so don’t be shy!

    These are so deliciously dense, crumbly, buttery, nutty – pretty much everything you could ever want from a shortbread cookie! 

    Greek Christmas Cookies (Kourabiedes)
    [Click for Printable Version]
    Yields about 5 dozen cookies 

    2 cups (1 lb. or 4 US sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
    1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar 
    1 egg yolk 
    1 tablespoon orange liqueur 
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
    1 cup (3 oz.) sliced almonds, toasted 
    4 1/2 – 5 cups (540-600g) all-purpose flour 
    1 teaspoon baking powder 
    Orange blossom water 
    8 cups (one 2 lb. bag) confectioners’ sugar 

    Preheat oven to 350F. Line at least two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
      
    Combine butter and 1 cup confectioner’s sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until very light and fluffy. With the mixer still running, add egg yolk, liqueur, and vanilla; beat until well incorporated. Add the almonds and mix again. 

    Sift together flour and baking powder in a separate large bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until a thick, un-sticky dough forms (you may not have to use all of the flour). Scrape down sides of bowl so that ingredients are well combined. 

    Scoop the dough using a cookie scoop (4 teaspoon capacity) or by the slightly heaping tablespoon. Place 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes until light golden on the edges. Cool slightly on the baking sheets. 

    Load a small kitchen-dedicated spray bottle with orange blossom water and spray the cookies with 2 spritzes of orange blossom water while they are still warm. If you don’t have a spray bottle, pour 1/4 cup of orange blossom water in a bowl; dip a pastry brush into the water and brush lightly over cookies. 

    Spread 3-4 cups of confectioner’s sugar evenly in the bottom of a deep baking pan or casserole dish. Carefully place each cookie in sugar lined pan, and use a sieve to evenly cover cookies with remaining powdered sugar. Let cool completely in the pan, and transfer to a serving dish. 

    Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

    link Kourabiedes Greek Christmas Cookies By Heather Baird Published: Wednesday, December 02, 2020Wednesday, December 02, 2020Greek Christmas Cookies Kourabiedes Recipe LEGGI TUTTO

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    10 Cup Cookies

    More is more when it comes to these loaded peanut butter-oat cookies! They're crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle with a bite of tart dried cranberries. A high yield recipe like this one makes plenty to package and give.Hello December! Today begins a month-long sweets fest here on the blog, and I could not be more excited to share some of my new favorite recipes with you. This year, let's celebrate and take comfort in all the good food the holidays bring. I think we all deserve it! This cookie recipe has been around for a while and originated from Taste of Home, but it was new to me. Talk about love at first batch! Ten Cup cookies are chock-full of chips, nuts, oats, and peanut butter. My variation uses dried cranberries instead of raisins, because they add a pop of color and taste a little more Christmassy to me. Continued, click to read more… LEGGI TUTTO