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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Best Ever Christmas Cookie Exchange Recipes

My Christmas Favorites

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I’ve made the Magic Cookie Bars every year for the great cookie exchange at work and they’re always a big hit. It’s even better when I get more goodies from the others to make a really awesome mixed cookie platter to bring to a Christmas Party. I’ve made the Truffles once; two batches 10 years ago as a hostess gift and for another party. The hardest part was not eating too many of them myself! And the last recipe for the Candy Cane shortbread has not been tested yet but it’s on my list for this year!


Chocolate Expresso Truffles

From Chatelaine December 1999 pg 178

½ cup Whipping Cream

2 tbsp Butter

1 tbsp Corn syrup

1 tbsp Instant Coffee granules

8 oz (250g) good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
For decorating - cocoa powder, icing sugar, coloured sprinkles, nuts etc

1. In a large microwavable bowl, heat cream, butter, corn syrup and coffee on high until steaming hot (about 2 minutes). Or heat in a large saucepan set over medium-low setting stirring often.

2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop chocolate. Stir into hot cream mixture until very smooth. Hint – if chocolate does not completely melt, gentle heat mixture in microwave on medium power for 45 seconds, then stir until melted.

3. Leave, uncovered at room temperature until it no longer feels warm to the touch, about 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Using an electric mixture, beat chocolate mixture on high speed until colour lightens, about 1 minute.

5. Cover and place in refrigerator and chill until old enough to shape, at least 3 hours or up to several days.

6. Use a melon baller or a teaspoon, shape mixture into hazelnut size balls.

7. Using cocoa or icing sugar dusted hands, shape each scoop of chocolate into a ball. Refrigerate on a wax paper lined tray until firm, about 15 minutes.

8. Then roll in cocoa, finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, colored sprinkles or icing sugar.

9. Store in layers, separated by waxed paper, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. If truffles look scruffy after storage, roll again before serving. Makes 44 truffles

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The Original Magic Cookie Bar

By Eagle Brand

Parchment paper

2 cups graham wafer crumbs

¾ cup butter, melted

1 can (300 mL) regular or low fat Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk

1 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/3 cup flaked coconut

1 1/3 cup chopped pecans

1. Combine graham crumbs with butter, press evenly into parchment paper lined 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

2. Pour milk evenly over crumbs.

3. Sprinkle with chips, coconut and pecans; press down firmly.

4. Bake in preheated oven at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. (For a glass dish, bake at 325)

5. Cool thoroughly and cut into bars.

6. Store loosely covered at room temperature. Makes 24 bars.

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Candy Cane Shortbread

By Gay Lea Butter

Parchment paper

1 cup GAY LEA butter (unsalted)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

¼ tsp peppermint extract (optional)

1 ¾ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup rice flour or cornstarch

¾ cup chopped candy canes

1) Using electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in peppermint extract

2) Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour and rice flour

3) Transfer dough to floured work surface

4) Dusting dough lightly flour to prevent sticking, roll out dough to ¼ inch (5 mm) thickness. Cut out 2 inch wide snowflakes or other designs, re rolling scraps once

5) Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle surface of each cookie with chopped candy canes. Refrigerate for 15 minutes

6) Bake in center of oven at 350 about 15 minutes (check early) or until firm to the touch and the candy cane has melted

7) Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely. Makes about 24 cookies

Only use real butter for Christmas baking, especially for cookies. Hey it’s Christmas, it’s supposed to be fattening. For cakes, a common healthy substitute is apple sauce or even margarine, but this definitely wouldn’t work for butter shortbread right?

Choose a high quality grade candy cane. I just bought a box of rainbow candy canes from the dollar store, but now I am worried about the quality or purity of the sugar and if it would melt or bake the same way. We’ll see!
Here's a Bonus Recipe for a Jello Strawberry Pie...
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Light and Fruity Pie

Clipping from Chinese tabloid magazine
Prep time: 15 min
Chilling time: 3 hours
Makes 8 servings
1 1/3 Christie Honey Maid Baking Crumbs
1/3 cup butter melted
1 pkg (85g) Strawberry JELLO powder
2/3 cup boiling water
2 cups ice cubes
3 cups COOL WHIP whipped topping thawed
½ cup Strawberries sliced
½ cup canned lychees, drained and sliced
1. Mix together baking crumbs with melted butter and press into 9 inch pie plate. Place in freezer for 15min
2. Dissolve jelly powder in boiling water, stir well until dissolved about 2 minutes. Add ice cubes and stir until jelly thickens 3 to 5 minutes. Remove unmelted ice
3. Fold jelly into whipped topping, blend until smooth. Fold in fruit
4. Spoon into pie crust, refrigerate for 3 hours. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and sliced fruit.

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