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Marshmallow Snowballs

This is a quick and easy treat that many Newfoundlanders will recognize. These are so easy to make, and perfect for making with kids.

MARSHMALLOW SNOWBALLS

What you will need:

4 oz cream cheese

2 cups icing sugar

2 tbsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted

3 cups colored mini marshmallows

3 cups coconut

 

Combine first five ingredients, beat together until smooth.

Fold in marshmallows, then shape into balls.

Roll in coconut, and enjoy.

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Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

Cream cheese, in my oh so humble opinion, should be given it’s very own food group. I use it in more dishes, from chicken and potatoes to cookies and cakes, it’s tremendously versatile. And unsurpassed in keeping baked goods light and moist.

These cookies are all I can think of today. I made about eight dozen of these last Christmas, and I don’t think they lasted through Christmas Eve. Chickie calls them cheesecake cookies, and is adamant this is the only way to eat cheesecake. Smooth, silky, melt in your mouth deliciousness. I can’t blame her.

 

CREAM CHEESE COOKIES

What you will need:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 block cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1 small egg yolk (use only half a yolk if your eggs are large or extra large)

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

 

Preheat oven to 325. Very lightly grease cookie sheets.

Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together in on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat vanilla and egg yolk in on medium speed. Stir in flour until well mixed, but do not overbeat as the dough can get a little tough. And no one wants tough cookies.

I use a cookie press to make these, and while it’s not necessary, it gives me the best result, and makes the prettiest cookies. If you have one, dig it out and use it. If you don’t have one, you can still make the cookies, just drop teaspoon measures onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes, keeping a close eye so the cookies don’t get too dark. The cookies should still be quite pale when they’re done.

To make these cookies even more special, try making a little indent in the center of the cookie and filling with jam, preserves, chocolate chips, halved cherries, or whatever floats your boat, really. I love blueberry jam with them, and green or red cherry halves look very festive.

Have fun, and enjoy!

Orange Cranberry Bread

This is one of those recipes from childhood that always make me happy this time of year. And since it freezes so well, it actually makes me deliriously happy this time of year.  I love Christmas baking you can do so far in advance. Trust me,  it makes it easier when I’m up to my elbows in cookie dough a couple of days before Christmas. I know, I know, there are plenty of cookies that can be frozen, too, but there’s just something about the smell of cookies in the house that just says Christmas to me.

 

ORANGE CRANBERRY BREAD

What you will need:

2 cups sifted flour

1 cup sugar

1.5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

Zest of one medium orange

3/4 cup orange juice

1 cup walnuts or almonds

2 cups cranberries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda together. In medium bowl, mix melted butter, beaten egg, orange juice and orange zest together.  Gradually add liquid ingredients to dry, making sure to incorporate all ingredients well. Add nuts and cranberries, mix through evenly.

Spoon batter into prepared pans and bake for 60 – 70 minutes.

Who else feels like a Hot Rum Toddy?

Ok, so Christmas is fast approaching, and most of us are in some sort of frenzy. Shopping, cooking, baking, cleaning, wrapping, threatening kiddies with eavesdropping elves, we’re all busy with something. To top it all off for me, we are into our sixth day of snow here, and that’s just wrong enough to call for rum toddies.

This is a recipe that came from some sort of Homemaker’s-type magazine back in the early eighties that my grandmother had. She modified the recipe a little before passing it on, and I fooled with it a little more. The best part is that you can cook up the spice water mix and store in the fridge for the duration of the holidays. Just reheat, on stovetop or microwave, and Presto! instant hot toddies. Just add a splash of rum, a spoon of honey and a slice of lemon to your mug and you are off and running. Although toddies and running don’t really have much in common. As a matter of fact, I think a disclaimer is necessary. Please do not run whilst drinking hot rum toddies. Please do not operate heavy machinery whilst drinking hot rum toddies. Please do not colour your hair whilst drinking hot rum toddies. And please, please, please do not call your ex just to tell him you are such a better place whilst drinking hot rum toddies. You have all been warned.

HOT RUM TODDIES

What you will need:

10 cups water

4 sticks of cinnamon

10 whole cloves

12 whole allspice (substitute powdered if you must)

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

 1 lemon, sliced

Combine water, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Add sliced lemon, and let simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and strain into storage jug. Discard spices and lemon slices. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make toddies:

Place 1 to 1.5 ounces rum into each mug. Add 1 tablespoon of honey, and one slice lemon. Top with warmed spiced water. Drink, relax and enjoy!

Almond Snowballs

This is a recipe I tried for the first time this week, but also one I have already transferred over to my “keeper” file. It’s not my recipe, but rather one from last months issue of Chatelaine.  These are delicious, flaky, melt in your mouth shortbread type cookies. The ground almonds make them a little more decadent, and perhaps a little more holiday-ish. I used dark chocolate in the centers, and they were yummy. Next time, though, I am going to use some chocolate covered cherries I have. Can’t wait!

 

ALMOND SNOWBALLS

What you will need:

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup ground almonds

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sifted icing sugar, divided

2 tsp vanilla

chocolate chunks, for centers

 

 

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and ground almonds.

Using a large bowl, beat butter and 1/2 cup icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla.

Using a wooden spoon, or electric mixer on low, gradually beat flour mixture together with butter mixture.

Scoop dough in tablespoon measures, flattening each ball of dough to a flatter disc shape. To add chocolate center, press a couple of chocolate chips or 1 chocolate chunk into center. Roll edges around chocolate, forming a one inch ball. Repeat until all dough is used.

Place cookies at least 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 8 to 10 minutes, then remove cookies to rack for a five minute cool down. Place remaining 1/2 cup sifted icing sugar in bowl and gently roll each cookie ball in sugar until evenly coated. Let cool completely on wire rack.

This recipe claims to make 42 cookies, but using an exact 1 TBSP measure, I got 24 cookies. Your results may vary.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Or should that be Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies? With a load of chocolate chips like this, I’m not sure you’ll even know there’s oatmeal in there. And, trust me, if you don’t mention the oatmeal, most people will never know it’s there, either. This is one of those recipes that I don’t make in front of my manly man. Poor guy has no idea at all how much good-for-you food he actually eats!

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

What you will need:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg 1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In small bowl combine sifted flour,baking soda and salt. Set aside. (I almost always use kosher or sea salt in this recipe, although it is just as yummy with regular table salt. I just find the kosher really helps to make the chocolate richer. But that may be just me!)
Cream butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add egg, water, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

Add oats, chocolate chips and nuts and mix with spoon.

With teaspoon, drop on to greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Churro’s all around

These scrumptious sticks of Spanish pastry are unforgettably divine. A crunchy exterior dusted with cinnamon sugar, and a creamy, eggy interior that will melt in your mouth. And so easy to make, you can easily do a couple of dozen in under 30 minutes. And a couple of dozen can easily disappear in under 30 minutes, too.

CHURRO’S

What you will need:

1 cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup flour

2 eggs, well beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla

 Vegetable oil, for frying

Cinnamon, and sugar, for dusting

Combine water, brown sugar, salt and butter in saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately stir in flour until well combined. Beat eggs, add vanilla and stir egg mixture in. I generally use a hand mixer at this point, but it is possible to beat in by hand.

Transfer batter into pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Heat 1 to 1.5 inches oil in bottom of heavy frying pan, or dutch oven, to 375 degrees. Pipe in 4 inch long strips of batter, frying for approximately 1 minute per each side, or until churros are dark gold in color.

Remove from oil, drain on paper towels. Roll churro sticks in cinnamon sugar, or dust with icing sugar. Delicious served with ice cream, or served with warmed honey as a dip. Can be dressed up with drizzled chocolate for beautiful presentation.

Enjoy!