Holiday Cut-Out Cookies


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Makes 80 cookies (depending on the cookie cutter size; you can halve or quarter the recipe)

 

1 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
Finely chopped walnuts or sliced almonds (optional)
Sanding sugar (optional)
Dried citron or candied cherries, finely chopped (optional)

 

1. A day before baking the cookies: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or by hand, in a bowl with a wooden spoon), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each addition, then the vanilla. Gradually work in the flour until a dough forms. Wrap the dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

 

2. Heat the oven to 350° F. Whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Cut the dough into quarters and keep three-quarters cold while working with the first quarter.

 

3. Generously flour your work surface. Lay down the dough. Flour again. Roll the dough into a large circle, about 1/8-inch thick — and no thicker! Use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. It helps to dip the cutters into flour between every 2 cookies; this will prevent sticking. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Brush with the egg wash and decorate with chopped nuts, sanding sugar, or diced citron — whatever you like!

 

4. Bake the cookies until they are lightly browned on the edges, 8 to 10 minutes — I like to turn the baking sheet 180 degrees after 5 minutes to help them bake evenly. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. (Repeat with the rest of the dough.) Place the cookies in a tin or storage container with a tight lid and let age 1 to 2 weeks to bring out the flavor. (I have eaten them at Easter, 4 months later, and they were still delicious.)

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cheesecakes Ingredients


Reeses-Mini-Cheesecakes-Recipe

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Mini Cheesecakes
Ingredients

3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbls sugar
3 Tbls butter, melted
12 Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
16 oz (2 8 oz packages) of light cream cheese
1 c sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c Reese’s Peanut Butter chips
1/2 c chocolate chips
2 tsp shortening, divided
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350. Place a cup liner in each cup of your muffin pan. Make the graham cracker crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs, 3 Tbls sugar, and 3 Tbls melted butter. Combine until nice and crumbly.
Press the crust into the bottom of each cup. I use about a heaping tablespoon of the mixture for each cup and then use the bottom of my ice cream scoop to flatten the crust down.
Remove the wrappers from the Reese’s. You will want to unwrap 14 total. 12 for the cheesecakes and two for a quick snack. Place a Reese’s in the center of the crust in each cup.
Beat the cream cheese until nice and fluffy. I use the light cream cheese so I can have two cheesecakes but you could use regular cream cheese if you would like
Add in the sugar, flour and vanilla and continue beating until well combined. Add in the eggs one at time making sure they are well incorporated.
Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the Reese’s, evenly dividing the mixture among the 12 cups. I use about 1/4 c of the mixture for each cup. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the cheesecakes are set.
Let the cheesecakes cool – or don’t! They are so good when the chocolate is all ooey-gooey and melted but they really are better after they’ve cooled and chilled for a while. Melt the peanut butter chips and 1 tsp of shortening in the microwave and then use a fork to swirl the melted chips over the top of the cheesecakes. Do the same with the chocolate chips. Enjoy!
Makes 12 cheesecakes. Store in refrigerator.

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Skillet-Baked Pear-and-Apple Crisp


Perfect in the fall, when apples and pears are at their best, this cinnamon-spiced crisp brings together a flawless blend of smooth, tart, and spicy seasonal flavors. If you prefer, swap out the Cognac here for bourbon.

Ingredients:

rHD

Topping

  • 1 cup(s) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup(s) pecans
  • 2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick(s) unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Filling

  • 1 1/2 pound(s) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pound(s) firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup(s) dried currants
  • 1/4 cup(s) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup(s) honey
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Cognac
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fand butter a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
  2. In a food processor, combine the sugar with the flour, pecans, and cinnamon. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is fine. Transfer the topping to a bowl and press into clumps.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the apples and pears with the currants, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, honey, and Cognac, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Spread the fruit in the skillet and scatter the topping over the fruit.
  4. Bake the crisp in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is browned. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving with ice cream.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake


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Here’s a good recipe to save for the holidays. ( or any day)
It looks wonderful!

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

RED VELVET CAKE:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese- blend until it is nice and smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan (it will fill the pan surrounding the cheesecake).

Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggle. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours- or overnight.

Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans (or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy (do not over beat).

Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be a slightly larger round than your cake, move it to a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake to get it to the same size as your cake layers. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer to the cake- use a long, thin spatula to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Be sure to wipe off your spatula each time you are about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any red crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting.

Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the 2nd layer. Start by adding a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Because you applied a crumb-coat layer, you shouldn’t have any red crumbs floating around in the final frosting layer. Decorate, as desired. I recommend white chocolate shavings

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Mini Pumpkin Cakes with Praline Sauce Recipe


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TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min + cooling
YIELD: 18
Ingredients

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 Eggland’s Best Eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
PRALINE SAUCE:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In another bowl, beat the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, oil and butter until well blended. Gradually stir into dry ingredients just until blended.
Transfer to six greased and floured 5-3/4-in. x 3-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For sauce, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter and cream. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cakes; top with pecans. Yield: 6 loaves (3 slices each).

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