Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Goodies!!

Here are the things I made for Christmas this year! Some are really simple and others are a little more time consuming (like the coconut cake!). Enjoy!!

Red Velvet Cookies (Betty Crocker Recipe)

1 pouch of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon red food color
1 egg
1 container Cream Cheese Frosting (or you can make some if desired)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Mix cookie mix, cocoa, butter, sour cream, food color, and egg in a bowl until soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Twix Cookies

2 packages Loorna Doone Shortbread Cookies
1/2 package chocolate flavored Almond Bark, melted

28 Kraft caramels
6 tablespoons evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Combine caramels and milk in a large saucepan. Cooke and stir over medium-low heat until caramels are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, sugar, and pecans. Cool for 5 minutes. Spread 1 teaspoon over each cookie. Dip tops of cookies in melted Almond Bark and allow to dry.

Martha Washington Candy
(unless you are giving this away to a bunch of people, I recommend making 1/2 a batch)

2 pounds sifted powdered sugar
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
2 cups flaked coconut
1 stick butter, melted
3 cups chopped pecans
Dipping Chocolate:
1 cake paraffin wax
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together, shape into balls, then chill until hard. Dip chilled balls into dipping chocolate using a skewer and let cool. Using a spoon, drizzle additional chocolate over the balls to cover the skewer holes and to make candy look pretty and professional, if desired.

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies (From Martha Stewart's Cookies)

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetend cocoa powder
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water
7 oz semisweet chocolate, cut into chunks
1/4 cup granulated sugar, to roll dough in before baking

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and fresh ginger on medium speed until lightened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Beat half of the flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture. Mix in chocolate chunks; turn onto plastic wrap. Pat out into a 1-inch thickness; seal with wrap. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls; place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Chill 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until surfaces just begin to crack, 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cookies are best the day they are made but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days. Can place 1/2 of a cut apple in the container to maintain softness of cookies.

Toasted Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Filling and Coconut Buttercream (Bobby Flay)

Toasted Coconut:
2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread the coconut evenly onto a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown, stirring once (8-10 minutes). Turn off the oven and let the coconut sit in the oven until very dry and crunchy (be careful to not let it get too brown or it will taste burnt; should be lightly golden, not dark brown).

Coconut Simple Syrup:
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut

Bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir in the coconut, remove from the heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, bring to a boil and let cook until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Coconut Custard:
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons coconut rum
1 tablspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the milks in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture then return the mixture to the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the rum and vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.

Coconut Filling
3/4 cup coconut custard (see recipe above)
3/4 cup cold heavy cream

Combine the custard and cream in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form.

Coconut Buttercream
3 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup coconut custard (see recipe above)
1 tablespoon coconut rum
Pinch fine sea salt

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the coconut custard and salt and beat until combined and smooth.

Butter and flour for pans
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 equal pieces, slightly cold

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 (9 inch) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Whisk together the milk, egg whites, and vanilla in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With mixer running at low speed, add the butter, one piece at a time, and continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs. Add all but 1/2 cup of the milk mixture to the crumbs and beat at medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. With mixture on low speed, add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture, increase speed to medium and beat 30 seconds more. Scrape sides of  bowl and mix for 20 seconds longer. Divide the batter evenely between the cake pans and smooth tops using a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 22-24 minutes. Cool in the pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the side of the pan and invert cakes onto the cooling rack, removing parchment paper, and let cool completely (about 45 minutes).

Assembly of Cake:
Using a long serrated knife, slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Reserve 1 of the flat bottom layers for the top of the cake. Place a layer onto the cake plate and brush with coconut simple syrup. Spoon 1/3 of coconut filling onto the cake layer. Repeat with 2 more layers. Brush the cut side of the reserved cake layer with the remaining syrup. Place the layer cut side down on top of the cake. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the buttercream. Pat the coconut onto the sides of the cake and sprinkle the remaining coconut on the top of the cake.

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