What do you think about when you Think of Christmas? Me, I imagine a beautifully ornamented tree, carols, my family around me, a steaming cup of hot cocoa and sweet sweet cookies.The most enjoyable part for me though is the process of making them and having the entire house smell so wonderful.Cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla and all sorts of spices fill the air and really make Christmas real for me. I don’t have a special recipe I use usually. I like mixing things up and trying new things each year to surprise my loved ones and me as well. This year I have decided to give a try to the following 6 Sweet Christmas Treats Recipes. They seem rather easy to make,beautifully ornamented and very yummy. Hope I’ll be successful. What are your favorite recipes? Don’t hesitate to share them with us.
1. Sweet Christmas Treats: Rose Neapolitan Spritz Cookies
1 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon strawberry extract
pink gel food coloring
1/4 cup cocoa
Heat oven to 400°F. Combine butter, sugar, egg and extract in mixer. Blend at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour and salt; and blend at low speed until well mixed. Divide and tint dough, if desired.
To make Rose Cookie Spritz, insert a 1M or 2D tip into pastry bag. Fill bag with cookie dough. I found that if the dough was a bit warm (as in heated by the warmth from my hands) it was easier to pipe out these cookies.
Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until slightly golden.
To make Strawberry Spritz Cookies:
Replace vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon strawberry. Tint dough with pink gel food coloring.
To make Chocolate Spritz Cookies:
Replace 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of cocoa. Do not use almond extract.
2. Sweet Christmas Treats:Christmas Swirl Sugar Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened
1 & ½ cups powdered sugar
2-3 tsp extract
2 & ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
No-Taste Red and Kelly Green Wilton gel food coloring
Christmas sprinkles, if desired
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone liners or mist lightly with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder + salt.
Cream together the butter and powdered sugar until blended. While it’s blending, crack your egg in a small bowl and beat it gently with your extracts of choice to combine. Add the egg/flavoring mixture and beat to incorporate.
Gradually add the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. When most of the dough sticks to the paddle of your mixer, it should be ready. Also, SugarBelle says when she gently presses her finger to the dough, it yields rather than sticks.
Turn your dough onto a flat, clean work space very lightly dusted with flour. Separate the dough into two even balls and make a nice dent in the middle of each. Take a butter knife and scrape some food coloring out from each bottle, then wipe the coloring into the dough ball dent (one color per ball).Start folding the dough in and around the colored dent in the middle. When you work the dough outside—>in, it will decrease the likelihood you’ll get dye on your fingers.
Take a small Tablespoon-sized ball of dough from each color and press the dough balls together to form one big ball. Gently roll out the two-toned dough ball into a long snake shape. Starting from one end, roll up cinnamon roll-style until you have a swirly cookie. Roll the edges of the cookie in sprinkles, if desired.
Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Do not over-bake them! Allow to cool on the cookie sheets about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
3.Sweet Christmas Treats:Fleur de sel caramels
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
parchment paper or wax paper, for wrapping
Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan (or loaf pan) with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil (or lightly cover with cooking spray), allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.In a deep saucepan (6 inches diameter by 4 1/2 inches deep) combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don’t stir – just swirl the pan to mix. Bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.When the caramelized sugar is the right color, very slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel while stirring – it will boil up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
For rolled caramels:
When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Starting at 1 end, roll the caramel up tightly until you’ve rolled up half of the sheet. Cut the sheet across and then roll the second half tightly. You will have 2 (1 by 8-inch) logs. Sprinkle both logs lightly with fleur de sel, cut each log in 8 pieces. Cut parchment papers (or wax paper) in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
For square/cubed caramels:
When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Then use a large knife to carefully cut the caramel into squares of your desired size.
4. Sweet Christmas Treats:Snowflake Cupcakes
Perfectly Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)
1 cup boiling water
Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.
Bake cupcakes for aproximately 18-22 minutes.
Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup (1 stick/8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter (set at room temp about 10 minutes, but should still be cool)
8 oz. cream cheese (directly from fridge)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds)
Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met.
Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
Use at once or keep refrigerated.
5.Sweet Christmas Treats:Candy Cane Marshmallow Pops
1 child to crush candy canes (optional, but fun)
mini candy canes
melted chocolate (we use Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate block)
crushed candy canes
Stick a mini candy cane into the large marshmallow.
Dip the marshmallow into the melted chocolate, allow excess chocolate to drip off, then roll into the crushed candy cane.
Place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and allow to set.
6.Sweet Christmas Treats:Hot Cocoa Cookies
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
7 bars (3.5 oz. each) semisweet chocolate – 12 oz. chopped, 7.5 oz. cut into 1-inch squares and the rest for garnish
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring frequently, over medium heat. Let cool for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla at low speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture just until blended. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll between your palms to form 1-inch balls. Arrange about 16 balls 2 inches apart on each cookie sheet, flattening slightly. Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, snip 8 marshmallows in half crosswise and stick 1 square of chocolate onto each of the cut sides.
Remove the cookie sheets from the oven; gently press a marshmallow half, chocolate side down, into each cookie. Bake until the marshmallows are just softened, about 4 minutes.
Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 5 minutes; grate the remaining chocolate over the hot cookies. Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to the racks; let cool. Repeat the process with the remaining dough, marshmallows and chocolate. Bake each batch on a clean sheet of parchment.