Holiday Treats

I mentioned previously all the baking I'd been doing last week to bring treats to share with my family so I thought it'd be fun to also share some of the recipes here. Every year I bake treats for our neighbors, and sometimes family and friends too, and while I have a few standards I make yearly, I always enjoy trying a few new ones. This year I made coconut macaroons, peppermint bark, baileys fudge, gingerbread cookies, and flourless chocolate-walnut cookies. Here are a few of the recipes I found, and their sources, if you'd like to make a few to ring in the new year.

Baileys Irish Cream Fudge (adapted from Just a Pinch)

Photo by Just a Pinch

Photo by Just a Pinch

24 oz milk chocolate chips ( 2 - 12 oz.pkgs.)
12 oz dark chocolate chips
14 oz marshmallow cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c bailey's irish cream
1/3 c rum
3 cups granulated sugar
12 oz evaporated milk
1/2 lb butter or margarine

In a very large bowl, combine the milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chips, marshmallow cream, vanilla, Bailey's Irish Cream and rum. Set aside. Line a 10x15" baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray. In am medium saucepan, combine granulated suagr, evaporated milk, and butter. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook slowly and stir constantly for 10 minutes. Pour the hot mixture into the bowl with the chips. Stir slowly by hand to combine. It is important to do this step by hand NOT with a mixer. Stir for approx. 2-3 minutes. Pour fudge into greased pan and chill to set overnight.

Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies (adapted from Sweet Tarte)

2 3/4 cups walnut halves
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spread the walnut halves on a large-rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes, until they are golden and fragrant. (1) Let cool slightly, then transfer the walnut halves to a work surface and coarsely chop them. Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and lower temperature to 320. Line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. (2) In a large bowl, whisk (or combine in an electric mixer on low speed) the confectioners’ sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. While whisking (or once you change the speed to medium), add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen). (3) Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds, and bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks. Let cookies cool completely, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Coconut Macaroons (adapted from One Sweet Appetite)

Coconut Macaroons by One Sweet Appetite

Coconut Macaroons by One Sweet Appetite

1-1/3 cup shredded coconut ( I used finely shredded)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 egg whites

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside. Whisk together the coconut, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla. Beat your egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peeks form. Fold into your batter. Drop by teaspoon full onto your prepared sheet and bake 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Drizzle with chocolate if desired.

Hope you're getting excited for the new year and have some fun plans with friends or family to ring in 2014! Keith and I are currently planning on going to a firework display and might try to meet up with friends of ours too. I'll be back with more fun posts next year!