December 20, 2009

Basic Icebox Sugar Cookies

These are exactly what the name suggests, a basic sugar cookie. Slightly chewy and typical sugar cookie flavor.

Basic Icebox Sugar Cookies
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg white

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Cream butter in separate bowl until fluffy. Add sugar to butter and beat well. Add vanilla and egg white, beating well. Stir in flour mixture until well mixed.

Turn dough onto wax paper. Shape into 6-inch log. Freeze 3 hours or until very firm. Cut with sharp knife into 1/4-inch thick cookies. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Double-Chocolate Biscotti

This is a decent biscotti, but I preferred my first version with fruit and nuts better.

Double-Chocolate Biscotti
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate chips, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, combine vanilla, eggs and egg white until well blended. Stir into flour mixture until blended. Divide dough in half. Turn dough onto baking sheet coated with cooking spray. With floured hands, shape each dough into 12-inch roll and pat to 1/2-inch thickness.

Bake 22 minutes. Cool on wire racks (off cookie sheets) for 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Stand slices upright onto baking sheet. Bake additional 15 minutes or until firm. (Biscotti will harden slightly while cooling.) Makes 3 dozen biscotti.

Foccacia Tiles

This is such a simple bread recipe that I easily did it with my younger cousins when they visited for a weekend. You can top the foccacia with your favorites or with the perfect accompaniment to a special meal.

Foccacia Tiles
4 cups flour (can substitute 2 cups wheat easily)
1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cup warm water between 120 to 130ºF
Olive oil
Toppings, such as toasted seeds, oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, olives or spices

In large bowl, combine 3 cups flour with yeast and salt. Add water. Stir until all is moistened. Cover and let stand at room temperature 12 to 24 hours.

Line 15 x 10 x 1 pan with parchment paper coated with non-stick spray. Stir in remaining 1 cup flour with a fork. Turn dough onto pan. Spread to edges using hands or oiled spatula. Cover and let rest for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until puffy.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Using sharp floured knife, score dough into 6 or 12 sections. Press desired toppings lightly into dough and spread with olive oil. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 12 servings.

Artichoke Dip

This version of artichoke dip is still cheesy, but a bit lighter than other versions. Still got positive reviews. It's also extremely easy to throw together.

Artichoke Dip
14 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/2 cup light cream cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. scallions
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Combine artichokes, mayonnaise, cream cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, garlic salt, pepper, scallions and parsley. Transfer to baking dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Bake 2o to 30 minutes until warm. Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

December 13, 2009

Lime Zingers

One of my co-workers said her favorite Christmas cookies were citrus ones. I had never made citrus cookies, but I had a couple limes in my fridge and saw this recipe. They are a nice cookie, with definite lime flavor.

Lime Zingers
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
4 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. vanilla
Food coloring if desired

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In large bowl, beat butter 30 seconds on high. Beat in sugar until combined. Beat in lime zest, 1/4 cup lime juice and 1 tsp. vanilla. Beat in flour. Stir in nuts. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. (Divide dough in half prior to rolling.) Using 1- or 2-inch cutters, cut out cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake 8-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

For frosting, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 Tbsp. lime juice and 1 tsp. vanilla together until smooth. Tint using food coloring. Frost cooled cookies.

Gingerbread Cutouts

Nothing better than gingerbread cutouts to remind you of Christmas. I think next year will be a gingerbread house.

Gingerbread Cutouts
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 1/2 cups flour

Beat shortening 30 seconds on medium speed. Add sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in molasses, egg and vinegar until combined. Beat in flour. (You may have to finish mixing by hand.) Cover dough and chill several hours.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. On heavily floured surface, roll out dough half at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookies. Place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake 5-6 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute and then completely on wire racks. Frost and decorate if desired.

Best Soft Ginger Cookies

My husband said these are the best cookies he's had in decades, if not the best cookies ever. He said they are even better than his Grandma's, which is a huge compliment since they were his favo

Soft Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
Additional sugar to coat cookies

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. In separate mixing bowl, beat butter 30 seconds on medium speed. Beat in the 1 cup sugar. Add egg and molasses, and beat well. Stir flour mixture into dough. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat. Place balls 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookied sheet. Bake 10 minutes. (Cookies will still be puffed.) Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets and then completely on wire racks.