Monday, December 13, 2010

Bonus Christmas Cookie Recipes

Along with the new cookie recipes I am testing this year for my Cookie Journey, I am also baking, this holiday season, some of our favorites that I have been baking for many years.  At one time or another, these cookies were also, test cookies and they passed the, well...test!  These cookies have all earned their place in my yearly Christmas cookie baking rotation.  Perhaps you'd like to try one of these out for yourself too.  It's the giving season, after all, and I'd like to share with those of you that check in from time to time to see what's new in my corner of the world.

Jenna helped me out baking Oatmeal Carmelitas over the weekend.  This is a recipe I first clipped from the food section of the Columbus Dispatch long before I ever became a Mom.  I found out several years later that these cookies originated from a Pillsbury Bake-Off contest in 1967.  Now that was before I was even born!  The theme was "Busy Lady."  I get a chuckle from that.  I'm not sure why.  It's said this recipe is one of the most requested recipes ever at Pillsbury.  I can understand why.  They are so sinfully rich and delicious; it's the reason why I only make them at Christmas-time, when there are heavy sweaters to cover up the extra pounds I gain from eating all these yummy goodies!

Oatmeal Carmelitas
Here's What You Need:
2 cups flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 small jar caramel ice cream topping
6 Tablespoons flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1cup chopped walnuts

Here's What You Do:

Heat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 13x9-inch pan. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and butter in a mixing bowl and combine with an electric mixer.  

Reserve half of crumb mixture. 
Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan.
Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes.

Stir the 6 Tablespoons of flour into the ice cream topping. 

Once the pan comes out of the oven,

sprinkle the chocolate chips on evenly, next the walnuts

and then pour on the ice cream topping. 

Finally, break up the remaining crust mixture and evenly distribute.  Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.  Let cool completely before you cut them.  The caramel filling needs to set up before you can cut into them.  Depending on how big you cut them, you'll get somewhere in the ballpark of 36 bars from this recipe.

This next recipe was also clipped from the Columbus Dispatch food section several years ago.  I wrap up several in holiday themed cello bags and give them as food gifts to friends and teachers.  Biscotti is great this time of year since it's perfect for dunking in your favorite hot drink.


Chocolate Nut Biscotti
Here's What You Need:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz. chopped, semisweet chocolate
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
Mix in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Next add the chocolate and nuts.
Divide the dough in half and form two logs that are about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide.  Slightly flatten the logs. 
Bake for 25 minutes.  Removed from the oven, but maintain the oven temperature.  Place the cookie sheet on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.  Next, take a serrated knife and slice each log diagonally about 3/4 inch thick.  Place the slices upright on the cookie sheet (cut side up) and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Flip the biscotti over and bake another 10 minutes to continue drying out the biscotti.  Be careful not to burn them; you just want them to be crisp.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  These keep well for longer than most cookies.  Since they're supposed to be crisp, you never really notice if they are stale or not!

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