The 12 Treats of Christmas: Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints

by , on
Dec 4, 2013

Ok – now we’re really cookin’. Or baking, or whatever. Yesterday I said I’d give you a little something that would help use up any extra melty chocolate. These little fellas are the #1 cookie in my arsenal. Gooey, chocolatey. And they really look impressive. Again, not a huge batch – about 36 cookies, but so rich and decadent, that seems to be just enough. These also need a little fridge time for the dough so the delayed gratification only serves to make them sweeter.MommyDo Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints (1)

 

Chocolate-Caramel Thumbprints

Yield: 36 Cookies

Prep 30 mins Chill 2 hrs Bake 350°F 10 mins  per batch

Ingredients

  • 1  egg
  • 1/2  cup  butter, softened
  • 2/3  cup  sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  milk
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla
  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/3  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 16  vanilla caramels, unwrapped
  • 3  tablespoons  whipping cream
  • 1 1/4  cups  finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2  cup  (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1  teaspoon  shortening

Directions

1. Separate egg; place yolk and white in separate bowls. Cover and chill egg white until needed. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat well. Beat in egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.

2. In another bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined. Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a small saucepan heat and stir caramels and whipping cream over low heat until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

4. Slightly beat reserved egg white. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in egg white, then in pecans to coat. Place balls 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are firm. If cookie centers puff during baking, repress with your thumb. Spoon melted caramel mixture into indentations of cookies. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. (If necessary, reheat caramel mixture to keep it spoonable.)

6. In another saucepan heat and stir chocolate pieces and shortening over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly. Drizzle chocolate mixture over tops of cookies.* Let stand until chocolate is set.

I decided I’d take this delicious dough and invent a cookie of my own. This is one case where the idea was better than the end result. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious. But the candycane melted and made the cookie part very squishy and sticky. Letting them cool on the parchment greatly improved the outcome.

I give you Chocolate-Peppermint Mushies

MommyDo Chocolate-Peppermint Mushies

I made the dough as above, rolled in crushed candy cane instead of nuts, put a junior mint in the thumbprint and drizzled with white chocolate. Follow my lead at your own risk on these little fellers.

Happy Baking!

The 12 Treats of Chirstmas: Peppermint Patties

by , on
Dec 2, 2013

Ok, one cookie down. Now for something that takes a little more commitment. Homemade Peppermint Patties. I know I posted about these a few months ago, but when looking to the Top 12, you can’t leave these out. They always get tons of compliments – I mean really, who knew you could make your own peppermint patties? So, so good.

MommyDo Peppermint Patties

I usually let the innards sit overnight so they have a little snap. And, I find they take more chocolate than you think. The dipping is a real pain. You’ll want to quit about 10 times. But later, once you’re polishing off the last one, you’ll wish you hadn’t given up and tossed a bunch of undipped middles out. Trust me. Keep on dipping.

Remember to use bakers chocolate or candy coating so the chocolate hardens nicely. And, (like I really need to say this) be sure to save some for guests. I know it’s hard, but you’re not supposed to eat them all yourself. You can find this recipe online here on the Eagle Brand website.

Ingredients:

1 can (300ml) Regular Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed Milk

1tbsp (15ml) peppermint extract (I add a little more to make them extra minty)

6 cups (1.5L) confectioners’ sugar (that’s icing sugar)

1 1/2lbs chocolate candy coating or dark or semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted.

1. Combine Eagle Brand and peppermint extract. Add sugar, beating on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

2. Knead lightly to form a smooth ball. Shape into 1 inch (2.54cm)  balls. Place 2cm paart o n parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2 inch (4cm) patty. (I used the flat bottom of a drinking glass lightly dusted with sugar.)

3. Let dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour. With fork, dip each patty into warm candy coating (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Invert onto wax-paper-lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.

4. Try very hard not to eat them all as soon as they’ve hardened.

MommyDo 3 Peppermint Patties

Enjoy!

Tomorrow, we’ll tackle cookies that you can make to use up the leftover chocolate after you dip the patties.

The 12 Treats of Christmas: Whipped Shortbread

by , on
Dec 1, 2013

Are you ready to get baking? I’m digging deep into my legendary Christmas Baking Binder to bring you my top 12 Treats. Cookies, bars, brownies, bark, fudge and candy. We’re gonna make a little of everything.

Mommydo Whipped Shortbread

In my younger days I would make 30 types of treats and give goodie baskets to a rather long list of hungry and happy recipients. Sweet! Now that time is short, I’ve cut it down to my top 12, and bake mostly for family. After all this baking, I’ve learned a thing or two.

Before we begin, here are 10 things you should keep in mind when you set out to do a big bake.

1. If you’re baking on a budget, remember chocolate goodies are spendy. Fill baskets with cookies and just a few chocolate treats to keep the cost down.

2. Read through the recipes you’re planning to make and make a master shopping list. Spots like Bulk Barn have many of the things you’ll need, and if you’ve done your homework you can get your shopping done in no time at all and for much less than multiple late night trips to the grocery store.

3. Read the recipes all the way through before you start. There’s nothing worst than setting out to make a quick batch of cookies and realizing you need to chill the dough overnight.

4. Wear a short sleeved shirt. Trying to take off a sweater when covered in chocolate and flour is the worst.

5. Tie your hair back at the start. Same reason. Pushing your hair back with messy hands is a pain.

6. Parchment paper really is the best to line trays, and can be used more than once.

7. Pay attention to the part in the recipe that talks about cooling and when to transfer the treats. Your cookies will be better looking if you follow the rules.

8. Baking is not a ‘wing it’ sport. Precision delivers the best results. Measure carefully and you’ll find things bake as expected and taste better than if you guesstimate.

9. Sometimes experiments turn out well. Go ahead and try some new things. (You’ll hear about my cookie invention later this week.)

10. Having a few cookie trays on hand makes quick work of big batches of cookies. Borrow some if you only need once a year. Preferably from someone who’ll give you a nice glass of wine when you return them. You can enjoy it with some delicious fresh baked goodies!

MOMMYDO TREAT 1: Whipped Shortbread

This is an easy recipe from The Harrowsmith Cookbook, and credit is given to Shirley Hill of Picton Ontario. It’s quick to make and is always a big hit. I’ve been making it since I was in grade school. It doesn’t go that far, so I often double it. The key to these is to really beat them between ingredients. Don’t stop when the ingredients are mixed, give them a minute or more to beat at each step.

I finish the cookies 2 ways, with a little candied cherry or with a little silver ball.

12days

Recipe:

1/2 lb. Butter

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 cup flour

Beat butter until light and add remaining ingredients one at a time, beating well after each addition. Roll into small balls and flatten with a fork (I JUST DROPPED MINE).

Bake at 300F for 30 min.

Makes 3 dozen

Crispy Waffles

by , on
Nov 13, 2013

Waffles are a Sunday morning fav around here. The boy eats them and I don’t mind whipping up a batch in the early hours. They are dead simple, fairly low on the sweet factor…until the syrup anyway.

MOMMYDO WAFFLE TIP: Cool your waffles on a wire rack instead of in a stack to have a yummy crisp crust on both sides.

waffles

Yes, these are a little ‘homey’ looking, but they taste fab. Super easy too.

My favourite recipe is here, and takes about 5 min plus cooking time. I use a big whisk instead of the hand blender as I often make them with the boy while the husband is still sleeping. And, I usually add a whole teaspoon of vanilla rather than the 1/2 noted in the recipe.

In case you’re thinking “wow, I could really use a waffle maker” I have a Cuisinart like this one and it works great.

Waffles. Wire rack. You’re welcome.

This isn’t a sponsored post. Just a note about stuff I have that I like,

Do you have a bread machine?

by , on
Oct 27, 2013

If you do, you need this book:

The Artisan Bread Machine by Judith Fertig

Image

It is DEF a MOMMYDO favourite. If you have the machine, but not the book, try this simple but delicious white bread recipe from page 24.

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Blue Ribbon Bread Machine Bread – 2LB loaf

8tsp granulated sugar

1 1/2tsp instant or bread machine yeast

1 1/3 cups water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

4 cups flour

2 tsp salt

1. Add sugar, yeast and water to the bread pan. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast starts to bubble.

2. Add oil. Spoon flour on top of liquid. Add salt.

3. Select the Basic/White cycle and Light Crust setting and press start.

NOTE: As with all bread machine recipes, it’s important to add the ingredients in the right order.

Or, um, you might get the loaf on the left. Image

Oops. The salt and the yeast need to be separated by the flour.

Live and learn. Live and learn.

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