Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Goodness

Every year I face a dilemma of Christmas at work. I work with x-number of people. I socialize with some more than others. Who do I get gifts for? Who is giving me a gift this year? Do I get everyone the same thing? Is someone going to feel obligated to get me a gift just because I gave them one? Wha! Eh! Meh?! Mrgh. More Christmas stress! Last year at Christmas I was newbie at work. I didn't know the Christmas exchange procedure so I was by default excused from any Christmas present blunder. But this year, I don't have the excuse of being "new". Through careful consideration and input from coworkers, I found a solution. I am making baked goods. I will load up the break room table with Christmas goodies, send out a super-personal email wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas", and satisfy the work gift exchange requirement. After extensive research, I settled on the following recipes. (I'm sorry for another food post. My social life lacks in substance right now). And if you're wondering why I have papers hanging from the cabinets in my kitchen, it is my alternative to a cook book holder. I am typically  printing off recipes from the internet plus I have limited counter space. This seemed like an easy way to display my recipe as I'm cooking without it getting in the way and not accidentally laying it on a pile of cooking residue (which is most often the case). Tada!

The recipes were fun to make. If you don't like egg nog, you probably won't like the fudge. But it's a pretty small amount of egg nog and not too overpowering. It's actually very addicting. I've never made fudge before so I was happy with how this turned out. It was MUCH easier than I was anticipating! Highly recommend it, especially if you like egg nog.

The biscotti was more of a project but still relatively easy. The only thing I changed was I dipped in regular chocolate instead of white chocolate since I already had the white chocolate based fudge. The next time I will probably make the pieces wider. This is a very pretty dessert and it gives off an impression of something much fancier than it actually is.

The brownies. Meh. They're okay. They are very minty and chocolatey, which I love. But they are a little more cakey and dry than I expected. I like the idea of using the Andes mints but next time, I'll either bake less time or use a different brownie base.

Eggnog Fudge

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup dairy eggnog
10.5 ounces white chocolate bars, chopped into small pieces
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus a little more for the top of the fudge
One 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp rum extract

1. Line an 8 or 9-inch square pan with foil and let it hang over the sides. Butter the foil.

2. In a heavy, 3-quart saucepan combine sugar, butter and eggnog. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat or until a candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
3. Using a wooden spoon, work quickly to stir in chopped white chocolate and nutmeg until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme and rum extract. Beat until well blended and then pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle a little freshly ground nutmeg on top. Let stand at room temperature until cooled. Refrigerate if you’d like to speed up the process.
4. When completely cool, cut into squares. Store in a covered container.
Yield: 30 to 40 pieces

Candy Cane Biscotti 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes
14 ounces fine quality white chocolate, melted
extra crushed candy canes to sprinkle on top

1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined - stir in crushed candy.
4. Evenly divide dough into 4 pieces on a lightly floured surface. Shape each piece into 9" x 1 1/2" round log. Place logs 3 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake until tops are cracked and ends just start to turn light brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325. Cool logs 10 minutes on cookie sheet.
6. Cut each log diagonally into 1/2" slices with sharp serrated knife. (Discard ends, if you want.) Arrange pieces standing up back onto the baking sheet.
7. Bake until cookies are light golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 12 to 15 minutes. The centers may still be a little soft, but will firm up as they cool. Place onto cool rack and cool completely.
8. Dip half of each biscotti into melted chocolate - shake off excess. Immediately sprinkle with additional crushed candy canes and set on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet until the chocolate has set.
Make about 4 dozen.

Andes Brownies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar (white)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
about 1/4 cup (or however much you please, really) of chopped Andes mints

An additional package of whole Andes mints. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9 x 13 pan. Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Once melted remove from heat and add sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Blend together. In separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, and salt. Add dry mixture to the wet and mix well. Add chopped Andes mints. Pour into greased pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

RIGHT when the brownies come out of the oven, layer the top with the whole package of Andes mints (or however many it takes to cover the surface). Let them stand for a minute or two, until they are smooth enough to spread. Using a frosting spatula or a flat knife, spread the melted Andes mints evenly over the brownie to cover. Cool, cut and enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Quite professional looking Kelley. Any yummy, too. Maybe you should consider food photography:)


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