Holiday Recipes – by B Cereus

Coconut-Cranberry Chews

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 TB grated orange peel
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked dried coconut

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla until smooth. Beat in egg until well-blended.

In a medium bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture, then beat on low speed until dough comes together, about 5 mins. Mix in cranberries and coconut.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 deg F for 11-15 mins. A shorter time will yield a chewier cookie; the longer time will yield a crispier cookie. Let cookies cool for 5 mins, then remove from baking sheet. Makes about 6 dozen.

English Toffee Squares

1/2 cup walnut halves
1 cup butter or margarine,softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 6-oz package semisweet chocolate chips
(Note: Milk chocolate chips can be used in place of the semisweet chips)

Heat oven to 350 deg F. Spread walnuts on a jelly roll pan and place in oven to toast walnuts, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown and fragrant, about 10 mins. Remove nuts from oven, chop finely, and set aside.

Mix butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, beating until well-blended. Spread dough evenly in a lightly greased 10″ x 13″ pan. Bake at 350 deg F for 20 mins, or just until dough begins to pull away from the sides. Turn oven off. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top and return pan to oven for 5 mins or until chocolate is soft. Remove from oven and immediately spread chocolate evenly until smooth. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. While still warm, cut cross-wise into 2-inch strips, then diagonally into diamond-shaped “squares.”

Cool completely before removing from pan. Makes about 3 dozen.

Comments: This recipe is really easy to make and it freezes well, so I make a couple of batches and freeze them before the holiday crush.

Mint Layered Brownies

Brownie base:
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (baking chocolate)
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped almonds or pecans (if desired)

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or on low in the microwave. When melted, cool slightly. Beat eggs until frothy, stir in chocolate mixture, add sugar, then flour and nuts. Stir until well blended. Place batter in a greased pan, 9″ x 13″ x 2″. Bake at 350 deg F for 20 minutes or until tested done. Allow to cool in pan.

Filling ingredients:
4 TB soft butter or margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
2 TB milk or cream
1/2 tsp peppermint or mint extract

Blend all ingredients together in a small bowl. When the cookie layer is cool, spread the filling over it. Chill for at least 10 minutes.

Top glaze:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 TB butter or margarine

Melt together in a double boiler or on low in the microwave. Cool slightly, then pour over the filling layer. Tilt the pan so the glaze will spread evenly. Refrigerate the pan for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares.

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