Whew! We’re coming down the home stretch, Friends. Christmas is just around the corner. I’m SO not ready. But I do manage to keep baking away. I’ve got three cookies to share with you for week 11 of Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies.
First up—Soft Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies. I made these cookies once last year after my pal, Amanda from Amanda's Cookin' blogged about them. They were a big hit when I made them for a Christmas party.
Amanda had mentioned wanted to try the cookies with a little more Nutella than she’d used, so I went for it and made them with half a cup of Nutella instead of the one-quarter cup she’d used. I can’t find my notes from last year, but I know I also added some chopped hazelnuts then. These cookies really are soft and chewy and I plan to try them with just peanut butter as Amanda mentioned this was the recipe she has used and loved for peanut butter cookies for years.
I made the cookies again last week and they were just as good, though I didn’t add the chopped hazelnuts this time. Check out the link for the cookies on Amanda's Cookin' for the recipe. My only change was like I mentioned I added 1/2 cup Nutella and only 1/4 cup peanut butter. The first two photos were from the cookies I made last year. Here’s the latest.
Next I wanted to share with you some Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti that I’ve wanted to make for a while now and finally did yesterday. I actually always thought biscotti was for dunking in coffee and since I don’t drink coffee, I had never even tried it until we made Dorie’s Lenox Almond Biscotti for TWD two years ago and loved it. Then I had this Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti from one of Chef Paige's classes also about two years ago and it was delicious. I consider myself one who prefers softer, chewy cookies, but there’s just something about biscotti that I really like. I’ve tried a number of other recipes since then and they have been okay, but this one is my favorite so far. Paige credited this recipe to her days working as a pastry chef at The Pastry Goddess in Kansas City.
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, from The Pastry Goddess, Kansas City
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (270 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces (3/4 cup) toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
3 ounces (1 cup) dried cranberries
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (175 grams)
2 large eggs
zest of 1 orange (I used the zest of 2 clementines)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nuts and cranberries; set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the zest and the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
Divide the dough into two pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, form each piece into a 1- to 1 1/2 inch log—each log will be about the same length as the cookie sheet. Set the logs on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly.
Bake in a 325 degree oven until set and golden brown—about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Slice on the diagonal into 1/2 inch slices. Lay the slices on their sides and return the sheets to the oven for another 5 minutes. Turn the cookies over and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool completely before wrapping air tight. Makes about 50 cookies (I only got 30 as I probably sliced them more into 3/4-inch slices.
I must give these away so I don’t eat them all. Kevin doesn’t like crunchy cookies and the boys think they are strange. Whatever, I love them.
And we’re not quite done yet. A couple weeks ago I was shopping and saw a cookie press. I’ve always wanted one and decided to grab it so I could make spritz cookies. I could fill and shoot that spritz gun for a long time. It’s so fun.
I made this Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies recipe from the Wilton website. The cookies call for lemon zest, but I left that out and added 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. I colored some of the dough green, some red and left some of it white.
I also made the Chocolate Spritz Cookies from Wilton. The only change I made to the recipe was I used salted butter and omitted the salt in the recipe. I had fun just shootin’ away with the cookie gun.
The chocolate cookies are good, but they spread a little more than the others. I like when cookies you give away, especially on plates/trays with variety have a lot of color, so into the freezer these went and they will be used to jazz up some Christmas cookies plates.
I had two little helpers decorating the Christmas tree the other day and they sure did a fine job. Check this out.
Ah, now I can sleep at night. ;) Check out all the other cookies this week for Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies by clicking on all the links below.
Also a quick reminder to enter the giveaway I’m having right now for a $75 CSN Stores gift code. Leave a comment on this post to enter. You have until tonight, (Friday), December 10 at 10 p.m. MST to enter.