Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Andes Peppermint Crunch Shortbread Cookies and Peppermint Snowball Cookies

Andes Peppermint Crunch Shortbread Cookies

Andes Peppermint Crunch Shortbread Cookies

Things have sure been crazy and busy around here!  Christmas is less than a week away.  Seems like we’ve had all kinds of activities going on and I can barely sit down, let alone share blog posts with you all.  I decided to sit down and try to get a post written up today before our next activity tonight. 

I didn’t take this picture, but how cute is this little elf who must be hiding something in his shirt?!



Not long after Thanksgiving, which was really early this year, the boys were begging me to get all the Christmas decorations up.   Finally got that done just in time for Kevin’s department Christmas party at our house, hosting about 20 people.

We’ve had the pleasure of attending a high school band concert, since Scott plays the drums in the concert band.  Look how sharp he looks in a tux!  This kid never lets me take his picture, but I think even he was liking how he looked! ;)  The concert was great, but we were a little disappointed that all the drummers were in the back row and a tuba player and his tuba were right in front of Scott.  sigh

12-12-12 From one thing to another over the last month, I was able to get all the neighbor Christmas treats made and delivered, too.  After sharing with you such good ideas with the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, I decided I can’t leave out a few more that must be shared.

Andes Peppermint Bits Shortbread CookiesThese Peppermint Crunch Shortbread Cookies are one of those not to miss, especially if you love peppermint.  Have you found these in your grocery store baking aisle?

Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Bits

Andes Peppermint Bits Shortbread Cookies

I actually made them for my book group weeks ago and have been wanting to share them since then.  I just took a shortbread cookie recipe, like the Mexican wedding cookies, and instead of adding the chopped pecans, I added the peppermint candy.  I then drizzled some of the melted candy over the tops.

Andes Peppermint Crunch Shortbread Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ c to 1 cup Andes Peppermint Bits (to taste), use some to melt and drizzle on the cookies

Cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add the vanilla and mix. Beat in the flour and salt just until the dry ingredients are mixed in. Stir in the Andes mints.

Roll dough in to walnut-sized balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper spacing the balls of dough about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt some of the peppermint candies in the microwave in a small glass bowl in 20-30 second intervals on half power. When melted, put the melted candy in a sandwich-sized zip top plastic bag and snip a small hole in one corner. Drizzle the melted candy over the cookies.

We finally had a nice, big snow last week, about six inches.  After shoveling the deck and part of the driveway, I wanted to make a snowman.  The boys had already played outside sledding and didn’t really want to help, so this is what I came up with almost with no other help from the others. 

Baker Snow-Gal 12-15-12Yep, she was a baker snow gal!  Made her eyes and mouth from chocolate disks and she wore the cute knitted chef’s hat my niece made me that has chocolate chip cookies on it.  Instead of going in search of some sticks for her arms, I used some kitchen utensils.  I don’t have any aprons, which would have really been cute, but I wrapped a blanket around her and tried to make it look like an apron.  I thought she turned out pretty cute! ;)

After making the Andes peppermint shortbread cookies, I thought I’d try another recipe, but with the same idea.  Instead of drizzling melted chocolate, I rolled the baked cookies in powdered sugar. 

Peppermint Snowballs

I like this recipe a little better, but preferred the stronger peppermint taste the first cookies had with the drizzled melted candy.  That could easily be fixed by added more of the candy to the cookies or evey a little peppermint extract to the dough.  They are both good!

Peppermint Snowball Cookies 3

Perfect Christmas cookies!

Peppermint Snowball Cookies

Peppermint Snowball Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups Andes Peppermint Bits (These are the same cookies where you could substitute pecans for the candy)

Powdered sugar for rolling the cookies in

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Beat in the flour and salt just until combined. Stir in the Andes. Roll dough in to walnut-sized balls and place on baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for a couple minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Roll each cookie in powdered sugar.


The boys’ last day of school was today.  Time to really get the holidays going!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Peppermint Angel Food Cake Roll—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Peppermint Angel Food Cake Roll

Peppermint Angel Food Cake Roll

This is it, Friends—Week 12 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  I chose to share with you this great cake I’ve made twice this week for different Christmas activities.  It was a hit both times.  Wish I could take credit for this, but I can’t at all and didn’t even really change the recipe for the one in the December issues of Taste of Home magazine.  You need to go get the recipe that was submitted by Suellen Calhoun. 

It was certainly easy to make.  The cake is made with a boxed angel food cake mix and spread into a large baking pan that is lined with parchment paper.  After the cake is baked and just barely cooled, you remove it from the pan, remove the parchment paper and roll up the cake to cool completely.  Once the cake has cooled, it is unrolled and spread with whipped topping, then drizzled with hot fudge sauce and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candy.

Peppermint Angel Food Cake Roll ready to roll

Ready to roll!

Peppermint Angel Food Cake Roll 2

At this point, I put the cake in the refrigerator and didn’t cover it with more whipped topping until just before serving it (you could use real whipped cream, too—I followed the recipe and went for easy).  The whipped topping also has peppermint extract added to it. 

This is a perfectly minty, holiday treat!

Peppermint Angel Food Cake Roll 3

The pictures of the sliced cake doesn’t  look that great (to me), because I snapped a few pictures of some that were leftover the next day after the first party.  There were so many desserts to choose from that the whole thing wasn’t eaten that night.  The peppermint would look better photographed when it is first served. ;)  When I made the cake just yesterday for another occasion, it was all gone from the dessert table before I even got my dinner.  It was a much bigger group.

Please go find this cake at Taste of Home.  I love the magazine and the website is great.  The Lime Shortbread with Dried Cherries I posted last week are from the same issue of the magazine.  If you aren’t subscribed to Taste of Home, you should be—or at least join their free membership online.

This is it—I said that already, huh?  I have a number of other recipes (ones I actually came up with myself) that I want to get posted before the holidays.  That’s my goal.  Time really is crazy this time of year.  We’ll see what I can do.  In the meantime, Happy Baking and Happy Holidays to everyone!


Thanks for allowing me to be a part of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats go to our host, Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.  So many wonderful treats from everyone!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Lime Shortbread with Dried Cherries—12 Weeks of Christmas Treats

Lime Shortbread with dried cherries 12-5-12

Anyone else NOW starting to feel  in total shock that Christmas is so close?  I’ve been known to stress out a bit as I work to get all the things done I’d like during the holidays, which usually involves lots of baking, but decided this year, I’m just not going to worry.  It is what it is, whatever will be, will be.  That said, there is lots to do! ;)  Like make more cookies!  So here’s to week 11 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats—Lime Shortbread with Dried Cherries.

I found this recipe in the December issue of Taste of Home.  It was submitted by Abigail Bostwick of Tomahawk, Wisconsin.  She said the recipe can also be made with orange zest and dried cranberries.  I’m sure they would be good, but I love the lime and cherries combo.

These are a simple shortbread with lime zest added and chopped dried cherries.  After making the dough, it is formed in to two logs and chilled for a few hours.  These slice and bake cookies are great.  If you like shortbread and especially lime, you’ll really like these.  The tart dried cherries I used are a lot darker than the ones used in the magazine photo, so the red would look better on a Christmas tray, but it doesn’t really matter—they’re just as good, I’m sure.

Though it’s kind of funny, Kevin walked in the room after I’d finished baking them and saw this---

Lime Shrotbread

“What’s up with the Dalmatian cookies?” ;)

I’m torn about leaving the recipe here.  I didn’t change a thing so I’ll just have you go to the Taste of Home link above, which just takes you to the website home page.  You need to sign up (free) to get their recipes.  I’ve always enjoyed Taste of Home magazine because the recipes are all submitted from home bakers just like all of us and I don’t recall being disappointed.

12Lime Shortbread with dried cherries

Only one more week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop, hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Spicy Gingerbread Twigs

Spicy Gingerbread Twigs 12-4-12

Today was Tuesdays With Dorie.  I’m a flake.  Sort of.  I made the Gingerbread Baby Cakes, but did not like them, so I decided not to post them.  The recipe (for me) has WAY too much molasses.  So all I could taste was molasses and not the spices.  Mine turned out a little too fudgy (maybe not baked long enough) and the centers sunk, which always annoys me with cakes.  I only made half the recipe and it still had one cup of molasses in it.  I knew it would be too much for my liking, but made it anyway.  I’m not bitter or angry.  I actually recently saw the episode on Baking With Julia on my PBS station where these were made.  After baking the cakes and smelling that great gingerbread smell, I was wanting something with ginger. 

Just happened to be reading the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens and saw these Spicy Gingerbread Twigs and they intrigued me enough that I made them today.  I love biscotti and have made gingerbread biscotti before, so I knew a crunchy cookie with gingerbread flavor would be good, well, that and who doesn’t like gingersnaps (besides my husband)? ;)  It was simple to follow the recipe and I only changed one thing—since we don’t drink or use coffee and this recipe had a quarter cup of brewed coffee in it, I got a quarter cup of warm water and added one tablespoon of cocoa powder to it.  Nothing like substituting chocolate for coffee!

After making the dough, which was really easy to make with melted butter, molasses and my “coffee” combined together and adding it to the dry ingredients, it was ready to divide in half and roll in to the suggested 6 x 12 inches.  “Twigs” were then cut with a pizza cutter and it was baked.  Much like biscotti, after the first baking, the temperature of the oven is turned down, the cookie twigs were spaced apart and then baked again.  Before baking, the dough was sprinkled with coarse sugar.

Spicy Gingerbread Twigs 4

I hadn’t yet made the cut down the middle for this photo so they weren’t so long, but they are about six inches long.  The magazine recipe suggests cutting them in the short direction, but it comes out the same when it is then cut down the middle.

Spicy Gingerbread Twigs 12-4-12

Get the recipe on the link above, since I didn’t change much, I’m not going to re-type it.  Oh, the recipe also had some optional cayenne pepper, which I decided to leave out so I could really taste the ginger and because I’m a wimp. ;)

Spicy Gingerbread Twigs

Kevin’s UVU department Christmas party is at our house Friday night.  While the meal is being catered by Honeybaked Ham, I am making some desserts and think these twigs will be fun to have set out along with some other things.

Sorry about the TWD mishap, I know many loved the cakes and have seen a few that look better than mine did.  I also wonder with my sinking-in-the-center issue if it has to do with the high altitude and I should have adjusted the recipe a little. 

If you’re looking for a great gingerbread cake, try this one, from my friend, Paige at For Love of the Table.  I think I’ll make that one—soon—maybe for the Christmas party on Friday.  It has chocolate—I love chocolate and ginger.