Fruitcake Cookies

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Trust me when I tell you these cookies are fabulous, trust me again when I tell you that these are little¬†slices of heaven! While I am at it, let me also tell you these sweet things are good for you, ūüėČI mean there is fruit in it, lots and lots of fruits, and nuts, and honey, and booze, and some butter and sugar too…YUM! And no, I don’t like fruit cakes, not my favorite; but I love these. So does my husband, who loves fruit cakes. And my point is?…make these as soon as possible; you won’t regret it, I promise!

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The recipe is by the sweetest Ina Garten. Love her, love her recipes…simple and doable, yet very sophisticated and classy, just like these beauties ‚ėļÔłŹ.

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The chopped¬†fruits and nuts are soaked in sherry, honey, lemon juice and a pinch of salt, and allowed to rest overnight so that the fruits are infused and plump¬†with all that goodness. I love that it is a slice-and-bake cookie; no scooping, no shaping, when you are ready to bake, just take it out of the freezer, slice and bake away…how easy is that? And the best part, it makes two batches or logs of cookie dough, which means, you can have one log in the freezer¬†to enjoy later.

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These bejeweled cookies are more on the chewier side but slightly crisp on the outside. The powdered cloves in the dough lend these cookies a very festive and bright flavor and aroma. Perfect for the season!

Sending these yummy cookies to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener.

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Fruitcake Cookies

Recipe source : Ina Garten

Ingredients:

1/2 pound dried figs

1/4 pound raisins

2 ounces candied cherries, coarsely chopped

2 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoonhoney

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 ounces chopped pecans

Kosher salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup superfine sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 extra-large egg

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Method:

Snip off the hard stems of the figs with scissors or a small knife and coarsely chop the figs. In a medium bowl, combine the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and mix until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Don’t over mix! Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl.

Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Rose Polvorones

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Polvorones are delectable shortbread-like cookies famous in Spain and Mexico, and are similar to those shortcrust cookies found in other parts of the world. Once baked, they are rolled in powdered sugar giving it a beautiful delicate appearance and are usually made during weddings and other celebrations. For weddings, they are wrapped individually in white tissue paper and twisted closed on opposite sides like a candy. For other celebrations, brightly-colored tissue paper is used. The word Polvorone is said to have originated from the word Polvo which means dust or powder in Spanish, maybe because of the powdered sugar or could it be because it is so crumbly and powdery?

 

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Although Mexican Wedding Cookies and polvorones are said to be the same, the recipes I use for each are slightly different. My Mexican Wedding Cookies are crisp, crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth and I use finely chopped nuts in a butter-based dough. These polvorones are also crumbly and light but have a delightful slight chewiness thanks to the addition of finely ground nuts. They were traditionally made with lard in Mexico, but this recipe uses vegetable shortening to produce the lighter crumb and butter is added for flavor.

 

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Here I have used some rose extract and a¬†hint of pink food color¬†which¬†lends a delicate rose color and flavor to these wonderful cookies. I love the smell and flavor of rose, but it can quickly go overboard if you use too much. The extracts also differ in strength¬†by brand, so use according to your taste and brand of the extract. In case you are not a fan of the rose flavor, you could use a tablespoon of fresh¬†orange juice and a teaspoon of finely grated orange zest as the original recipe suggests. These cookies are usually made rounder and chubbier, but I flattened it a bit so that my little monkey can hold it and enjoy it as he pleases… ūüôā

 

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Rose Polvorones

Polvorones recipe and info: Williams Sonoma, recipe altered.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

21/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup ground pecans

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp rose extract (add according to taste)

1-2 drops pink food color

Method:

In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and shortening until creamy. Add 11/2¬†cups of the confectioners’ sugar, the rose extract, and the food color and beat until blended.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, ground nuts, and sea salt. Add the flour mixture a tablespoonful at a time to the butter mixture, beating until thoroughly incorporated. The dough will be crumbly. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and press the dough into a ball. Wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours,

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Shape the dough into 3/4-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart and gently pressing them to flatten slightly. Bake the cookies until the edges turn pale gold, 10 – 15 mins.

Meanwhile, place the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl. When the cookies are ready, remove the baking sheet from the oven. While they are still hot, using a spatula, remove the cookies one at a¬†time and carefully roll them in the sugar. Set aside on a rack and let cool completely, then roll them again in the sugar, shaking off any excess.

Serve the cookies right away, or layer between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

White Chocolate Pecan Biscotti

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My husband, unlike me, isn’t into cakes or cookies. He likes only white chocolate ( unlike me, again). How a human being can resist chocolate ( I am talking about the real deal here…dark, brown and glorious) is beyond me. I mean, is white chocolate even real chocolate? But hey, I am not complaining too much about it; we both enjoy our own choice of chocolates in peace, no sharing, no stealing, just peace all around. Aah!

 

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This biscotti is one of those rare cookies that he actually likes. He likes to munch on them with his evening tea. It is a basic vanilla biscotti recipe from King Arthur Flour which takes well to a lot of variations. Here I added some pecans to the dough, dunked half of the cookies in white chocolate, and left the other half plain. You could incorporate white chocolate into the dough as well, if you like. The cookies have a lovely vanilla fragrance, thanks to the 3 teaspoons of vanilla called for in the recipe. They are not too sweet and are light and crunchy.

 

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White Chocolate Pecan Biscotti

Basic recipe : American-style Vanilla Biscotti, King Arthur Flour, Vanilla Biscotti

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 to 3 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract, optional

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Sprinkles

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350¬įF. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) one large (about 18″ x 13″) baking sheet.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, almond extract (if you’re using it), and baking powder until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Beat in the eggs; the batter may look slightly curdled. At low speed of your mixer, add the flour, stirring until smooth; the dough will be sticky. Fold in the pecans.

Plop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. Divide it in half, and shape it into two 9 1/2″ x 2″ logs, about 3/4″ tall. Straighten the logs, and smooth their tops and sides; a wet spatula or wet bowl scraper works well here. Sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired, pressing it in gently.

Bake the dough for 25 minutes. Remove it from the oven.

Using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water, lightly but thoroughly spritz the logs, making sure to cover the sides as well as the top. Softening the crust just this little bit will make slicing the biscotti much easier. Reduce the oven temperature to 325¬įF.

Wait 5 minutes, then use a sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife to cut the log crosswise into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. Or cut the biscotti on the diagonal, for fewer, longer biscotti. As you’re slicing, be sure to cut straight up and down, perpendicular to the pan; if you cut unevenly, biscotti may be thicker at the top than the bottom, and they’ll topple over during their second bake.

Set the biscotti on edge on the prepared baking sheet. Return the biscotti to the oven, and bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, until they feel very dry and are beginning to turn golden. They’ll still feel a tiny bit moist in the very center, if you break off a piece; but they’ll continue to dry out as they cool.

Remove the biscotti from the oven, and transfer them to a rack to cool. Once cool, dunk the top of the cookies in the melted chocolate and then the sprinkles. Store airtight at room temperature; they’ll stay good for weeks.

Yield: 30 to 40 biscotti, depending on size.

Note: I did not spray it with water. I just loosely covered the biscotti with foil for 5 minutes.

Molten Chocolate Cookies

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Warm, gooey, molten chocolate cookies….need I say more?…Well, I could…if you insist. But I’ll say it anyway….they are soft, they are chewy and they are mind-blowingly chocolaty. And the best part, they are so easy to make.

I found the recipe on the back of a Guittard chocolate chip bag a while ago, and have been wanting to make it ever since. Finally I got around to making it, and it is a keeper. It is best eaten warm, so microwave it for 10 seconds and you are good to go.

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Molten Chocolate Cookies

Recipe: Guittard, http://www.guittard.com/

Ingredients:

2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

3 tbsp. butter

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

Method:

Melt chips and butter in a double boiler over low heat, stirring until smooth and thick. Remove from heat; set aside to cool. You could also use the microwave to melt the chocolate and butter.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla on high speed about 2-3 mins until pale yellow and slightly thickened. Mix in chocolate on low speed. Stop and scrape bowl. Add flour and baking powder on low speed just until incorporated, stopping once to scrape bowl. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-30 mins.

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Scoop 2-inch mounds onto two parchment-lined cookie sheets leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake one sheet at a time for 12 mins or until crusty on the outside but soft in center. Cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 mins.

Yields: 16 3-inch cookies.