Monday, December 31, 2012

peppermint bark fudge

the goods:
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound dark chocolate chips/chunks (if you can only find a 10 ounce bag, that's fine too)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces peppermint bark, roughly chopped

Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle half the peppermint bark in the bottom of the dish and set aside.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat with 2 inches of water. Place a glass bowl over the top (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Pour the condensed milk and butter in the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted. Add the chocolate chips/chunks and salt. Stir the chocolate as it melts and thickens, about 5 minutes. The mixture should be a thick cake batter consistency. Add both extracts to the bowl and mix well. Pour the batter into the baking pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan several times on the counter to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface. Sprinkle remaining peppermint bark over the top and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set. Let fudge soften on counter 15 minutes before cutting into chunks.

Monday, December 24, 2012

christmas sugar cookies

the goods:
3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
green, red, and yellow food coloring

Whisk together flour and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and beat until combined. Tint dough by mixing in food coloring: for trees, tint two-thirds the dough green; tint some of the remaining dough red and some yellow; leave some plain. Individually wrap all dough in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour. 

On a large sheet of parchment paper, lightly flour both sides of 1 disk green dough, cover with more parchment, and roll out to about 1/8-inch thick. Roll pieces of red dough into thin snakes. Arrange on top of green dough in desired pattern. Roll yellow and plain dough into pea-size balls and arrange on top of green dough in desired pattern. Top dough with more parchment and gently roll over dough until decorative pieces are flush with green dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully remove top sheet of parchment. With a tree shaped cutter, cut dough. Transfer dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with colored sanding sugar and bake until set, 10 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Use same method for candy canes by rolling out white dough and placing red snakes on top.

Serve with milk for Santa.

Monday, December 17, 2012

pear-raspberry tart

Only 100 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving!
the goods:
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (4 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 small firm, ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place puff pastry on a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet and gently stretch into a 9-inch square. With a paring knife, score pastry 3/4 inch from edges, creating a border. Freeze 10 minutes.

Stir together raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, flour, and salt. Lightly mash some berries to release juices and let stand 5 minutes. Very gently stir in pears. Spread evenly within border of pastry. Brush border with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 and bake until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, about 30 minutes more (tent crust with foil if overbrowning). Let cool 15 minutes before slicing into squares and serving.

Monday, December 3, 2012

cranberry cobbler

the goods:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 and 1/4 cups cranberries
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Stir together cranberries and 2 tablespoons sugar. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg, then whisk in butter. Whisk milk mixture into flour mixture until well combined.

Pour batter into skillet and scatter cranberries on top. Bake until center springs back when lightly touched, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving (or let sit at room temperature, up to 8 hours).