If you like pecan pie, you will loooove tassies. They are like little bites of heaven, and not as hard to make as they look! To see the recipe from my December 14th post, click here. My advice is to double the recipe- I did, and it made almost 3 dozen. Mix the filling separately:
Mix up the dough and push a small bit into mini-cupcake tins. The dough shouldn't be too thick, but should come up the sides of the tins like this:
Put some crushed pecans into the bottom of each shell.
Pour filling into each shell. Top with some more crushed pecans. That's it. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes (mine took only 20). They pop out easily when you coax with a round knife.
On to the cut-outs. I mixed the dough the day before and let it chill in the fridge for 24 hours, but it only has to chill for an hour.
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (or substitute almond)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg and extract. Mix flour, baking powder and salt and add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time.
Roll dough to desired thickness. We had some cookie cutters which needed thicker dough to show the detail; we did those last. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 6-7 minutes at 400 degrees. Done.
Don't they look naked?? Dress 'em up any way you want. Along with the little decorating icings I bought that you squeeze, I used a frosting recipe from The Joy of Cooking- 4 cups confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Add more water or sugar until you get your desired consistency. I used about 1 1/4 more tablespoons of water because I wanted more of a glaze than a frosting. Divide into small cups and add a few drops of food coloring to each. Leave some white, too.
TLMM's Santa is so cute!! When they're all decorated, you and your friends and children will be covered in sprinkles and icing- but that's half the fun!
For the last recipe of the day, I decided what I wanted and then invented the recipe myself.
Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 1/2 sticks butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
4 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups white chocolate chips
If you have unsweetned cocoa powder, substitute 3/4 a cup of that for the squares of baking chocolate, and add 1/2 a stick of butter.
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa (if using cocoa powder), baking soda and salt, stir into creamed mixture. If using baking chocolate, melt squares in microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds until they're melted. Mix into the creamed mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips. I found these white chocolate chips at Target, and they inspired the whole recipe.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring onto a cooling rack.
These are rich and chocolatey- which is exactly what I was looking for. Your favorite chocolate lover will thank you for them!
It was a successful day of baking. Everything went into tins and into the freezer, and will only need to sit out for a couple of hours to defrost. There are still so many holiday sweets I want to make, but this was a good start. I am taking a short break from the kitchen to enjoy my company, but am planning to make ginger cookies and gingerbread men during the week.
If any of you have any traditional holiday dessert favorites in your family, I would love to hear about them. My own mother makes fantastic sand tarts, aka Italian Wedding Cookies and mini cheesecake brownies to die for! Maybe I can talk her into doing some baking while she's here- what do you think, ma? ...and the eggs.