Monday, December 24, 2012

Irish cream fudge

Irish cream fudge

I came across this idea while looking for something to bring to the office holiday potluck party. Ultimately, I decided against bringing something boozy to an office party... but I ended up making this anyway, 'cause I wanted to see how it would come out and thought of a few people who might like some as a gift.

Feeling sad at the holidays? Have a few pieces of this delicious fudge and you won't care. It's that potent and that sneaky -- I don't even like alcohol usually, but I was getting tipsy licking the bowl, 'cause pretty much none of the alcohol cooks off, plus the alcohol taste is very well hidden. It tastes like chocolate and the delicious flavor of Irish cream, and you don't taste any of the alcohol until right after you swallow (by which time you've probably got another piece shoved in your mouth anyway, 'cause it's really good).

So make this for your over-21 friends as a tasty, naughty treat. It's great for the holidays. And since it's Irish cream, it'd probably be pretty good for St. Patrick's Day, too. Plus, it's really simple to make.

Irish Cream Fudge
Adapted from Pass the Sushi

3 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c white chocolate chips
1/4 c butter
3 c confectioners’ sugar
1 c Baileys Irish cream

1. Melt the chocolate chips and the butter in a large bowl in the microwave and stir together until smooth.
2. Stir in the Baileys, then the confectioners' sugar, until incorporated.
3. Spread in a parchment-lined 8-by-8 pan and chill until firm, then cut into pieces.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Molasses drops

Molasses drops

It's been a mad crush of a holiday season this year, but while a pile of presents sits here mocking me for not being wrapped, perhaps I should try to catch up here, at least a little bit.

I made these cookies as the result of a search for a ginger-free replacement for gingerbread cookies, since my brother-in-law is allergic to ginger and I planned to send him some -- I totally forgot last year, and he ended up having to give the gingerbread cookies away, and I didn't want that to happen again. Surprisingly, though, most molasses cookies seem to have ginger in them, too. But luckily, I found this one, which doesn't.

These came out pretty well. They're not cakey like your typical molasses cookies; instead, they're more chewy with a bit of crispness around the edges. I skipped the icing recipe that was suggested for it, as it was Crisco-based, and seriously, who makes icing with shortening? Eew! Instead, I used a simple powdered-sugar icing, which worked nicely.

Molasses Drops
From "The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook"

2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp allspice (yes, really, a tablespoon)
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 c molasses

Confectioners' sugar
Small splash of vanilla, maybe a teaspoon or so

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, allspice and cinnamon and set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, then the molasses. Beat in the dry ingredients.
3. Form into 1-inch balls and place a couple of inches apart on a cookie sheet.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on the pan 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool.
5. Dump a bit of confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then add a small splash of vanilla. Whisk in milk, a bit at a time, until glaze-like in consistency -- if it gets too runny, just add more sugar.
6. Dip the tops of the cookies in icing and let sit until dried.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rolo-stuffed chocolate cookies

Rolo-stuffed chocolate cookies
Last week, I went to the post office with five very large boxes (darn you, USPS, for not carrying the medium-sized ones I liked anymore!), containing a very large amount of cookies. Last weekend was my annual bout of holiday insanity: two straight days of almost nothing but cookie-baking (seriously, I actually forgot to plan meals in there -- if it wasn't for my husband reminding me to eat, I might not have).

Somehow, I made it through, despite getting a migraine Sunday that made me really, really miserable all day, not to mention eating up a lot of my valuable baking time with lying-in-bed-oh-god-make-it-stop time. It was actually a bit of a fight to get through this year's baking, and I put in some pretty long hours, and I probably wouldn't have pulled it off if not for the help and support of my dear husband.

I know, blah blah blah, get to the cookies.

These are totally worth you having to read my babbling, I promise. These are really, really awesome. I spent ages scouring the Internet for a recipe that would work for these that looked good and not like it would melt and spread all over, and I'm glad to say that it paid off. These were actually one of those rare recipes where you look at the pictures, and you think "this should work exactly how I want"... and then it does. They came out beautifully, and delicious, too! And the fun part is that they're so plain-looking -- I could have dressed them up a bit, but I decided that this would stand just fine as the kind of cookie that's boring on the outside but surprises you when you bit into it. :) You could shove anything into these, too -- I ran out of Rolos and made a few cookies with mini-Three Musketeers bars, and those came out yummy (though really big), too.

Cookies cooling on a rack

Rolo-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from SugarHero

2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup cocoa
1 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
One bag of Rolos

1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa and set aside.
2. Cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Then, beat in the dry ingredients.
3. Grab about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a 1-inch ball. Flatten out the ball, put a Rolo in the center and wrap the sides up the dough up around it, then roll it into a ball again, making sure the candy is covered.
4. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes, until the cookies have spread a bit, are puffed and no longer look raw.
5. Let the cookies cool on the pan for a couple of minutes, then remove them to a rack to cool.