Rum Balls

Rum Balls

Who doesn't love Rum Balls during the holidays?  The best thing about Rum Balls is the longer they sit for, the boozier they get (if you can make them last that long).  This recipe is from my 'Joy of Cooking - All About Cookies' cookbook, the original recipe calls for bourbon but I used a spiced rum instead and they tunred out just great!  Happy Holiday's!

Rum Balls

Rum Balls

1 Cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 - 1/3 Cup of rum (or bourbon)
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 1/2 Cups chocolate wafers (or vanilla), crushed finely in a food processor
1 Cup coarsley chopped pecans

1) Sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder and set a side
2) In a seperate bowl, mix together rum and corn syrup
3) Mix together cocoa mixture and rum mixture until combined
4) Stir in crushed wafers and nuts into cocoa rum mixture until well combined (if mixture is too dry, add more corn syrup and if mixture is too wet, add more powdered sugar a little bit at a time.  This mixture should stick together well and keep their shape)
5) Roll mixture into balls and coat with powdered sugar
6) Ball can be kept at room temperature for 3 weeks or can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use (the longer they sit, they stronger they taste!), enjoy!

Rum Balls

Jam Streusel Shortbread Bars

Jam Bars

This recipe is from my 'The Best of Fine Cooking Cookies' magazine.  The original recipe calls for using a mixture of cranberries and sugar as the middle component of the bars but I didn't have any cranberries on hand so I used the Johnson Berry Farm Jam that my mom bought me at Pike's Market in Seattle.  The crust and streusel of the bars were buttery and flakey while the center was soft and sweet.  These bars would work great with any type of berry, jam or preserve.

Jam Streusel Shortbread Bars

1 Cup and 5 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled until just warm
1 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 Large egg yolks
3 Cups and 3 Tbsp flour
One 10.5oz jar of jam

Jam Bars

1) Preheat oven to 325F and line a 13*9in baking pan with parchment paper or foil
2) Stir together butter, 3/4 Cups sugar, and the salt then add in the egg yolks and whisk until well combined
3) Stir in flour until mixture begins to make a stiff dough
4) Transfer about 2-3 Cups of dough mixture to prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom them prick the dough with a fork all over
5) Refrigerate the dough for 30min (or freeze for 5-7min) until dough is firm
6) Bake the dough for 20min until crust begins to set but does not brown on the edges
7) While crust is baking, use the remaining dough and add the remaining 1/4 Cup sugar and mix until it forms coarse crumbs
8) Remove crust from oven and spoon jam evenly over the hot crust then sprinkle the coarse crumbs evenly over the layer of jam
9) Increase the oven temp. to 350F and bake for about 25min until streusel on top is golden
10) Remove bars from oven and let them set on wire rack for an hour to let them completely firm and cool down
11) Cut into bars and enjoy!

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I got this recipe from the December 2011 'Everyday Food - A Martha Stewart Magazine'.  The original recipe is called Chocolate-Peppermint Thumbprints but I omited the peppermint flavor.  These cookies were so good; they were full of chocolate, sugar and more chocolate.  They had a nice brownie texture with a soft chocolatey center.  Here is the recipe below for you to try.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

2 Cups flour
2/3 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cups butter, room temperature
1 Cups granulated sugar
1 Large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla
Decorating sugar
5 Ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 Cup butter
(1/2 tsp peppermint extract)

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

1) Preheat oven to 350F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
2) Whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt then set aside
3) In a large bowl, beat 1 Cup butter and 1 Cup of sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
4) Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined
5) Mix in flour mixture gradually on low speed until combined
6) Roll dough into 1 inch balls and then roll balls in the decorating sugar
7) Bake for 5min then remove the cookies from the oven, and with the bottom of a small teaspoon, make a imprint in the center of each half baked cookie
8) Continue baking for another 4min (do not overbake), until the cookies are set but still look moist then cool on wire racks

9) While cookies are cooling, melt together the 5 ounces of chocolate and the 1/4 Cup of butter (either in the microwave or over top a double boiler), (add peppermint extract if desired)
10) Spoon chocolate mixture into the center imprints of the cookies
11) Let cookies continue cooling, store at room temperature and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie

I got this reciepe from my '100 Best Cookies by Better Homes and Garden' magazine.  When I make Chocolate Chip Cookies, I usually stick to my mom's recipe but I decided to give these a try because the picture in the magazine looked delicious.  The flavor of the cookie was good because of the combination of butter and shortening but they didn't flatten out very much which I would have preferred.  Overall they were soft and chewy; here is the recipe below for you to try.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 Cups butter, softened
1/4 Cup Shortening
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 Cups flour
2 Cups chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 375F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper
2) In a large bowl, beat well together butter and shortening for 30 secondds on medium to high speed
3) Add both sugars, baking soda, and salt and beat until well combined
4) Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined
5) Mix in flour on low spead
6) Stir in chocolate chips
7) Place rounded teaspoon sizes on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 8-9min until the edges are slightly browned
8) Cool on pan for 5min then transfer cookies to cooling rack and enjoy!