Celebrate With Holiday Treats
November 25th, 2015

Surprise neighbors, friends and family with tasty gifts from your kitchen

 No matter what the temperature is outside, the weather is always right for a batch of snowball cookies.

No matter what the temperature is outside, the weather is always right for a batch of snowball cookies.

Almond-Apricot Snowballs

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, for rolling

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the oil and beat until well combined. Add water, almond and vanilla extract; mix. Stir in the almonds and apricots.

Scoop the batter with a small ice cream scoop, melon baller or spoon, making balls the same size. Place on an ungreased baking sheet about 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies 12 to 15 minutes or until just set. Cool on a baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until just warm.

Pour the powdered sugar into a bowl. While the cookies are still warm, but not hot, roll in powdered sugar. Return the cookies to the wire rack. When totally cooled, roll in the powdered sugar again. Store in an airtight container for up to five days.

Tip: Roll the cookies in the second coating of sugar right before serving.

Yields: 36

Courtesy of www.canolainfo.org

Candy Cane Whoopie Pies Cooking spray

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1/4 cup candy canes, crushed
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Prepare whoopie pie pans by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, blend the brown sugar, milk, canola oil, egg, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and blend until fully incorporated.

Remove about 1/4 cup of the mixture and blend in the red coloring. Swirl the red mixture back into the main mixture so you can see all of the swirls.

Place about 11/2 tablespoons of the mixture into each whoopie cavity. Bake until firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese and oil together using a hand mixer Add powdered sugar and whip until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Sandwich two of the whoopie pies together with a few tablespoons of filling. Press them together so filling comes out. Press crushed candy canes into the sides.

Tip: Whoopie pie pans are sold online by various retailers.

Yields 18

Courtesy of www.canolainfo.org

 

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Hand-held pies are a tasty, easy-to-eat dessert.

Blue-Ribbon Raisin Apple Hand-Held Pies

Filling

  • 1½ cups chopped tart apples
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pastry

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold water
  • Egg wash
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt

Combine apples, brown sugar, water, lemon juice and raisins in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until apples are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and spices for the filling; add liquid from cooking apples to make a slurry. Add all to the pan with the apples and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and butter. Set aside to cool.

For the pastry, measure flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. With a pastry blender, fork or two knives, cut in the butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing after each addition until flour is moist and the dough just holds together. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead together and shape into a flattened disk. Divide into four equal pieces; wrap separately in plastic wrap or wax paper, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough, one piece at a time, and cut each piece into four small rounds with a 3½- or 4-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 scant tablespoon of filling just below center on each piece. Moisten the edges with water and fold over, sealing edges with a fork. Arrange on a baking sheet and prick the tops of each pie in several places with a fork or cut one small slit with a sharp knife.

Beat egg with a pinch of salt for egg wash and brush onto pies. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly browned.

Yield: 16

Courtesy of www.LoveYourRaisins.com

 

Honey Peanut Butter and Chocolate Popcorn

  • ½ cup popcorn kernels popped with air popper (or other corn popper using
  • 3 tablespoons oil)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnut chocolate spread

Place popcorn in a large bowl.

In a large microwavable bowl, combine sugar, honey and peanut butter. Stir ingredients together and then microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir ingredients again, and microwave 1 to 11/2 minutes more. Stir in vanilla and pour mixture over popcorn. Mix well.

Press the popcorn mixture into a lightly oiled 9-inch-by-13-inch pan. Press craisins into the mixture. Melt chocolate chips in microwave on high power, about 1 minute. Stir to finish melting chips, then stir in the hazelnut spread. Drizzle the chocolate mixture over the popcorn mixture. Refrigerate to harden chocolate. Cut into squares to serve.

Yield: 24 squares

Courtesy of www.canolainfo.org