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Cookie and Candy Recipes

 

Brigadeiros 


These Brazilian truffles are about as quick as is possible for a caramel type candy. Traditionally rolled in chocolate sprinkles, they may be rolled into any coating desired. I used chopped pecans for some here. These are my token Easter candies this year.

Makes about 15 - 20 truffles

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon butter
sprinkles or other for coating

Mix ion a medium saucepan the milk, cocoa and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring vigorously so it does not stick to the pan. Continue stirring constantly for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and clumps around the spoon.

Allow to cool slightly and scoop out balls about 1 inch in diameter. With buttered hands, roll the mixture into a neat ball and roll into the coating of your choice.

Brigadeiros
Brigadeiros

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Gingerbread Cookies 

My good friend gave me some of these cookies last year and I ate them like no tomorrow. She gave me the recipe, so this year I made my own. I love spices so I upped the quantity a bit.

Made 17 dozen 3-inch gingerbread men

5 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons vinegar


Sift together flour, soda, spices and salt; set aside.  In a larger bowl place shortening and beat for 30 seconds.  Add sugar; beat till fluffy.  Add egg, molasses and vinegar and beat well.  Add in dry ingredients and mix well.  Cover and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease baking sheets.  Divide dough in thirds.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each third of the dough to 1/8-inch thickness.  Keep remainder of dough chilled until ready to use.  Cut rolled dough in desired shapes and place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets.  Bake for about 5 - 6 minutes. Cool for one minute, then remove to a rack to finish cooling.  May be iced as desired.

An Army of Gingerbread Men
An Army of Gingerbread Men

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Rolled Butter Cookies 

These are my favorite Christmas cookies. So many delectable cookies to choose from, but these are just buttery rich and exquisitely good.

2¼ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together first 4 ingredients. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Lightly beat egg and add to crumb mixture, along with vanilla.  Mix well and chill dough. This dough may be made well in advance and frozen until needed.

Roll out and cut cookies into desired shapes. Bake @ 350 for 10 - 12 minutes.

NOTE: These cookies may be iced using a simple confectioners' sugar and water glaze. Mix until the icing barely puddles when dropped from a spoon; neither too thick nor too thin. Dip tops of cookies into glaze, allow to drip and set to dry on waxed paper. Best to allow 24 hours for icing to be completely dry, otherwise they may stick together when stacked.

Rolled Butter Cookies
Rolled Butter Cookies
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Cherry Bon Bons 

This recipe was given to me by Mom Rawstern many years back. They are my husband's favorite cookies, and a must at Christmas time. Both Mom and her son loved their maraschino cherries, and mom has added in more cherry juice to the recipe than called for.  Granted, it made the cokies easier to form, but after baking they alwayslooked like little hats with a wide brim. I know better now, and use less of the juice.

Makes about 26 to 28 cookies

26 - 28 maraschino cherries
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
2  tablespoons cherry juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt

Drain the maraschino cherries in a sieve over a bowl, catching the juice.  Let cherries drain for a few minutes, then place 3 - 4 layers of paper toweling on a large plate and put cherries on the toweling to drain further.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the cherry juice and vanilla.  Combine the flour and salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture.

Cherry Bon Bons
Cherry Bon Bons above
Below: forming the Bon Bons
Forming Bon Bons

Divide dough into approximately 24 portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then hollow out the center. Fit in one cherry, then seal the opening completely. (At this point, you may roll them in little sprinkles, or colored sugar, or leave them plain and pipe icing over them later). Place on baking sheets about 2-inches apart. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until completely set. Watch carefully at 18 minutes, they should not get browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

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Bourbon Balls 

A favorite Christmas Cookie year after year. Made with bourbon, though rum or other liquor of choice may be used. I personally like Jim Beam. These are completely no-bake!

Makes about 4 dozen

3 cups finely crushed Vanilla Wafer cookies
1½ cups finely ground pecans
1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey
6 tablespoons bourbon

Place the finely crushed Vanilla Wafers in a large bowl. Add the ground pecans and stir; set aside. Mix together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder. Set aside. Mix together the honey and Bourbon.

Mix the honey / Bourbon mixture into the confectioners' sugar / cocoa mixture until it is syrupy. Blend this mixture into the crushed cookie and nut mixture until well combined. Form about 1-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.

NOTES: As stated, other liquor may be substituted. Other nuts, such as walnuts that grind finely may be substuituted. The little cookies may be rolled in confectioners' sugar rather than granulated.

With all these possible substitutions, it would be festive to make 2 or 3 different varieties.

Bourbon Balls
Bourbon Balls

MORE VARIATIONS:
Substitute different types of liquor. Try using rum, or Malibu Rum, or spiced rum. Try a type of liqueur, one that is not too sweet, such as Cointreau for a chocolate orange flavor.

Change the type of cookie used. Try using gingersnaps to make the crumbs, or even a chocolate wafer cookie. Any cookie that makes good crumbs would work.

Vary the kind of syrup. You may use honey, a more natural sweetener, but corn syrup works great also.

When you first start making changes to a basic recipe, try to stick to very similar ingredients and swap one to one.

1. If using an alternate alcohol, use a dry alcohol such as bourbon, whiskey or rum.


2. If using a different cookie to make the crumbs, try cookies that are very similar in texture, such as other hard wafer cookies.

3. If choosing a different kind of  nuts, choose nuts that are easy to grind, unless you want a more textured cookie.

4. If substituting the kind of syrup, remember that honey or corn syrup are quite thick and very sticky. This helps the cookies stay together, Trying to alter the syrup too radically may result in crumbling cookies.

Once you have the recipe down, try other possibilities:

1. Try using a sandwich type cookie, keeping in mind that you may need less syrup or honey to bind, as the filling adds both moisture and sweetness.

2. Try a different liqueur, keeping in mind that too much sweetness may be cloying.

3. Vary coatings: try colored sugar, colored sprinkles or little jimmies.
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Pistachio Tea Cookies 

Using the same amounts for ingredients as for Russian Tea Cakes, I used Pistachios and Green Tea Powder and made similar cookies that are just wonderful in their own right.

Makes about 7½ dozen cookies (with 1¼" diameter cookie scoop)

2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon pistachio flavoring
½ teaspoon almond flavoring
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup Matcha Green Tea Powder
4¼ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups finely ground unsalted pistachios
Extra confectioner's sugar for rolling and storing


Cream together the butter and confectioners' sugar with the flavorings.  If pistachio flavoring is not available, use all almond or part almond and part vanilla extracts. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the flour, Green Tea Powder and salt.  Add in the nuts and combine well. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Form the dough into one-inch balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 14 to 16 mnutes, or until set but not too browned.  Immediately roll in confectioners' sugar and allow to cool.  Before storing, rol in confectioners' sugar a second time and store with pleanty of the sugar around them.

NOTES: Making these cookies with a 1¼-inch diameter cookie scoop is a snap. Press the dough into the bowl of the scoop, release and they are perfectly domed-shape little tea cookies.

Pistachio Tea Cookies
Pistachio Tea Cookies

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Russian Tea Cakes 

I have been eating these at Christmas time for most of my 62 years! These have been called by many different names such as Snowballs and Mexican Wedding Cakes. Unfailingly good, originally from my Mom's old Betty Crocker cookbook (from the 1940s), but found just about anywhere on the 'net.

Makes 7 dozen

2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cup finely ground nuts (we always used walnuts)
Extra confectioners' sugar for rolling and storing

Russian Tea Cakes
Russian Tea Cakes, aka Snowballs, Mexican Wedding Cakes

Cream together the butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla.  Using a pastry blender cut in the flour, salt and nuts; blend in until crumbly. Chill the dough.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake until set, but not browned, about 15 minutes. While still warm, roll in confectioners'sugar.  Allow to cool and roll in more confectioners' sugar.  When storing, sprinkle more confectioners' sugar over and around the cookies, as they soak up quite a bit.

 

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Cream Wafers 

This recipe was given to me long, long ago by an acquaintance. I had them at a party at her house and just couldn't stop eating them. These are tiny little things (about 1½ inches in diameter) and take a bit of time to make all the little rounds and then assemble. However, they are so flaky and light, the raves you will get will more than offset any time spent on making them, believe me!

Makes a lot of tiny cookies!

WAFERS
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
Granulated sugar

CREAMY FILLING
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food Coloring, optional



Cream Wafers 
Cream Wafers
Pink & blue fillings make these perfect for a baby shower. Other colors could be used as desired, or leave white.


MAKE WAFERS: Mix together thoroughly the butter and flour, as for pie dough. Add the whipping cream and form a ball. Cover and chill.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out about 1/3 of the dough at a time, to about 1/8-inch thick. Keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to use. Cut the rolled dough into 1½-inch circles. Transfer the little rounds with a spatula to a piece of waxed paper heavily covered with the granulated sugar. Turn each round so that both sides are sugar coated. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Prick the little dough circles with a fork about 4 times (very important, or they will puff sky high and be impossible to fill). Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until just set, but not brown. Repeat with the other 2/3 of the dough. Cool the wafers.

MAKE CREAMY FILLING: Cream the butter with the confectioners’ sugar; add vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy. Tint with food coloring if desired. Put a small amount of filling on the botton side of one wafer, press another bottom side of a wafer against the filling, to make tiny sandwich cookies.

NOTES: When I made these recently, I used a large star icing tip to cut out the little wafers. The bottom rim of the tip was the perfect size.



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Ganache Filled Meringues 

Luscious little morsels that melt in your mouth. The meringue base is lightly chocolate flavored and the ganache filling is decadently rich. The ganache can be made with white chocolate for a variation. Using a piping bag and star tip make these unusually pretty, but dropping from a spoon also works fine. These are, by their very nature, Gluten-Free!

Makes 24 Meringues

2 egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
Chocolate Ganache

Make the Ganache recipe ahead of time; it needs time to chill completely.

Heat oven to 200 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with baking parchment.  Turn over the parchment and make 1½-inch circles, nicely spaced, using a small lid, or a large icing tip, or anything circular approximately 1½-inch in diameter.  After tracing the circles on the parchment, flip the paper back over. The circles will be plainly visible, but no lead or ink will be against the meringues.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the granulated sugar, beating at high speed just until stiff peaks form.

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  Fold the cocoa mixture into the beaten egg whites.  Spoon the mixture into a decorating bag fitted with a large open star tip.  Pipe the mixture into twenty-four 1½-inch rounds onto the prepared parchment.  With the back of a teaspoon, make an indentation in each, to hold the filling.  (Or, mixture can just be spooned in dollops onto the parchment, then using the back of the spoon, scoop out an indentation.)

White Chocolate Ganache Filled Meringues
White Chocolate Ganache (tinted pink) Filled Meringues, above
Dark Chocolate Ganache Filled Meringues, below
A
Gluten-Free Recipe
Dark Chocolate Ganache Filled Meringues

Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, or until crisp. Cool completely, about 10 minutes. Meringues can be stored in a cool dry place, in a container with a tight fitting lid, for up to a week. Once filled, these will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

NOTES: In the top photo, right, I used a Wilton open star tip #199; starting at the center of the traced circle, I made a spiral until the base was covered, then continued upwards at the edges, creating a little "cup" shape, thus eliminating the need to  go back and create a hole in the center. 

The second time, in the bottom photo right, I used a Wilton star tip #1M, making large stars; using the handles of two spoons in a reverse scissor motion, I made little dips in the center.  Bake as indicated.

The third time I made these with my daughter while visiting recently and we used a piping bag, but with no tip inserted, creating little round balls, then used the handles of two spoons to make an opening in the top. They look and taste great no matter which way you make them.


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Simple Vanilla Cookies 

These are not your little store-bought wafer cookies.  These are so good it is nearly unbelievable, from such a simple recipe.  Don't take my word - try them out, either as individual cookies, or with my "Busy-Mom-Method" described on the main "Cookies and Candies" page, and demonstrated here at right.

Makes about 7 dozen

1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2¾ cups all-purpose flour

Cream butter, shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in flour, mixing well. Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove immediately from pan.

If you like an iced cookie: make a glaze icing by mixing 1½ cups of confectioners' sugar, with ½ teaspoon vanilla and enough water (or milk) to make a paste, like very soft peanut butter. Add water by tiny amounts, starting with a tablespoon and adding in small bits thereafter. It gets runny very easily. Stir well each time before adding more water. Take each cookie and dip the top into the glaze and set aside to dry.

NOTES: Just for anecdotal trivia...

When I was in Guatemala, one morning I made a batch of these cookies. I popped the last pan in the oven, and set the timer. Itching to get outside for a bit, I stepped out to see what the children were doing. . . and got distracted. By the time I remembered the cookies they had baked and shrunken down to tiny little black hockey pucks - not even the dogs had any interest in them! It pays not to get distracted when baking.

Making Vanilla Wafer Cookies

Making Vanilla Wafer Cookies

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Nutritious, Delicious Fudge 

Not your normal fudge, it's a little better for you, and extremely good.  Don't tell your secret, and no one will know.

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
2 cups pecans or walnuts, chopped

Spoon the beans into an electric food processor and process until smooth.  Add the cocoa, butter and vanilla and blend until well mixed and beans are totally pureed.

Place the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add the bean mixture. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a buttered 9 x 13-inch pan and refrigerate until set.

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Nutritious Delicious Fudge
Nutritious, Delicious Fudge

Hermits 

These cookies can be dropped from a spoon, or made in my "Busy-Mom-Method" described on the main Cookies and Candies page, and shown above in the Simple Vanilla Cookies recipe.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

½ cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup raisins
½ cup walnuts, broken

Thoroughly cream the shortening and sugar. Add egg; beat well. Mix the instant coffee into the 2 tablespoons water, then add to the creamed mixture. Sift together the dry ingredients and add in slowly until combined. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop from teaspoon, or small cookie scoop, about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake in a 375 oven for 10 minutes. 

NOTES: These can be iced with an icing of choice, or a glaze type icing. For the glaze, use 1½ cups confectioners' sugar, a pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add in water or milk, one tablespoon at a time, stirring very thoroughly before adding more. It is deceptive at first, and you may not need much more than another tablespoon or so. If the cookies are baked as individual cookies, dip the tops into the glaze, then set to dry. If using the "Busy-Mom-Method" just spread the glaze over the hot cookie straight from the oven.  Slice when cool.



Hermit Cookies
Hermit Cookies above, dipped in glaze icing
Below, Hermits made with Busy-Mom-Method


Hermits | Busy Mom Method

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