FOOD - Cookies and squares to start the Christmas...
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Nov 22, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

FOOD - Cookies and squares to start the Christmas baking season

This week, it’s Christmas cookie baking time. Here are some recipes that might become a favourite at your house.

Chocolate truffle meets cookie dough
The truffle has come a long way since the 1920s. Legend says it was created by a pot of hot cream accidentally poured into a bowl of chocolate chunks. This delicious chocolate and cream mixture, known as ganache, formed the centre of the original cocoa-encrusted chocolate truffle.
Today, a variety of tasty truffle fillings offer a perfect match for any taste bud. This recipe is eatured in the Robin Hood 30th anniversary holiday recipe collection, this easy-to-make treat will win over the entire family.

Cookie dough truffles
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 can (300 ml) regular or low-fat sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 lbs (680 g) milk, white or dark chocolate, melted

First, line baking sheets with parchment paper. Then, in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy, for about one to two minutes.

Stir in the vanilla and then mix in the graham cracker crumbs, oats and salt. Once it’s all combined, add in the sweetened condensed milk, mixing well.

Next, stir in the chocolate chips and then freeze the dough for 30 minutes, or until firm. When ready, roll the dough into one inch balls and freeze these for 30 minutes or until firm.

Dip cookie dough balls into melted chocolate to cover, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Return to baking sheet and chill in refrigerator or freezer until set. Serve cold.

Sweet and salty chocolate caramel squares
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
10 oz chopped swiss milk chocolate, divided
1 can dulce de leche caramel flavoured sauce
1 tsp sea salt, divided

Heat oven to 350 F. Line a nine-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides for easy removal.
In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking soda.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until just combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add flour and baking soda and mix on low, until dough is formed. Stir in half of chocolate.

Bring caramel flavoured sauce to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir constantly, cook five minutes. Remove from heat.

Divide dough in half.
Press half into prepared pan. Spread thickened caramel flavoured sauce over dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp sea salt. Drop remaining dough over caramel flavoured sauce and spread until covered.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Melt reserved chocolate (150 g) and pour evenly on top of bars. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp sea salt. Let cool. Cut into squares.

~ Recipes courtesy of
Chocolate raspberry brownie bites
1 tbsp butter
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
24 walnut halves

In glass bowl, melt butter and chocolate in microwave, stirring once, until melted and smooth, about one minute. Stir in applesauce, jam and sugar until well blended. Lightly beat egg with egg white and vanilla. Stir into chocolate mixture. Gently stir in flour and walnuts.

Use light cooking spray to grease mini muffin pan. Spoon batter into pan filling to top. Top each brownie with one walnut half. Bake in 350 F oven until tester comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool in pan five minutes; transfer to rack and cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

Lemon ginger walnut cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon extract
3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Lemon glaze
2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp milk

Beat butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy; stir in eggs and extract. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Stir in walnuts and ginger. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm. (May be prepared up to a week ahead.) Heat oven to 400 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a portion of the dough, roll out 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured board and cut into desired shapes. Bake eight to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.

Transfer cookies to a baking rack to cool before coating with a thin layer of lemon glaze.
Store cookies in an airtight container.

Lemon glaze:
Stir together powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Sprinkle with finely grated lemon zest, if desired.

Walnut fudge
1/2 cup butter
1 (5oz/142 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
1 lbs dark or bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup marshmallow creme
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
Line a nine-inch square baking dish with foil. Melt butter and sweetened condensed milk together in a large heavy saucepan over low heat.

Stir in chocolate and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for five to 10 minutes or until chocolate has melted.
Stir in marshmallow creme and vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is glossy; stir in walnuts.

Spread in prepared pan and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until fudge has set.
~ Recipes courtesy of

Sneaky Lentil Cookies
These cookies will impress everyone at your table. The kids will not know they have a secret ingredient, they will just know they taste good. But you will know they are packed with healthy lentil puree.
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup lentil puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups chocolate chips
Heat oven to 375 F. Turn on your convection fan if you have one.

Use your stand mixer or food processor to cream together the butter and sugar until they are smoothly combined. Add the egg, vanilla and lentil puree and continue until the mixture is smooth once again.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, evenly distributing the finer powders amongst the coarser ones. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll into balls or drop by the spoonful, placing about two inches apart on a lightly oiled baking tray.
Bake for exactly 12 minutes. Cool for a few minutes then serve, share and get ready for the greatest hoodwink ever.

Note: Make your own lentil puree by simply pureeing four parts cooked lentils with one part water. It may also be stirred into any soup or stew.
~ Recipe courtesy of Chef Michael Smith

Apple bars
These bars have a chewy brownie-like texture.

Apple topping:
2 large apples (such as empire, McIntosh, cortland)
1 tbspgranulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Icing sugar (optional):
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tsp two per cent milk or cream
1/4 tsp vanilla

Topping: Peel, core and slice apples about 1/2 inch thick. In a bowl, mix sugar with cinnamon; add apples and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.

Cake: In large bowl and using electric mixer, cream butter with brown sugar for about one minute. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. In medium bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; beat into creamed mixture at medium speed until well blended.  Spread in greased nine-inch square cake pan.

Drain any juices from apples that might have accumulated. Arrange apples on top in four rows, slightly pressing into batter. Bake in 350 F oven for about 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let pan cool on rack.
Icing: In a small bowl, stir together icing sugar, milk and vanilla to make thin drizzling icing; thin with additional milk if needed. Drizzle over cake.

Spiced apple and oat squares
Delicious and nutrition packed, these squares are a cross between a date square and apple crisp.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened

Apple filling:
6 cups diced (1/2 inch) peeled apples (McInotsh, empire or Idared)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup apple cider or water
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves

In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, sugar and baking soda. Cut in butter with pastry blender until crumbly. Firmly press three cups into nine-inch square cake pan. Reserve remaining crumbs for top.

Apple Filling: In large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine apples, sugar, cider, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened and thickened. Let cool slightly. (Filling may be made ahead and refrigerated.)

Spread filling over base. Distribute reserved crumbs over top. Bake in 350 F oven for 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

~ Recipe courtesy of

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