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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Struffoli!

Year after year Christmas traditions are kept including putting up two Christmas trees, going to church on Christmas Eve and baking as many cookies as possible. Sometimes though we hold off on cookies for day in order to make struffoli. I was curious about how to describe stuffoli and searched the internet to find this definition: a Neapolitan dish of deep fried balls of dough about the size of marbles dipped in honey. For me the definition of struffoli would be: fried dough covered in honey and sprinkles made with the family.

It’s not every year that we make stuffoli, in fact it’s a big event when we do make it. A couple of weeks ago my Mom decided that we were going to make it this year for Christmas and called my Grandpa. He was so happy to hear the news and planned to be here to help out.

This morning Grandpa arrived ready to make struffoli! Mom made the dough which included about 6 cups of flour and 12 eggs among other minor things. After letting the dough rest for a little while we all worked together to roll and cut the dough balls. These were then fried, dried, and bathed in honey. After topping the balls off with sprinkles the struffoli was made! It took the majority of the day but they are delicious.

We had a great time making the struffoli and after eating one dish already I can tell you the hard work was worth it! Here are some pictures taken throughout the day.

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All in all it was a great day hanging out in the kitchen with my Mom and Grandpa. Every time we make struffoli we are not only proud of the result but happy that we did it together. It might not happen every year but when struffoli is made so are many memories.

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Cookies Cookies and more Cookies

Over the past few days I have been baking and working, working and baking. Yup, cookies galore! It’s getting to be crunch time in the Christmas cookie season and I still have a few more things to bake.

I suppose earlier this week I was feeling nostalgic and missing living in Italy. Italians love their Nutella and put it in almost every pastry! Nutella croissants were delicious and when thinking of those I thought a Nutella cookie would be pretty great to make. I looked up some recipes and found this one, which I used: http://www.erinsfoodfiles.com/2011/01/nutella-cookies.html. The cookies are delicious and I’m happy it brings some Italy to our cookie collection.

nutella

Even though gingerbread cookies have never been a necessity in my house I thought they might be fun to make. Since I had never made them before I took to the internet to do some investigating. Some people like soft gingerbread since it can be a notoriously hard cookie. I looked into just an ordinary recipe and found this one: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Gingerbread-Cookies-2. For never really having gingerbread I was surprised when I actually liked how they tasted! I can definitely see munching on these with some hot cider. I also had a lot of fun decorating the gingerbread men!

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gingerbread

All of these fun flavor cookies are great and all but I’m a chocolate girl at heart. One of my favorite types of chocolate cookies are Chocolate Crinkle cookies. I love the powdered sugar on the outside and the soft, chewy inside. I again found a recipe on the internet and the cookies are so good I will definitely be using this recipe again!

http://www.chef-in-training.com/2012/07/chocolate-crinkle-cookies/

crinkle

Tomorrow the plan is to bake more cookies and make Struffoli. If you don’t know what Struffoli is you should check back later, there will be plenty of pictures and probably a story or two.

My Two Favorites

After venturing to the mall to get some Christmas shopping done I  came home today to bake. Instead of trying new recipes today I made my two favorite cookies. These two cookies have been my favorites for years and I wouldn’t have a Christmas without them.

The first cookie I made is called Orange Cream Chips. To be honest they don’t taste particularly orangey but they are fantastic! And if you don’t like orange flavored cookies you can easily change this to be another flavor by using lemon juice or any other juice instead. Here is the recipe:

  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 package semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Beat shortening, sugar, and cream cheese in bowl.
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time
  3. Add juice and rind
  4. Blend in flour and salt
  5. Add chocolate chips
  6. Drop onto prepared sheets
  7. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes

I have learned over the years that my oven runs hot so by 11 minutes the cookies are done. To top these cookies I very highly suggest making an orange icing. Two cups of powdered sugar, 3 ounces of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon orange juice, and 1 teaspoon orange rind. If you ask me the cookies are naked with out the icing, it makes them that much better!!

My other favorite cookies are Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. Be sure to note that I did not say Oatmeal Raisin…those are gross. It’s really simple to just add oatmeal to any chocolate chip cookie recipe or use a completely different recipe all together. Here my mom and I have a different recipe, slightly altered from the Chocolate Chip recipe on the back of chocolate chip packages. The recipe is as follows:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbspn milk
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 1 package chocolate chips

Mix as you would an ordinary chocolate chip cookie recipe adding oats and chips last.

Since these cookies are still in the works in my kitchen I will include a picture of the Orange Cream Chips. They are naked currently but check back in a few days and they will all be iced! Let me know if anyone tries these recipes, tell me what you think!

Orange Cream Chips - uniced

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I might start by apologizing for not writing on here since September but school became my first priority. On the bright side the semester is over and the baking can begin again! Seeing as it is a week until Christmas Eve it’s the perfect time to start making Christmas cookies. As the days progress I will update with the cookies I’m making plus those my Mom makes. We have our traditional cookies that make an appearance every year and then those I decided to test out for the first time.

Today I made 3 new cookies. My intent was to make the batters and refrigerate them until another time but since I had the time, everything was baked. The first cookie was plain shortbread, simple and tasty. To make them festive I rolled the dough in  red, white and green sprinkles.

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The second cookie was Walnut Shortbread. The same recipe was used for both shortbreads but walnuts were added to the second. I find walnuts to be pretty tasty when added in baking so I figured the same would be true for this recipe.

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The above two cookies were made from the shortbread recipe on this website: http://householdways.blogspot.com/2011/12/refrigerator-icebox-cookies.html. This list of refrigerated cookies sparked my interest because it is often easier to split up the baking time especially with work and obligations to Christmas shows on TV! 🙂

The third cookie of the day was Peanut Butter Buttons. Take your ordinary peanut butter cookie recipe and simply change the presentation to make these cute buttons. For these I took the idea from one website and the recipe from another: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/peanut_butter_cookies/, http://www.bakerella.com/coraline-cookies/.

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I think my first day of baking went pretty well today. Of course a lot of baking is still to come, especially making our annual cookies. Stay tuned for more cookies and let me know what you’re baking for this season!