Friday, February 10, 2012

What To Do With Left-Over Candy Canes

The Trader Joe's Pound Plus bar is your best friend here. Just take away 2-3 squares.

 Got a few (dozen) candy canes left over from Christmas? We do. And we bake them into cookies. 2 of my top-all-time-super-duper cookie recipes are here and both are great with or without candy canes.

Chocolate Bliss

Such a great cookie. So amazingly delicious and easy to make! This has been doubled, so you can cut it in half, but I wouldn't recommend it. The doubles version makes 4 dozen cookies which really isn't that many. And they don't last long.

In a large glass bowl, melt 1 pound of semi-sweet chocolate with 1 stick of butter in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir well and let the residual heat melt the rest of the chocolate over the next few minutes.

 Stir in 4 eggs, mix well.
 Add 1.5 cups of packed brown sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla, mix well.

 Add 1.5 cups of flour and .5 teaspoon of baking powder.

 Now the fun part: the add ins.
We love Chocolate nibs. A by-product of the chocolate making process, they are so unique and good they've become a staple in our pantry. Go get NOT look at the price, just do it.

 Add 1.5 cups of chocolate chips and some add ins of your choice. Today, it's .5 cup of nibs and about 8 smashed up candy canes. Chopped nuts, dried cherries, etc. are other options
  When I worked at that BAKERY-THAT-SHALL-NOT-BE-NAMED, I was taught the importance of the scoop. This is a #40. But you can always use a teaspoon and your finger. Bake at 350 for 13-14 minutes till puffed and set. They will be loose, but not raw when they come out. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes or longer.
 Part of the fun with the candy canes is the ooze of melted candy from the cookies. If you don't like that look (I don't), push the candy back into the cookie with a fork after it's cooled about 45 seconds. If you do it too soon you will make a mess. If you do it too late, the candy won't move at all.

That extra chocolate? You put it out for your chocolate-crazed daughter who, is such a chocolate snob that not only does she have her very own CHOCOLATE SHELF, said shelf is most always empty due to her voracious appetite for chocolate. Note the chocolate mess on the floor of the cupboard. She won't really like that Trader Joe's chocolate (remember? she's a super-snob), but it may do in a pinch. I set it to the side, thus communicating "I know you don't really consider this worthy of your time, but I'm making this token gesture to show you I feel your pain". These are the games you play with chocolate snobs.
Next: Velvet White Cut-Outs

Can you believe it? I got this recipe from a SEVENTEEN Magazine when I was a mere maiden in my little desert hamlet. It was a contest winner and has proven over the ensuing thirtyfuckingfouryears to be hands down the BEST sugar cookie I've ever had.

2 sticks of butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese AT ROOM TEMP!
1 cup white sugar
1 egg yolk
.5 teaspoon vanilla
2.5 cups flour

Cream together butter and cream cheese till absolutely, positively smooth.
Beat in sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mix well. Add flour, mix.
Gather dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill several hours or overnight.
Roll dough on lightly floured board to .25 inches thick, cut with cutters.
RE-roll scraps one more time only. I take what's ever left over at that point and make jam thumbprint cookies...
Bake at 350 till edges are just lightly turning golden.
Cool on racks, frost with royal icing if desired.

For these, I cut a small heart out of the centers and filled them with crushed candy canes and baked as above.
So pretty! They MUST be stored in an air-tight container or bag, or the candy gets sticky and gooey.

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