Snow Day Baking: 3 Christmas Treats
The unusually heavy snow here in Vancouver created a good opportunity to stay home in my PJ’s and bake. The sweet smells coming from the oven, the warmth and coziness, doing something I really enjoy – all contributed to my stress relief plan! It was heavenly.
Here are three of the goodies I made this weekend. They are all pretty simple, and simply delicious!
Pecan Pie Bars: just like a piece of pie but handier to eat!
2 cups flour
¾ cup, plus 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, divided
¾ cup butter
¾ cup light corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 9 x 13 pan with parchment, or grease well.
In a small bowl, mix well flour and the 3T of brown sugar. With fingers, work in the ¾ cup butter until dough begins to hold together. Press onto bottom of greased/lined 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until just firm.
In medium bowl, lightly beat ¾ cup of brown sugar and the eggs; add corn syrup, pecans, melted butter, vanilla and salt; mix well. Pour over crust. Bake 25 minutes or just until edges are lightly browned. Cool in pan on rack, cut into 1 x 3 inch bars, Makes 27.
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Melting Moments: super easy-to-make delicate shortbread that melts in your mouth….
1 cup butter
1/3 cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together till light. Whisk together the cornstarch and flour; add to the butter mixture and blend thoroughly. Chill dough for 15 minutes or so till it’s a bit more firm. Take a teaspoon full of dough, roll into a ball approx. 1” diameter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and press gently to flatten slightly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes till golden brown around the edges.
Optional: melt ½ cup of chocolate chips, stir still smooth. Using a spoon, drizzle over the cooled cookies. This step is not necessary as they are fabulously delicious just on their own…but it looks nice.
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Pignoli Cookies: a sumptuous Italian treat that is gluten and grain free.
1 ½ cups of whole blanched almonds
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
2 egg whites
½ tsp almond extract
2 cups pine nuts
Preheat Oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
In a food processor, chop almonds till coarse. Add granulated and icing sugar; process until mixture is like fine bread crumbs. Add egg whites and almond extract and continue to process for a few minutes till you have a smooth, but sticky, dough. Chill for 10-15 minutes
Roll by the teaspoonful, into balls; wet your hands slightly so they don’t get so sticky. Then roll in pine nuts which will stick to the surface all round.
Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2” apart, flatten slightly by pressing down.
Bake 18 minutes or so, till golden brown, then move to a rack to cool. Makes about 36 cookies. Store in an airtight container.
I have frozen all of these treats with success. They are fabulous for your Christmas parties or as a gift. The Pignoli cookies are gluten and grain free, the Melting moments are super easy to make from regular pantry ingredients, and the Pecan Pie Bars are decadent!
Give them a try – I hope you enjoy them. It’s been a good weekend, and now I’m ready for my parties next week…