Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peppermint Bark Cookies

I love peppermint bark so, naturally, I was very excited to try out this recipe. It is now my new favorite holiday treat. And a very festive addition to my holiday baking! Here's the recipe -

2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)
1 cup chopped Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses (or use crumbled candy canes)
2 ounces white chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with long strip of 9-inch-wide parchment paper, leaving overhang on both short sides of pan.

2. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.

3. Drop dough into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

4. Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small offset spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped candy cane kisses over (or candy canes).

5. Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. If it’s too tough and thick to stir, add a tiny drizzle of vegetable oil or 1/2 tsp. of shortening to thin it out. Remove from over water. Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

6. Using paper overhang as aid, lift cookie from pan and transfer to work surface. Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces.

Cooking Tips:
*DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in refrigerator (or freezer) in airtight containers between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. Can be stored in the freezer for several weeks.

Yield: About 36 pieces
Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Embrace the Camera: December 9, 2010 - Flashback

We didn't take a single picture this week (until today; I got my camera back!), so today's embrace the camera features a flashback to last year at this time. Looking at this picture, I have to laugh. It was only the second week in December, my due date was January 10th, but I was so completely certain that my baby was coming early. In fact, I was pretty confident he'd be here on or before December 29th. He had to be. I was huge. And very uncomfortable. But baby boy didn't show up until January 19th! Yes, 9 days AFTER my due date! Oh well, he came when he was good and ready.

Zoe's hair {and outfit!} crack me up.

To make matters worse, my husband and child liked to mock me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Embrace the Camera: December 2, 2010

My last Embrace the Camera featured pictures from my birthday "party," during which, the flash on my camera completely and randomly died. So, my NEW Nikon was rushed to the shop in hopes that we might get it back before the holidays! Despite the fact that I haven't had my camera, I do have some fabulous embrace-worthy photos to share today. We got the rest of our pictures back from our family photo shoot and I am beyond pleased with them!

There are many more to share, but at an average of 10 minutes per photo to upload onto here, forget it!

Enjoy...and embrace your camera!