Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2 perfect treats for your Christmas plates!

Layered mint fudge

1 1/2 tsp butter, softened
2 c (12oz) semisweet choco chips
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk, divided
2tsp vanilla extract
1c vanilla or white choco chips
3tsp peppermint extract
1 to 2 drops green or red food coloring

Line a 9" square pan (I used a 9" round pan) with foil; grease the foil with butter and set aside.
In a heavy sauce pan, melt chocolate chips and 1c milk over low heat.
Cook for 5-6 min. or until smooth.
Remove from heat.
Add vanilla; stir for 3-4 min. or until creamy.
Spread half of the mixture into prepared pan.
Refrigerate for 10min or until firm.
Set remaining choco mixture aside.

In heavy saucepan, melt vanilla chips and remaining milk over low heat; cook and stir for 5-6 min. or until smooth (mixture will be thick).
Remove from the heat.Add peppermint extract and food coloring.
Stir 3-4min or until creamy.Spread evenly over chocolate layers.Refrigerate for 10min or until firm.
Heat reserved choco mixture over low heat until mixture achieves spreading consistency; spread over mint layer.
Cover; refrigerate overnight or until firm.
Using foil, lift fudge out of pan.Gently peel off foil; cut into 1" squares.
Store in the fridge.
Makes about 1 3/4lbs.

Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
2 hr 25 min
Cook Time:
10 min
12 sandwich cookies

1 (16.5 ounce) tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough (or make your own!)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Decorating suggestion: crushed candy canes or peppermint candies; white, red and green sprinkles; or red and green decorating sugar
Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter(or a greased cup), and a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop (or a spoon)
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, knead together the cookie dough and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Knead together any scraps of dough and roll out again. Continue to cut out pastry circles until there are 24 pieces in total. Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reserve 1 parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Combine 1 cup of chocolate chips and the cream in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the peppermint extract and refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour. Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, place the chocolate mixture in the center of the flat side of 12 of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top and gently squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until the filling has set, about 25 minutes.
Combine the remaining chocolate chips and the vegetable oil in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes or peppermint candies. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight plastic container.

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