Christmas Treats for a Party or Gift by Amy Tobin - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Christmas treats for a party or gift by Amy Tobin

Spicy Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Granola
Makes about 5 cups
 Homemade granola is so easy to make. I love this version with pumpkin puree. Don't like pumpkin? Try replacing the puree with applesauce.
Dry ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup pecans, chopped
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup dates, chopped
2 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt
Wet ingredients:
3 Tablespoons canola oil
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients; mix well.
In a small bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
Combine wet with dry ingredients; mix until well coated and combined.
Spread mixture out onto baking sheet, creating an even layer.
Bake 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool in the pan on a rack for 20-30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container.
Sparkly Lemon Ginger Sandwich cookies
Makes about 4 dozen sandwich cookies
Ginger Cookies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup(1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup Sugar Crystals (larger sugar for finishing)
Lemon Filling:
1 1/2 Tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (packed) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in water and molasses.
Add flour mixture and mix on low until a soft dough forms.
Use a 1/2 -inch scoop, portion dough into cookies. Roll cookies in the sugar crystals. Place cookies 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 7-9 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool completely on baking sheets on cooling racks.
To Make Filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat filling ingredients on medium speed until combined.
To Assemble: Using a small offset spatula, spread approximately ½ teaspoon of filling on half a cookie, sandwich the other half to form a ball. Store in an airtight container.
Smoked Bourbon Paprika Nuts
Makes 1 pound
1/3 cup dark-brown sugar
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1½ teaspoon kosher salt
1¼ teaspoon Bourbon Smoked Paprika
1 pound raw unsalted pecan halves
1 egg white, room temperature
1 Tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix sugars, salt, and smoked bourbon paprika, making sure there are no lumps; set aside.
Beat egg white and water until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts, and stir to coat evenly.
Sprinkle nuts with sugar mixture, and toss until evenly coated.
Spread sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper.
Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven, and separate nuts as they cool.
When completely cool, pour the nuts into a bowl, breaking up any that stick together.
Mulling Spices
If you're looking for a really easy gift from the kitchen, try Mulling Spices. Just combine orange peel, broken cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, whole cloves and star anise. Measure about a tablespoon of the mixture into a cheesecloth square (use 2-3 layers of cheesecloth) and tie with kitchen twine to create individual sachets. One sachet will infuse a bottle of wine or half gallon of cider with a wonderful spicy flavor. Bring the wine or cider to a simmer and drop in the mulling spices. Let simmer and steep for an hour or so to get maximum flavor.
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