HOLIDAY COOKIE EXCHANGE

FEED YOUR SOUL

Friends, family and colleagues agree–the best thing about this time of year is always the same: cookies!  Whether you’re letting out your inner Cookie Monster or attending/hosting a cookie swap party, making homemade holiday cookies are a great way to offer everyone a chance to get together and exchange deliciousness during the busy season.  Extra cookies also make for great host gifts or surprise romantic bites for a cozy night by the fire with your sweetie.

Before the baking games begin, make sure your flour, baking powder and baking soda have been purchased within the last 6 months for best results.  Happy Baking!

This season, we just cannot get enough of Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, Chewy Date Nut Bars and Naughty Dark Chocolate Bark.  *Gluten-free peeps, you, too, can enjoy my Naughty Dark Chocolate Bark! Just swap graham-crackers for Glow Gluten Free Gingersnaps at your next Holiday Cookie Exchange. NumNumNum

Let’s Play!

Be sure to check our Facebook and Twitter pages for daily updates or email mindy@mealsonheelsbymindy.com to schedule your private cooking lessons.  New York City holiday slots are going quickly so hurry up and get loved!

EAT WELL. FEEL WELL. ENTERTAIN WELL.

LOVE your life!
CELEBRATE your culinary creativity!
PLAY with a renewed vitality!

Exercise!  Breathe Fresh Air!  Exhale Sunshine!  Listen to INSPIRING TUNES WHILE COOKING!

  • Steppin’ Out With My Baby, Duets Tony Bennett with Christina Aguilera
  • Christmas Time Is In The Air Again, Mariah Carey
  • Feliz Navidad, Michale Buble-Mis Deseos Duet with Thalia
  • Wizards In Winter, Siberian Light Orchestra
  • When You Wish Upon A Star, Rod Stewart
  • Un Amore Cosi Grande, Il Volo
  • What Christmas Mans to Me, Cee Lo Green

ROSEMARY SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Prepared in 25 minutes or less plus 2 hours refrigeration.

Ingredients

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ tsp fine salt
2¾ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1½ Tbs dried rosemary, finely chopped
²/³ cup Confectioners’ sugar

Preparation

Beat the butter with sugar in a large bowl until fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.  Gently blend in the sifted flour, fine salt and chopped rosemary to form a thick dough.

Form dough into a ball and gently knead with hands for 2 minutes or until it is pliable.  Shape dough into a disc, wrap tightly with plastic Saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours until nice and firm.

Preheat oven to 300°F.   Grease 2 large cookie sheets with extra butter or nonstick spray.

Lightly flour a cutting board or work surface before rolling out chilled dough ball.  Roll out the ball of dough with a rolling pin to ¼-inch thickness.  Cut, using a sharp knife, 2 x 2-inch squares and place 1-inch apart on greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cookies are golden-brown in color.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

CHEWY DATE NUT BARS
Prepared in 35 minutes or less.

Ingredients

9 oz dates, pitted and roughly chopped
3 oz tsp granulated sugar
2½ oz all-purpose flour, sifted (*gluten-free, substitute organic Coconut flour)
2 oz oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Whole Grain Rolled Oats)
4 Tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract plus 1 tsp each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature, well-beaten
6 oz pecan nuts, roughly chopped

Confectioners’ sugar (optional for dusting)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F.   Set aside a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Stir until  ingredients are evenly mixed.  Pour batter into square baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is browned.

Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Place on a wire rack and cool completely.  Cut into 12 bars and dust with Confectioners’ sugar before serving.  Store in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days.

Bake for 20 minutes or until cookies are golden-brown in color.  Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

NAUGHTY DARK CHOCOLATE BARK
Prepared in 15 minutes or less plus two hours to refrigerate.

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted sweet butter, softened to room temperature
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups dark chocolate morsels
1 package plain graham crackers (*gluten-free, substitute 3 boxes of Glow Gluten Free gingersnaps)
1 cup macadamia nuts
½ cup dried cranberries, dried blueberries or dried cherries or candied ginger bits
1 cup mini white marshmallows

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line an edged cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place a single layer of graham crackers atop foil. Set aside.

Over a double-boiler on medium heat, melt the butter. Add vanilla extract then gently stir in the sugars until combined. Allow mixture to boil then reduce heat and gently boil for 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Pour butter mixture over graham crackers and spread with a spatula to evenly cover all the graham crackers.

Bake for 10 minutes then remove cookie sheet from oven and allow to rest for 2 minutes.

Next, layer graham crackers with dark chocolate morsels, macadamia nuts, dried fruit of choice and mini marshmellows. Gently press ingredients down onto graham crackers with the back of the spatula. Sprinkle with extra dark chocolate morsels.

Return cookie sheet back into the oven and bake bark for 1 minute. Cool bark to room temperature then refrigerate for two hours.

Peel chilled bark from foil before breaking into large uneven pieces. Serve immediately with espresso.

Optional: Wrap in cellophane bags tied with festive ribbon or decorative tins and keep on hand as a parting gift or gourmet hostess gift. Yields one pound.

2 Comments

  1. Jo Bigge
    Posted December 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    The rosemary shortbread caught my eye!

  2. Cari
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    You rock!

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