Grateful for Holidays: Time to start Thinking about Baking: Vegan and Non Vegan Recipes

Now that Halloween is almost here although the stores look like Christmas, I decided to add some of my favorite Christmas Cookies and Recipes 

Especially since Thanksgiving isn’t far off and Christmas is 60 days away

From now until Thanksgiving I will post at least 3 recipes a week 

Cookies

Apricot Kolaches – A Traditional Hungarian Christmas Cookie

Sweet, crispy and addicting, these Apricot Kolaches are sensational! The filling is just the right amount of sweet to set off the flakey, buttery pastry.
Ingredients

* For the Pastry:

* 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour

* ½ teaspoon salt

* 8 oz cream cheese

* 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

* ½ cup granulated sugar for rolling
* For the Apricot Filling:

* 1 lb dried apricots

* 1 cup sugar

Instructions

1. To make the Apricot Filling:

2. Place dried apricots in a small saucepan and pour in just enough water to cover the apricots. Boil until the apricots are soft. Do not let all the water evaporate. Add a little bit more to keep the filling from burning if necessary.

3. Add the sugar and continue to cook until thick.

4. Either puree in a food processor or with an immersion blender in a bowl. If the filling is too runny, return it to the sauce pot to continue to cook.

5. Note: You can make the filling ahead of time and freeze it until you are ready to use it. Just thaw at room temperature when you are ready to use.

6. For the Pastry Dough:

7. Sift flour and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

8. Beat the cream cheese and butter together with a stand mixer or a hand mixer until completely incorporated and creamy (3-5 minutes).

9. Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add in the flour. I used 5 additions and completely mixed in the flour each time. The dough will be soft but not sticky.

10. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and flatten each to ¾” thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until hard, at least 2 hours.

11. Assembling the Kolaches:

12. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Move the oven rack one setting higher than the center.

13. Take one of the disks of dough from the refrigerator and lightly flour both sides. Spread granulated sugar on your pastry board or work surface. Place the dough on top and roll out pastry to 1/16” to 1/8” thick. Most recipes say 1/8” but my Husband remembered them being thinner.

14. With a pastry wheel or sharp knife, trim the dough into a square and then cut the square into 16 smaller squares. My dough never rolled out into a perfect circle so I would just cut as many 1 1/2 “ squares as possible, saving the scraps for later.

15. Place a dollop of filling into the center of each square. I used ½ teaspoon to ¾ teaspoon for each.

16. Gently grab two opposite corners and fold one over the other, gently pressing down to try and seal them together. Gently move it to a parchment covered baking sheet.Repeat with all remaining squares, placing the kolaches no closer than 1” apart.

17. Sprinkle the middles of the kolaches with just a touch of granulated sugar.

18. Bake 12-14 minutes or until the bottom edges are a golden and you can smell them. Let cool slightly on the pan on a wire rack and then move them gently to a wire rack to cool completely.

19. Repeat with all remaining dough.Refrigerate and re-roll your scraps.Amazing.

Notes: You will have lots of filling left over. If you don’t want to freeze the remainder, you can probably halve the recipe above. 

You can also use prepared pastry, not pie, filling, but there are so many additives that the minimal extra effort is totally worth making homemade.
For a more traditional cookie, you can omit the granulated sugar and dust the final, cooled cookie with powdered sugar.

For the Walnut Filling:
* ½ pound freshly ground walnuts (very fine)

* 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

* ½ cup of boiled milk

* 1/8 cup melted butter


I’m from NE Ohio and we love our Buckeye’s Not just The Ohio State Buckeye’s and those amazing buckeye trees but the candy we make. 

Buckeye Candy  

Ingredients 

* 1 1⁄2 cups peanut butter

* 1⁄2 cup margarine or 1⁄2 cup butter

* 1/2  lb powdered sugar

* 1  teaspoon vanilla

* 1 1⁄2 cups chocolate chips

* Crisco optional see note below 

Directions

* Mix peanut butter, margarine or butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in bowl (It helps to soften the margarine).

* Shape into 1″ balls.

* Refrigerate balls about 10 min to an hour or so 

* Meanwhile, melt chocolate with a bit of crisco (so the chocolate will harden. Without crisco, chocolate will remain soft.) in double boiler.

* Insert toothpick into refrigerated balls and dip into chocolate, leaving small area resembling a buckeye.

* Cool on wax paper and store in refrigerator or freezer.

READY IN 10 mins
 YIELDS 40 balls

This is how we made them when I was little with the crisco 

But instead of using crisco in the chocolate I add 2 teaspoons paraffin to melted chocolate in double boiler

These are easy and delicious 

Coconut Macaroons 

Ingredients
* 14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

* 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature

* 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

* Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.


* Directions

* Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.


* Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

* Makes 20 cookies




Butterscotch Oatmeal Creme Cheese Bars

Ingredients
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pea-sized pieces, plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 

1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 

1 (11-ounce) bag butterscotch chips

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drape a 9 by 13-inch pan with overlapping pieces of aluminum foil, creating handles for easy removal. Butter the paper, and reserve.

* In a food processor add the flour, oats and brown sugar and pulse to combine. Add the 2 sticks of butter, the cinnamon and the butterscotch chips. Pulse, pulse, pulse until the mixture forms clumps when pressed between your fingers. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer, reserve the other half. Bake in the preheated oven just until slightly golden and set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

* Beat together the cream cheese, condensed milk, lemon zest and juice and vanilla in an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or with an electric hand mixer until no lumps of cream cheese remain. Spread evenly over the baked and cooled oatmeal mixture. Sprinkle the remaining half of the oatmeal mixture over the cream cheese. Bake until the top is golden, about 40 minutes.

* Cool and chill before cutting. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and using the foil handles, transfer the bars to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares with a sharp knife and serve

* For a delicious and healthy variation of this recipe, try replacing the butterscotch chips with tasty dried cranberries.

 Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Ingredients
* Crust:

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

* 1 tablespoon vegan granulated sugar

* 1 tablespoon white vinegar

* Fine salt

* 1/2 cup unrefined virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil (packed)

* 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

* Filling:

* One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree

* 8 ounces silken tofu

* 2/3 cup vegan granulated sugar

* 2 tablespoons cornstarch

* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

* For the crust: Put the flour, sugar, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add the coconut oil in small spoonfuls, and pulse until the largest pieces are pea-sized. Add 4 tablespoons ice water, and pulse until evenly combined. Squeeze a handful of the dough together; it should just hold its shape. If the mixture is too powdery, pulse in an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons ice water. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, pat into a 1/2-inch-thick disc and chill for at least 1 hour up to overnight.

* To make rolling easier, let the doughsoften up a bit-it should be slightly soft when pressed-at room temperature (this may take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen). Roll the disc into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface or between two pieces of floured parchment paper. If the dough gets too warm, refrigerate it to firm it up. Ease the crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhanging dough under itself, and crimp the edge as desired. Chill for 30 minutes.

* Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line the chilled pie crust with a large coffee filter or foil, and fill with pie weights. Bake until the edges are lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the coffee filter or foil and weights, and continue baking until the crust is lightly golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a rack, and let cool completely.

* For the filling: Process the pumpkin puree, tofu, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

* Pour the filling into the parbaked pie shell, and bake until firm and set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Chill for at least 2 hours up to overnight. Slice and serve.

Christmas ShortBread Cookies


ShortBread Cookies 
Ingredients

3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 1/4. – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

* Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

* In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

* Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

* When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

* Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.

You can use a cookie cutter to make them any shape

And you can also use colored chocolate to change up the color
More recipes will be added here in a few days
Happy Baking 😀

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