Friday, November 25, 2016

Cookies for the Holidays: Pecan Tarts

   I'm saying it wrong. The Brick, who's North Carolina-bred, insists these are called:



    At any rate, these tarts disappeared at the speed of light from our Thanksgiving table. I'm going to have to make a fresh batch already, just in self-defense.


(These can be made in cupcake tins; I use a tart pan that holds 8 larger tarts. They look like these...but are connected to each other.)

You'll need:

1 batch of pie dough:  crumble 5 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of flour together. Add 5-6 tablespoons of water, a little at a time, until mixture clings together in a ball.

Divide into 8-10 portions for tart pans; 12-16 for muffin tins. Pat dough into pans, pushing it up to the sides. (Use extra flour on your hands as needed to keep dough from sticking.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (No sense doing it earlier, and wasting heat.)


3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla   (a shot of bourbon or whiskey here is nice, too)
1-2 cups pecans -- halves look nice, but chopped will do

Beat everything but the pecans together. Now drop pecans in tart shells until approx. halfway full. Pour egg mixture over until covering the pecans.

Bake for approx. 30-45 minutes, until pie is set and crust is lightly brown.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Oh my.

Edge them with coconut, if you like. Either way, they're good.

Cookies for the Holidays: Scotch Shortbread

    Want a cookie that can be made in 10 minutes (or less), needs just a few ingredients...and tastes delicious?

Scotch Shortbread is for you.

Normally I sprinkle these rich butter cookies heavily with regular sugar -- but red and green sprinkles would look even more festive. Here we go:


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup sugar (granulated or confectioners) --
     add another 1/4 cup if you like your cookies sweeter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring (opt.)
2 1/4 cups flour

Mix it all together; you'll have a somewhat crumbly mixture. (Put in the fridge a few hours to firm up, or just continue.)  Now press into a pan -- this takes about 2/3 of a 9 x 13 cookie sheet, or use a smaller pan for a thicker cookie.
       Sprinkle heavily with sugar.

That's it. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 min., or until firm, but not brown.
Let cool a little, then cut into squares or diamonds. (You can also drizzle them with frosting, like the jam cookies in this photo.) You'll get 12-20 cookies, depending on size.

Especially good for coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Yum.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cookies for the Holidays: Snowballs -- Even When It Isn't

I can't remember NOT having these crunchy, white-powdered cookies on the Christmas platter. The Mama called them Russian Teacakes, but I've also heard them referred to as Mexican Wedding Cakes and Snowballs, as well.

No matter. Whatever you call these rich butter cookies, they're especially good with hot drinks. The balls shower powdered sugar all over your mouth...and lap while you're munching. But it's worth it.

Wicked Good Kitchen has a nice Snowball Christmas cookie recipe. I also like Allrecipe's version, which they also call Russian Teacakes. It's been adapted slightly to mirror The Mama's interpretation.

Try to eat just one.

illustration from

Russian Teacakes...Snowballs...or whatever

1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons powdered confectioner's sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

extra powdered sugar for rolling the cookies in

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients, gradually adding flour, then finally nuts. (At this point, you may want to hold off on the oven and chill the dough for an hour or two, to make it easier to work with. Or maybe not.)
     Roll dough into balls (about a tablespoon's worth) and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes, until balls are done...but not brown. While they're still warm, roll in powdered sugar.  Makes about 3 dozen -- store between layers of waxed paper in a closed container.

Now invite me over for coffee!

UPDATE:  Crazy for Crust just posted a bunch more recipes for snowball-style cookies.
 See them here.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Whoo Hoo, 2016 -- Here We Come!

      Christmas Goodies is back online, coming with lots of baked and brewed goodies, along with our annual tradition:


     Posts will start up again early next week: you'll want to check in often!