Happy Holidays!

This week on What’s for Dinner Joe and Barbara indulge our sweet tooth with some delicious cookie recipes for the holiday season.

 

 

Snowballs

Ingredients:

1 cup butter 
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 cup chopped pecans 
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

 Cream the butter with 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar and the vanilla. Mix in the flour, nuts and salt.

 Roll about 1 tablespoon or so of dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

 Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Do not allow these cookies to get too brown. It's better to undercook them than to overcook them.

 Once the cookies have cooled slightly roll them in confectioners' sugar once more.

 

Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Direstions:

With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter at medium speed until creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler or a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring often, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Resting each ball on the tines of a fork, lower it into the chocolate.

 Refrigerate on the baking sheet until the chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.

Gingerbread

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons powdered egg whites

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg and molasses. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks set in upper and lower thirds. Working with one disk at a time, place dough on lightly floured parchment paper, and roll out to 1/8 inch thick, dusting lightly with flour as needed. Using paper, lift dough onto two baking sheets; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

Remove paper and dough from baking sheets. Using a long offset spatula, loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and brush off any excess flour. Transfer to baking sheets.

For softer cookies, bake 8 to 10 minutes; for crunchier cookies, bake 11 to 12 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make icing: In a large bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, powdered egg whites, and 1/4 cup water (if needed, adjust consistency with confectioners' sugar). Transfer icing to a pastry bag with a small tip, or place in a resealable plastic bag, and snip a small hole in one corner. Decorate cookies as desired.

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