|Christmas Maple Shortbread|
1 lb (2c) Butter, softened
1 1/2 c Sugar
1/2 c Brown Sugar
2 T Maple Syrup (the real stuff, no plastic squeeze bottles shaped like plump grannies!!!)
1 1/2 t Salt
4 c All Purpose Flour
Decorations of your choice. Among my standards, I used some pulverised Candy Cane as well.
Place the oven racks at the 1/3 and 2/3 positions.
Cut the Butter into 1 inch cubes. In your mixer with the paddle attachement, beat the Sugar and Butter together. Yes, I use the mixer. It changed my cooking baking life. I used to do it by hand with a pastry cutter and it was quite a work out. When you have a consistently mixed creamed mixture, add the Salt and Syrup and beat for another minute to ensure that the Salt is spread throughout.
Add the flour in 1/2 c to 1c stages. You can also choose to do this in half batches. I did that. Do not over mix but makes sure that the dough starts to pull from the bowl and comes together rather than looking too too crumbly.
Place the half the dough onto plastic wrap and form into a ball and then roll into a sausage. Wrap tight and place in the fridge. This was my second concession. Rather than rolling out and cutting out Christmasy shapes this year as I normally do, I chose to slice off a firmed sausage to save time. Let it sit in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Preheat the Oven to 330 F.
Slice the dough into 3/4 cm or 1/3 inch pieces. Decorate. Spread out on non-stick baking sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes. Then switch the top baking sheet with the lower and turn them both so the back is in the front on both. Baking for 8 minutes more.
I had always planned on making a sweet that I had had at a Potluck years ago while living in Spain. A classmate of mine from Brasil made these delectable little balls that had the texture of soft caramel and depth of fudge. I have made Fudge and normally make either Fudge or Truffles as my other Christmas sweet every year. This time I thought I'd finally get around to trying to make the Brasilian sweet aka Docinhos called Brigadeiros. They are super easy to make, just as she promised. They are often decorated with sprinkles and served in little paper cups. C served hers without decorations and in a simple tin. I thought since it was Christmas, I would dust them with VERY pulverised Candy Canes. It worked super super well. The recipe, my friends and any you may find on the internet, insist on Chocolate Milk Powder not Cocoa for the flavouring. If you see a Cocoa recipe, it is less traditional. I think you need the milk powder in the mix. That said, I think next time I will use a darker Chocolate Milk mix. I used a hint of Caramel one. It was still lovely but I do prefer dark chocolate.
Christmas Kissed Brigadeiros
1 14 oz Tin Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 c Butter (3 T)
4 T Hot Chocolate Mix (often recommended, Nestle Quick. Do not use pure cocoa!)
1 t Peppermint extract (edible kind not aromatic kind.)(optional)
1/4 c PULVERISED Candy Canes
I never have a good time with smashing my Candy Canes. Use the heaviest zipping bags I have but they will always poke through. Nothing to do but accept it. If you try to smash them straight away in a Mortar and Pestle, they'll clump. I did not want to contaminate a spice nor coffee grinder so I did it in the most effective way I could. First on a very forgiving surface, cutting board or marble counter, smash the Candy Canes in a heavy zippable bag with a rolling pin. I use a marble one. I'm fairly certain D would not be impress if I used his French one and left Candy dimples all over it. Use a meat tenderiser otherwise. When mostly broken up and look like sidewalk salt, move to a Mortar and Pestle and grind fine. Set aside covered.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the Condensed Milk and Butter. Bring to a boil but stir and watch the heat to prevent burning. Use a wooden spoon. Add the Chocolate Milk Powder slowly to avoid lumps. You could add it through a tiny tea sieve to sift slightly. Add the extract. Let GENTLY boil for 15 minutes until the mixture thickens.
Let aside on a trivet to cool completely. If you are so inclined, move the mixture to a heat proof bowl to cool instead. At least half an hour.
Set out large piece of wax paper. Have the Candy Cane grounds in a shallow bowl to hand. Have a teaspoon or two ready. Spread some butter or flavourless oil on your hands. Not too much.
Scoop out 1 t of the cooled candy mixture. Roll into a nice ball and set aside on the wax paper. You may have to stop and wash your hands if the candy starts to stick to your hands. Re lube your hands before rolling again.
When all the balls are done, drop a few at a time into the Candy Cane grounds and cover. Tap excess off and store in a wax paper lined container. SOOOOO GOOOOOD!