Calling all procrastinators! I have one easy and delicious recipe and one recipe for those of you who love to be creative.
These wonderful Salted Dark Chocolate Turtle Bars was the second place winner in last year's cookie contest sponsored by our local newspaper. If you love dark chocolate, caramel and pecans as I do, I can promise you will love them. A little sprinkle of sea salt on top makes them especially delightful.
Need a last minute gift idea made from your loving hands? For my bars, I prepared them in a set of 4-1/2 inch non-stick tart pans so that I could make each slice just a bite or two since they are rich. After chilling, they were simple to cut each round into 8 slices with a butcher knife. The recipe makes enough to fill all six mini tart pans or, as the recipe calls for, a 17 x 11 baking pan, cut into squares.
The second new recipe I made this year was featured in last year's holiday issue of Midwest Living magazine featuring Scandinavian recipes. They are cardamom rye cookies with royal icing piped into a square, leaving a frame around the outside and then painted with paste food coloring and edible gold dust diluted with vodka. These cookies also taste great plain.
My painting skills are definitely rusty but they were fun to make and enjoyed by my husband and grandsons.
Both would be delicious with peppermint tea in the afternoon. An idea shared by my friend, Monique, at La Table de Nana...just add a peppermint stick to your favorite tea. Delicious and perfect for Christmas!
We enjoyed having our grandsons for the day yesterday and, since it was in the upper 40s here, we took them for a hike in a nearby park. So hard to get these two to smile for the camera at the same time :) As you can see, no snow here so it will be a green Christmas.
May those of you who celebrate, have a warm and wonderful Christmas! Thank you for all of your support. Love and happiness to you!♥
Salted Dark Chocolate Turtle BarsPrintable Recipe
I halved this recipe which filled 6 mini tart pans.
2 cups flour
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups pecan halves, very coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Coarse sparkly sugar (optional) for sprinkling over bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 17-by-11-inch baking pan with foil for easy removal and cutting of bars.
Combine crust ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until blended. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. Pat mixture firmly into the ungreased, foil-lined pan.
For second layer, arrange pecans evenly over crust in a single layer.
For third layer, combine the 1¼ cups butter and 1 cup brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring. Cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over pecans. Bake in preheated oven 15 to 18 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
Remove from oven. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate morsels. Let stand 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly melted. With a light touch, gently swirl chocolate with a knife, leaving some of the morsels whole (do not spread).
Sprinkle evenly with coarse sea salt.
Sprinkle with decorative coarse sugar, if desired.
Let cool completely on wire rack. Chill about 30 minutes in the refrigerator to set chocolate. This makes the bars easier to cut. Cut into small bars, as these cookies are quite rich.
My Notes: I made 1/2 recipe and filled 6 4-1/2 inch mini tart pans with crust and filling. Chilled in the refrigerator and cut into each pieces per tart pan.port in the past year. Health and happiness to you all would be my gift for the New Year.
Adapted from Sue Shannon and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Cookie Contest
Printable Recipe1-2 drops glycerin for shine (optional)
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
2 -3 tablespoons cold water
One recipe Royal Icing
Paste Food Colors
Edible Gold Dust
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, salt, cardamom and cinnamon and beat until combined, scraping bowl as needed. Beat in the flours with mixer on low speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing mixture with a fork, until dough is moistened. Gently knead dough with hands to form a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into desired shapes. (For picture frames, use a 3- or 4-inch square cutter or cut squares freehand using a fluted pastry wheel. For elves, divide dough in half, then roll into an 8-inch circle and cut into 12 wedges.) Re-roll scraps as necessary. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Pierce all over with a fork.
Bake in a 350 degrees oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are firm and begin to brown on the edges. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. Decorate with Royal Icing.
Royal Icing Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to prepared Royal Icing until it's the consistency of pancake batter.
Food Coloring Paint: In a very small bowl or custard cup, mix 1 teaspoon food coloring and 1 teaspoon vodka or water until smooth and thin enough to paint. If mixture thickens while painting, stir in a little more vodka or water. Vodka works better for painting on Royal Icing because it dries quickly. However, water will work if you don't have vodka on hand.
Gold Luster Paint: In a very small bowl or custard cup, mix 1 teaspoons vodka or water and 1 teaspoon edible gold luster dust until smooth and thin enough to paint. If mixture thickens while painting, stir in a little more vodka or water.
Store un-frosted cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or label and freeze up to 3 months.
4 cups powdered sugar (16 ounces)
3 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large mixing bowl, beat powdered sugar, meringue powder, cream of tartar, the water and vanilla with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until mixture is very stiff. Stir in more warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency. (If the icing ever gets too runny, just add powdered sugar.) If not using immediately, cover bowl with a damp paper towel and then with plastic wrap. Icing can be chilled for up to 48 hours. Makes 3 cups.
For the paste food color and edible gold dust, mix 1 teaspoon with 1 teaspoon vodka (or water).
Adapted from Midwest Living magazine.