Gifts of Good Taste - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Gifts of Good Taste

© BH&G - Toffee Blondies in a Jar © BH&G - Toffee Blondies in a Jar
© BH&G - Little Lemon Snow Bites © BH&G - Little Lemon Snow Bites
© BH&G - Red Velvet Cookies © BH&G - Red Velvet Cookies
© BH&G - Choco-Mint Blossoms © BH&G - Choco-Mint Blossoms

Make Santa proud with jaw-dropping gift platters of cookies or a jar filled with all the dry ingredients for sweet make-your-own bars.


Toffee Blondies in a Jar

1    cup packed brown sugar
½    cup miniature semisweet chocolate pieces
1    cup all-purpose flour
1    teaspoon baking powder
¼    teaspoon salt
¾    cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
½    cup toffee pieces or butterscotch-flavored pieces

1. In a quart glass jar, layer brown sugar, chocolate pieces, flour, baking powder, salt, nuts, and toffee pieces. Fasten lid. Makes 1 jar (enough for 16 bars).


To make blondies: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8×8×2-inch baking pan. In a bowl, combine ¼ cup melted butter, 2 lightly beaten eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in contents of the jar. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set and golden brown and edges just begin to pull away from pan. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 16 bars.
Make-ahead directions: Store at room temperature for up to 1 month.


Little Lemon Snow Bites

prep 25 min.  bake 7 min./batch  oven 375°F

1    17.5-ounce package sugar cookie mix
¼   cup crushed lemon drops
²⁄₃   cup lemon curd
²⁄₃    cup frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
2    tablespoons powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a cookie sheet with foil; set aside. Prepare cookie mix according to package directions. Stir in crushed lemon drops. If necessary, cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until it is easy to handle.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
  3. For filling, in a small bowl, stir together lemon curd and whipped topping. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon of the filling onto the bottom sides of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom sides down. Press together lightly. Sprinkle tops of cookies with powdered sugar. Makes about 24 sandwich cookies.


To Store: Place filled cookies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Homemade Lemon Curd

When time is short, there's no shame in using purchased lemon curd. But nothing can replace the freshly made kind.
prep 15 min.  chill 1 hr.

1    cup sugar
2    tablespoons cornstarch
1    tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel
6     tablespoons lemon juice
6    tablespoons water
6    egg yolks, lightly beater
½    cup butter, cut up

  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice, and the water. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir half of the lemon mixture into egg yolks. Return egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until it melts. Cover surface with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour. Makes 2 cups.

To Store: Place the prepared curd in an airtight container; cover. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.


Choco-Mint Blossoms

prep 25 min.  chill 1 hr.  bake 10 min./batch oven 350ºF

½    cup butter, softened
½    cup shortening
1    cup sugar
¾   cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2    teaspoons baking powder
1    egg
2    tablespoons milk
1    teaspoon peppermint extract
1½  cups all-purpose flour**
42    peppermint-swirl candy kisses

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine butter and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, and peppermint extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill about 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm.
  3. Immediately press a candy kiss into the center of each cookie. Transfer cookies to a wire rack: cool. Makes about 42 cookies.


To Store: Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies

prep 30 min.  bake 20 min./batch  oven 325ºF

1¼    cups all-purpose flour
¹⁄₃     cup sugar
2    tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼    teaspoon salt
½    cup butter, cut up
1    tablespoon red food coloring
2    ounces white baking chocolate with cocoa butter, coarsely chopped
1    teaspoon shortening

  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. In a food processor,* combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Cover and process until combined. Add butter and food colorings. Cover and process with on/off pulses until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Continue processing just until mixture forms a ball.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, gently knead dough until nearly smooth. Roll or pat dough until ¼ inch thick. Cut with a floured 1½-inch scalloped round cookie cutter. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven about 20 minutes or until centers are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
  4. In a small saucepan, combine white chocolate and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate. Let stand until chocolate sets. Makes about 36 cookies.


*Test Kitchen Tip: To mix dough by hand, in a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter and food coloring until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Knead until nearly smooth. Continue as directed.

Minty chocolate drizzle: In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine 4 ounces chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, 2 teaspoons shortening, and ½ teaspoon peppermint extract or mint extract. Microwave, uncovered, on 100 percent power (high) for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Drizzle over cooled cookies.


To Store: Place cookies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.


Powered by WorldNow
Eyewitness News 3
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WFSB; Hartford, CT. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.