The holidays have arrived, and with them, the sweet flavors of the season.
The holidays have arrived, and with them, the sweet flavors of the season. Chocolate, gingerbread, and eggnog are among the favorites, as are vanilla, cinnamon, and peppermint. Bakers can embrace these treasured and time-honored flavors with three confections from McCormick: Eggnog truffles, peppermint bars, and white chocolate kissed gingerbread cookies.
Whether you bake them for a holiday dessert tray, cookie exchanges, or just to infuse your home with the scents of the season, you won’t be disappointed.
1 pound white baking chocolate, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon imitation rum extract
Additional ground nutmeg for sprinkling
Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate as directed on package. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, nutmeg and extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Add melted chocolate; beat until well mixed. Cover. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or until firm.
Shape into 24 (about 3⁄4-inch) balls. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Refrigerate until ready to dip.
Coat only 12 truffles at a time. Melt 4 ounces of the remaining chocolate in small microwavable bowl on medium, 11⁄2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Using a fork, dip 1 truffle at a time into the melted chocolate. Tap back of fork 2 or 3 times against edge of dish to allow excess chocolate to drip off. Place truffles on wax paper-lined tray. (If there are any bald spots on truffle, cover with melted chocolate that remains on the fork.) Sprinkle truffles with nutmeg. Repeat with remaining 4 ounces chocolate and remaining truffles.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set. Store truffles between layers of wax paper in airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.
Test Kitchen Tip: When dipping the truffles, do so in 2 batches (as directed above) as the coldness of the truffles may cause the melted chocolate to harden. Makes 2 dozen. Package truffles in a holiday tin between wax paper.
1 package (21 ounces) fudge brownie mix
21⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar
15 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
11⁄2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
12 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
Crushed peppermint candies or candy canes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package. Spread in greased foil-lined 15 by 10 by 1-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
Meanwhile, beat confectioners’ sugar, 7 tablespoons of the butter, cream and peppermint extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly over cooled brownie. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Microwave chocolate and remaining 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter in large microwave bowl on high 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over top of chilled brownie. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies, if desired. Cut into bars. Makes 36 servings.
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WHITE CHOCOLATE KISSED GINGERBREAD COOKIES
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup (11⁄2 sticks) butter, softened
3⁄4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1⁄2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
60 white and milk chocolate swirled kiss-shaped candies
Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies just begin to brown. Immediately press a chocolate candy into center of each cookie. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container up to five days.