Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Dunn Holiday Party – Memories Are Made One Cookie At A Time!

My sister Colleen wrote me the other day and said “I think you should do a holiday cookie blog feature. I am always looking for something new to add to some of the traditional cookies we make.”

                   Photos/Recipe Source: The Dunns

I will admit that I did not have the time to bake cookies and candy this year but my friend Gina (the Italian Recipe Queen) had a big party the other day to bake and exchange Christmas cookies.

Cranberry Chip Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze is the Dunn’s favorite Christmas cookie and son Anthony told me that they are the best cookies EVER! He could not stop smiling when he talked about them so this is obviously a Christmas memory that is now a Dunn family tradition. And that is how memories and traditions are made…one cookie at a time!

Cranberry Chip Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze

Makes 42-48

1 c. sugar

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 stick butter, softened

1/4 c. skim milk

2 T. orange juice

1 egg

3 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2-1/2 c. coarsely chopped cranberries

1 c. vanilla milk chips

Browned Butter Glaze:

(Note: Gina never uses all of this. In fact, she only used half this year)

1/3 c. butter

2 c. powdered sugar

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

2-4 T. hot water

Heat oven to 375 and spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.Mix sugars and butter until well blended. Add orange juice, milk and egg. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Carefully stir in cranberries and vanilla chips. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake 10-15 minutes or until light brown. Cool.

For glaze, melt butter in a saucepan until browned. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla and enough water to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Let set before packaging.

Here is a cute idea that Gina’s daughter Jessica made for her piano students.

Cut Twizzlers in half and dip ends in melting chocolate. Sprinkle with nonpareils.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Makes 72

1 c. butter

2 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 lb. part skim Ricotta

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

4-1/2 c. flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda


1/2 c. butter

4 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

6 T. skim milk

Beat butter and sugar together. Add egg and Ricotta and vanilla; beat well. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to batter.

Drop about a teaspoon of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on wire racks.

For frosting beat butter. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Add milk as needed. Frost cookies and add sprinkles if desired. You will not use all of the frosting.

Oreo Truffles

1 package Oreo cookies

1 package ( 8 oz) reduced fat cream cheese

1 package chocolate almond bark

Place 7 Oreos in a food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Remove and set aside for sprinkling.

Place remaining Oreos in food processor and process until fine crumbs form. Remove and place in a large bowl. Stir together with cream cheese. Form into balls and place on wax paper lined cookie sheets. Chill for 30 minutes.

Melt almond bark in microwave. Dip truffles in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper, sprinkle with reserved Oreo crumbs and let harden.

Peppermint Bark

1 package white almond bark

24 Brach's Starburst peppermint candies or 24 mini candy canes

Place peppermint candies in a large resealable plastic bag. Beat until crushed and there are some fine crumbs. Leave some larger pieces too.

Melt white bark in microwave until smooth. Place crushed candies in a colander. Sift through finely crushed candy and stir into melted bark.

Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread melted bark mixture on wax paper. Sprinkle with larger reserved peppermint candies.

Peanut Butter Bon Bons

Makes 72

2 c. reduced fat peanut butter

1 stick butter, softened

1 lb. powdered sugar

3 c. Rice Krispies

Blend peanut butter and butter until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar. Add Rice Krispies and mix by hand. Mixture will be kind of dry. You have to squish it to make it stick together.

Place on cookie sheets lined with wax paper and freeze for at least one hour.


1 c. chocolate chips

8 oz. Hershey's Dark Chocolate Bars

1/2 bar paraffin wax.

Insert a toothpick into frozen balls. Dip in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper to harden. Store in the refrigerator.


30 Kraft caramels

1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

1 stick margarine

1 c. powdered sugar

1 c. finely ground pecans

pecan halves

1 package chocolate almond bark

( an extra bag of powdered sugar will be needed)

Melt caramels and whipping cream in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Add margarine and stir until melted. Stir in powdered sugar and ground pecans.

Line some baking sheets with wax paper and cover with a thick layer of powdered sugar. This will keep the turtles from sticking.

Drop caramel mixture my spoonfuls onto powdered sugar lined cookie sheets. Stick pecans in ends or wherever the caramel is spreading out of control.

Freeze for 1 hour.

Melt almond bark in the microwave. Remove 1 tray of turtles from the freezer at a time.

Place sheets of wax paper on counter or table. Dip turtles in chocolate and place on wax paper until hardened.

Frosted Ginger Creams

Makes 48 cookies

1/4 c. shortening

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1/3 c. molasses

2 c. flour

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/3 c. water


1-1/2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

3 T. butter, softened

1 c. + 3 T. powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1-2 tsp.lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar. Beat in egg and molasses. Combine flour with dry ingredients and add to cream cheese mixture alternately with water. (dough will be soft)

Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter. Add powdered sugar and beat. Add vanilla and enough lemon juice to achieve spreading consistency. Frost cookies.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Italian Almond Bars

Makes 72

2 c, four

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1 can ( 7 oz) almond paste

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. almond extract

10 drops red food coloring

6 drops green food coloring

1/4 c. seedless raspberry spreadable fruit

1/4 c. low sugar apricot preserves

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted

Place oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350. Spray 3 (13 x 9) pans with cooking spray. Line with wax paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

With a mixer on high speed, beat the butter, sugar and almond paste until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each. Beat in vanilla and almond extract. Decrease speed to low. Add flour mixture, mixing until blended.

Divide dough into thirds. Tint one part with red food coloring, another part with green and leave the third part untinted.

Spread each layer in a prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through cooking time.

Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Invert green layer onto a cutting board. Remove wax paper. Spread with raspberry spreadable fruit. Top with white layer. Remove wax paper and spread with apricot preserves. Top with red layer and remove paper. Cover with plastic wrap and place another cutting board or heavy skillet over the top. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Melt chocolate. Spread over cake and let stand until chocolate hardens. Cut into 72 bars. You can freeze for up to 2 months.

Crinkle Top Chocolate Cookies

Makes 42

2 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided

2 T. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

2 egg whites

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

1-1/2 c. flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. water

1/2 c. powdered sugar

Melt 1 c. chocolate chips ( I use a double boiler) Stir until smooth and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until crumbly. Add egg whites and vanilla. Beat well. Stir in melted chocolate.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with water. Stir in remaining chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.

Shape dough into 1" balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place 2" apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Crescent Cookies

Makes 36-42

2 sticks butter, softened

4 T. powdered sugar

1 egg yolk

2 c. flour

1/2 c. powdered sugar

Beat butter. Add sugar, then egg yolk. Beat well. Add flour until well combined. Form into little crescent shapes and lightly flatten tops. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes and then coat in powdered sugar.

Swedish Butter Cookies

3/4 c. butter

1/3 c. sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. flour

1/4 c. red currant jelly ( you may not use all)

1/2 c. powdered sugar ( you may not use all)


Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolk and beat well. Add vanilla, then flour. Beat well. Roll into logs. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Cut logs into small sections approx. 1/4" thick. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Dab currant jelly on each cookie. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Cook completely.

Mix powdered sugar with a small amount of milk to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cookies.

Thanks Gina and Bon Appetit!