Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Treats!

It has become a tradition to bake these every year with the occasional addition of something new. This year Esther wants to try truffles! Pictured above are Pecan tassies (the little tarts), Belgian Tree Sandwiches, and Baklava. I'm glad to share the recipes because they are yummy and festive and because in two out of the three treats, recipes were generously shared with me!

One tip is to always use butter for these recipes!



Belgian Sandwich Cookies
: 1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda

Filling: Raspberry jam (not sugar reduced)

Icing: 2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk (or more)
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, sugar and egg until light and fluffy. Add extract and beat briefly to blend. In a small bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar and baking soda. Pour flour mixture into creamed mixture. Work in flour until smooth ball is formed. Roll dough into a large rectangle, 1/8" thick.
Cut with cookie cutters and place 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350' oven for 8-12 minutes or until bottoms are a light golden colour. Remove to a wire rack. When cookies are fully cooled, spread bottom of one cookie with a thin layer of jam. Top with bottom of another cookie, repeat.

In small bowl, with spreader or small spatula, combine icing ingredients to make a thick glaze. With flat spreader, apply glaze on top of each cookie just to the edge.
Must be stored in fridge or freezer.
Makes at least 24 (I usually get about 3 dozen)



1 lb phyllo dough (the original recipe says 1 ½ but the boxes come in 1 lb size and I use 1)
1 lb roasted, chopped nuts (I use walnuts, or pecans and almonds)
6 oz butter, melted (7 oz if using 1 ½ lb dough)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups sugar
¾ cup water
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp cinnamon

Mix nuts with sugar & cinnamon and set aside.

Divide dough into 3 approximately equal parts (keep the remaining dough covered with a damp towel to prevent drying). Line a greased large cookie sheet with 1/3 of the dough, brushing each sheet with melted butter.

Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the dough

Continue with the next third of the dough, buttering each layer, then sprinkle the remaining nut mixture on top. Layer on the final third of the dough and butter.

Cut dough into diamonds or rectangles, being careful not to cut all the way through! Drizzle any remaining butter on top. Bake in preheated oven (350’) for 45 minutes, until golden.

Cut pieces through to allow to cool. Boil syrup ingredients together until thick. Pour over baklava. Keeps for several days.


Pecan Tassies

2 cups flour
6 oz cream cheese
½ pound butter

Mix crust ingredients. Form walnut sized balls and press into small muffin tins (pans can be sprayed or lightly oiled).

3 eggs
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp vanilla1-1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix together nuts, brown sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla. Fill each cup with about one teaspoon of filling. Bake for 25 minutes at 350’. I wait about 2 to 5 minutes, then twist the tarts gently before easing them out of the pan. Let cool on a rack.