11.12.2007

Holiday Baking

Ugh, not sure yet about what I'm going to start baking! I've just discovered that the oven actually bakes at a higher heat level than what you set it at - so over the weekend I made cinnamon streusel muffins, I cooked them at 400 degrees for 18 minutes instead of 425 degrees for 16 minutes. Geez Louise, renting is a pain in the rear end!

So here's my holiday baking list. I hate to say it, by myrecipes.com is my new best friend! The following recipes are from there, and I just can't wait to get started!

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (11.5-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chunks
2 (1.55-ounce) milk chocolate candy bars, grated
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended.
Pulse oats in a food processor to a fine powder. Combine oats, flour, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chunks, grated chocolate bars, and pecans. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets.
Bake at 375° for 10 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.


Mississippi Mud Cookies

1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. miniature marshmallows

1. Microwave semisweet chocolate morsels in a small microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chopped pecans and 1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels.
4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press 3 marshmallows into each portion of dough.
5. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks.



Caramel-Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust

With a yummy gingersnap cookie crust, this creamy pumpkin cheesecake is just what you need to wow your dinner guests during the autumn season. Prep: 29 min., Cook: 1 hr., 35 min., Other: 9 hrs.

Ingredients
12 crisp gingersnaps
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
8 tablespoons whipping cream, divided
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 tablespoons caramel topping

Process first 4 ingredients in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter; pulse 8 to 10 times or until blended. Press mixture into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add granulated sugar, beating just until blended. Reserve 3/4 cup cream cheese mixture for topping; cover and chill. Add eggs, 1 at a time, to remaining cream cheese mixture, beating just until blended after each addition.
Combine pumpkin, 5 tablespoons whipping cream, and next 3 ingredients; add to cream cheese mixture, beating just until blended. Pour batter into prepared crust.
Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven, with door closed, 1 hour. Remove from oven, and run a knife around edge of pan, and release sides. Cool on a wire rack. Soften reserved cream cheese mixture; spread evenly over cheesecake. Drizzle caramel topping over cream cheese layer; gently swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Cover and chill 8 hours. Store in refrigerator.

Tip: Make sure you don't cut into the cheesecake when swirling the caramel layer.

Yum! I just can't wait to get started - maybe I'll make something tonight!

PSH

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