Tis the Season to be Baking

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Top  Cranberry and Almond Biscotti, Bottom left Cheese crunchers, and bottom right Florentine Cookies

Tis the season to bake like crazy or as I like to call myself “The mad baker.” I love this time of year to share my ideas from hand me down recipes from my family to something I see and just add my own little twist. I am the type of person who really does not like to buy presents and just give for Christmas I prefer to spend my time baking  something from my kitchen to someones tummy. Let’s be honest time to say Ho Ho and let’s be jolly right?   My favorite recipe every year is my mothers famous Cheese Crunchers.  These bars are a hit every time she makes them.  I remember one year I went to one of her holiday parties, and she had to bake them at the party since they had a Kitchen there already. The smell is so sweet with the richness of Butterscotch in the air. People kept asking what was baking by the time  they were done she barely got them  out on the table within minutes they were gone!   So here are a few of the things I made this season thought I would share the recipes to you. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Cheese Crunchers 

1 12 ounce package of Butterscotch Morsels

7 table spoons of Butter

2 Cups of Graham cracker Crumbs

2 cups chopped nuts I use walnuts

2 8 oz packages of Cream Cheese softened

2 eggs room temperature

1/2 cup of sugar

1/4 cup unsifted flour

2 table spoon of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

in a pot on the stove combine Butterscotch morsels and butter heat until melted and smooth.

Transfer to a large bowl, with a food processor crumb the graham crackers. for the nuts do not food process because they will become to fine, just chop them up in smaller pieces.

Add the graham cracker crumbs, nuts in the large bowl of the melted Butterscotch mix. stir it up evenly so all the crumbs and nuts  are drenched in the butterscotch mix.

Put aside about 2 cups of the mix because you will use that for the topping. Press remaining mixture into a  15x10x1 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. In a large bowl combine cream cheese an sugar beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Blend in flour and lemon juice. Pour the mixture evenly over the baked crust. Sprinkle top with the reserved crumb mixture an then bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Once done baking let them cool and then cut them in squares.

Cranberries and Almond Biscotti

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup dried cranberries

1 cup of Dark Chocolate Morsels
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the cranberries and the slivered almonds .
Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.
Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Once the Biscotti has been cooled down then melt a cup of Dark Chocolate morsels and dip them in the chocolate. Place them on wax paper to cool off.

Florentine Cookies

Ingredients

2 cups sliced almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir the almonds, flour and zest in a medium bowl. Stir the sugar, butter, cream, and honey in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the almond mixture. Cool the batter for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using 2 teaspoons of batter for each cookie, spoon 8 mounds of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly apart (the cookies will spread). Flatten the batter slightly with your finger.

Bake the cookies until they are lacy and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Gently slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto a rack and cool completely. Transfer the cookies to paper towels. Repeat with the remaining batter, lining the baking sheets with clean parchment for each batch.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Spread the melted chocolate over the bottom of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, bottom side down, pressing lightly to adhere. Repeat with the remaining cookies and chocolate.

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