Lemon Snowball Cookies

lemon-snowball-2These cookies you can make all year round. But come on. They call them snowball cookies. SNOWBALLS! When I think of snowballs, I think winter. And when I think winter, I think the holidays. These are similar to Russian tea cookies without the walnuts or pecans. I just don’t really like nuts in my cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar for coating

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Beat butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon extract, kosher salt and lemon zest.
  3. Add the flour and mix until dough forms into consistency of small pebbles.
  4. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls. Leave 1-2 inches between cookies as the dough does no spread.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies no longer look wet.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before rolling in additional powdered sugar.
  7. Roll cookies in powdered sugar added to a bowl or go add powdered sugar to a ziploc bag and shake to cover cookies.

Cookies will store for 3 days in air tight container or freeze up to one month. This recipe yielded 30 cookies.

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Peppermint Fudge

peppermint-fudge-1I’m making my holiday treats for my family and friends this week. I’m also using the opportunity to blog some of the recipes to share with you. I don’t know why I haven’t shared this recipe sooner. It’s the perfect way to use up all those extra candy canes you bought. Or am I the only one that does that? Shhh. Don’t tell me. I don’t want you to confirm my all things Christmas hoarding habits.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup (5 ounce can) evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies (I used candy canes)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil.
  2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium , heavy duty saucepan. Over medium heat, bring ingredients to full rolling boil. Stirring constantly, boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan. Let cool for 1 minute before topping with crushed peppermint.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. (Overnight is best.) Lift from pan, remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.

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Holiday Explosion Cookies

xmas-explosion-cookiesOkay, technically these are my Holiday Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies. But they are amped up to be even more festive and more chocolatey. How can you resist three types of chocolate chips, sweet cranberries, holiday M&M’s and holiday sprinkles?! I know I can’t. Make a batch of these for your favorite little elves and don’t forget about Santa.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup red and green holiday M&M’s
  • 1/2 cup red and green holiday sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 large baking sheets with non stick baking mats or use parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Using a mixer, combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, stirring until just combined.
  7. Add the dried cranberries/cherries, the 3 types of chocolate chips, M&M’s and holiday sprinkles to the mixture.
  8. Mix manually with a wooden spoon until all are combined.xmas-explosion-cookies-2
  9. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
  10. Bake until light golden brown and just set, 8-10 minutes.
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These cookies can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. This recipe yields about 24 -30 cookies. 

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Chocolate Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Sorry I’ve been missing lately. I haven’t had the heart to post new recipes. My father became ill and recently passed away. This was his favorite dessert. So, in his memory, I am reblogging it. I will be back to blogging soon. img_4320

Joann's Food For Thought

Chocolate Banana Pudding Poke  CakeWith my family, there doesn’t have to be a holiday or celebration to have dessert. If we get together for a family dinner, you can bet there will be dessert. Homemade or store-bought. It doesn’t matter. But there must be dessert. This was originally an “experiment recipe” and of course I tested it on my family. But now it’s my go to dessert when I want to make an effort to actually make dessert, but don’t necessarily have the time or energy to be a Master Chef.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box Devil Foods cake mix. (You can make your own from scratch. But why? Take the help when you can get it.)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 package instant banana pudding mix 5.1 ounce size
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 4 medium bananas
  • 1 carton Cool Whip topping 8 ounce size
  • Optional: sprinkles or…

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