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Holiday Recipes: Easy Christmas Cookies

If you're short on baking time, try these cookie recipes this holiday season.

No time to bake? These recipes are perfect for a quick bunch of cookies or candy to take into the office or give as gifts. Many of these can be made ahead and frozen until Christmas.

 

Easy Pistachio Baklava Mini-Cups
2 pkgs. Mini-fillo shells (1.9 oz. packages)
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. real lemon juice
1 cup shelled pistachios
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place shells on a rimmed baking sheet. Stir honey and lemon juice in small cup until blended and set aside. Pulse pistachios, sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a food processor just until chopped. Don’t over process! Add butter and pulse two more times. Spoon into cups and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon about 1 tsp. of honey mixture over the hot filling as it comes out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack. Store covered in a refrigerator, but these are best served fresh and warm.

 

Chocolate No-Bake Marshmallow Cream Candies
1 bag (12 oz.) dark chocolate kisses, unwrapped
7.5 oz. jar marshmallow cream
2 1/2 cups sugar
5 oz. can evaporated milk
4 Tbsp. butter
2 cups pecan halves

In a nonstick saucepan, stir sugar and evaporated milk over medium heat, and add butter. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly, and reduce heat to low when it begins to boil. Keep stirring and simmer on low for 6 minutes. Put unwrapped kisses and marshmallow crème in a large bowl, and pour hot sugar mixture over this. Stir until chocolate melts. Stir pecans into this. Mix and drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper (on top of a cookie sheet). Slide cookie sheet into the refrigerator and let cool for one hour. This non-baked cookie stays fresh when stored in the refrigerator, covered, with waxed paper between the layers of cookies. I have also made these using 1/2 bag white chocolate kisses and 1/2 bag of dark chocolate kisses.

 

My Favorite Easy Peppermint/Dark Chocolate Bark
4 ounces Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate, chopped
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil, divided
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract (optional)
1/4 cup crushed candy canes or peppermints

Line a baking sheet with parchment, set aside. Place the candy canes inside a freezer zip lock bag and crush with a mallet. Don’t use a rolling pin as I ruined a good rolling pin doing this. Set the larger chunks and the fine powder aside (keep them separated). 

In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate with 1/2 teaspoon canola oil in a heatproof bowl. Spread the chocolate over the parchment in a rectangle; freeze for 10 minutes. 

In a double boiler, melt the white chocolate with 1/2 teaspoon canola oil in a heatproof bowl. Add the powdered candy to the white chocolate, and the peppermint extract, and stir to combine. Cool for 3 minutes, then stir and spread over the chocolate layer and top with the larger peppermint chunks, pressing lightly on the candy.

Refrigerate until hardened, and then break into pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve. I prefer Ghirardelli chocolate, but I have made it with other chocolate and it is still delicious!

 

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. milk
8 oz. white chocolate chunks
1 cup roasted, salted macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup candied cherries, quartered

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet (or use parchment paper). On waxed paper, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, eat sugars, and butter together for 3 minutes, then add eggs and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl to make sure all is blended. Add milk, and then beat in flour mixture until well blended. Add chocolate, nuts and cherries and beat for just a few seconds more to make sure it is blended in. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet, 2 inches apart, and bake for 11 to 13 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.  Freezes well (up to 6 weeks).

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Johanna Gaeta December 15, 2012 at 05:41 PM
How can the recipe call for "unwrapped" chocolate kisses? What happens to the foil wrapping? Thank you
Johanna Gaeta December 15, 2012 at 05:43 PM
How cat the recipe call for " unwrapped" chocolate kisses? Thanks
Dee Dee December 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM
You must remove the foil wrap from the chocolate kiss before using the chocolate kiss in the recipe. Throw the foil away or keep it, whatever you want, but do not put the foil into the mixture. (I can't believe you are serious with that question.)
Nancy Loughin December 17, 2012 at 08:16 PM
In 30 years of writing food and recipe columns, you can never be unspecific when it comes to ingredients. Unwrapped is unwrapped. You can do whatever you want to with your discarded wrappings!
Dee Dee December 18, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Kinda like having to say remove the egg from the shell and discard the shell. Or, with a male, be sure to specify vegetable oil, not motor oil like 10W30 in recipe calling for liquid oil. (yes, it's happened) Probably others out there similar that need to be explained to a new cook/baker..

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