New Castle News

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December 1, 2012

Culinary Conversation: There’s no such thing as too many Christmas cookies

NEW CASTLE — To the person who invented the cookie, the world is forever in debt.

The creation of this confection has to be one of the best culinary decisions ever.

Cookies have special appeal to adults and kids.

At Christmas, bakers get out rolling pins, aprons, mixers and spatulas to start the yearly traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation.

There are so many types — molded, bar, drop, pressed, refrigerator, rolled candy and even no-bakes.

A tin of cookies as a gift can make anyone smile and is always in good taste. Cookie exchanges with family, friends and co-workers bring even more variety to the table.

Cookie baking has started at my house. What about you? This year the repertoire will include lemon tarts, frosted and decorated sugar cookies, jam-filled fold-overs and grandma’s famous marshmallow fudge. I’m undecided about what else to bake.

In this season of sharing, Culinary Conversation would be delighted to hear about your favorites.

My motto is — at Christmas, there can never be too many cookies.

Enjoy the season and pass the cookie tray.

Layered Chocolate

Confections

Chocolate layer:

  • 1⁄2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup chopped salted pecans
  • Cream layer:
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 1⁄3 cup butter or margarine
  • 11⁄2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsps. brandy
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

For chocolate layer, melt the butter and chocolate together; set aside to cool.

Beat eggs, sugar and extract until thick and piled softly. Add cooled chocolate mixture and beat until blended. Stir in flour, then pecans. Turn into a greased 11x7x11⁄2-inch baking pan and spread evenly.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack.

For cream layer, combine cream, butter and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally over low heat until mixture reaches 236 (soft-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; cool, undisturbed to 110 or just cool enough to hold pan on palm of hand. Turn into a small bowl, add brandy and beat until mixture is smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled chocolate layer. Chill slightly until top is firm to the touch. Spread melted chocolate over creamy layer. Chill thoroughly. Cut into 1-inch squares. These work nicely placed in bonbon cups to serve or pack in a gift box.

*A drop or two of food coloring may be added to the cream mixture.

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