Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Virtual Cookie Exchange!

Today, I am joining in the Virtual Cookie Exchange hosted by Tracey at The Cottage Industry. If you are visiting from Tracey's party, welcome!

Earlier this month, we had a full weekend of hosting several Christmas parties to celebrate the season with friends. I made a cookie tower full of holiday sweets to treat our guests, including three of my favorite holiday cookies: Turtle Bars, Russian Teacakes & Buckeyes. I'd love to share the recipes with you!

Turtle Bars:

1 roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough (I use Pillsbury)
1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
3 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 jar caramel ice cream topping (I use Smucker's)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (16 squares)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. (325 degrees for a dark or nonstick pan) Press the roll of cookie dough evenly in the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 inch pan.
Sprinkle 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups of the pecans over dough; lightly press into dough. Set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar, caramel topping and graham cracker crumbs. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Pour over crust in pan; spread evenly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups pecans.
Bake 25 to 32 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown and pecans are lightly toasted. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes; loosen sides from the pan with a knife, but do not cut. Cool completely, about 3 hours longer. (For firmer bars, let stand an additional 2 hours.) For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.

Russian Teacakes:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (I chop them in the food processor.)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix thoroughly butter, sugar and vanilla. Work in flour, salt & nuts until the dough holds together. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. While warm, roll in powdered sugar. Cool and roll in sugar again.

Candy Buckeyes:
I grew up in Ohio, and the buckeye tree is our state tree. Candy buckeyes are a local favorite and a treat that we made every Christmas as a child. They are one of my absolute favorite sweet treats and I love them cold, straight out of the refrigerator!

18 oz jar of peanut butter (my favorite for baking is Jif!)
2 sticks butter, softened
1 lb. plus 1 cup sifted powdered sugar

chocolate for dipping: 12 oz of semisweet chocolate chips plus a tbls. of shortening

Place sugar in a large bowl, add butter & peanut butter and mix in using hands until smooth. Pat dough into a large ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Roll into 1 inch balls, place onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet and chill thoroughly until firm. (This helps with the dipping!)
Melt the chocolate chips and shortening together until smooth. (Note: I used my Little Dipper (a mini crockpot) this year and it was by the far the easiest chocolate dipping I have ever done! No worries about scorching the chocolate or burning my arm with a double broiler. If you don't have a little dipper you can melt the chocolate in a double broiler or in the microwave.)
Spear balls with a toothpick & dip in chocolate, leaving a round spot of the peanut butter showing on the top. (See photo.) Place on wax paper & smooth over the toothpick hole with your finger. Chill to set the chocolate and enjoy!!


Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

How funny! I was just at the grocery store and bought ingredients for Russian Tea Cakes and buckeyes (plus a few other family favorites). Seeing the photos made me want to start baking now!

Dawn said...

I've already made Russian Tea cakes and my mom is bringing the Buckeyes (from Ohio, seriously!)... and I was trying to think of just one more "something" before they arrive tomorrow evening. Guess what? The turtle recipe is perfect. I've added the ingredients to my shopping list for my trip to the grocery store in the morning.

Blessings and Merry Christmas!!!

Jen r. said...

Yum! those look fabulous! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!