This past weekend I gathered friends over to the house for one last Christmas Party before we all began leaving to go spend the Holidays with our families.  During the Christmas season I love trying new recipes and the party was a great way to test them out.  Thanks to a great little kit that I got from Target we had a Wine and Appetizers party.

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This year we all discovered new wines that we like and some great new recipes.  Below are some of the recipes that I have added to my wonderful recipe book that my mother made for me several years ago.

What are some new recipes that you have discovered this Christmas Season that are keepers?  Post in the comment your favorite and if you are willing, leave the recipe for all of us to enjoy.

Peppermint-Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Prep Time: 20 min

Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 25 min

Cook Time: 10 min

Serves: 12 sandwich cookies

 

1 (16.5 ounce) tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Decorating suggestion: crushed candy canes or peppermint candies; white, red and green sprinkles; or red and green decorating sugar
Special equipment: a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, and a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop

Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, knead together the cookie dough and 1/4 cup flour until smooth. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough. Knead together any scraps of dough and roll out again. Continue to cut out pastry circles until there are 24 pieces in total. Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Reserve 1 parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Combine 1 cup of chocolate chips and the cream in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the peppermint extract and refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour. Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop or a tablespoon measure, place the chocolate mixture in the center of the flat side of 12 of the cookies. Place the remaining cookies on top and gently squeeze to distribute the filling evenly. Place on a baking sheet and freeze until the filling has set, about 25 minutes.

Combine the remaining chocolate chips and the vegetable oil in a small bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Dip the top of each cookie in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with crushed candy canes or peppermint candies. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight plastic container.

Parmesan, Basil and Lemon Wafers (Frico)

Prep Time: 15 min

Inactive Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 5 min

Serves: about 12 wafers

 

 

1 cup shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons shredded basil leaves (substituted with Rosemary)

1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Transfer a heaping tablespoon of Parmesan mixture onto a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet and lightly pat down. A silicone baking sheet is highly recommended for this recipe. Repeat with the remaining cheese mixture, spacing the spoonfuls about 1/2-inch apart. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool and use a flat spatula to transfer from lined baking sheet.

Bacon Crisp

Prep Time: 10 min

Inactive Prep Time: 0 min

Cook Time: 2 hr 0 min

 

Serves: 24 bacon crisps

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 sleeve buttery rectangular crackers (recommended: Waverly Wafers) (I used Club crackers and didn’t split them)

1 pound sliced bacon cut in ½ (I used turkey bacon and didn’t split them since the Club crackers are lager and the turkey bacon is wider)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese on each cracker and wrap tightly with a strip of bacon. Place the wrapped crackers on a broiler rack on a baking sheet and put the baking sheets on the oven rack. Bake for 2 hours, or until the bacon is done. Do not turn. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature

 

** I didn’t use a broiler rack since I didn’t have one and they come out fine, maybe because the turkey isn’t as greasy as bacon.**

Cook’s note: You can also bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes if you’re in a hurry!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Cheesecake Pops

Prep Time: 15 min

Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 0 min

Cook Time: 2 hr 15 min

Serves: 36 mini squares

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut butter, chocolate, and cheesecake? Put it on a pop and it’s all our favorite things in a kid- and party-friendly form.

Cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups creamy peanut butter

Chocolate:
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Wooden pop sticks

For the cheesecake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line a 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil letting long flaps overlap on each side. Spray foil with nonstick spray.

Break up the brown sugar to remove all lumps. In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until very smooth. Add the cream and beat slowly; then add the yolks and vanilla mixing until just combined. Gently stir in peanut butter. Take care not to over beat the mixture; this incorporates too much air and causes the cheesecake to crack.

Pour and evenly spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Open the oven to release some heat, then lower the temperature to 200 degrees F. Continue to bake the cheesecake until the outside is set but the center is still loose, for about 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, and cool cheesecake in the oven for 45 more minutes. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Lift cheesecake from the pan by lifting up the foil. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into
1 1/2-inch cubes. Stick a wooden pop stick halfway into each bar and freeze for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, put the shortening and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue to heat until completely melted, about 1 minute more.)

Dip the pops into the chocolate mixture, and stand on waxed paper to set, about 5 minutes. Serve cold (straight from the fridge), or freeze up to 2 weeks. Frozen pops make a cool summer treat, or can be allowed to temper for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Upgrade: Coat the pops with chopped nuts or candies for a really decadent finish. To do this let the dipped pops drip over a bowl for 15 seconds before rolling them.

Greek Feta Spread (Kopanisti)

Feta cheese whips up into a smooth, creamy spread when blended with olive oil in the food processor. The Greeks like to flavor it with garlic, mint and pickled peppers to make a piquant dip for pita bread. Serve it with radishes and cucumber spears for dipping, too.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. Greek or French feta cheese

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 Tbs. minced fresh mint or 1 tsp. crumbled dried mint

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus more as needed

6 Italian peperoncini (pickled green peppers), chopped

 

 

Directions:

n a food processor, combine the cheese, olive oil, garlic, mint, the 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes and the 6 chopped peperoncini and process until smooth. Taste and add more red pepper flakes or peperoncini, if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl. Makes 1 1/2 cups; serves 4.

 

 

***I don’t know what is wrong with my post with all the extra lines.  I didn’t add them and I tried to delete them but I coudn’t.  It is late and I don’t feel like fighting with it any more***

 

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