Chocolate Walnut Nutella Cookies

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Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

6 oz. dark chocolate morsels (get a good brand)

3/4 cup walnuts (chopped)

sea salt (optional)

1 jar of chocolate Nutella

confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Put parchment paper on baking pans.

2. In a bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, brown sugar and butter. Beat until creamy.

3. In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.

4. Slowly beat in dry ingredients into egg mixture.

5. Add chocolate and walnuts. Stir it in with a wooden spoon gently. Make sure it is well blended.

6. Use a heaping tablespoon and place on baking pan. (about 2 inches apart)

7. Optional: Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top of each cookie.

8. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes. If you made larger cookie bake about 15-16 minutes. Use a toothpick to test if they’re baked.

*Makes about 2 dozen if you use a tbsp. for each cookie. *12 cookie sandwiches

9. Let cookies cool. When cooled, spread Nutella on the inside of each cookie. Put two cookies together to form a cookie sandwich,

10. Dust with confectioner’s sugar. (powdered sugar)

Baked Clams Oreganata

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Ingredients:
3 (6 oz.) cans of minced clams in juice
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 clove of garlic (chopped)
2 tsp. oregano (fresh preferred)
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tbs. parmesan cheese
2 tbs. of olive oil
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
2. Using premade (aluminum) clam shells, stuff each one. Depending on how much you stuff each one, you will need about 12 clam shells.
3. On a baking tray, put stuffed clam shells.
4. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes or until tops of clams are slightly crispy.
Serve with lemon.

 

 

Italian Fig Cookies For Christmas

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Ingredients
Filling
2 14-ounce packages dried figs (cut off stems and chopped)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup pignoli
1 cup dark chocolate morsels
1 cup raisins
1 tbsp. orange peel
2 tbsp. honey
Dough
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 whole eggs, well beaten (at room temperature)
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons almond extract or vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Directions
1. Use a food processor to chop figs into a soft paste. Add walnuts and almonds and chop into small tiny pieces. Put in a large bowl and add in all other filling ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate. You can make the filling a day ahead of time.
2. To make dough, combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cream with an electric mixer. Cream until smooth.
3. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, and almond extract; mix well. Fold egg mixture into creamed butter mixture and beat for about 5 minutes.
4. In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture until dough is soft. Roll dough into a large ball.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Break off a large piece of dough about the size of a baseball. On a floured surface, roll out dough Spoon filling in the center of the flattened roll, then pull the edges of the dough together over the filling and pinch to seal. Put light slits on top of rolled dough. (see photo)
6. Cut roll diagonally into cookies, about 1-1/2 inches long. Place cookies seam-side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Check to make sure cookies are cooked through. You want the dough flaky and golden and not burnt.
Let cool before serving.

Mr. C.’s Thumbprint Cookies

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Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks of margarine (room temperature)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 small eggs (or 1 large)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. of vanilla
preserves (your choice)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. In a bowl, with a mixer, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs together. In a separate bowl mix flour and baking powder together,
2. Add flour mixture to creamed butter mixture and mix together.
3. On a greased cookie sheet, scoop a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place on cookie sheet. Using your thumb or the back of a teaspoon press down.
4. Using your favorite preserves (apricot, strawberry, etc) spoon a little preserve into the center of the cookie dough.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure they don’t burn on the bottom.
Makes about 3 dozen.

Christmas Butter Cookies

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Ingredients:
4 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
2. Add flour and baking powder. Mix well.
3. Put dough in a cookie press or drop a well rounded tablespoon on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down with a fork. You can sprinkle colored nonpareils on top. Brush each cookie with a little milk for nonpareils to stick.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Check after 12 minutes, as you don’t want the cookies to burn on the bottom.

“Christmas Favorite” Italian Rice Balls

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Ingredients:

1 large sweet onion (chopped)

2 lbs. ground beef (lean)

1 cup green peas

1 cup tomato sauce for the recipe ( *extra sauce for guests to put on top) *See note on bottom.

sea salt & black pepper

olive oil

5 cups rice

10 cups of water

8 eggs

bread crumbs

2 cups mozzarella (grated)

1 cup parmesan cheese (grated)

Directions:

1. Boil a large pot of water and cook rice. Set rice to the side when done. (once water evaporates and rice is tender)

2. Heat sauté pan with 2 tbs. olive oil. Add onion and let brown lightly.

3. Add meat and brown over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Then add tomato sauce (add a little more sauce if you like) and a pinch of sea salt and pepper.

4. Add peas and let tomato sauce reduce with pan uncovered.

5. Once mixture has thickened, put to the side and let cool.

6. In a large bowl, mix rice with 4 eggs, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

7. Add meat mixture to the rice bowl. Mix well by hand. With hands, shape rice into a medium ball.

8. Once rice balls are molded tightly, put them on a sheet pan.

9. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

10. Beat remaining 4 eggs in a bowl.

11. Take rice balls from refrigerator, dip them into the eggs, and then roll in bread crumbs.
12. Return to refrigerator and allow to set for another 20 minutes.

13. Heat 1 quart of oil in large deep sauce pan. With a large slotted spoon, gently place rice balls in hot oil.
14. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Let drain on paper towels.

Makes approximately 15-17 large rice balls. (depends on size you prefer) About 45 -50 golf ball size can be made as well.

*Note: You can cut this recipe in half, for smaller amounts. With a regular recipe, I usually get 15-17 rice balls of a larger size. It is served as an appetizer on Christmas Eve. Guests also put tomato sauce and grated cheese on top. I usually make a small pot of sauce to have on hand.

 

Apricot Almond Cookies

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup chopped almonds (see picture)

12 oz. almond paste

2 large egg whites (beaten)

2/3 cups sugar

apricot preserves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Chop almonds into very small pieces. In a small skillet, toast them for 3 minutes.

2. Mix almond paste and sugar together in a bowl.

3. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until fluffy. Add slowly to almond paste and sugar mixture.

Optional: If you chill the dough for an hour, it is easier to handle.

4. Using a teaspoon of the mixture, roll into a ball. Roll in the toasted almonds. Place on cookie sheet. Using the back of the teaspoon, make a circular indentation in the center of the cookie when pushing down. Add 1/2 tsp. of apricot preserves to the center.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 2 dozen.