25 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 25

Day 25, Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you enjoyed the 25 Days of Christmas cookies  as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you all. I thought I would share with you my new favorite cookie of the season, now I know I have had some favorites along the way (how could I not), but this one is a new cookie to me and the lemon and chocolate flavor in this cookie is delicious. That citrus and chocolate combo gets me everytime.  Well I will keep this short and sweet, since Mr. Pea and I have some celebrating to do. I wish everyone Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Next up in Mr. Pea's Countdown with Cocktails, to celebrate the New Year! Enjoy!

 

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Lemon Trees

Makes about 80

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon peel
1 TBsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose flour


Beat butter, sugar, egg, lemon peel, lemon juice and salt together on high speed until pale and fluffy.On low speed, beat flour until just blended.

Divide dough into quarters (dough is very sticky). Wrap individually and chill for 2 hours or until firm.

To make the trees you will need a 3 inch tree-with-trunk cookie cutter, but you can make any shape you wuld like.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

On a lightly floured sheet of wax paper with a floured rolling pin, roll out 1 portion of dough to a 1/4 inch thick at a time (keeep the rest in the fridge until ready to use).

Slide wax paper baking sheets onto baking sheet and place into freezer for about 10 minutes or until firm.

Chill scrapes before rerolling and cutting.
Bake 10-12 minutes until edges are golden. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack for 3 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely.

To Decorate:

Dip tree trunks in chocolae to coat, letting excess drip off. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheets.

Spoon melted green candy into a smallziptop food bag, snip off a corner of the bag and drizzle lines on trees (as shown above).

Sprinkle with nonpareils. Let Stand before storing.

 

Countdown with Cocktails- 8: Apertifs and Digestifs

Appertifs and Digestifs are drinks that are classicly served before dinner (appertif) and after dinner (digestif) and I know that on a day like today with alot of eating, drinks like these will come in handy.

An appertif, which in Latin literally means to open, is a spirit or a cocktail meant to stimulate the appetite, either instead of or combined with a small snack.

Some charesteristics of this cocktail would be that it is dry, rather than sweet, low in alcohol content, utlizing clear spirits and will usually include some kind of botanical like a fortified wine such as sherry or vermouth.

Some classic examples of this would be Lillet, Vermouth and Campari.

The cocktail I will feature four my appertif is called The Negroni, a very classic example of this type of drink and includes both Campari and Sweet vermouth, however this drink is not even close to sweet.

Campari is a red Italian liqueur in the bitters family. It is an infusion of herbs and fruit (including chinotto and cascarilla). In Italy, it is often served with citrus juice and soda water.

This drink can be a bit on the intense side in terms of the bitterness of the Campari, you can top it with some lemon lime soda to sweetne in more than the sweet vermouth can do on its own.

NegroniThe Negroni

1 oz London Dry Gin

1 oz Campari

1 oz Sweet Vermouth

Combine all in a mixing glass with ice and stir for 20 seconds

Strain in a rocks glass with ice or serve neat in a chilled cocktail glass

Garnish with orange twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A digestif on the other hand is a completely different animal. Meant to aid in digestion and well as serving as the finish to a meal, these drinks tend to contain one or more components on the sweeter side which means a darker spirit like brandy or cognac and are often grape based and inlcude sweeter, fortified wines and dessert liqueurs.

The drink I am featuring as my favroite digestif is called the French Connection, it is a sweet cocktail but more rich than sugary and contains just the right hints of vanilla and almond to taste alot like a buttery, nut pie.

The French ConnectionThe French Connection

1 1/2 oz Cognac

3/4 oz Good Amaretto such as Disaronno or Luxardo

Build in a rocks glass over ice or combine in a warmed snifter

25 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 24

 Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Christmas just wouldn't be the same without this next cookie, Brandy Snaps. I actually can't take credit for these little lovelies. These creations come from the Queen Bee herself, Ms. Sandra Dee. I believe this cookie would win for  "the most tedious cookie of them all" award, but they sure are delicious.  They and very thin almost toffee like cookie that have a crunch, but then just melt in your mouth. I will attempt to make these one day, but for now these are like my little Christmas gift I receive from Sandy every year. Hope you have all enjoyed my 25 Days of Christmas Cookies so far, there is only one more to go! Enjoy!

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English Brandy Snaps

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark corn syrup

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons brandy

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour, salt and ginger. Set aside. Combine butter, sugar and syrup in small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth.

Drop teaspoons of batter on jelly roll pan. Bake 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool about 45 seconds, then using handle of wooden spoon, roll up from underneath. Cool on wire racks.

TIP: Only make 3 per pan. Batter spreads during baking.

Countdown with Cocktails – 9: Anejo Tequila Old Fashioned

Bitters, water, sugar and spirit.

That is the official recipe for one of the oldest cocktails, the old fashioned. Usually made with whiskey or bourbon and sometimes brandy, this drink's origin can be traced back the the orginal definition of the word cocktail in the 1800s.

While Mrs. Pea prefers her with bourbon and muddled fruit, for this Christmas Eve, I would rather sip on some agave. This cocktail is filled with aromas of orange and vanilla with a smooth, rich finish.

For this recipe, I will swap out all of the tradtional ingredients:

  • Instead of whiskey, I will use Anejo Tequila, aged at least one year in an oak barrel, giving it a smooth smokey flavor
  • In place of traditional Angostura cocktail bitters, I use orange bitters that give this cocktail a citrusy brightness that contrasts  well with the deep, rich, sweet elements of this drink
  • And finally instead of sugar or simple syrup, Agave Nectar, a sweetner derived from the same plants as tequila
  • I will also make this drink in a short flute glass that is better for tasting tequila, though a regular old fashioned or rocks glass will work fine too.
  • Omit the splash of water in this drink, for while it might open up the flavors in whiskey or bourbon, it just dillutes this cocktail.

Anejo Tequila Old FashionedAnejo Tequila Old Fashioned

3 oz Anejo Tequila such as Don Julio

4 dashes Orange Bitters

1/4 oz Agave Nectar

Directions:

Add Agave Nectar and Orange Bitters to a chilled flute or old fashioned glass.

Top with Anejo Tequila and garnish with an orange twist.

 

 

 

25 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 23

Toffee is my guilty pleasure and now that I finally know how to make it, this is going to be dangerous. At least the batches I made this year will be given away as gifts, because I am pretty sure I would eat it all if I didn't.  I was surprised at how easy it actually was to make toffee.  Some tools you will really need are a non stick pot, I use an All-Clad Stainless Steel Saucie. A rubber spatula, trust me this stuff is stcky. A candy thermometer, this will help you when when it reaches the 280 degree mark where it could easily burn. And I like to use I like to use the flexible cookie tray that you can throw away after you are done, because it can be pretty messy, but anything you get toffee on will come off with hot water.  After a few minutes of constantly stiring, you have a wonderful gift to give for the holiday or a special treat for yourself, which ever you decide.

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English Toffee

Makes 1 1/2 pounds

Ingredients:

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil  (I like to use the flexible cookie trays that you can throw away after you are done, because it can be pretty messy, but  anything you get toffee on will come off with hot water) and sprinkle 1/2 cup of toasted almonds in the pan on the foil.

 In heavy saucepan melt butter.

Add sugar, corn syrup and water.

Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling.

Cook and stir constantly over medium heat to 290 degrees using a candy thermometer (soft-crack stage).

Watch carefully and stir constantly, it can burn easily after 280 degrees.

Remove from heat and pour mixture over the nuts in the pan immediately.

 Let stand 5 minutes or until firm but still hot.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let the stand for 1 to 2 minutes. When softened, spread chocolate over mixture. Sprinkle the chocolate with nuts. Chill till firm.

Break into peices. Store tightly covered.

 

 

Countdown with Cocktails- 10: Apple Cider Cocktail

To begin my countdown to New Year's Eve in cocktails, I will start with my and Mrs. Pea's favorite cold-weather cocktail, the Apple Cider Cocktail.

We began working on this recipe a few years ago, starting with an apple and mulling spice infused gold rum, mixed with warmed mulled cider and cranberry juice. It tasted really good, mostly just like well balanced mulled cider which really just masked the infused spirit completely. You could have just used any whiskey or spiced rum and gotten the same taste.

I then started to experiment in concentrating the mulling spice flavor into a simple syrup so that we could use less cider and create a cold, sidecar like version of this cocktail.

Apple Cider Cocktail

We Eventually arrived at this recipe:

Apple Cider Cocktail

  1. Add all ingredients to ice filled cocktail shaker
  2. Shake for 20 seconds
  3. Strain into chilled cockatil glass
  4. Garnish with orange twist

And for those who prefer the hot version:

Hot Apple Cider Cocktail

  1. Warm 3-4oz Apple Cider and 1/4 oz Mulling Spice infused Brown Syrup in a mug in the microwave.
  2. Stir in 2-3oz Apple Mulling Spice Infused Rum, Whiskey, Brandy or Bourbon and 1/4 oz orange or ginger liqueur
  3. Garnish with Cinnamon Stick.

And this one that omits the Apple Cider entirely but still has plenty of apple flavor: Apple Cider Martini

Harvest Sidecar

  1. Add all ingredients to ice filled cocktail shaker
  2. Shake for 20 seconds
  3. Strain into chilled cockatil glass
  4. Garnish with orange twist, ginger slice or apple slice