Holiday Bliss (A week before Holiday Buzz)
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Today I'm kicking off an entire month of holiday recipes and contests. To wit: At the end of this post, I have two links where you can enter to win an autographed copy of my new book (one from a former police officer and loyal follower of this blog). Stay tuned and keep checking my online coffeehouse for more fun giveaways and recipes.
And speaking of recipes...
I'm happy to confirm that today's holiday recipe was inspired by the famous Cranberry Bliss Bar at Starbucks, a blondie bar with dried cranberries, cream cheese icing, and white chocolate drizzle.
The Starbucks Bliss Bar is a gorgeous pastry for the holiday season, but it's not the only inspiration for this post. Last year, I found out exactly how good cranberry and cream cheese are together when I combined them for my post on what to do with leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving dinner.
If you missed my "Baby Berry Pastries" post, you can download an illustrated PDF of the recipe by clicking here.
|Cleo's Baby Berry Pastries |
made from leftover cranberry sauce.
To download a PDF of this recipe,
|Yes, this is me - Cleo Coyle|
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BTW - If you leave a comment on my Copycat Twinkie Cupcakes post here, you'll be entered in my Kona coffee giveaway. (Because, really, what could go better with Kona than a home baked Twinkie in the form of a cupcake?)
So getting back to those Holiday Bliss Cookies...
If you do still have some cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving dinner, this is an outstanding use for it. And if you don't, well, make some more. You'll be glad you did.
Holiday Bliss Cookies
with "Pink Chocolate" Icing
The cranberry sauce in this recipe is not overpowering. It simply gives the cookie a light, fruity taste. Still, if you're not a fan of cranberry sauce, you can easily replace it with cherry preserves--or strawberry or raspberry preserves. The cookie is a very pretty one to include on holiday dessert trays. Presentation tip: Even if you swap out cranberries for cherry or strawberry preserves, use loose, whole cranberries as a decorative accent (as I did in my photos) to make your cookies really shine. May you bake and eat them with joy!
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
¼ cup packed (2 ounces) of block cream cheese, softened (not whipped)
*3 tablespoons cranberry sauce (fresh or canned, *see my note)
¼ teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
*Not a cranberry fan? Try this recipe with cherry, strawberry, or raspberry preserves.
Step 1: Make the batter – Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar, butter, and cream cheese. Add the cranberry sauce (or cherry preserves), salt, vanilla, and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Mix in flour until well blended. Do not over-mix.
Step 2: Chill – The dough will be too wet and sticky to roll at this stage. You must chill the dough 1 hour in the freezer or several hours in the fridge. After chilling, it will be firm enough to roll by hand.
**Note on the rolling and flattening: The larger you make the ball of dough and the harder you press on the glass, the larger and thinner your cookies will be. Experiment with the size and thickness of your cookies until you get the kind you like best.
Cleo's “Pink Chocolate”
(do not use low fat milk)
1 cup of white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce (or cherry, strawberry, or raspberry preserves)
Directions: Heat the milk (or light cream or half-and-half) in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds—the milk should be very hot to the touch. Add the white chocolate chips and stir for about a minute. If the chips are not fully melted after a minute, place the bowl back in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir again. Finally, add the cranberry sauce (or preserves) and stir until you have your beautiful “pink chocolate” frosting. Work with the frosting while still warm. I spoon it onto the cookies and use the back of the spoon to lightly spread and smooth it into an even layer. Iced cookies will set in about 30 minutes. To speed up the process, simply chill the cookies in the refrigerator.
Note: If you don’t have a microwave, create a double boiler by placing a glass or other heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Warm the milk, then add the chips and stir continually until melted. Take the bowl off the heat and stir in the cranberry sauce (or preserves).
WARNING: Take care to mix the cranberry sauce (or preserves) as instructed in the recipe--i.e., after the chocolate is melted into the milk. If you try to "save time" by adding the cranberry sauce to the milk before heating, you will end up with a fugly gray mess! (Ask me how I know.)
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A Mystery Guild Featured
Holiday Mystery Pick
“Jingle bells, beautiful displays, scrumptious treats:
Holiday season in New York City has it all, including murder…
Coyle’s coffeehouse series captures the New York experience,
from high-society parties to gritty back-street deals.
The fine mystery is followed by some holiday recipes that
will even pack the pounds on readers who are only browsing them.”