i admit it. i love to bake and i love to cook especially around the holidays. i enjoy making pretty packages of cookies and sharing them with friends and family. i collect recipes and love when i find a real gem among the thousands that i collect. i get so caught up in the process that i often don't have time to eat. sometimes instead of gaining weight i manage to stay the same through the holidays in spite of all the baked goods instead of because of them. i think this year is one of those years.
now i know that this may seem awful, but i am going to share some of my favorite recipes on my blog. there's nothing remotely healthy about any of them. some of them are filled with happy memories of christmases past and others are new treasures i've discovered in recent years.
this year, so far, i have baked 6 different kinds of cookies/candies. They'll be more during the next few days, but it's a good start. today i will share 2 of the recipes; peanut butter balls and cocosellas. the peanut butter balls have been a staple for our christmas celebrations for over 40 years. i once shared the recipe with someone who tried to lighten the recipe with natural peanut butter, less sugar and a few other changes. all she managed to do was change the taste and quality. my conclusion (along with many other people) is to eat one real peanut butter ball rather than 2 fake ones any day!!! so please my friends, if you decide to try the recipe don't alter it, just enjoy it. one peanut butter ball has approximately 100 calories and 6 grams of fat. i based the calculation on 140 per recipe. it's hard to measure the amount of chocolate in each one because they are hand dipped, but i think i am very close.
cocosellas were added to my christmas tradition about 20 years ago. i discovered the recipe in a cookie recipe collection published by current - you know the wrapping paper and greeting card company? they are simply decadent and declicious. i haven't calculated the calories per cookie yet, but i will...
so here i am..sharing the love and the calories. enjoy in moderation and share with gusto! i promise, you'll be ok.
Peanut Butter Balls
If you know any Peanut Butter Lovers, they will kiss the ground you walk on when you make these.
1 lb. Confectioner’s sugar
2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ cups melted unsalted butter or margarine
7 oz. Flaked coconut
12 oz peanut butter
1 cup chopped nuts—I prefer pecans
Approximately 36 oz of semi-sweet chocolate
In a large bowl mix all the above ingredients (except the chocolate). Use a wooden spoon at first, but you may eventually want to dig in with your hands to blend it well.
Shape into small balls (smaller than a walnut, bigger than a hazelnut). Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. The recipe yields at the very least 125 balls. If you do less than that, you are making them too big. I usually get 140.
Melt chocolate over hot water. For those of you not familiar with melting chocolate. Don’t leave the pot on the burner while the chocolate is melting. Bring the water to a boil first. Remove from the heat, and then melt the chocolate over the water slowly. AND don’t
get a drop of water in the chocolate. It ruins the consistency.
Once the chocolate is melted, roll the balls one at a time in the chocolate. This is tedious work, but worth it. Be sure to have extra chocolate on hand. Set the balls out on cookie sheets lined with waxed paper and sprinkle with non-pareils.
Place the cookie sheets in a cool place or the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the chocolate is hardened.
Store in air-tight containers or freeze for up to one month
These are for the coconut lovers you know. Although they are so delicious, everyone loves them.
3 cups flaked coconut
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ cups butter or margarine ,softened
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
5 ¼ cups confectioner’s sugar (sifted)
¾ cup hot water
dash of salt
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Have baking sheets ready
Spread coconut evenly on a baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes. Then stir every minute until toasted evenly. (watch carefully, it will burn quickly) Let cool.
Mix flour, salt and baking soda. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with electric mixer until fluffy
Beat in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir in toasted coconut. Chill at least 1 hour.
Drop dough by nice rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake approximately 12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks.
While cookies are baking, make glaze. Stir together the confectioner’s sugar, hot water and salt until smooth and pourable, adding additional hot water if too thick.
To glaze cookies, drop hot cookies into glaze, TOP OF COOKIE DOWN, then flip over to glaze the bottom. Lift the cookies from the glaze with a large meat fork. Place on wire racks to dry. Put waxed paper under the racks to catch the dripping glaze. (If you put the bottom of the cookie into the glaze first, it will soak up too much glaze.)
Makes 6 to 7 dozen.
Note: you may need more glaze. If you like, you can make smaller batches of the glaze and add red or green food coloring for variety and a more festive look!