Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Cookies! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

Merry Christmas! In honor of the holiday, I'm going to do something that I rarely do, bake. And since I'm going to the trouble of breaking out my measuring cups and spoons, I thought I'd bring you along for the ride. Fortunately, these cookies really are worth the effort.  My Nonna used to make them when I was a kid, and I still remember the way they made the house smell while they were baking. Just like a Christmas present, the best part of these cookies is in the middle. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. :-)

Ingredients for the Dough:
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour

Ingredients for the Filling:
1 1 lb bag chocolate chips
2 cups sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1 oz squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tsp butter

1 cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Mix together the butter and brown sugar until creamed. Add the milk and the egg to the mixture and beat until combined.  Add the vanilla and almond extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder, then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined and forms a dough

Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it in half. Roll each half of the dough between two sheets of waxed paper. Take the waxed paper off the bottom of one of the layers and place it in a greased 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Use your fingers to press the dough into the corners of the pan and trim any pieces that come over the sides. Peel the waxed paper off of the other side.

Mix all the filling ingredients together in a bowl. Pour the filling on top of the first layer in the pan and use a spoon to spread it evenly. Take the waxed paper off of one side of the remaining dough and lay the dough over the filling. Smooth the dough with your fingers and then take the waxed paper off of the other side of the dough. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Turn the cookie square onto a rack and let it cool for 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Sprinkle the powdered sugar over the top and cut the square into individual cookies.

If you don't like nuts, you can, of course, omit them. You could also add raisins to the filling, if you like them with chocolate. A tablespoon of instant coffee powder added to the mix gives the cookies a nice mocha flavor. And if you're entertaining adults, you could also add 1/4 cup Kahlua or Amaretto.

Bon appetit! :-) 

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