This is part 3 of the series: Get Ready for the Christmas Baking to Begin. These next two holiday favorites are easier to make than expected. Both goodies run about $9 a pound at your local bakery and this frugal gal knows that you can go broke trying to purchase a nice platter of these delightful morsels. With that in mind, I offer you two great gift-worthy recipes:
Italian Neapolitan Cookies
*Coming from an Italian family, I can tell you this recipe is authentic in nature. Other recipes call for other flavored fillings, but most bakeries use these ingredients.
1 – 8oz. can of marzipan or almond paste or make-your-own
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs (separate the yolks from whites – keeping both to use)
2 cups flour
20 drops of red food coloring
12 drops of green food coloring
12 drops of yellow food coloring
1/4 cup seedless red raspberry jam
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1- 6 or 8 oz. bag of semisweet chocolate chips
3 – 13 x 9 x 2 cookie sheets or pans
Margarine for greasing
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of each sheet and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit only the bottom and press the paper onto the grease.
Separate eggs (yolks in one bowl, whites in another for later steps).
Mix marzipan with butter, sugar, and egg yolks. Beat until fluffy. Add flour, mixing well.
Beat egg whites into soft peaks(in their own bowl), then add them to the flour mixture.
After mixed well, split the dough into three even parts (approx. 1 1/2 cups each).
Mix food coloring well into each batch – making one red, green, and yellow.
Spread each colored dough into a parchment-lined pan.
Place all three pans into oven and bake 10-12 min. or until edges turn golden brown.
Right from taking pans out of oven, carefully invert them onto the cooling racks and cool completely.
Find a large tray or cookie sheet that is slightly larger than cakes or lay wax paper down on your table. Make sure when placing each layer they are aligned with each other as follows: Place the green cake down first and spread the raspberry jam over it.
Lay the yellow cake over the jam and spread the apricot preserves on top of that layer.
Add the final cake layer. If you are not accustom to melting chocolate, please follow links highlighted. Melt the chips either in the microwave, stove top, or melting pot.
Once chocolate is completely melted, spread it completely over top and sides. Let harden before slicing with a heavy serrated-edge knife into approx. 1″ by 1/2″ squares. *To prevent cracking of chocolate while cutting, try freezing completely and cutting – it gives a far better and cleaner cut.
No – Fail Chocolate Fudge
I wish I could say this was my own recipe, but Eagle brand has a Foolproof recipe that is spot on. *Most importantly, you can omit the nuts in the recipe, but the vanilla is a MUST! It changes the flavor drastically. I usually make about 4-5 pounds of this and give it for gifts – I already have requests for more this year.
Looking Ahead: Part 4 of Let the Baking Begin will include the recipes for Butterscotch Haystacks, Coconut Balls and Truffles (multi-flavored).