Holiday Cookies

Welcome to December (in a few hours)! That means it's finally cookie season, yay! I've been doing a Christmas Cookie Exchange (on the years that we don't travel) since 1993. It is such a tradition in my family. I thought I would give you guys a few of my favorite cookie and dessert recipes to get this month started off right!


Also, stay tuned for some fun cookie TV segments coming soon. I have some great news that I can't wait to share with all of you. Until then, happy baking!

I love to combine a shortbread cookie with a turtle cheesecake bar, this one is my Ritzy Rich Bars. These are delicious and decadent.



Ritzy Rich Bars (Shortbread-Cookie Cheesecake Turtle Bars)

Serves 12

My Ritzy Rich Bars are decadent, buttery and delicious. They are a shortbread-cookie cheesecake turtle bar. These are amazing and delicious!

Shortbread Crust

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups finely ground and sifted Ritz crackers (approximately 2 sleeves)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup sour cream

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping

¼ cup caramel

¼ chocolate syrup or hot fudge

¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper.

MAKE SHORTBREAD CRUST

Using an electric stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on high speed until creamy. Add crackers and vanilla, and continue to beat together until thoroughly

combined. Press mixture into lined pan, and press down for even distribution.

MAKE CHEESECAKE

Cream together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, eggs, flour and

vanilla until well-combined. Spread cheesecake mixture over shortbread cookie crust and bake on the bottom rack for 45 minutes, then transfer to the top rack and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

ASSEMBLE

Cool the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, drizzle with caramel, chocolate syrup or hot fudge and pecans. Cut into 12 bars. Refrigerate any leftovers.





Another holiday tradition in our family is making Golden Cadillac Shakes.





Golden Cadillac Shakes

with Chocolate Ganache & Graham Cracker-Toffee S'more Skewers

Serves 4

Golden Cadillac Shakes

Serves 4

2 ounces Galliano

2 ounces white crème de cocoa

1 pint vanilla ice cream

Garnish

Chocolate syrup

Blend together Galliano, white crème de cocoa and ice cream. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the inside of 4 glasses, then pour equal amounts of the ice cream mixture into each glass.

NOTE

For a mocktail version, replace Galliano and white crème de cocoa with ¼ cup of malted milk powder and ⅓ cup milk.


Chocolate Ganache & Graham Cracker-Toffee S’more Skewers

Serves 4

2 graham crackers

2 tablespoons toffee pieces

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup heavy cream

4 regular-size marshmallows

4 cocktail skewers (at least TK inches in length)

Place graham crackers and toffee pieces in a food processor and finely grind.

Add chocolate to a medium-size bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a slow boil, then pour over chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk together chocolate and cream to make chocolate ganache.

Thread 1 marshmallow onto each skewer. Dip marshmallow into the chocolate ganache and sprinkle with some graham cracker-and-toffee mixture. Let cool. Repeat process for remaining skewers. Serve with Golden Cadillac Shakes.

NOTE

Refrigerate any leftover ganache. The cold ganache makes delicious truffles: Simply roll a small amount of ganache into a ball, then roll in the crushed graham crackers and toffee mixture.




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