Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cooking Up Holiday Spirit

This week's cookbook is Woman's Day Christmas Cookies Candies & Cakes produced by Woman's Day Magazine

Nutty Caramel Acorns

(Makes 46 pieces)

Prep & Dip: 1 hour
Bake: 14 minutes per batch

1 stick (1/2 cup) light or regular unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 cup chopped nuts (black walnuts, cashews, peanuts, or your favorite)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles (jimmies)
1 pkg (14 oz) classic caramels, unwrapped
1 1/2 tbsp water

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. You'll need a large baking sheet(s)
2. Beat butter, sugar, and yolks in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup of the nuts, the vanilla, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour until a soft dough forms.
3. Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls. Shape as acorns with a pointed top. Place point up, 1 inch apart, on ungreased baking sheet(s). Bake 14 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown. Cool on rack.
4. Place remaining 1/2 cup nuts and the sprinkles in food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Mound mixture on a sheet of wax paper. Melt caramels and water in a bowl in microwave as package directs.
5. Dunk acorn cookies into caramel 1 at a time, turning with a fork to coat. Lift and scrape excess caramel from bottom against top edge of bowl. Use a second fork to scrape acorn from first fork onto nut mixture to coat bottoms. Transfer to a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and refrigerate to set caramel. Reheat caramel in microwave to keep it fluid while dipping remaining acorns.

Storage Tip: Store airtight at cool room temperature with wax paper between layers up to 1 week.

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