Recipes For Your Holiday Sweet Tooth

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My friend Cynde and I are back from traveling. Our trip to Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico was incredible, the weather has been perfect, people very helpful and nice, the hotel was great, a few blocks from all the places we wanted to visit. Galleries and more galleries of such beautiful art work. It is amazing how we can visualize the same object, landscape, still life, etc. and we all see it so many different ways and colors. It is all about perception. We got to purchase handmade jewelry from American Indians at the Plaza in Santa Fe. It was such an array of beautiful workmanship. On the way to Taos we stopped at a winery, tasted, visited and bought tasty wine. We found stunning Taos-style outerwear designs in blanket wraps, coats, jackets, etc. Simply irresistible and fun to wear, we both purchased coats. It's very rare that you have a hand-woven, hand-dyed fabulous garment priced so well.

Sunday, we took our last trip to Sedona before Cynde was to go back home to Michigan. It has been three amazing weeks. I will miss her very much but we have tons of photos, learning experiences, best friends shared moments and wonderful memories to last a lifetime. She is an amazing friend and artist who always finds time to teach me new creative ways, for this I thank you, my friend.

With the holidays upon us, let's try these recipes, for a sweet tooth: Vanilla Crescent Biscuits, Brandy Snap Ring, Eclairs with Mocha Cream Filling and Butter Biscuits with Marzipan, my favorite.

Enjoy,

Shirley

Eclairs with Mocha Cream Filling

1/4 pint water

pinch salt

2 ounces butter

2.5 ounces flour

2 small eggs

grated rind of half-lemon

1/2 pint whipping cream

2 teaspoons coffee extract

2 ounces confectioner's sugar

1 teaspoon coffee powder

1-2 tablespoons warm water

Put the water and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the butter and, when melted, sieve in the flour. Remove from the heat and beat well until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Cool slightly, then beat in the eggs and lemon rind. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe onto a floured baking tray in 3-inch strips. Bake in a moderately hot oven (400 F.) for 25 minutes. Slit the eclairs lengthwise and leave to cool. Whip the cream with the coffee essence until thick. Fill the eclairs with the cream, piping it for a more decorative effect.

Combine the confectioner's sugar, coffee powder and warm water and use to glaze the tops of the eclairs. Allow the glaze to set, then serve. Makes about 15.

Butter Biscuits with Marzipan

7 ounces butter

3 ounces confectioner's sugar

2 ounces marzipan

grated ring of 1/2 lemon

9 ounces flour

1 egg yolk

superfine sugar

Cream the butter and confectioner's sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the marzipan and lemon rind, then sieve the flour onto the mixture. Knead well together. Divide the dough in three and form each piece into a roll about 1.5 inches thick. Chill for 20 minutes. Lightly beat the egg yolk and brush over the rolls of dough. Roll them in superfine sugar, then cut into pieces 1.4 inch thick. Place the slices on greased baking trays, leaving space between the slices and bake at 400 F. for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a wire tray. Makes about 60.

Vanilla Crescent Biscuits

10 ounces flour

4 ounces ground almonds

5 ounces superfine sugar

7 ounces butter

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sieve the flour onto a working surface. Add the almonds, 3 ounces of the superfine sugar, the butter (cut into small pieces) the egg yolks and vanilla essence. Mix together by hand very quickly, then chill the dough for 2-3 hours. Form the dough into worms about 2 inches long, then curve into crescent shapes. Place the crescents on a greased baking tray and bake in a moderate oven (350 F.) for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle the crescents with the remaining sugar while still warm, then cool on a wire tray.

Makes about 60.

Brandy Snap Ring

12 ounces butter

6 ounces superfine sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 tablespoon rum

Juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon

5 ounces flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 ounces corn flour

12 ounces confectioner's sugar

1 egg yolk

6-8 brandy snaps, crushed

1/4 pint whipping cream

8 red glace cherries

Cream 6 ounces of butter with the superfine sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the salt, eggs, rum, lemon juice and rind. Fold in the sieved flour, baking powder and corn flour. Pour into a greased 9-inch ring mold and bake in a moderate oven (350 F.) for 45-60 minutes. Cool slightly in the tin, then turn out on a wire tray to cool completely. Cut into four layers. Cream the remaining butter with the confectioner's sugar and egg yolk. Use to sandwich together the four layers and to cover the completed cake. Press on the crushed brandy snaps to cover completely. Decorate with the cream, whipped and piped, and halved glace cherries.

Serve 6-8

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