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Holidays to Remember - Happy Hanukkah!

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Hanukkah Sandwich Cookies
Mini Fig Cheesecake Tarts

(Family Features) - Host a dessert party for a new spin on Hanukkah celebrations. Sweetly greet guests with an array of dazzling desserts. Brightly decorated in blue and yellow, Hanukkah Sandwich Cookies cut in seasonal shapes with a fig-orange filling share the table with lemony Mini Fig Cheesecake Tarts and shimmering pearl-dusted, candy-coated plump, stuffed figs.

To prepare the stuffed figs, use both golden Calimyrna and dark purple Mission figs. Cut a small slit in the bottom of each and stuff with candied ginger or toasted nuts, then dip into light and dark cocoa and white Candy Melts. When set, brush with Pearl Dust and drizzle with more melted candy, if desired. Store lightly covered at room temperature ... they will remain moist and chewy up to one week.

Guests will delight in every bite!

Visit www.valleyfig.com for additional recipes, cooking and nutrition tips, and the growers' store for holiday baking supplies and gifts.

At www.wilton.com order pans, gingerbread house kits, cookie cutters, Candy Melts and decorating supplies, plus see more entertaining ideas and recipes.

Hanukkah Sandwich Cookies

Description
For Hanukkah celebrations sweetly great guests with Hanukkah Sandwich Cookies. These cookies are cut in seasonal shapes and brightly decorated in blue and yellow with a fig-orange filling.

Ingredients
Cookies
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Filling
  • 1-1/2 cups packed Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid figs (stems removed)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Preparation
    1. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon; mix well. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and almond extract.
    2. Add flour mixture to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Place cookie dough on plastic wrap; shape into a 12-inch disk.
    3. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
    4. Preheat oven to 375°F. On well-floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies with Hanukkah-shaped cutters, making sure to dip cutters in flour before each use.
    5. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Remove to wire rack; cool completely. Decorate 1/2 the cookies as desired; leave remaining cookies without decoration.
    6. In food processor, puree figs, honey, cinnamon, orange juice and zest until almost smooth. Spread about 1 tablespoon filling on undecorated cookies. Top with decorated cookies.

Serves
Makes about 2 dozen 3-inch sandwich cookies

Mini Fig Cheesecake Tarts

Ingredients
  • 2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts
Filling
  • 2 cups chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid figs (stems removed)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Topping
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Garnish
  • Thinly sliced dried figs
  • Lemon zest curl

Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Gently unroll crusts; cut 4-1/2 inch circles, using the 4-inch removable tart pan bottom as a guide. Press each piece into 4-inch tart pan; prick bottom with fork. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
    2. In medium saucepan, combine filling ingredients; stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat and cover; simmer until figs are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed and filling starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to food processor; process until smooth. Set aside to cool.
    3. For topping, combine all ingredients in large bowl; beat with electric mixer until smooth.
    4. Spread cooled fig filling into cooled tart shells. Top with cream cheese topping and spread smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with sliced fig and lemon zest curl.

Serves
Makes 8 4-inch tarts

SOURCE: Wilton Industries, Inc.
Blue Ribbon® Orchard Choice® Figs
Sun-Maid® Figs


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