Yolanda Gampp, co-host of "SugarStars" on Food Network Canada, has created three easy-to-make recipes for holiday goodies that your family and friends are bound to love.
Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
To help with your Christmas baking schedule, you can make the dough, cut and bake the cookies and sandwich the cookies on three consecutive days.
"What I love about this recipe is you can cut out any shape you want — a star, a pretty fluted circle with a hole in the middle — and sandwich them together," says creator Yolanda Gampp. "You can switch up the flavours of jam. You can sugar the tops if you want to make them even sweeter."
Roll leftover dough and cut out little stars. Brush with water and top with coloured sugar before baking. Or drizzle with royal icing or melted chocolate once cooled. This way you get more variety from one recipe.
You can also bake the "holes" you cut out too "so you're getting more out of the recipe and wasting less."
650 ml (2 2/3 cups) flour
10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
325 ml (1 1/3 cups) unsalted butter
625 ml (2 1/2 cups) sugar
15 ml (1 tbsp) vanilla
125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar, for sprinkling
250 ml (1 cup) jam (your choice)
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a separate large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; add vanilla. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
Chill dough for 1 hour or up to 2 days. Roll out dough to 5 mm (1/4 inch) thick. Using cookie cutters or freehand, cut cookies into desired shape. Cut a hole or inner window in half of the cookies. Brush water onto the top cookies with the window. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool.
Once completely cooled, spread jam on bottom cookie and top it with a cookie that has a hole cut out of it.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies (depending on size).
Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Because the dough used for these cookies is very soft and must be chilled overnight, the process of making them will be spread over a couple of days.
250 ml (1 cup) flour
3 ml (3/4 tsp) baking powder
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
250 ml (1 cup) sugar
75 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
60 g (2 oz) unsweetened chocolate, melted
Icing sugar, for dredging
In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a separate large bowl, whisk sugar with vegetable oil. Mix in eggs, one at a time, and stir in vanilla. Pour in melted chocolate and mix. Stir in flour mixture until it's incorporated. The dough will be very soft. Chill overnight.
Portion dough into evenly shaped balls. You can chill the dough balls once again for a day or you can freeze them for a week. Let thaw in refrigerator before baking.
When you are ready to bake cookies, dredge balls in icing sugar. They should be fully covered; don't brush away any excess. Space balls out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
Kitchen Sink Bars
This is an easy recipe to play with and does not require any special equipment, says Yolanda Gampp. You can easily switch the toppings to manipulate flavours. For even more variety, she also suggests switching the base to a gingersnap crumb crust or a chocolate cookie crumb crust.
250 ml (1 cup) toffee bits
250 ml (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
250 ml (1 cup) slivered almonds
500 ml (2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
175 ml (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Line bottom and sides of a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine toffee bits, chocolate chips and almonds; set aside.
In a separate bowl, place graham crumbs and mix in melted butter. Press into prepared pan. Pour condensed milk on top of graham crumb base. Sprinkle toffee mixture over condensed milk.
Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool overnight. Remove from pan and cut into bars.
Makes 2 dozen.
Try whatever you like.
250 ml (1 cup) raisins
250 ml (1 cup) milk chocolate chips
250 ml (1 cup) peanuts
250 ml (1 cup) coconut
250 ml (1 cup) white chocolate
250 ml (1 cup) dried cranberries
Source: Cakes by Yolanda.