While we technically don’t get to experience a true winter in South Florida, it doesn’t mean that we can’t revel in all of the delicious treats and traditions that are associated with those cool winter months. Regardless of whether you prefer hot chocolate or bourbon balls, it’s the time of year when all of the sweet treats come out to play.
We’ve put together a few of our favorite winter-time treat recipes for your baking pleasure. Once you dive into these dessert classics like Bourbon balls and biscotti, to the slightly outside-the-box dark chocolate waffles powdered with confectioner’s sugar, you’re going to be glad you gave these a try.
So, gather the kids, stop by Doris’ to pick up any last-minute supplies and/or ingredients, and let’s get baking!
One 6.7- ounce package chocolate wafers
3/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 oz), at room temperature
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark*
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for coating the balls
If using the food processor method, add some of the wafers to the processor, working in several batches, and pulverize each batch into fine crumbs. Empty them into a large bowl. Process the pecans with the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa until finely ground. Divvy the butter into 3 pieces and add it to the nut mixture along with the corn syrup. Process until combined. Add this mixture to the cookie crumbs in the bowl and, using your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix until evenly incorporated.
If using the hand method, smash the wafers into fine crumbs by placing them in a resealable plastic freezer bag and rolling with a rolling pin. Empty the crumbs into a large bowl. Finely grate the pecans. (Yes, we just told you to GRATE nuts. Try it.) Add the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa to the cookie crumbs in the bowl and mix until evenly incorporated. Divvy the butter into 3 pieces and add it to the cookie crumbs along with the pecans and corn syrup. With a wooden spoon, stir until uniform in consistency.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon to the mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it is uniform in consistency and begins to clean the bowl. If the mixture seems a little crumbly or too dry to hold together, add a little more of the remaining bourbon, a teaspoon at a time. Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to absorb evenly. Add more bourbon if needed (or desired!).
Scoop out level tablespoons (3/4 oz | 20 g each) of the bourbon ball mixture and gently roll and press it between the palms of your hands to shape it into balls (about 1 1/4 inches| 3 cm).
Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Add 1 ball at a time and roll it around for a while in the sugar until completely coated. We find the coating to be most attractive when dipped 3 times. If the sugar starts to disappear, roll them around in the sugar some more. Place the balls in an airtight container lined with paper towels or crumpled parchment paper. Cover and let rest at room temperature for at least a few days to allow the flavors to meld. You can keep them for up to 6 weeks.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 tablespoon dark rum
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups raw pistachios, plus chopped pistachios for garnish
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Melted bittersweet chocolate, for dipping
Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla seeds and rum and beat until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and beat at low speed until incorporated. Beat in the whole pistachios.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 1 1/4-inch-thick log. Arrange 2 logs on each baking sheet about 3 inches apart and press to flatten slightly. Brush the logs with the egg white.
Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, until the tops are cracked and glossy and slightly firm to the touch. Let the logs cool slightly.
Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the logs into 1/3-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the slices on the baking sheets; bake for about 20 minutes, until dry. Let cool completely. Partially dip the biscotti in the melted chocolate and sprinkle lightly with chopped pistachios. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.
The biscotti can be stored between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for 1 week or frozen for 1 month.
Dark Chocolate Waffles
1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
9 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 1/2 oz), melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups milk, preferably whole
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
Hot fudge sauce and/or chocolate ice cream (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and milk.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, add the chocolate chips, and stir to form a batter, using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until all the flour is absorbed. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to thoroughly incorporate the dry ingredients.
Preheat your waffle maker, whether it’s a Belgian waffle iron composed of two 4 1/2-inch squares (the entire grid section should measure about 4 1/2 by 9 inches) or a 5-interconnected-heart waffler maker or just a plain old-fashioned waffle maker you inherited from your parents’ basement.
Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter onto each square of your preheated waffle iron or spoon about 2/3 cup batter into the center of the single 5-heart waffler. Cook the waffles until completely cooked through and set, 1 1/2 to 4 minutes, depending on the waffle maker you’re using. The thicker the waffle, the longer the cooking time. Lift the waffles onto warm plates.
Wait a moment before serving to allow the chunks of melted chocolate to cool slightly. Sprinkle the waffles with confectioners’ sugar and if desired, drizzle it with hot fudge sauce and/or smother it with scoops of vanilla ice cream.