Snowflakes

There’s nothing like a filled cookie! These little crunchy fruity and robust cookies will make your friends and family very happy. The dough is flavored with a hint of lemon, filled with raspberry and strawberry jam, glazed with a lemon glaze and the sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are one of the best cookies ever.

Snowflakes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees ~ bake for 8-10 minutes.

Cream together:
1 cup of sugar
1 c. Butter softened (2 sticks)
Add:
3 tbsp milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg
Mix and add:
3 c. Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix and place in a ziploc bag and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Lemon Glaze
2 c. Powdered sugar
1/3 c. Fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest

Filling:
Your favorite fruit jam.

When ready, roll out to 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut out 24 circles and half of them cut out a smaller circle in the middle. You will have 12 bottoms without a hole and 12 tops with a hole.

Any remaining dough repeat until you have used up all of the dough. You should get 24 double layer cookies from this batch. Bake them on an ungreased cookie sheet. They will be light in color but after they cool they will be crisp.
They will need to cool completely. Brush with glaze only the top of the cookies with the hole in the center. Let them dry. Add a teaspoon of your favorite jam to the bottom cookie and spread. Place the tops on the bottom. The jam will be like glue holding them together. When ready to serve sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

Italian Ricotta CheesecakeCheesecake is the one dessert that gets the most favorable responses from people. They are so visually appealing. But, then they are so creamy, sweet and delicious, its like a big hug when you bite into a rich piece of cheesecake. I guess you could say it is the ultimate comfort food. I first saw a picture of this on Pinterest and knew someday I would need to make it, and when I say “make it” most of you know I mean, make it my own way. Great idea and so pretty! This one is perfect for Christmas with green pistachios and red raspberries. The base cheesecake can be used for so many different cheesecakes. You can add any flavor you want to the cheesecake, almond extract would be great, or banana, or ginger or just plain vanilla. The crust can be chocolate graham crumbs, oreos, or ginger snaps, nutty or shortbready. The possibilities are endless so go create something!

Crust
10″ springform pan ~ buttered pan
Preheat oven to 300 degrees

1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. Butter melted
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
mix well and press into buttered springform pan
wrap the bottom of the spring-form pan in two layers of foil and set aside

Filling

1 c. ricotta cheese
3- 8oz. pkg of cream cheese (room temp)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 heaping tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp vanilla
1 vanilla bean split open and scraped of the seeds
5 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Beat cheeses, sugar, salt, and flour on med speed with an electric mixer, add vanilla and vanilla bean, add eggs 1 at a time, add sour cream and lemon. When fully mixed add to the springform pan crust.

Place a pan on the bottom rack with 2 inches of boiling water in your preheated 300 degree oven. Place the Cheesecake on the rack above the water and bake for 70 to 80 minutes. A good rule of thumb when a cheesecake is fully cooked, is the center will be level with the edges, not concave. When the center is puffed it is usually done. If it splits in the middle, don’t fret, it’s okay. All the toppings will cover any cracks, besides that’s the sign of a homemade cheesecake. When it’s done, do not remove the cake from the oven, just turn off the oven and crack the door a bit, leave it until fully cooled. At this point you may, leave it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving.

Sides of the cheesecake can be embellished with whatever you love, this cheesecake has pistachios. Any chopped nut or mini chocolate chips, or crushed cookies or candy will work. I used an apricot jam, spread on the cake with a butter knife, and then added the chopped pistachios. The topping I used was fresh raspberries, however, blackberries, blueberries or strawberries, or any fruit you like will work. It took about 3 half pints of berries.

I also had a fresh seedless raspberry glaze on hand that I put below the raspberries…
Have fun and Enjoy!