For all the kids, old and young...
- 1½ cups flour, plus more
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- Zest of ½ lemon
- ½ cup multi-colored sprinkles
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed of a mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, egg, and lemon zest, and beat until smooth; add dry ingredients, and beat until just combined. Using 2 tablespoons, portion and shape dough into 1" balls; place balls 2" apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Lightly flour the bottom of a ¼ measuring cup, and press each ball into a flat disk; chill disks for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375°. Place sprinkles in a bowl; set aside. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush tops of cookie disks with egg white and then press into sprinkles to adhere completely. Return cookies to baking sheets, and bake, rotating baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through cooking, until set and lightly browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Let cool before serving.
For the sophisticated city girl...and boy...
Caramel Cheesecake Bites
Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez
- Buttery Sugar Cookie dough recipe
- 20 ounces jarred or canned dulce de leche at room temperature (see Cooks' Notes)
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Special equipment: A 13- by 9-inch baking pan; small offset metal spatula (optional but so helpful); disposable pastry bag (optional)
- Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line a 13- by 9-inch inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang at both ends, and lightly butter.
- Make Buttery Sugar Cookie dough as directed, but press dough evenly into bottom of pan. Use the flat bottom of a metal cup measure or a glass to compact and press the dough into as even a layer as possible.
- Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack, and keep oven on.
- Stir dulce de leche well, then spread 1 1/4 cups of it—there will be some left over—evenly over cookie base with offset spatula and quick-chill in freezer or chill in refrigerator until cold.
- Slowly beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well on medium-low speed after each addition, then mix in vanilla.
- Spoon cream cheese mixture over dulce de leche. Bake until cheesecake is puffed and edges are golden, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Cool completely in pan on a rack, then chill until cold, about 3 hours.
- With aid of foil overhang, lift cheesecake confection from pan.
- Dip a long sharp knife in a tall glass of hot water and quickly wipe it off, then trim edges of confection (save scraps for snacking). Continuing to dip knife in hot water and wiping it off before every cut, cut cheesecake lengthwise into 8 strips, then crosswise into 4 sections, to form 32 finger-shaped bites.
- Just before serving, if desired, arrange bites on a large rack set over a large rimmed baking sheet, spacing them apart. Put about 2/3 cup dulce de leche in disposable pastry bag, then snip off a tiny opening. Drizzle the dulce de leche in a diagonal pattern over the bites, letting it drape down the sides.
- Dulce de leche is available in varying-size jars and cans at many supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and Latino shops. Leftovers are delicious in coffee, drizzled over ice cream, or just eaten by the spoonful.
- Cheesecake bites—without the final dulce de leche drizzle—keep chilled in an airtight container in single layers, separated by wax paper 5 days. Drizzle with the optional dulce de leche garnish just before serving.
For the traditionalist...
Food Network Kitchens
- 2/3 cup pecans, plus more for decorating
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Sift 3/4 cup flour, the salt and baking powder into a medium bowl.
- Pulse the toasted nuts with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a food processor until finely ground.
- Beat the butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined, then stir in the nut mixture. Pat the dough into a rectangle on a piece of plastic wrap; wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough between 2 pieces of parchment into a 9-by-6-inch rectangle, slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with turbinado sugar, then gently press the sugar into the dough using a rolling pin. Slice into sixths crosswise and lengthwise to make 36 rectangles. Arrange about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Pierce each rectangle a few times with a fork, then press a pecan onto each. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely.