Monday, December 5, 2011

Tea Time Tassies

The girls and I decided to bake Christmas cookies on Sunday sine Stephanie was here. We always bake dozens and dozens of cookies and bring trays of cookies to co-workers. We drastically cut down on the kinds of cookies this year. We only made six different kinds of cookies this year versus the 10 or 12 we usually do. We have had Emma (5 years old) join us the last couple of years and this year she really spent a lot of time helping us. Emma was really dedicated to helping us as much as she could and it was really fun to have her help and enthusiasm.

This was also the first year that I didn't end up in the kitchen by myself finishing the last couple of batches of cookies. It was a wonderful time spent with my girls.

We decided on the following cookies for our baking day:
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Chocolate Crinkles
Tea Time Tassies
White Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Sugar Cookies
Frosted Molasses Cookies

We have agreed to set aside another day closer to Christmas to decorate gingerbread houses which I think Emma will also enjoy.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is one that I grew up with and we make it every year at Christmas. These are really miniature tarts with the crust containing butter, cream cheese and flour. The filling is like a pecan pie filling so another name could be Miniature Pecan Pies.

Tea Time Tassies (makes 24)

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour, unsifted

1 egg
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Have ready 2 miniature muffin tins with cups that measure about 2 inches across and 7/8-inch deep.

For crust, beat butter with cream cheese until smooth. Add flour and mix until a dough forms. Chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide into 24 balls. With your fingers (or a special press made by Pampered Chef), press each ball into an ungreased muffin cup, taking care to make a smooth, even layer over the bottom and up the sides.

For the filling, whisk the egg in a medium bowl. Add sugar, butter, vanilla and salt and mix well.

Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon chopped pecans in to each crust. Add filling so it comes almost to the top of the cups, making sure it doesn't spill over. Sprinkle any remaining pecans over the top.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated 350 degree oven. Reduce oven to 250 degrees and continue to bake until crust is light golden brown at the edges, 10 minutes. Cool.

When muffin tin is cool enough to handle, loosen cups from the sides of the tin and carefully transfer to a wire rack. Cool to room temperature.

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