Editors note: The Durango Herald has been testing cookie recipes from The Associated Press for the next few weeks.
This is the last in a series of successes and foibles of holiday baking.
Ho, ho ho and a bottle of rum. And since tis the season for all things jolly, I baked Rum Raisin Tartlets this week. What could be better than sipping spiced rum in an oven-warmed, cozy kitchen with sweet tartlets filling the room with their intoxicating aroma?
This recipe requires making homemade dough something I usually avoid, scared away by the churning, kneading and multi-hour chilling. But this sounded easy, and even for the non-Betty Crocker type that I am, it was simple and involved cream cheese, which I am somewhat addicted to. I blended the creamy yumminess with butter, sugar and vanilla in my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer and ended up with near-perfect dough.
With two hours to kill, I concocted a nice spiced-rum and root beer and felt the holiday spirit loud and clear. Two hours turned into three, but I finally emerged from the rum haze, stopped belting out Christmas carols with the fury of karaoke gone very bad, rolled out my chilled dough and cut it using the round top of a wine glass very convenient.
My 3-inch cut pieces lay silently on my lightly floured surface, waiting placement into mini-muffin cups. I turned my back for just a moment and a certain playful cat pounced onto some of the dough, leaving deep claw marks behind. Perhaps it was my cry of dismay, or my long string of not-so-gentle cursing, but I did not see that animal again for quite a while.
All I had to do now was melt some butter and whisk it with eggs, brown sugar, salt and rum and fill the small tins with dough pressed into them. A couple of tablespoons of butter for a few seconds in the microwave, and ... wow I heard firecrackers.
I glanced outside, thinking my neighbors were feeling the holly-jolliness of the season as well, but the noise led me back in. My butter had exploded all over the inside of my brand-new microwave, filling it with a greasy coating, sure to last despite my frantic wipes and dabs. This was not my first microwave melting, and Im not sure what I did wrong, but stubborn as I am, I re-attempted the move and what to my wondering ears should appear? Yes another series of snaps, crackles and pops and another slimy cleanup. Stovetops really are the best idea, sometimes.
In the end, these were my yummiest holiday creation so far. They are soft and gooey and have a wonderful raisin flavor that have you going back for seconds.
Success rating: My coworkers nodded enthusiastically with each bite, ooohing and aaahing at my Christmas Eve newsroom delivery, and I felt a bit like Santa in reverse leaving cookies instead of taking them.