Published : Wednesday, 12 Dec 2012, 1:04 PM EST
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - We've all made them, and many of us eat way too many of them! We're talking about Christmas cookies. With hundreds of different ones to choose from, we never run out of options for culinary indulgence. We stopped by the Spartan Culinary Classroom to learn how to take our holiday cookie baking to the next level. Chef Amy Sherman shares her recipes for her special "The Bomb" cookies. One very important tip Amy gave us, is to use quality ingredients. Here's a great holiday suggestion, too. You can give the gift of great culinary skills by purchasing gift certificates for classes at the Spartan Culinary Classroom. In January, classes range from soups and stews to Indian cuisine, there's even a cupcake class for kids. There are so many options for a unique and special gift to give or receive. Contact the Spartan Culinary Classroom at 888-296-5850.
For the raisins:
1 bottle Founders Breakfast Stout
2 cups raisins
Place the stout and the raisins in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a simmer. Stir every so often for about 15 minutes or until most of the beer is absorbed. Let cool. Store the raisins in the cupboard until ready to use. These are best if made at least 24 hours ahead.
2 cups pecans
16 oz bittersweet chocolate
6 oz unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon espresso
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cups presoaked raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the pecans out on a baking sheet. Toast the pecans in the oven for 10 minutes, or until fragrant.
Using a double boiler or a microwave, melt the chocolate and butter together. Using an electric mixer, whip the eggs and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the espresso and vanilla. Slowly pour in the melted chocolate. Add the flour and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, mix again. Stir in the chips, pecans and raisins. Let the batter sit for about 20 minutes, or until starting to firm up.
Line baking sheets with parchment. Using a small ice cream scoop, portion out the dough (they should be around 1-2 Tablespoons in size, leaving about 2 inches in between. I can get 12 per sheet) Bake the cookies in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until just set. They might look slightly shiny in the very middle, but will be set, not gooey in the middle. They should be a little undercooked, as they will continue cooking after you remove them from the oven. Let cool on the tray for at least 5 minutes.
You can also scoop the cookies out on sheet trays and freeze until hard. Place frozen cookies in bags and store in freezer. Bake straight from the freezer.