Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gingerbread Petit Fours

    "City sidewalks, busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style.  In the air there's a feeling of Christmas."  Sorry, but now that tune will stay in your head all day long!  It's one of my favorites!  Each time we head into the city at Christmas time, I feel like that song should be playing with every step and breath I take (hey, that's a Police song).  Anyhow, I digress.  Christmas in the city of Chicago is always pretty festive with or without snowflakes.  Walking the city sidewalks and gazing at the Christmas decorated windows is one of our traditions.  Another tradition we have started the past few years is to partake in a fancy city tea time.  I can't wait to share with you a new place to sit for tea.  That'll come soon.  But since I am thinking about tea, I want to share with you the most amazing Gingerbread Petit Fours!

Each little Gingerbread Petit Four has a sweet layer of cinnamon cream cheese frosting and then is smothered in a plain cream cheese icing.  Looks and sounds fancy.  I am going to let you in on a little secret...an easy trick to finish off this sweet treat.  Read on to find out the secret...

Thin layers of gingerbread brownie with a home-made cinnamon cream cheese frosting sandwiched in between.  Pretty yummy just like that.  However, it IS the Christmas season, so let's take things to the next level.  The secret?  I am getting to it...

Shhhh!  Here's the secret to getting each little petit four covered.  Are you ready?
The secret is to use store bought icing in a can!  You microwave it to make it pourable.  Then, just pour over each petit four.  Let it harden and dust with cocoa powder.  AMAZING!

Brew up a pot of holiday flavored tea and serve Gingerbread Petit Fours.  What a great idea for a holiday tea with family or friends.

Layers and layers of yumminess!  That isn't even a word, but it just works for this treat!
Move over gingerbread man, the Gingerbread Petit Four is here!

Ingredients for Gingerbread Brownie (adapted from Country Living):
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup 2 % milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line 2 9 x 13 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together flour, sugars, cocoa powder and cinnamon in a bowl.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend butter, molasses, milk, egg and egg yolk.  Pour wet mixture into dry mixture.  Using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended.  In a small bowl, whisk together baking soda and boiling water.  Pour into the gingerbread batter.  Mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Divide batter among the parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Remove and cool.
(Use both to make petit fours or save one sheet of gingerbread brownies for another recipe.  Freeze unused portion.)
Cut each pan of gingerbread brownies into equal squares.
Ingredients for Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Directions for Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing:
Mix together cream cheese and unsalted butter until smooth and creamy.  Add vanilla extract and cinnamon.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.  Mix until well blended.  Spread frosting on one gingerbread brownie.  Top with another gingerbread brownie.
1 can cream cheese frosting from the grocery story
cocoa powder for dusting
Take off lid and foil lining of frosting can.  Place in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir.  Return to the microwave and heat for an additional 30 seconds on high.  Stir and pour over each gingerbread petit four.  Once frosting has hardened (3-5 minutes), dust with cocoa powder.

It's December and it's the season of Gingerbread!

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Celebrate the little things that make life sweet,

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