Lavender-Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes
Makes: 18 cookies

Ingredients
For the cookies:
½    cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½    cup all-purpose flour
⅓    cup powdered sugar
⅓    cup cornstarch
1    teaspoon lemon zest
1    teaspoon dried lavender

For the icing:
1    cup powdered sugar
2–3    teaspoons lemon juice
1    teaspoon dried lavender

Method
In a food processor, pulse together butter, flour, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest until clumpy. Add in lavender and pulse until incorporated.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and press into a disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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Remove from refrigerator and shape into a cylinder that’s roughly 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Remove dough from freezer and slice into cookies, about ¼-inch thick. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet and bake 10–12 minutes.

Cool cookies on a wire rack.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle icing onto cooled cookies and top with a sprinkling of lavender.

Let set about 15 minutes, then enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Trifle

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Start to finish: 25 minutes
Impresses: 6

Ingredients
1 frozen pound cake, thawed
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
½ cup chocolate-hazelnut spread
1 bar baker’s chocolate (optional)

Method
Slice pound cake into even slices, and then into quarters so you have short sticks. Set aside.

In a chilled, stainless-steel bowl, whip together heavy cream, sugar and cocoa powder using a hand mixer until soft peaks form. 

Slightly melt chocolate-hazelnut spread until runny enough to drizzle. 

Place six parfait or high-ball glasses on cookie sheet or tray. Assemble parfaits beginning with the pound cake pieces. Drizzle with chocolate-hazelnut spread and a dollop of whipped cream. Repeat two more times for three total layers. 

Place tray in the fridge for at least an hour, or until ready to serve. Right before serving, top with shavings of baker’s chocolate.

Peppermint-Kissed Ginger Snaps

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Red and white, spiced and warm. These cookies will fill your home with sharp aromas, while making your cookie jar smile. Make them with DFA farmer-owned butter for a treat even the pickiest elves will enjoy. Plus, they go great with a cold glass of milk — which we hear is Santa’s favorite way to gobble them up.

PEPPERMINT-KISSED GINGER SNAPS
Adapted from a few different recipes*

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

For the cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup molasses

For the icing
14 ounces vanilla almond bark or white chocolate chips
1 cup peppermints, crushed into pieces

In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars together until fluffy. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices into a medium bowl.

Add egg, vanilla and molasses to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Add dry ingredient and beat at low speed until just combined.

Roll out some plastic wrap and spread half the dough onto the plastic, leaving enough room to fold the plastic wrap over to cover the dough. Press down to make rectangle about 1-inch thick. Repeat with the other half.

Refrigerate a few hours, or up to 3 days, until thoroughly chilled.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut dough into 1-inch squares and roll into balls. Place on prepared baking sheets a few inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes or until edges are crisp. Cool on baking sheet for 3–5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before finishing with icing.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt together the vanilla almond bark (chopped finely) or white chocolate chips. This should take about two minutes, making sure to stir every 30 seconds.

Roll out some wax paper. Dip or drizzle cookies with melted chocolate and sprinkle with crushed peppermints. Lay on wax paper to cool. Store cookies in an air-tight container for up to one week.

*If you have a family favorite ginger snap or gingerbread cookie recipe, opt for that and jazz it up with white chocolate and peppermint. 

Chocolate-Cranberry Biscotti

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CHOCOLATE-CRANBERRY BISCOTTI
Courtesy of Breakstone's®

If you’re looking for a cookie to package up for friends and family this holiday season, you’ve found your match. Biscotti, or a fancy way of saying twice-baked cookie, is the perfect treat to dip into coffee or impress those at the office. While the foreign name may be intimidating, this recipe made with Breakstone's® butter is so simple, you may not even believe how tasty it turns out.

2 ¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup Breakstone's® butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
½ cup dark chocolate chunks, plus more for melting

Heat oven to 375 F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together melted butter and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring to combine.
Stir in the cranberries, orange zest and chocolate chunks.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and separate into two mounds. With floured hands, form each mound of dough into a 3x14-inch log, it will look like a flattened loaf. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove and let cool completely.
Once cooled, using a serated knife, cut each log into ¾-inch cookies.
Lower oven temperature to 325 F.
Place cookies cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake 10–15 minutes.
Cool on a baking rack before drizzling with melted chocolate.

Orange Scented Brownies

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Whether you’re whipping up dinner for a crowd or dessert for someone special, preparing and enjoying meals is at the core of the holidays. And while traditional recipes vary from family to family, one thing remains true — flavor reigns. Add these brownies made with Plugra European Style Butter to your dinner table this holiday season.

Orange Scented Brownies
For the brownies:
1 cup Orange Butter (recipe below)
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, finely chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

For the ganache frosting:
9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or finely chopped baking chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted Plugra European Style Butter

For the brownies:
Heat oven to 350 F.
Butter, or cover with parchment paper, a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Melt together the butter and chocolate together in a medium-bowl over simmering water. You can also do this in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Stir together with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Add in the chocolate. Let cool.
Sprinkle in the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until just combined.
Pour into prepared dish and bake 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting

For the ganache frosting:
Melt together the butter, cream and chocolate together in a medium-bowl over simmering water.
Pour over the cooled brownies. Place in the fridge until set.
Once cut, brownies can be kept in the fridge or at room temperature. 

Orange Butter
8 ounces Plugra European Style Butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon orange zest
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine softened butter in a medium-sized bowl with zest, vanilla and sugar. Beat until fluffy. Scoop butter onto one end of a rectangular piece of parchment paper, leaving room on the sides. Fold the end with the butter over, tucking tightly to form a log. Roll until you’ve reached the end of the parchment. Twist the ends and secure with string or bread ties. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Cheddar Slabble Pie

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When it comes to apple pie, many of us have memories of the way our grandmother used to make it. Whether she used a mixture of butter and shortening, added vinegar or used her hands instead of a pastry cutter, the crust served as the bookends of a delicious tradition. By jazzing up a traditional, all-butter crust recipe with Borden® Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, this American classic is elevated into a slightly savory dessert, perfect for using up all those fresh-picked apples.

Crust
We opted for an all-butter crust, but this can be made by adding 1 ½ cups of shredded Cheddar cheese to your favorite pie crust recipe.
2 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 ½ cups Borden® Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
½ cup ice water

Filling
4 sweet apples, peeled and sliced (like Pink Lady or Gala)
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
½ cup sugar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Egg wash
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon water

In the bowl of your food processor, pulse together the cold butter, flour and salt until a course texture is formed, where the butter is a similar size to peas.
Slowly add in the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition until a dough comes together. You may need more or less water.
Once the dough has come together, pulse in the grated Borden Cheddar Cheese.
Turn dough onto a floured countertop and gently knead into one solid mound. Separate the dough into two and form into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or for up to two days if making in advance.
While dough is chilling, heat the oven to 375 F.
Prepare the filling by tossing together the peeled and sliced apples, flour, cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice.
Once the dough is chilled, unwrap one disk and roll out on a floured surface in a rectangle large enough to hang over the edges of a small sheet pan.
Transfer the dough to the pan, pressing gently into the corners. Top with apple mixture and spread out evenly.
Unwrap and roll out the other disk on a floured surface into a rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut ½-inch strips lengthwise from the dough to make a lattice top.
To make the lattice, start by laying half the strips diagonally across the pan. Then, begin weaving the remaining strips to make the lattice design. This is done in an over-under pattern.
Once all the strips are successfully weaved, trim and crimp the edges with the edges of the bottom crust.
Mix together the egg and water and use a pastry brush to apply the egg wash to the top of the crust.
Bake 35–40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden. Cool completely before serving.

Queso Fresco Cheesecake

With crumbles of La Vaquita® Queso Fresco folded into the batter, this cheesecake delivers in texture and depth of flavor. Top with dulce de leche to tie together the sweet and salty profile that makes for a perfect end to a festive meal.

Crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar

Filling
3 blocks cream cheese, softened
4 ounces La Vaquita® Queso Fresco, crumbled
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs

Heat oven to 325 F.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar until combined. Press into a 9-inch spring form pan. (If you don’t have a spring form pan, a 9x9 baking dish will work for cheesecake bars.)
In the bowl of a food processor, combine cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and eggs until smooth.
Sprinkle in La Vaquita Queso Fresco and pulse two or three times until combined.
Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake 50–55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool completely before removing spring form ring. Serve as is or with warm dulce de leche or caramel.