Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Frosted Window Panes: A Wintry Confection

Last year, I shared with you one of my family's favorite traditional Christmas cookies: Church Windows, a delicious - if decidedly unhealthy - confection made of chocolate chips and colored marshmallows. My Christmas baking list just doesn't seem complete without them, and there's simply no way to make them even remotely healthy, so I just make them the way they are and enjoy them! Once a year isn't going to kill me.

One problem, though. Those colored marshmallows are hard to find! And I certainly did not have time this year to go traipsing around the state looking for them, so I set my mind to coming up with an alternative.

Am I ever glad I did! While colored marshmallows could not be found anywhere, regular marshmallows were on sale all over the place, and I had coupons to boot. Not to mention all the chocolate chips I've been snagging for great prices! Not things I normally buy, but this is Christmas! A little indulgence makes it more of the celebration it should be.  

So without shame, I set forth to make these wintry confections: Frosted Window Panes, the cousins of Church Windows. They are snowy white with a caramel-colored crust resembling an old wooden window frame. They are sweet and decadent, meant to be eaten in very small doses, even richer than their traditional counterparts.

So rejoice! Even if you cannot find those elusive colored marshmallows, you can still make these beauties:

Frosted Window Panes
12 oz white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp almond extract
2 beaten eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
1 pkg mini marshmallows
1 cup cookie crumbs

Melt the white chocolate chips and butter, with the almond extract, over medium heat, stirring all the while. Add the beaten eggs and powdered sugar and stir until thoroughly combined. Remove from heat and add the marshmallows.

Lay 2 sheets of wax paper on the counter (or in a cookie sheet) and cover each with the cookie crumbs. Spoon half the mixture on top of each. Shape gently with your hands into a log shape (it cools quickly, so you should be able to touch it safely). Use the wax paper to help you cover the log evenly with the cookie crumbs. Wrap the logs up tightly in the wax paper and then in a layer of foil. Freeze until firm. Once they're firm enough, slice to serve.

I used amaretto cookie crumbs, but I realize that they, like colored marshmallows, can be hard to find, so any light colored hard cookie will do: pecan sandies for example, or shortbread cookies. 

These are so QUICK, one reason why they are a favorite at Christmas! When my family was visiting a week or two ago, I literally had about 15 minutes to make these, and I did! Then they chilled in the freezer while we went out, so that when we came back, we had a great Christmas treat to go with our conversation for the rest of the evening. 

They are so EASY, too. Sometimes the mixture doesn't cooperate quite as well as it should, and you end up with misshapen hunks rather than nice round confections, but that doesn't really matter. The taste is the important part!

Not CHEAP, sorry, although I guess between the white chocolate chips, marshmallows, cookies and other ingredients, it cost no more than $3. For the amount of cookies it makes, that's pretty good although perhaps not exactly frugal. 

And definitely NOT HEALTHY! Not even remotely. But oh, so delicious...

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