Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Soft Eggnog Cookies

photo & recipe adapted from Mommy's Kitchen

Soft Eggnog Cookies

1/2 - cup (1 stick) real unsalted butter, softened
1 - cup sugar
1 - egg
1 - teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 - tsp rum extract
dash of ground nutmeg
2 1/2 - cups all-purpose flour
1/2 - teaspoon baking soda
1/2 - teaspoon salt
1/2 - 1 cup - eggnog

2 - 3 - tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 - 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 - cup eggnog
1/2 - teaspoon vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and rum extract. Combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with eggnog and mix well. Start by adding a 1/2 cup of eggnog and if you feel that the dough is to thick you can up to 1 cup.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Flatten down the cookie dough just a bit.

Bake at 375 degrees F (convection oven-350 degrees) for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. The cookies are done when they are golden brown around the edges but still light in color on top. Test the cookies with a toothpick to make sure they are done. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack, cool completely and frost.

For the frosting: Combine butter, confectioners' sugar, eggnog and vanilla in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. If the frosting is to runny add more confectioners sugar. If it is really thick add a bit more eggnog. It should be spreadable. Frost the cookies and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar on top.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookie Madness at BHG

recipes & photos from BHG.com

Eggnog Frosted Nutmeg Sugar Cookies


1/2 of a vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/4 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoom freshly grated nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 tablespoon dairy or canned eggnog
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Eggnog Icing
Coarse sugar (optional)


1. Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape pulp from vanilla bean; set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, eggnog, and vanilla pulp or vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough portions to 1/4 inch thick. Using a fluted round 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place dough rounds 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are just lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool. Repeat with other dough portion. Spread cookies with Eggnog Icing. If desired, sprinkle with coarse sugar. Let icing dry. Makes about 24 cookies.

Eggnog Icing: In a medium bowl, stir together 3 cups powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough dairy or canned eggnog or milk (3 to 4 tablespoons) to make an icing of spreading consistency.

To store: Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies


1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut up
1 tablespoon red food coloring
3 ounces white chocolate (with cocoa butter), coarsely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons shortening
Finely chopped pistachios or rainbow nonpareils (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Cover and process with on/off turns until combined. Add butter and red food coloring. Process with on/off turns until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Process until mixture just forms a ball.*

2. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough lightly until nearly smooth. Roll or pat dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Using a floured 1-1/2-inch round cutter, cut out dough. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press scraps together and reroll.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until centers are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.

4. In a heavy small saucepan, melt white chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring constantly. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate. If desired, sprinkle with pistachios or nonpareils. Let stand on waxed paper until set. Makes about 24 cookies.

*Hand-mixing method: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter and food coloring until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling together (it will take a while for the dough to come together). Form mixture into a ball, kneading until smooth.

To Store: Place cookies in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes

recipe from Paula Deen

Shrimp Stuffed Potatoes


6 large Idaho potatoes
Vegetable oil, for coating
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese, plus more for sprinkling
2 cups grated Monterey Jack
2 cups sour cream
Salt and pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and Sauteed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by washing potatoes, drying them, and gently pricking them with a fork on the sides. Coat each potato with vegetable oil, place on foil covered pan, and bake for approximately 1 hour.

Place the butter in a large bowl. Remove the potatoes from the oven and slice each potato in half. Gently scoop out the potato and place in the bowl. Using a mixer on high, mix the potatoes, butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Fold the shrimp and both cheeses into the mixture. Gently stuff the mixture back into the potato shells, making sure not to break them. Pile the mixture as high as you can on top of the potato shells. Sprinkle each potato with cheese and paprika for color. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 to 30 minutes until browned on top.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

recipe from Paula Deen

Strawberry Pretzel Salad


2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
2 cups boiling water
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
Whipped topping or whipped cream, to garnish


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.
In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pineapple, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.
To serve, cut slices and serve with a dollop of whipped topping.

Yields: 8-10 servings

Baked French Toast with Praline Topping

recipe from Paula Deen

Baked French Toast with Praline Topping


1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Italian Lemon Cookies

recipe from Laura Rebecca's Kitchen

Italian Lemon Cookies

1 cup shortening (if desired, use butter in place of half or all the shortening)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp sour cream
2 1/4 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2-3 Tbsp warm milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together shortening and sugar in medium bowl until light. Add eggs, sour cream, lemon extract, vanilla extract, and lemon zest; beat until combined, scraping down sides of bowl. Combine flour and baking powder; add to mixture in bowl and beat just until moistened.

Shape dough into small balls, using about 1 level Tbsp for each. Arrange about 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. Do not over bake. Remove from pans and cool.

Combine confectioners' sugar and milk in small bowl; whip lightly with spoon until smooth and slightly thick. Add lemon juice if desired; stir briskly until well-combined. Dip tops of cookies into icing; decorate with sprinkles if desired. Let set until icing is dry to the touch. Store in closed container.

Yield: approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Outrageous Triple Chocolate Cookies

recipe from Laura Rebecca's Kitchen

Outrageous Triple Chocolate Cookies

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
¾ c. packed light-brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. dark chocolate chunks or chips (recommended Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate chips)
6 oz. white chocolate, chopped (recommended: Green & Black’s White Chocolate bars)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Heat chopped semi-sweet chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks. (Note: Don’t worry if the batter seems thin. It should look more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough.)

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not bake the cookies to a crisp; they are meant to be soft and chewy.

Cool on sheets 10 minutes; with a thin metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool completely. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for two to three days.

Makes 2 dozen.

Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookie

recipe & photo from Nook & Pantry

Butterfinger Chocolate Chip Cookie

2 C flour
1 1/2 stick (12 Tbsp) butter, melted and cooled
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1 C packed brown sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate chips
Roughly 2/3 to 3/4 C chopped Butterfingers (5 or 6 fun size bars)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Chop the butterfingers into roughly 1/2 inch pieces.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl, whisk the melted and cooled butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mix until almost combined, stir in the chips and chopped butterfingers.

Form 1/4 C balls of dough. The recipe will make about 16 cookies. Space the balls of dough about 3 inches about and gently flatten them a bit to aid their spread.

Bake at 325 degrees F for about 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges have set but the center still looks underdone. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking. Start checking the cookies at 13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet.

Almond Biscotti

recipe & photo from Nook & Pantry

Almond Biscotti

1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp (half stick) butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C almond slivers or chopped almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Toast the chopped almonds or almond slivers in the oven or stove top. If you are using whole raw almonds, toast them first before chopping. If using the oven: toast them on a tray at 350 degrees for 5 - 10 minutes, shake occasionally until fragrant and golden. On the stovetop: place the almonds in a skillet over medium heat, shake frequently until the almonds are fragrant and golden. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In another large bowl, add the butter, oil, and sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the extracts and one egg, whisk until smooth before adding the second egg.

Add in the dry ingredients and almonds and mix until no streaks of flour remain.

Scrape half of the dough onto one side of the prepared baking sheet. Shape the dough into a rectangle about 2.5 inches wide, roughly 10 - 12 inches long, and 3/4 inch high. Do the same with the other remaining half of dough. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until the logs are golden brown on top but still soft to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and cool the logs until they are cool enough to handle.

Turn the oven down to 300 degrees F. Slice the logs at a slight angle into slices about 1/2 - 3/4 inches thick. Stand the cookie up like dominoes on the baking sheet. Bake for another 20 - 30 minutes or until the cookies are firm and dry. Transfer to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.

Orange Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

Recipe & photo from Nook & Pantry Blog

Orange Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
(this recipe keeps well for shipping & gifting)

2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp grated orange zest
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C pistachio halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pistachio halves, and cranberries. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until everything is evenly incorporated.

Divide the dough in half and form two logs that are about 10 to 12 inches long and 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Bake for 30 minutes, rotate the pan halfway into the baking time.

After baking, cool the loaves on a rack until they are cool enough to handle.

Then using a serrated knife cut the cookies about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick at an angle. The length of your cookies will depend on the angle at which you cut the cookies.

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Place the cut biscottis on a rack placed on a sheet tray and continue to bake for about 20 minutes, until the cookies have completely dried. If you don't have a rack for your pan, place the cookies directly on the pan and bake for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Let the cookies cool completely before storing them. Or dip them in some chocolate if you prefer.

Orange Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti (butter dough)
(this recipe is better for eating day of)

2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp orange zest
1/2 C dried cranberries
1/2 C pistachio halves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and orange zest and mix. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pistachio halves, and cranberries. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the dough comes together and everything is evenly incorporated.

Proceed shaping and baking same as the recipe above.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rocky Road Fudge Brownie Muffins

recipe from Cookie Madness Blog

I came across these and Love Rocky Road!! These are a definate HIT!

Rocky Road Fudge Brownie Muffins

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 scant teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces or coarsely chopped pecans
2/3 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray top of a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray and line cups with paper liners.

Place butter in a 2 cup glass measuring cup; microwave on high for one minute or until butter melts. Add cocoa to melted butter and stir well. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Add butter/cocoa mixture and stir until well mixed. Add flour, stirring just until blended’ stir in 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips.

Spoon the muffin batter into cups, dividing evenly among all 12 (halfway full).

Stir together remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, toasted pecans and mini marshmallows. Set aside.

Bake muffins for 18 minutes. Pull pan from oven and sprinkle with marshmallow mixture. Return to oven and bake for 2 minutes more for a total bake time of 20 minutes. Let cool in muffin tins for about 10 minutes, then carefully loosen muffins from tins and let cool completely before serving.

Makes 12

Magic Blondies

recipe from Martha Stewart

Magic Blondies


(Makes 1 dozen)

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (about 2 1/2 ounces)
2/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
9 tablespoons (1 1/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1.Preheat oven to 350. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. Stir together coconut, chocolate, walnuts, and cherries in a medium bowl; set aside.

2.Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

3.Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined. Mix in 1 cup coconut mixture.

4.Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each about three-quarters full. Sprinkle remaining coconut mixture over tops. Bake blondies until a cake tester inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 25 minutes. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.

Gingersnap Palmiers

recipe from Martha Stewart Living

Gingersnap Palmiers


1/2 cup(s) (packed) light-brown sugar
1/4 cup(s) dark unsulfured molasses
2 teaspoon(s) finely grated fresh ginger
2/3 cup(s) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
14 ounce(s) good-quality thawed frozen puff pastry, such as Dufour


1.Bring brown sugar, molasses, ginger, and 1/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan, whisking until sugar has dissolved. Simmer until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour syrup into a bowl; let cool.

2.Whisk granulated sugar, salt, and spices in a bowl. Lightly sprinkle sugar mixture over a clean work surface; place puff pastry on top. Cut into two 10 1/2-by-7-inch pieces. Sprinkle generously with sugar mixture; press into pastry with a rolling pin. Brush generously with syrup.

3.Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll in from both long sides, meeting in the center; brush with syrup to seal. Sprinkle generously with sugar mixture. Wrap in plastic, and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours (up to overnight).

4.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut dough crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Dip slices in sugar mixture. Space 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten with your palm. Freeze 30 minutes.

5.Bake 10 minutes. Flip, and brush with syrup. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees. Bake until darkened, 10 minutes more. Transfer palmiers to a wire rack; let cool completely. Palmiers can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Lemon Pistachio Wreaths

recipe from Martha Stewart Living

Lemon Pistachio Wreaths


1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon cornstarch, combined with above cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
5 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped

1.Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and gradually mix in flour mixture. Shape into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a generous 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2-inch round fluted cutter, cut out wreaths. Reroll scraps, and cut out. Cut out centers of wreaths using a 7/8-inch round cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. Bake until just golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely on wire racks.

3.Stir together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Dip surface of each cookie in icing, and sprinkle with pistachios. Let set on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

Friday, December 11, 2009

English Toffee Pecan Pie

recipe from Marjorie Johnson via MarthaStewart.com

English Toffee Pecan Pie


Makes one 9-inch pie.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold leaf lard, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water


3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup toffee bits
1 cup chopped pecans
22 pecan halves, for garnish

1.Make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in lard and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about the size of peas. Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix lightly with a fork after each addition, until mixture is moistened. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and shape into a flattened disk. Wrap in plastic; transfer to refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

2.Lightly flour a pastry cloth and roll out dough on cloth, using a covered rolling pin, to a 12-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. With a dry pastry brush, sweep off excess flour; fit dough into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Trim to a 1/2-inch overhang all around. Fold under and crimp edges.

3.Make the filling: Preheat oven with a rack set in the lower third to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, almond extract, toffee bits, and chopped pecans.

4.Pour filling into pie crust. Top with pecans by evenly spacing 14 of them around the outer edge of pie filling. Make a second row by evenly spacing seven pecans in a smaller circle in the center; place 1 pecan in center.

5.Transfer pie to oven; bake for 20 minutes. Cover with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and continue baking until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

recipe from bakerella.com

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

2 1/4 cup self-rising flour
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Whisk together flour and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter.

Add both sugars and beat until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla.

Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.

Add flour/spice mixture to sugar mixture in three additions. Alternate with pumpkin in two additions, ending with flour mixture.

Stir in chopped pecans and chocolate chunks.

Drop on cookie tray lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes about four dozen cookies.

Let cool.
Maple Brown Butter Frosting
3 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp maple flavoring

Sift sugar and set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat until golden brown. Watch closely so it does not burn.

Add butter to sugar, scraping all the butter into the bowl.

Add milk and maple flavoring. Stir until smooth.

Spread on top of cookies with an knife or offset spatula.

Dried Cherry and Almond Cookies w/ Vanilla Icing

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

These have to be my favorite cookies so far. They're easy to make and taste so complex. Also you can make many logs ahead of time and pop a batch in the oven for unexpected guest.

Dried Cherry and Almond Cookies w/ Vanilla Icing



1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (see Cook's Note)
1/2 cup slivered, blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (see Cook's Note)


2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons water, plus extra, as needed


For the Cookies:
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, and salt until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in the egg. Add the flour and beat on the lowest speed until just blended. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dried cherries and almonds.
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a log, about 12-inches long and 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made up to 3 days in advance).

Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cut the log crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Transfer the dough slices to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges and puffed, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before icing, about 30 minutes.

For the Icing:
Put the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the vanilla extract and water, adding more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes a drizzling consistency. (Makes about 2/3 cups icing, enough to ice both variations.)

Put the cooled cookies on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Using a spoon or a fork, drizzle the cookies with the icing, allowing any excess icing to drip onto the baking sheet. Allow the icing to set before serving, about 1 hour.

Cook's Note: To toast the almonds, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 6 to 8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

Cook's Note Alternative: Replace the dried cherries with 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots and add 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts. Also, use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and omit the almond extract.

Praline Pumpkin Cake

adapted from Betty Crocker

Praline Pumpkin Cake


1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix
1 cup (from 15-oz can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 container (1 lb) Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy cream cheese frosting
Caramel topping, if desired
Additional coarsely chopped pecans, if desired


1. Heat oven to 325°F. In 1-quart heavy saucepan, stir together butter, whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter is melted. Pour into 2 (9- or 8-inch) round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup pecans.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Carefully spoon batter over pecan mixture in each pan.

3. Bake 43 to 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. Stir remaining 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice into frosting. To assemble cake, place 1 layer, praline side up, on serving plate. Spread with half of the frosting. Top with second layer, praline side up; spread remaining frosting to edge of layer. Drizzle with caramel topping and additional pecans. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping

adapted from epicurious

Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topping

For crust:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 9 ounces)
1 cup pecans (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger (I used 1/4 tsp. ground ginger because I didn't have this)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For filling:

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used 1-1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

For topping:

2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (I used 3/4 cup)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with nonstick spray . Grind cookie crumbs, pecans, brown sugar, and ginger in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter; using on/off turns, process to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; press onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake crust until set and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in pumpkin. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating on low speed to incorporate each addition. Add flour, spices, and salt; beat just to blend. Beat in vanilla. Transfer filling to cooled crust. Bake until filling is just set in center and edges begin to crack (filling will move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour 20 minutes (mine was ready after 1 hour). Cool 1 hour. Run knife around sides of pan to release crust. Chill cheesecake in pan overnight.


Stir marshmallows and milk in medium saucepan over low heat until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. Cool marshmallow mixture to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Add sour cream to marshmallow mixture; fold gently just to blend. Pour topping over cheesecake and spread evenly, leaving 1/2 inch uncovered around edges. Chill to set topping, at least 1 hour.

Friday, December 4, 2009


recipe from Hostess with the Mostess


1 cup cubed ham
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, sliced into rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar
½ cup parsley, minced
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup green onions, chopped
6 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon hot paprika


In a large, oven safe skillet, heat oil. When hot, sauté, onions (not green onions), garlic, mushrooms and ham about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and the onions are translucent. Add parsley and peas, stir. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together eggs, paprika, cheddar, salt, pepper and green onion. Add butter to the skillet and stir. Pour egg mixture over the skillet. Tilt the skillet slightly and turn to coat the ingredients in the skillet with the egg mixture. Keep on medium heat and cook about 15 minutes or just almost set-the top should still look “loose” and uncooked. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown. Remove from pan and slice

Sweet Potato Pecan Waffles with Praline Peaches

recipe from Hostess with the Mostess

Sweet Potato Pecan Waffles with Praline Peaches


1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans, divided
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) sweet potatoes or yams in light syrup, not drained
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 cups buttermilk waffle mix
2 large eggs, separated
2 cans (15 ounces each) light sliced peaches, or sliced peaches in juice, not drained
1 can (8.5 ounces) light sliced peaches, or sliced peaches in juice, not drained
1 tablespoon honey
Non-stick spray oil


Heat a medium skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons chopped pecans and brown sugar. Stir until sugar melts and coat the nuts; be careful that they do not burn; set aside.

Purée sweet potatoes with their liquid and milk in a blender until smooth; set aside.

Preheat a non-stick waffle iron. Mix waffle mix, sweet potato mixture and egg yolks in a large bowl until well combined. Stir in the remaining, uncooked pecans; set aside

Beat egg whites in a clean bowl with a whisk until they hold a shape and fold into the waffle batter; set aside for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, strain juice from peaches into a large skillet. Stir in honey and boil over high heat until lightly thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in peaches and reserved sugar-glazed pecans; keep warm.

Lightly coat the interior of the preheated waffle iron with spray oil. Pour about 1/3 of batter onto the hot waffle iron and cook until puffed, brown and crisp, according to manufacturer’s directions. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with peach topping

Pecan Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Almond Citrus Syrup

from Hostess with the Mostess

Pecan Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Almond Citrus Syrup



1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla


14 pieces of Texas toast
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup of milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
butter (about 4 Tbsp)


1 cup Smucker's Apricot preserves
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp almond extract


Mix together cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in chopped pecans. Spread on one side of 7 slices of Texas toast a spoonful of the filling mixture. Top with remaining 7 slices of Texas toast. (I did this the night before and put the sandwiches in a plastic bag, then in the refrigerator. Then I took the bread out of the fridge while I prepared the syrup and made the egg mixture.)

At this point make your syrup. Combine the syrup ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. The syrup will thicken up while it cools. You want it to cool for about 15 minutes.

Mix your egg, milk, and vanilla together.

Preheat the oven to 400F . Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place in oven to warm up. Melt 1/2 tbsp or so of butter in a frying pan. Take the sandwiches, one by one, and place in the egg and milk mixture, turning so that the mixture covers both sides. Transfer the sandwich to the pan and cook until the first side is lightly brown. Flip over and cook the other side. When both sides are lightly brown, place the sandwich on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.

Serve with the Almond Citrus Syrup or regular syrup.

Avocado & Cilantro Deviled Eggs

from Hostess with the Mostess

Avocado & Cilantro Deviled Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

1 ripe avocado

1/2 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp finely minced red onion

1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro

A few dashes of Tabasco sauce

A few grinds of pepper

1/2 tsp kosher salt


Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully scoop out the yolks and put into a medium bowl. Put egg halves onto a platter and put into the fridge.

With a fork, crumble up the egg yolks. Cut avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the avocado flesh from both halves and add it to the egg yolks. With a spoon, mix well, until the yolks and avocado are creamy. Add lime juice and mix well. Add red onion, cilantro, Tabasco, pepper and salt. Mix well to combine.

Remove egg halves from the fridge. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop avocado yolk mixture into the egg halves. Garnish with a single cilantro leaf. Serve immediately, or before the avocado browns.

Black Pepper and Garlic Chicken Wings

from Hostess with the Mostess

Black Pepper and Garlic Chicken Wings



½ cup mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar or palm sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

3 pounds chicken wings

Minced garlic, chives, or scallions, for garnish


Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

To prepare the wings: trim off and discard the tips, and cut each wing at the joint so you end up with one tiny drumstick and one flat section per wing. Place the wings in a sealable plastic bag or a large flat plastic container and pour the marinade over the wings, making sure that all surfaces are coated well. Close the bag tightly, and marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours, shaking or turning the wings often.

To cook the wings: preheat the oven to 450°F. Arrange the wings on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast for 12 to 18 minutes, until the skin is dark brown and crispy and the meat has begun to shrink away form the ends of the bones. The juices should run clear when the wings are pierced with a knife point. Sprinkle with the garnishes and serve them up!

Curried Chickpea Bruschetta

from Hostess with the Mostess

Curried Chickpea Bruschetta

4 slices of wheat or white bread
8-10 tbsp chhole (curried chickpeas) - recipe below
4 tbsp fresh firm tomatoes - chopped finely
2-3 tbsp shredded cheese (parmesan or mozarella)
salt & pepper - to taste
fresh or dried basil - to taste (optional)
some finely chopped cilantro

Curried Chickpeas (Chana Masala)

2 cans boiled chickpeas
1/2 onion - chopped finely
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp tamarind sauce mixed with 1/4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp yogurt (optional)
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala or chhole masala
salt & lemon juice - to taste
water - if needed
3 tbsp oil


Drain the chickpeas from the can and wash them well. Heat a saucepan, add the oil, and sauté the onions till they become soft. Add the ginger-garlic paste and the tomato puree.

Next, mix the tamarind paste in the yogurt and blend well. Add this to the tomato puree. Add all the spices and the drained chickpeas, then cover and let it cook for 10-15 mins, until the chickpeas are thoroughly cooked and become soft. Check for taste, adjust salt, lemon juice and spices, and then remove from heat and keep aside to cool a little.

You can cook the chickpeas ahead of time and keep it refrigerated for upto 24 hours.

Garnish your Chana Masala with some onion rings and chopped coriander, and you can serve it hot with Breads or Rice.

Making the Bruschetta

Take each slice of bread; remove the edges and cut into desired shapes if you want. Toast the bread slices in a regular toaster or in an oven for 5-7 mins at 300 deg F, till they are lightly browned and crispy.

Mix the chopped tomatoes with salt, pepper, cilantro/basil, and toss to coat well. Set aside for 5 mins to let the flavors blend.

Take the curried chickpeas; put 2 tbsp each of this mixture onto the toasted bread (you can spread a little butter if you want). Top with a spoonful of tomato mixture, then sprinkle some shredded cheese on the top. Microwave each slice for 2 mins to let the cheese melt, or you can reheat the entire batch in an oven on a cookie sheet.

Your delicious Curried Chickpea Bruschetta is ready to be served!

Cocktail Sausages

recipe from Hostess with the Mostess

Cocktail Sausages


2 ¼ lbs (75 in number) cocktail sausages
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce


Preheat the oven to 425º F.

Separate the sausages if they are linked and arrange them in a large, shallow roasting pan.

Whisk together the honey, oil, and soy sauce and pour over the sausages, then use your hands to move everything around in the pan so that all the sausages are slicked.

Roast for 25-30 minutes; give them a shuffle about halfway through cooking if you happen to be near the oven.
recipe from Noble Pig blog

Cappuccino Crunch Bars

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or espresso powder, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon hot water and cooled to room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup toffee baking bits

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in large bowl; set aside.
Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add coffee mixture and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat until well blended. Stir in white chocolate chips and toffee bits.
Spread batter evenly in a well greased 13 x 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown (mine took 25). Cool completely on a wire rack. To get nice clean edges on the bars I refrigerate them for a couple hours before cutting them.

Green Goddess Spinach Dip

Adapted from Gourmet

Green Goddess Spinach Dip

4 scallions, chopped
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
10 oz thawed frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry
1 Tablespoon anchovy paste
8 oz cream cheese, cut int cubes
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon

Cook scallions in butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about three minutes. Add spinach and anchovy paste and cook, stirring, until heated through.

Add cream cheese and cook, stirring, until melted and warm, then stir in sour cream, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper.

Serve warm with crackers, pita chips or crudités.

Brown-Sugar Coffee Cake

recipe from Noble Pig blog

Brown-Sugar Coffee Cake

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, large
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored and chopped


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg just until the yolk and white are blended. Add the sour cream, milk and melted butter and mix well. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until the ingredients are blended. Stir in the chopped apple.

Spread the batter in a buttered 8 x 8 square baking pan. To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and butter. Using your fingertips, work the ingredients together until a coarse, crumbly mixture forms. Add the walnuts and mix well with your fingertips. Sprinkle the topping over the batter.

Bake the coffee cake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the topping is browned and a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Greek Potato & Almond Dip

recipe from Noble Pigs adapted from Gourmet Magazine

Greek Potato and Almond Dip

3/4 lb russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup coarse fresh white bread crumbs
3 garlic gloves
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon plus more lemon juice, divided
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, warmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle. Cover potatoes with water in a small pot and season well with salt, then simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. While potatoes cook, toast almonds and bread crumbs separately in oven until pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes, then cool.

With motor running, drop garlic into a food processor and chop. Add nuts and bread crumbs and finely grind. Pulse in water, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice.

Drain potatoes and coarsely mash, then add to processor with oil and pulse to combine. Add lemon juice to taste and thin with a little water if desired.
Serve warm with some buttery crackers.

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue

from Noble Pig blog (Pie crust adapted from Betty Crocker, Filling & Meringue from Cuisine at Home)

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue

For the crust-

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon shortening
2 Tablespoons iced cold water

Measure flour into bowl; mix salt through it. With pastry blender (or two knives) cut in shortening until particles are size of giant peas. Sprinkle with cold water, a Tablespoon at a time, mixing lightly with fork, until all flour is moistened.

Here is my trick. No matter what crust I use, it never seems to roll out as large as I want it so I increase the recipe by about half (it doesn't even need to be exact). This gives me extra dough on the edges for a thicker crust and I often have enough left over to make little cut outs as well. This crust recipe is for an 8" or 9" pie but with the increase, it fits my 9" deep dish pan, which is what I used to make this pie. It's up to you whether you increase the recipe for the dough or not.

Gather dough together with fingers so it cleans the bowl. Press firmly into a ball. Then turn out lightly on a board covered with wax paper and lightly floured to prevent sticking.
Prepare your rolling pin by covering it with a stockinet. If you do not have a stockinet, you must get one. It will make your crust endeavors so much easier. Flatten the disc with your hand and roll out the dough to about 1/8" thick. Keep rounding edge of pastry. If it begins to break, pinch broken edges together the best you can. Keep pastry circular and roll it about 1" larger all around than an inverted pie pan.

Fold pastry in half and carefully transfer to your pie pan. Unfold and ease pastry loosely into pan. Do not stretch which causes shrinking during baking.

Fold the edges under and crimp as desired. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place pie shell in the freezer for 15 minutes or until firm. Line frozen shell with foil, pressing firmly against the sides and folding gently over the edges. Fill shell with raw rice or dried beans and blind bake until crust is set but not browned, about 20 minutes. Unfold foil at edges and carefully lift it out; return shell to oven and bake 5-10 minutes, or until pale golden.

For the filling and meringue-

2-3 large sweet potatoes (to make 2 cups puree)..do not used canned
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 T tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of one lemon
6 egg whites, room temperature
3-1/2 cups marshmallow creme
Bake sweet potatoes for 40-50 minutes or until very soft in a 400 degree oven. Peel while hot and place potatoes in food processor. Puree until smooth. Peeling and processing the potatoes while hot makes a smoother puree.

Add egg yolks, sugars, milk, lemon juice, vanilla, spices and lemon zest; whisk just to blend. Pour filling into pie crust (it's alright if the crust is still hot from baking...if you are using a store bought crust, make sure it's at least room temperature), smooth the top and bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce oven to 325 degrees and continue baking until a knife inserted 1" from the center comes out clean, 20-30 minutes. Remove pie but leave oven on.

Beat room temperature egg whites (you can do this and have it ready while pie is baking) with a mixer in a clean metal or glass bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add marshmallow creme and continue beating until stiff peaks form, 5-7 minutes more.

Spread meringue over pie all the way to edges so the meringue doesn't shrink. (Beads of liquid often form on meringue. To avoid "weeping" spread the meringue on the pie while the filling is hot, then brown it.) Spike it to make swirls and swoops. Return pie to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until topping is golden, rotating for even browning. Watch the pie carefully at this point, do not walk away...meringue can burn.

Cool pie to room temperature and place in the fridge over night before serving.

Coconut Cream Pie

recipe from Noble Pig blog

Coconut Cream Pie


3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
1-1/2 Tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup flaked coconut, sweetened
1 baked pie shell

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Make pie crust and blind-bake or bake according to package directions before adding filling.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks and milk in a heavy saucepan, stir well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils (this could take 8-10 minutes...do not hurry this step). Boil for 3 minutes while continuing to stir. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and coconut.
Pour filling into baked pie shell and place saran wrap directly on custard to prevent skin from forming. Cool in shell and then chill in refrigerator until firm, at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.
For the topping, whip cream and sugar together. Spread over chilled pie and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Fruity Candy Popcorn

recipe from Our Best Bites blog

Fruity Candy Popcorn {AKA Jello Popcorn}

8 cups popped popcorn
1/4 C butter (that's half a stick)
3 T light corn syrup (honey is a good substitute)
1/2 C sugar
1 3.5oz box jello, any flavor (not the sugar free kind)

-Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a jelly roll pan with foil or parchment. If using foil, spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. Place popcorn in an extra large mixing bowl.

-Place butter and syrup in a sauce pan on medium heat. Stir until butter is melted. Add sugar and Jello and stir to combine.

-Increase heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat so it just simmers. Continue simmering for 5 minutes. You'll start off with a mixture that's sometimes thick (depending on the flavor, see note at end) and as it cooks the sugar will dissolve and it will become a little more liquid-ish.

-After the sugar mixture simmers for 5 minutes, immediately pour over popcorn in bowl. Be careful, it's super hot!! Mix right away and keep stirring so everything gets well coated. Spread mixture onto prepared pan and spread out evenly.

-Pop in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. I've noticed that some flavors of jello have more mix than others (kind of like my discovery about different brands/flavors of cake mix noted in this post). For example, the strawberry is usually much thicker than the lime. If you notice this, you might want to bake the mixture for a few minutes longer to make sure it gets cooked all the way.

-Remove the pan from the oven and let cool to room temp. Then break into pieces and enjoy! You can certainly eat this un-baked as well and it's just soft and gooey, but definitely bake it if you're going to pack it up for giving, or serve it as party food so it will be light and crunchy.

Sweet Little Sweet Potato Pies

recipe from Good Things Catered blog

Sweet Little Sweet Potato Pies


1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c. walnuts
1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp 1% milk
4 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c mashed sweet potato (one small, roasted)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch allspice
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. heavy cream


-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare small tart pans.
-In bowl of food processor, add oatmeal and walnuts.
-Process until fine in texture.
-Place into medium bowl, add next seven ingredients and stir to combine well.
-Divide mixture among pans and press to coat bottom of each evenly.
-Place tart pans onto baking sheet and place into oven to bake for 15 minutes, until beginning to smell toasting, not browned.
-Remove from oven and set aside.
-In medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients, stirring well to combine.
-Pour sweet potato mixture into tart pans, filling to 1/8 inch of top of crust.
-Place tarts, on baking sheet, back into oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until filling is cooked through and slightly puffed.
-Remove from oven and let cool completely.
-Top with dollop of whipped cream and fresh grated nutmeg, is desired, and serve.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

from Good Things Catered blog & adapted sligthly from recipezaar

Cranberry Bliss Bars


for cookie

1 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange extract
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. diced dried cranberries
3/4 c. white chocolate chunks

for frosting

6 oz cream cheese, softened
3 c. powdered sugar
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. diced dried cranberries

for drizzled icing

1 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk, plus a bit more if needed


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare (well grease) 9x13 baking pan.

-In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy and light in color, about 2 minutes.

-Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well.

-Gradually mix in flour just until combined.

-Remove bowl from mixer and fold in cranberries and white chocolate.

-Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

-Place in oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is barely light brown on the edges.

-Remove from oven and let cool.

-Meanwhile make the frosting.

-In stand mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and beat on low until smooth.

-When the cake has cooled invert onto cutting board and spread frosting over top, evenly.

-Sprinkle top with diced cranberries.

-Prepare icing by whisking powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp of milk, adding more if needed to come to a thick consistency icing.

Place icing in a pastry bag, snip the end and drizzle over cranberries in a sweeping motion.

-Place cake on cutting board into the fridge to set, at least 1 hour.

-Remove cake from fridge and, using a long knife, carefully slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle.

-Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices.

-Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.

-Serve immediately or place into the fridge to keep for later.

Soft & Spicy Gingerbread Cookies

adapted from allrecipes

Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies


1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. molasses
1 egg
4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg


-In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.

-Stir in molasses and egg.

-Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth.

-Cover, and chill for at least one hour.

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line with parchment.

-On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.

-Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.

-Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.

-Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm.

-Let cool for 10 minutes on pan.

-Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

-Frost or decorate when cool.

Pimpkin Pie Custard Tarts

recipe from Dunkin Cooking blog

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
4 tsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 - 15oz. can - pumpkin puree
1 - 12oz. can - evaporated milk
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 c. sugar
2 Molasses Cookies Crumbs
12 Graham Cracker Tart Shells

In a large saucepan combine the gelatin, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in pumpkin and evaporated milk then let stand for 5 minutes to soften gelatin. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture bubbles: cook and stir for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat then gradually stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into eggs; return all egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat for another 2 minutes. (Do not boil) Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Place 1 ½ tsp. of the cookie crumbs into the bottom of each tart shell then fill the shells with the custard. Place into the fridge to chill for 6 – 24 hours.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

recipe adapted from Baked Perfection blog

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground gloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown, Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add the flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Frost with Maple Pecan Frosting. Makes 15 cupcakes.

Maple Pecan Frosting

1/2 cup maple syrup
2 ounces cream cheese softened
1/2 cup butter softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pecans toasted and finely chopped

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring maple syrup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until reduced by about a third, 10-12 minutes. Pour into a glass measuring cup nested in a bowl of ice water and stir constantly until syrup is very thick and barely warm to touch, 3-4 minutes. Remove from ice water. In a bowl, with a mixer on low, beat cream cheese and butter until well blended. Beat in powdered sugar (adjust the amount of sugar to reach your desired consistency); scrape in reduced syrup; beat until smooth.

Crispy Rice Candy Corn Treats

recipe adapted from Paula Dean

4 tablespoons butter
1 (10 ounce) bag marshmallows
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
6 cups Crispy Rice Cereal (preferred brand: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies)
1 cup candy corns

Spray a 13x9 glass baking dish and rubber spatula with non stick spray.
In a medium sized sauce pan over low heat, add butter to melt. Once melted add marshmallows, salt, and vanilla. Stir continuously until the marshmallows have reached a smooth consistency. Remove from heat and fold in the cereal and candy corns until completely coated.
Add the mixture to the greased baking dish and smooth out evenly. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Triple Chocolate Devil Drops

(recipe from My Kitchen Cafe blog)

*Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup sour cream

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets (or line them with parchment or silpat liners).

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Gently whisk together to blend.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together at medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract. At low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and mix. Then add 1/2 of the sour cream and mix. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients followed by the remainder of the sour cream. Finally add the last of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Using a wooden spoon stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes until edges appear done and no impression is left when you touch a cookie very lightly with a finger. Do not overbake or the cookies will be dry! Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate for one minute at 50% power. Stir and melt in 20-second intervals at 50% power, stirring after every interval, until chocolate is melted and smooth. (Don't cook at too high of a power or the chocolate will scorch and seize.)

Scrape the melted chocolate into a ziploc bag and seal the bag. Cut a tiny hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag and drizzle the cookies with the white chocolate in thin parallel lines. Refrigerate the cookies for 5 minutes or until set.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days, although, in my opinion, these taste best within the first 1-2 days.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beef Stew

I've made beef stew many times before. I'm always looking to make my recipes better. I do so by adding a little of this and a little of that. Changing a few things up from time to time. I found a beef stew recipe from Aida. It turned out great. It was different because the recipe called for cayenne pepper which gave the whole dish little kick. Here's the recipe:

Beef Stew in Biscuit Bowls


For the stew:

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

5 medium carrots (about 12 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces

5 celery ribs (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces

6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 medium bay leaf

3/4 cup dry red wine

1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups beef broth

1/3 cup minced fresh Italian parsley leaves

For the biscuits:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/3 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops


In a small bowl, mix the flour, cayenne, and the salt and pepper until evenly combined. Pat the meat dry, then sprinkle with the flour mixture and toss to coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven (or oven-ready saucepan) over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add half of the meat and sear until brown on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining meat.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are brown, about 5 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to coat. Stir in the wine and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add the potatoes and stir to coat.

Add the meat and any accumulated juices, and the beef broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the stew with a lid and transfer to oven. Cook until the beef is knife tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

When beef is almost ready, make the biscuits. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, thyme, sugar, baking powder, and salt until evenly combined. Stir in the cream until a loose dough forms. Lightly flour a clean work surface, turn the dough out onto the surface, and knead briefly until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pat into a 1-inch thick circle and cut into 8 wedges.

Increase the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the stew from the oven. Uncover the stew, and stir in the parsley. Top the stew with the biscuits and brush with a little cream. Return the pot to the oven bake until the tops are crispy and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.