Tuesday, November 29, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Slice Cookies

This is one of my favourite Christmas cookie recipes. And of course you don't have to make it just at Christmas, it's so easy you can make it any time! It doesn't have any eggs so if you're desperate for a cookie and have no eggs in your fridge, this is the recipe for you! I've actually been using this one since 2003. I got it from the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens. It was an ad for Challenge Butter! I actually added almond extract because I like almond and raspberry together, and I found that 1oz of chocolate was plenty. The original recipe called for 2.

Just look at all that deliciousness!

It'll look like this at first but it will come together. Be patient.

Use your hands! I don't like stuff under my nails so I use gloves.

See, I told you it would come together!

Make some dents.

Fill the dents with jam.

Put your melted chocolate in a baggie.

I cut my hole a little too small, but I kinda like the squiggly chocolate.
Cut a bigger hole for smooth lines.

White Chocolate Raspberry Slices
Small Batch Brown Sugar Cookies (I added chocolate chips)

Makes about 27 cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup raspberry jam
1 oz white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large cookie sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla with a wooden spoon. The recipe said to use a mixer but I always use a wooden spoon. How do you think they made cookies in the old days? Beat this for just a minute until it's creamy.

Add the flour and mix until the dough forms a ball. This will take a few minutes. If it's not working, use your hands. That's what I do.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll each one into a log. Place the logs a few inches apart on the cookie sheet and press them down slightly. You can flatten the edges a bit to round them out.

Use any object from the kitchen to make dents in the dough about 1" apart. I used the back of a knife as shown above. You could even just use a finger to do this. Try to make the middle of the dent a bit deeper and try not to flatten the edges too much or the jam will just spill out once it cooks.

Place a little blob of jam into each dent.

Bake them for about 15 minutes or until the edges just start to turn golden. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave for just about a minute. Stir it up and spoon it into a small plastic sandwich bag. Cut off the tip and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

Cut the cookies in between each section of jam. Let the chocolate harden before stacking.

Cookies of Christmas Past

I was just looking over my Facebook photos of Christmas' past and came across trays of cookies that I made. Over the years my cousin Jessica has also joined in the fun and together we now put together a very nice assortment to share with our family, friends and co-workers. I thought I'd share them over here for fun. I have pictures starting from 2008. In 2007 my older daughter was just 3 months old so I didn't do cookies that year and before that, I don't think I was even on Facebook!

The recipe for those rum truffles above is coming this week.
I'm making them for one of our many holiday lunches at work.

This is the year Jessica started making cookies with me.
The shortbread with cherries on the right is one of my favourites.

This is the platter I made for daycare that year.

You can see I was spritz happy last year.

Jessica is now a tart expert.
She adds tarts to our platters for every occasion.

And finally, I tried making a yule log last year.
It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!
And there's Nutella rolled up in there!
The outside is cream with shaved chocolate,
toasted almonds and powdered sugar.
I only wish I could remember what recipes I used.
My mom has hedges in the back so I went and snipped
a few branches to use on the plate. The cranberries
really made it pretty with their bright red colour.

Peppermint Christmas Cake

I believe I got this recipe from the Betty Crocker website but I can't remember. If you put the icing on BEFORE you put the cake on the serving dish, it won't look so sloppy. Oops! My mistake. This cake is perfect for a holiday party!

12-16 servings

1 box of white cake mix
1/2 teaspoon red food color
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

food colouring (if desired)
crushed candy canes for decoration

Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour a cake pan (I used a bunt).

Prepare the cake batter as directed on the box. Pour about 2 cups of the batter into the pan.

Take 3/4 cup of the batter and transfer to a small bowl. Stir in red food colouring and peppermint extract. You can repeat with green if you like. Carefully pour the pink batter over the white batter in the pan. Carefully pour remaining white batter over pink batter.

Check the box for baking times (about 30-40 minutes) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. If it's too thick, add a little more milk. Add food colouring if you like. Spread the icing over the cake and sprinkle the top with crushed candy canes.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Judy's Holiday Punch

Actually, you could serve this punch at any occasion but since Christmas is coming up I thought I'd call it a holiday punch. My cousin's mother-in-law makes this punch for parties. It's easy and delicious! You could also add alcohol if you want, but we serve this to the kids too.

cranberry juice, cold
pineapple juice, cold
ginger ale, cold
sliced oranges

Combine equal parts cranberry juice, pineapple juice and ginger ale. Add sliced oranges.

Tip: You could also add frozen cranberries or raspberries or freeze some of the cranberry and pineapple juice in ice cube trays and add it to the punch. I wouldn't add regular ice cubes or your punch will get watered down as they melt.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gingerbread Cookies

I love gingerbread cookies! My kids like them too. And what's a Christmas cookie platter without gingerbread people? You can substitute corn syrup for the molasses. It won't taste like gingerbread anymore, but it still makes a nice cookie! It's hard to say how many cookies you can get out of this. It'll depend on the size of your cookie cutters.

Makes about 24 cookies

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in molasses and egg yolk until well comibined.

Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl and combine with a wooden spoon.

Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge or 15 in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/4" thick. Use a cookie cutter to make your shapes then re-roll the scraps and keep cutting. Repeat the re-rolling and cutting of the scraps.

Bake for just about 7 minutes or just until the edges start to brown. This will depend on the size of your cutter and thickness of your dough. Watch the cookies carefully or they will burn.  Let them cool for 2 minutes before transferring them to wire racks. Cool completely before decorating.

You can make frosting using 1/4 cup icing sugar and 1/4 teaspoon milk. Add food colouring if you like. It should be a thick enough to pipe but not as thick as toothpaste. I just filled a plastic sandwich bag and cut off the tip. Let them dry completely before stacking. Even better if you put a piece of parchment between each layer of cookies. Use little candies to decorate.

Tip: If you like, add 1/4 teaspoon cloves (I didn't use cloves - I'm not a big fan.)

Also Linking To

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple Pie

Here's a fabulous recipe for apple pie! Don't ask me where I got this recipe because I can't remember. But it's a keeper!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Panko Crusted Tilapia

WOW this was GOOD! I bought this fish from Costco. I used some and froze the rest. I had 4 big pieces to use up tonight and I wanted something different so I went Googling to see what I could find. My kids ate this like it was their last meal. The loved it! Of course, by the time I fed the kids and got to eat mine (and take pictures), it was cold. But still delicious. I'm used to eating cold food. This is nothing new for me and I've learned to accept it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Egg Salad Sandwiches

I love egg salad sandwiches! I especially like them on toast with butter. Somehow the butter makes it even better! Here's how I make my egg salad.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My New Bundt Pan!

Check out my beautiful new bundt pan! Can you believe I found this for only $5 in the seasonal clearance section?! What a great find! I haven't used it yet but I love it!

Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I'm not sure what's happened to me this week! First my Creamy Chickpea Pasta turns out like a soup and now my cupcakes are too sweet? What the ... Maybe I need to step out of the kitchen for a few days! I will try these again but maybe with a cream cheese frosting. Maybe my sweet tooth is on vacation this week. If it would go away and never come back I'd be happy and maybe lose a few pounds too! But what's life without sugar? I don't think I'd survive.

Creamy Chickpea Pasta with Parmesan Cheese

I wanted to make this recipe as originally written but after I went blog hopping (I was checking out all the great mashed potato recipes from the recent Crazy Cooking Challenge) it was already after 11pm. I still needed something for lunch. I didn't have time to roast garlic or bake the dish in the end. If I didn't have to get up early for work things would be different! And since I didn't bake it, I cut back on the amount of cheese. Plus, I was too lazy to keep grating.
Unfortunately when I was "adapting" the recipe, I added too much stock so it was a little soupy. I'll give you the recipe the way I made it, but maybe you should start with a cup of stock and if it doesn't blend well add a bit more until it's a thick saucy consistency. I'm still posting the recipe, because even though it didn't turn out right, it was still incredibly delicious!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes - Crazy Cooking Challenge

It's time for another Crazy Cooking Challenge! This month the theme is mashed potatoes. I went with a recipe that reminds me of baked potatoes with sour cream and chives that I found on Sunday Baker. I just happened to be roasing a whole chicken so I decided to throw a bunch of garlic cloves in the pan to use in the mashed potatoes. You can use raw minced garlic if you prefer. I also used the pan drippings in the potatoes since the recipe called for broth. Even my littlest one liked these and she doesn't usually eat anything mashed so that says something! Mmmm!

Mash it up!
Don't they look creamy and delicious?!


6 servings

3lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed (I used white)
5 cloves roasted garlic (or 3 cloves raw, minced)
1 cup low fat sour cream
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender. If using raw garlic, add it to the boiling water as well. Drain.

Give the potatoes  mash with a potato masher then add all other ingredients. Keep mashing until the potatoes are as smooth as you like them.

That's it. Mashed potatoes are easy, there's no reason not to make them more often!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Egg Free Date Mini Muffins with Almond Vanilla Glaze

Last week I was low on eggs and I wanted to make something for work. I decided to go back to the Egg Free Date Muffin recipe I made awhile ago. I added a simple glaze on top to make them a bit more special and used a mini muffin pan. Maple extract might also be nice on these, but I didn't have any.

Fried Shrimp Recipe

I always keep frozen shrimp in the freezer for those nights when I forget to pull something out. They thaw quickly and take even less time to cook. I bought some whole red chillies without any specific recipe in mind and I didn't really know how much heat they'd add to the dish. 2 should be enough, I found it pretty mild but I guess everyone has their own idea of what spicy is. Also, you can use chili flakes or cayenne pepper if you really want to spice it up.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Almond Spritz Cookies with Raspberry Jam

I am CRAZY about Christmas. It's my favourite time of year and I think about it all year long. Maybe I'm just CRAZY then. Every year people look forward to eating the treats that come out of my kitchen. I actually booked two vacation days off work around Christmas (when the kids will be in daycare) to do my baking without any little munchkins under my feet.

Spritz cookies are one my favourites to make. These cookies have become a part of my Christmas cookie platters every year. They're simple and delicious plus they look so pretty! You can make them so many ways, using different extracts and fillings, you can come up with a bunch of different flavour combinations! But who doesn't love almonds and raspberry jam?!

Join the Holiday Sweet Swap! I have!

Guest Post on MOMS CRAZY COOKING! Pumpkin Spice Cake!

I'm a little late in posting today but I'm a Thanksgiving Guest Blogger on MOMS CRAZY COOKING! Head over for instructions on how to make a delicious Pumpkin Spice Cake and so many other delicious recipes!