Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gingerbead Cookies

I wanted to share one more holiday treat before the new year. I had plans of sharing some more, but then I left my camera at a friend's house all week! These cookies were a last minute addition to my holiday gift tins. My father loves gingerbread cookies at Christmas, so I am trying to get him to expand his tastes from the slice and bake variety he buys each year. This is the first time I ever made gingerbread cookies, and believe it or not, it's also the first time I've used cookie cutters this decade! I had so much fun covering the counter in flour and dough and putting our rolling pin to good use. I loved the spice of these cookies, and I can see myself using this recipe for years to come. I found this recipe posted on Annie's Eats.

You will need:
*4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt

*1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground cloves

*2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

*1 cup sugar
1 cup molasses

*1 large egg

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices to combine. Set aside.

2. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in the molasses and egg until combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least one hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.

4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place the cookie shapes onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

5. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gingerbread Granola

Merry Christmas! (A few days late, I know) I hope you all enjoyed time with family and friends over the holiday weekend. We had a busy couple of days and are enjoying some downtime now that we're snowed in. I was completely spoiled this year with fabulous gifts. I'm most excited about my gift from Dave- a Nikon DSLR! I look forward to playing with it as I start cooking new recipes in the new year.

I made this granola to add to some of my cookie tins and trays this holiday season. I used some of the leftovers in my yogurt, and I think you could enjoy it at any time of year. If you like ginger, then you'll like this recipe. I found this linked through a Taste of Home email that I receive, and it is posted on a Disney Family website.

You will need:
*4 cups old-fashioned oats

*1 cup blanched, slivered almonds

*1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup molasses
1/3 cup oil

*pinch salt

*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (I used a bit less because I didn't have enough)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Mix oats, nuts, and dried fruit together in a large bowl; mix sugar, spices, salt and wet ingredients in another.

3. Pour sugar and oil mixture over the oats and stir well, making sure everything is evenly coated.Pour out onto greased, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

4. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peppermint Truffles

How's your holiday baking going? I am really enjoying mine now that I get to spend the days in the kitchen. It is time, however, for me to focus on other things like wrapping and getting to the post office! This recipe is an easy variation on oreo truffles. It starts with one of my favorite signs of the holiday season:
These peppermint like oreos are great in brownies and as the 'oreo' in truffles. I used some red Wilton candy melts to do this batch, but I do not think I will use them again. The chocolate was harder to work with, and I prefer the Bakers bars taste and texture. I think I will use my leftover red wafers to drizzle over the next batch after they are dipped in chocolate.
You will need:
*8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
*1 16oz. box Candy Cone Joe-Joe's (or other mint chocolate cookie)
*chocolate to coat

1. Crush the cookies.
2. Beat cream cheese to smooth it out.
3. Combine half cookies with cream cheese. Mix until combined. Add remaining cookies.
4. Form mixture into balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze for at least 1 hour.
5. Dip into any melted chocolate you desire.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red Velvet Cookies

I have spent a lot of time in the kitchen over this past week. I was (and still am) making treats for coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. I have made a few batches of candy cane biscotti and gingerbread biscotti. The popular oreo truffles and pretzel treats have made a return, and I have experimented with new recipes too. These red velvet cookies are a simple recipe using boxed cake mix. During the busy holiday baking, I appreciate shortcuts with ready-to-go ingredients. The bright red colorf will add holiday cheer to any cookie tray or gift tin. I found this recipe on Homemade by Holman.

You will need:
*1 box red velvet cake mix
*1/2 cup vegetable oil (Used for 18 oz cake mix)
*2 eggs
*Cream cheese frosting (my recipe is below)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees; grease a cookie sheet lightly.

2. Combine cake mix, oil, and eggs together.

3. Roll cookies into balls and place on cookie sheets, flattening slightly. (A silicone lined cookie sheet will help prevent burning the bottoms)

4. Bake for about 8 minutes or until tops start to crack.

5. Cool on wire racks and frost when completely cool.

Cream cheese frosting
You will need:
*8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
*1/2 cup butter, temperature
*1 tsp vanilla
* about 2 cups powdered sugar

1. Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla.

2. Mix in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you reach your desire consistency.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pork Chops with Cinnamon Apples

I'm behind on posting recipes. We enjoyed this dinner back in October after we went apple picking. I'm in the process of baking Christmas treats for coworkers before school vacation starts, so I will be sharing some seasonal treats soon. Although apple season has passed, this is another great quick dinner to prepare on a busy December evening. The recipe is from Cooking Light's October 2003 issue.

You will need:
*1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
*1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
*Cooking spray
*1 teaspoon butter
*4 cups (1/2-inch) slices peeled Granny Smith apples (I used Cortland apples)
*1 tablespoon brown sugar
*1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (omitted)
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Dash of salt

1. Combine first the sage, salt, and black pepper; sprinkle over the pork.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add pork; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove the pork from pan. Cover and keep warm.

3. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add apples, brown sugar, lemon juice if using, ground cinnamon, and dash of salt. Cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Serve the apples over the pork.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pomegranate Beef

It's officially the holiday season. I love this time of year, but I always struggle to keep everything going while prepping for this holiday. Nights after work are full of shopping, decorating, baking, and wrapping; nevermind the usual working out, running errands, and cooking dinner. I am always searching for simple weeknight recipes that allow us to enjoy a home-cooked meal while enjoying the many extra holiday tasks. These beef tips provided just that. I am thinking of serving these the next time have family over for dinner. The wine reduction seems like it would take much more time than it does. The original Cooking Light recipe recommends serving these with potato wedges, but I thought they were perfect with a veggie like asparagus.

You will need:
*4 (4-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, trimmed (I used large tips)
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
*1 tablespoon minced shallots
*1/3 cup red wine (I used malbec)
*1/3 cup pomegranate juice
*1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
*1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
*pomegranate seeds, for serving if desired

1. Sprinkle steaks evenly with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

2. Heat large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steaks to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking. Remove steaks from pan; keep warm.

3. Add shallots to pan and saute 30 seconds. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, wine, juice, broth, and bring to a boil. Cook 7 minutes or until reduced to about 3 tablespoons.

4. Remove from heat. Add butter to sauce, stirring until butter melts. Serve sauce over steaks; top with pomegranate seeds.