Posts Tagged With: Holiday

Frosted Gingerbread Cookies

My Mom makes an insane amount of Christmas cookies every year…no joke, the woman makes TWENTY different kinds.  TWENTY.  Its crazy!  She makes everything from classic cutout cookies to chocolate-raspberry truffles.  I love going to their house over the holidays because the spread of sugar is unending!  All that being said, I never feel the need to make Christmas cookies at this point in my life because I can easily swing by their house after work each day and grab some cookies if I have the notion.

This year, I for some reason wanted some gingerbread – something she doesn’t make (and never has for no particular reason).  She does make soft molasses cookies, however.  But I wanted real gingerbread…cut out in shapes and frosted.  I didn’t really feel the deep desire to make people and draw on faces and clothes, I really just wanted to smear frosting over the top and sprinkle on some fancy sugar.

So hear you go, I found this recipe for Gingerbread Cookies by Alex Guarnaschelli.  I didn’t use her frosting because I prefer my mom’s simple cookie frosting – why mess with a good thing, you know?

Merry Christmas!

  • 1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 4 c. all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 TBS ground dry ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. dark molasses
  • 1 lemon, juiced

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, add the butter, sugar and orange zest and beat until smooth, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Whisk to blend. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses and lemon juice.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the butter and sugar are integrated, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Add the egg mixture and when blended, remove the bowl from the machine. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press the first half of the dough in between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with the second half. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.

Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Use a metal spatula to gently transfer them, cookie by cookie, (the cookies should be similar size) to a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough and transfer them to another baking sheet. A note about crowding the tray(s): these particular cookies can spread a little. Leave room between the cookies. Better to use 3 baking sheets with fewer cookies than to crowd them on 2 trays. Bake until brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.

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Categories: American, Desserts, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Shortbread

Uh oh, guests are heading over and you need a quick and easy cookie that will wow the crowds.  May I make a suggestion?  SHORTBREAD!  This is one of my favorite cookies and its super versitile – drizzle on some chocolate, serve with hot cocoa or coffee, or wrap up a box and give them as a gift (“Thank you for the gift, its so unexpected…I have something for you too!”).

Unfortunately, these are freaky-easy to make which really isn’t good in my household.  Any baked good that requires minimal effort, time and dishes (in other words, can be whipped up on a whim), isn’t good because I will whip them up on a whim…and eat them all before I know what happened.

I got this recipe via an exchange at work – this recipe was a woman’s family recipe brought over from Scotland.  Sounds good enough to me!

Enjoy!

  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1 stick of margarine at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 1/2 to 3 c. of flour (depending on humidity)

Preheat the oven to 300° F.

Cream butter and sugar together.  Slowly add flour.  When dough comes together and you can clean the bowl with it, its ready to be rolled out.

Press unto an ungreased cookie sheet as flat as possible.  The dough is very short and the edges need to repeatedly be pushed in when pressing out and rolling. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about half an inch thick.  To prevent dough from sticking to the rolling pin, you can cover the dough with waxed paper to roll.  The shape will be irregular.

Using a fork, poke holes throughout the tip of the dough.  Cut the uncooked dough into 1″ x 2″ rectangles by scoring vertically and then horizontally.  This will prevent the pieces from breaking after being cooked.

Place in the oven for anywhere  from 30 to 45 minutes.  The finished shortbread should not be browned (slightly golden on the bottom is okay).  Go over the cuts with a knife after removing from the oven.  Place shortbread pieces on a cooling rack.

Recipe Courtesy of Lauren Roseberry

 

 

Categories: Desserts, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Sweet Potatoes with Sage & Pecans

Okay, so I’m a little late getting some of my sides from Thanksgiving up…I’ve been busy gallivanting all over the state of Ohio the last few weeks visiting friends and acting like I was in college again.  I stayed out late (and grumbled about how I’m too old for this), went a college bar (and complained that the music was too loud and the kids were too young while sipping on my single drink of the evening), ate bad food really late at night (think chili cheese fries and a Buffer Zone which in turn gave me heartburn), shopped ’til I dropped (my feet swelled too much to try on any more shoes), and slept on the floor (I think my back still hurts).  Lesson learned from all these shenanigans?  I’m not a college student anymore (nor have I been for several years) and my body doesn’t appreciate me acting like one.  So here I am, writing this post after dinner and wondering if its too soon to go to bed.  Oh how times have changed…

So back to my adult life.  I was in charge of sweet potatoes again this year, but Branden wasn’t crazy about me using the recipe from last year again and wanted me to try something different.  We weighed several options and decided on this one from A Cozy Kitchen.  Delish.  I didn’t change a thing and they were a huge hit.  I think we just found a new tradition, folks!  These were great because they weren’t too sweet and we loved the sage butter.  Yum.  Best of all?  NO MARSHMALLOWS!!!!

Enjoy!

Categories: American, Recipes, Sides | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bean Creme Anglais & Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce

WARNING: If you’re watching your waistline during the holiday season, this post is most definitely NOT for you.  Sorry.  Come back later…

If you’d rather indulge in all things delicious, keep reading because this recipe is absolutely sinful.  A big thanks to one of my co-workers, Sarah, who pointed me to this recipe by Bobby Flay…I ended up making it for dessert for Thanksgiving to supplement my ugly pie and it was a huge hit.  Huge.  I didn’t want to share.  So I let everyone eat their helpings and then I took it home and ate it for breakfast the next few mornings.  Seriously, dessert for breakfast…pumpkin is a squash (vegetable-ish = healthy) that was turned sweeter so therefore it must be like a fruit and there’s bread involved and LOTS of eggs.  Translation: acceptable breakfast.  Don’t judge me.

Enjoy!

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup pure canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • Pumpkin Bread, toasted and cubed, recipe follows
  • Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise, recipe follows
  • Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce, recipe follows
  • Freshly whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 325º. Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Whisk together the yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture until combined, remove the vanilla pod, and whisk in the bourbon. Strain the custard into a clean bowl.

Scatter the pumpkin bread cubes in a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking glass baking dish. Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down on the bread to totally submerge it in the custard. Let sit for 15 minutes to allow the bread to soak up some of the custard.

Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and pour hot tap water into the roasting pan until it comes half way up the sides of the glass dish. Bake until the sides are slightly puffed and the center jiggles slightly, about 1 hour.

Remove from the oven and water bath and cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Spoon some of the Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise into a shallow bowl, top with some of the bread pudding and drizzle with the Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce. Top with freshly whipped cream. Bread pudding is best served warm.

Pumpkin Bread:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces (scant 1 cup) canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or lightly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a small bowl

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 4 tablespoons softened butter, sugar, and oil at high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl a few times.

Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just incorporated. At low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and water and mix until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.

Once the bread is cool, slice in half lengthwise, and then slice each half into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread the cubes on a large baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven until lightly toasted, turning once, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise:

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup pure cane sugar

Bring the half-and-half and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer in a medium saucepan.

Whisk together the yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until at the pale ribbon stage. Slowly whisk in the hot half-and-half, return the mixture to the pot, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon. Strain into a bowl and set over an ice bath. Stir until chilled. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Spicy Caramel Apple Sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon apple schnapps

Combine the cream, apple juice, star anise, ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain the mixture into a clean, small saucepan and place back over low heat while you make the caramel.

Combine the sugar, water and, vinegar in a medium saucepan over high heat and cook without stirring, until it’s a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm cream mixture a little at a time, and continue whisking until smooth. Add the apple schnapps and cook for 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm. The sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat before serving.

Categories: American, Breads, Desserts, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey

This is the dish that got me to like sweet potatoes many years ago.  In college, I lived in an old frat house that had been broken into a triplex.  A huge group of friends (22 of us total) from Cru got together and rented the thing out.  It was a blast, especially when we had whole-house activities such as Thanksgiving.

One of my friends, Nick (pictured in bottom right of the photo), who is an excellent cook by the way, made this awesome dish that tasted more like dessert than the yucky sweet potato casserole that normally shows up on Thanksgiving tables.  I absolutely fell and love with it!  This is now my go-to sweet potato dish for family gatherings and its always a hit.

Enjoy!

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 4 bananas, unpeeled
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees .

Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, put them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the bananas into the pan and continue roasting for 10 to 15 minutes, until both the bananas and potatoes are very soft. Remove the pan from the oven but don’t turn the oven off.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Peel the bananas and add them to the bowl along with 1 stick of the butter, and the honey. Season with salt and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until everything’s well combined and the mixture is fluffy. Spoon into an oven-proof serving bowl and smooth the top.

In a separate mixing bowl, use your fingers to rub together the remaining stick of butter, the brown sugar, flour, and pecans until the mixture is the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden. Serve hot.

 

 Courtesy of Tyler Florence (and Nick for introducing me to it!)

 

Categories: American, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Mini Pumpkin Pies – The Light Version

Before we get started, I am going to offer up an apology.  My blog is about to get SUPER lame for the next two months.  Seriously, its going to be bad and here’s why: while you think I am this young, little thing without a worry in the world besides what I am going to cook next, I’m actually an 80-year-old woman with bunions.  Okay, so I’m not really 80, but I do seriously have bunions that have been made unbearable by my addiction to stiletto heels.  Mmmmm, stilettos.  So basically, I have to have my left bunion removed on Monday (had the right one done in February) which means I’m off my feet for quite some time.  Totally lame-o.  If only I didn’t love shoes so much…if it were socially acceptable to go barefoot all the time, I could totally put this off for several more years.

In short foot surgery = can’t stand on two feet for at least 6 weeks = no cooking for Lauren.  However, Branden will be taking over the cooking, so hopefully he’ll have some things to share with you over the next two months (of course, I’ll be posting them because we all know he doesn’t really have the desire to post).

All that jazz aside, I figured I should share a quick fall/Thanksgiving recipe before I go down for the count (seeing as it will be Thanksgiving by the time I’m back to “normal”).  So who doesn’t love a good pumpkin pie?  If you don’t, stop here.  Sorry!

This is actually a light version of pumpkin pie that surprisingly tastes pretty darn close the real deal – Branden actually really likes this recipe and he normally hates slimmed down baked goods.  Let’s be honest, slimmed down baked goods are often disgusting.  My theory is, you might as well make the real deal so that you actually enjoy it and chalk it up as a loss in the calorie department…that is, until I found a version of this recipe last year.

If you want to make a full pie instead of individual ones, double all the ingredients for the filling and bake at the same temp for 50 minutes or until set.

Enjoy!

  • 4 sheets Phyllo dough
  • 1/4 c. packed, dark brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 c. canned pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 c. fat free evaporated milk
  • 1/4 c. egg whites or egg substitute
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º.  Lightly coat 6 ramekins with cooking spray.

Cut phyllo sheets in sixths*.  Place 1/6 phyllo in ramekin and lightly coat with cooking spray.  Top with another 1/6, placing corners just to the right of the previous sheet’s corners.  Repeat with two more pieces of phyllo.  Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla.  Gradually whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Divide filling evenly among ramekins.  Bake until set, about 40 minutes.  Cool completely before serving.

*Tip for working with phyllo: keep it covered with a damp cloth until you’re ready to use it as it dries out really quickly.  Store any unused dough in the freezer for later.

Categories: American, Desserts, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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