Monday, December 22, 2008

Butter Christmas Cookies

These cookies were so yummy and really easy to make. They were a perfect addition to my Christmas goodie plates. To make the dough even more festive, use food coloring to turn the dough red and green.
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and egg yolk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Fill a cookie press or pastry bag with dough, and form cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.If you don't have a cookie press, roll dough into balls, use the bottam side of a cup to press down and use sprinkles to make designs. (This is what I did.)
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cookies are golden brown on the peaks and on the bottoms. Remove from cookie sheets at once to cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Brownies

I was in the mood to create a festive, Christmas dessert, and since I've been addicted to Candy Cane Oreos and Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses, I knew I had to use these special addition classics. What better way to accentuate the sweet peppermint taste than by adding chocolate? Even I was surprised at how incredibly delicious these turned out. I couldn't stop at one, or two, or even three. I promise that these will delight any and all. Get your napkins ready, because you're about to start drooling.

Christmas Brownies
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
12 Candy Cane Oreo Cookies, chopped
3/4 bag Candy Cane kisses, crushed and divided
3/4 cup Toll House Semi-sweet Chocolate Chunks (You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips if you don't have the chunks)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 by 13 inch pan.
Microwave the butter in a microwave safe bowl until melted. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add the cocoa; beat well until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder and salt; beat well.
Add the Chocolate Chunks and stir.
Add the chopped oreos. Stir just until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle a light layer (about 3/4 cup) of crushed candy cane kisses over top of batter. This allows a little bit of the minty white chocolate to melt and sink into the batter making a heavenly taste.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the pan sides.
Remove and immediately add the remaining crushed kisses. They will just start to melt and give the brownies a very festive (and delicious) look.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reindeer Cupcakes

We had a lot of fun with these little guys. We invited the cousins over and they all had a great time decorating their own cupcakes. One of the kids even came up with putting freckles on their reindeer. Quite creative. ;)

Reindeer Cupcakes

Your favorite cake recipe
Your favorite frosting recipe (I used my delicious chocolate buttercream)
Mini M&M's or something similar for eyes
Red gumballs or something similar for noses
Fruit loops or licorice string for mouths
Pretzels for antlers

Make cupcakes and then frost with chocolate frosting. Immediately decorate . Cut the fruit loops in half for a smile, break pretzels in half for antlers, and get creative with the rest. I only had mini pretzels, but I think regular large pretzels would look better and more antlerish. Have fun!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mini Cheescake Bites

I made these cute little cheesecake bites for an impromptu birthday celebration. I actually like the plain ones better than the chocolate topped ones, but either way they are scrumptious and addicting. I made these in November, but to make them festive for the the holiday season, you can sprinkle crumbled candy canes on top.

1 Cup crushed Nilla Wafers
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 8oz packages reduced fat softened cream cheese
½ Cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons light sour cream
Pinch of salt

½ Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place ground cookies and melted butter into a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of crust into each mini cheesecake pan or mini muffin tin. With fingers, press crust down until even.

2. Use a mixer to beat cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Add in eggs one at a time following with the vanilla, sour cream, and pinch of salt. Mix until just combined.

3. Fill each crust filled cup ¾ way full of cheesecake batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Remove from oven and let sit in pan at room temperature for 30 minutes before removing. Transfer to mini cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While Cheesecakes are cooling, place chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave for 30 second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir in heavy cream until shiny and smooth. Spoon ganache over each cheesecake or half of the cheesecakes. Refrigerate until serving.

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes

Stay tuned for some yummy Christmas goodies! I finally have time to start baking.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Herbed Chicken in Pastry

I use the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets for so many things. They are so versatile, not to mention just plain yummy. The possibilities are endless when it comes to pastry sheets.
Well, I just happened to look at the recipes on the inside of the box and found this little treasure. It was simple, delicious, and impressive to my kids and hubby. Can't beat that! I made it extra fun for my kids by making mini pastries. To make them mini, just use half of everything.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 T. butter
1/2 pkg Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 T. water
1 container (4 oz.) garlic & herb spreadable cheese
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper if desired. Melt butter in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken. Cover and refrigerate 15 min. or up to 24 hours.

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Mix egg and water. Preheat over to 400.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14" square and cut into 4 (7") squares. Spread about 2 T. of the cheese spread in center of each square. Sprinkle with 1 T. parsley and top with cooled chicken. Brush edges of squares with egg mixture. Fold each corner to center on top of chicken and seal edges. Place seam-side down on baking sheet. Brush with egg mixture.

Bake 25 min. or until golden.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shrimp Tetrazzini

This recipe turned out so incredibly delicious. Even my hubby, who doesn't normally like any kind of seafood, raved about it and licked the pan clean. And a big bonus, my kids liked it too... probably because of the cheesy noodles. It was fairly easy and perfect for an easy night at home or to impress guests with.
Sorry about the picture, I had completely forgotten to take a picture and when I remembered it was almost completely gone, so I scraped everyone's leftovers on to one plate and snapped a picture.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 16 oz shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 (8 ounce) package spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well.
  2. Over a medium-low heat melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add onion and garlic to melted butter and stir until soft. Add shrimp and mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes stirring often. Remove shrimp mixture from saucepan, place in a medium size bowl and set aside.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat. Combine flour, mayonnaise, salt, milk, and apple cider in the saucepan. Mix well. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until sauce thickens.Add the cream cheese and stir until mixed well. Add a couple of shakes of freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Pour sauce into the bowl containing the shrimp mixture. Add the spaghetti to the bowl and mix well. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  5. Place all ingredients in a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish (baking pan). Sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on top of the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.