Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!,Elegant Christmas Wreath Cookies

 Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope everyone has a great Christmas day, enjoying a special breakfast,opening gifts and indulging in a grand feast.This is the very day to enjoy the company of your friends and family along with serving them some homemade goodies.Everyone loves a new treat to enjoy this season and for this year I am serving my family Peppermint Twist Wreaths, along side a homemade batch of eggnog I made last night.These are definitely a crowd pleaser cookie just by their appearance.

Peppermint Twist Wreaths are quite unique and are well worth the effort to create them.They will impress your guests and they will wonder how you were even able to create such a design.These elegant cookies are also made with a pretty simple cookie dough, using very common baking ingredients and easy to follow directions.They are also a chilled cookie dough,which makes it ten times better to handle when creating the twist and wreath designs.The assembling part of this recipe is quite fun;however can be quite fragile and you must be patient.

It does take take time to master the skill of rolling,twisting and creating the wreaths without breaking.A big tip I learned through this recipe is to keep the dough as cold as possible and not to handle it to much.In the end,I was able to make about forty-eight cookies in total with doubling the recipe since I knew if I'm putting this much effort into this design I want a lot in the end.More is always better.This recipe in the end was very adaptable.I was able to double the recipe and give my own design choices.They became my own unique Christmas wreaths.So I have to give this recipe two thumbs!

Now for the best part of any goodie,is the taste test.Well these cookies were exactly as I imagine.They had that great soft,melt in your mouth texture that works so well together.They were also buttery with a balance of sweetness, along with a twist of refreshing peppermint and vanilla flavor.The combination is delicious and everyone that has so far tested them out have nothing but good things to say.So this is definitely a cookie to serve up this Christmas and I recommend everyone to try it out.It may not be the quickest recipe to get done for Christmas;however if you want to impress the guests this year.I recommend making them in the morning to serve in the afternoon.Anyways, I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday and Happy New Years as well.

Peppermint Twist Wreaths 
(Adapted From Peppermint Twist Wreath)
2/3  cup  butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2  cups  sugar  
  teaspoon baking powder  
1/2 tsp teaspoon  salt  
2 lg  eggs 
tablespoons milk  
teaspoon  peppermint extract  
1 tsp  teaspoon vanilla  
cups  all-purpose flour  
1/4  teaspoon  red food coloring
1/4 tsp green food coloring
egg whites, lightly beaten (optional)
Coarse sugar (optional)

My Glaze

Icing sugar + water. 

In my electric mixer,I beat the soften butter and shortening on medium for 30 seconds,until creamed.

Then I added the sugar, baking powder and salt.Beating in until just combine.I turn off the machine and scraped the sides with a rubber spatula.

Then I beat in the eggs,milk,peppermint and vanilla until combined.

Then I beat the flour gradually into the mixture, until fully mixed.

Then I divided the dough into four halves.Two halves went into one large bowl and the other two halves in another.I dropped a few drops of red food coloring in one and the other with green food coloring.I gently mixed the coloring into the dough and used my hands just a little to help the mixing process.Then I covered each bowl and chilled them for 1 hour or overnight.Chilling will help make the dough easy to handle.

On my lightly floured surface,I rolled each dough portion into a 12 inch roll.I used m kitchen ruler to help get a good length and with each roll I cut twenty four slices that were about 1/2 inch thick.

Then I rolled each piece into a 6 inch rope.Then I placed a pink rope against a green rope and twisted them together about 5-6 times.Then I shape the twisted rope into circles and pinching them together at the ends.Pinching them helps to keep them together.

Then with a parchment lined cookie sheet I placed the wreaths and baked them for exactly 8 minutes,until they were firm to the touch and not brown.Then I cooled them on a cookie sheet before decorating.

Then I added icing sugar and water together in a small bowl, until I reach my desired consistency.Then I used it to help stick on the sugar silver balls.These can be store at room temp for up to 3 days and freeze for up to 3 months.Keep in an airtight container.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas Eve!, A Last Minute, Santa Approved Cookie!

This is the time of year where you must not go without a batch of good fashion sugar cookies in your home.Its the most popular treat amongst this season, along with buttery shortbread.Everyone has their favorite version and brings their own twist to the beloved cookie.Its also Santa's favorite cookie to munch on when he visits your home Christmas eve night.So if you need an easy and last minute cookie recipe for guests and Santa.Be sure to check out this one,you won't be disappointed, gran-teed.

This is what you call your typical easy rolled out sugar cookie recipe.Its made with simple ingredients and guess what its a no chilled cookie dough.The directions are short and sweet,with a lot of room for adapting with your own ideas.Lastly,it gives you an simple glaze that is optional.

I love this cookie recipe just for the fact it doesn't have to be chilled.This is great because it gives you so much more time to put towards decorating and the kids don't have to wait to impatiently.Its a win,win situation.Now once these cookies are cooled,the decorating will take some time depending on your skills and if you want to do all of them.Its really up to you and if you have children get them involved to get them done faster.Really this is the best part of any recipe and just remember sprinkles are an easy and inexpensive way to decorate a Christmas cookie.I got to give this recipe two thumbs up for simplicity and quick to make.

Now on to the flavor,texture and appearance of the treat.Now we all know these are pretty elegant sugar cookies and I put a lot of work into decorating each one.However that's just my opinion and I hope I impressed my foodie friends this year.However everyone wants to year about how they taste,right? 

Well these are of course quite buttery,but these have a flavor twist of using two different extracts.You will get an hint of vanilla along with a surprising lemony flavor.The flavors work in combination with each so well and just a simple change to the beloved recipe.Then with those flavors you have the sweetness from the sugar along with the soft and crunchy texture of the cookie.This treat has all the important key points of a good old fashion sugar cookie and your guests will love you for it.

So if you have limited time and have little helpers at your disposable.Get them involved in this recipe and tell them these are Santa's favorite cookies.They will have a lot of fun decorating these treats and you even have the option of leaving just a few untouched,especially for guest that love just a simple sugar cookie.So have a great Christmas Eve and I will see you tomorrow for my last holiday post.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter,softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder

Glaze: (optional)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp corn syrup
Food Coloring,optional

In a kitchen aid mixer,cream butter and sugar.Add egg and extracts.

Combine flour and baking powder.

Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.Tip: Dough will be very stiff,do not chill.

On a lightly floured surface,roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.Cut out cookies into desired holiday shapes.Place 2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 400 F for 6-7 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown.Its best to use a light colored baking sheet. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for two minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

For glaze,combine the sugar,water, and corn syrup until smooth.Tint with food coloring,if desired and decorate.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Kellog's Rice Krispie Cereal's Holiday Donation!

If you don't already know!, Kellogg's Rice Krispie cereal is given us foodies all across Canada a chance to create something really special this Christmas season. From October 1 to December 22nd,they are donating toys to the Salvation Army for every toy shaped treat that is made with their product and posted up on the Rice Krispies Canada's website.In their gallery you can see the out pouring of creavitity and generosity from all ages.

So when I saw all the great ideas I just knew I had to get on this cause and for the first time ever I made a Rice Krispie Christmas Train.I had the most fun decorating this treat and I'm happy I was able to give a child a toy for the holidays.

So if your interested in this worthy cause, be sure to pick up a box of Rice Krispie cereal preferably red and green and make your favorite toy.From their take your best photo and post it in their gallery.This will automatically have them donate $20 dollars to the Salvation Army and you will have a treat you can really enjoy.This would be a great activity for the kids and to give back to the less fortunate this Holiday season.So get creative,check out the recipes online and join me in the gallery. Tootles~

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cranberry Icebox Cookies Are A Great Choice This Holiday Season!

Its only 2 weeks till Christmas.So we have very little time for gift shopping and planning our holiday meals.So to help out with the festivities, I have a treat to share with all of you.I found this scrumptious Taste Of Home cranberry icebox cookie recipe that will be a sure fire hit with your guests this holiday season.Also, just think these beauty's would be great along side a homemade batch of eggnog.So are you convinced already to makes these?

Well I hope you are because this recipe even has simple ingredients and directions that anyone can follow.You really cannot go wrong with any of those traits.It's also quite adaptable to any one's likes and dislikes.For examples,the use of fresh or frozen cranberries,nuts,flavorings and even how the cookie's  are baked.I love the leeway in a recipe like this and given you the freedom to explore.Also I cannot leave out the fact that these are Icebox cookies,which means the dough is chill before baking.This makes it incredibly easy to create the exact shape and thickness of a perfect thin wafer cookie.You cannot find this unique look in any drop cookie recipe.This is a top notch recipe and I had a lot of fun making these little sliced cookies.

Now its the best part of any treat,the judgement. When I took just a small bite of this wafer I was instantly captured by its delicious flavor and texture.These cookies were crisp around the edges,while being soft,moist and crumbly in the middle.The wafer had a rich buttery and caramel like flavor.However the cranberries were the star of the show because they brought a natural sweetness and tartness that meshed so well with the combination of extracts.Its yet again a cookie experience that cannot be missed and must be enjoyed with the company of friends and family.

This treat is a great choice for this holiday season and I highly recommend you experience it for yourself.Be sure to share the treat with everyone and impress them with your baking skills.I give this recipe two thumbs up!

Cranberry Icebox Cookies

Adapted From Taste Of Home Best Loved Cookies Magazine 
Recipe Sent In By Gloria Anderson from Paso Robles,CA

1 1/4 cup unsalted butter,softened
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup walnuts,chopped (optional)
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries,chopped

In the bowl, I creamed the butter and sugars together in my mixer. 

I added the eggs,one at a time,beating well after each addition.Then beating in the extracts.

I combined the flour,baking powder,salt and baking soda.

Then I gradually added the dry mixture to the creamed mixture.

I chose to not add the chopped walnuts and carefully stirred in the chopped cranberries.Then I shaped the dough into a big ball.

Then I proceeded to divide the dough into three evenly size balls and roll each into three 7 inch rolls.

Then I wrapped each individually in saran wrap and refrigerated for 4 hours (Tip: Can be overnight).

Once the dough was firm enough.I worked with one log at a time I cut 1/4 inch thick slices and placed them on an ungreased baking sheet.

Then I baked them at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.Then cooled on a wire rack.Tip: If you prefer a softer cookie, bake just until lightly golden brown on the edges.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Is Meals In A Jar For Everyone?

Meals in A Jar,from Julie Languille is a recipe book that stems on the idea of stocking up your pantry with ready to cook meals.It includes many recipes to make for breakfast,lunch,dinner and even dessert.Its quite a creative recipe book and includes a lot of information on how to store food to last up to a year. Now, there is one question that has to be asked, is this cookbook for everyone?

Well in my opinion, I will have to answer this question with a, big no.This cookbook isn't for everyone because it actually targets a specific hobby.I feel this cookbook isn't tailored to a person that loves all the aspects of cooking especially the prep work and the use of fresh ingredients.For me, its not well suited to my lifestyle because its difficult to afford the equipment to store the meals and the ingredients are excessive in most recipes.So with just this aspect it has made it quite difficult for me to test out most of the meals in this cookbook, even without storing them.So, in this predicament I was only able to find a couple recipes to test out for review.

So with these recipes they were quite simple to put together;however it seemed strange to me that they were even part of meals in a jar since homemade syrup and lemonade can be easily made on the spot.For example the syrup side-kit is only made with brown sugar and salt,which are ingredients that most people have available in their pantries.Now for the lemonade all you need to make one pitcher is sugar,dehydrated lemons and ice water.Both these recipes seem impractical to store for future use since you can just as easily make them with fresh ingredients.Don't get me wrong though these recipes do create a delicious thick syrup and sweet, lemony drink.I just don't see the point of storing it;however for most of the other recipes I can actually see them being great for quick, homemade meals.

In the end, I felt very disappointed with Meals In A Jar because I at least expected to make a few simple meals that weren't way over my budget and I also could give away as gifts.This is solely a hobby cookbook and less about the experience of actually cooking.I love cooking and most of these recipe can be made just as quick and subsequently cheaper without the use of airlock bags and jars.This cookbook is best suited for someone with a lot of knowledge on canning and owns many of the equipment already.So be warned before you pick up this book in the store because its not all what it seems.If you already have these in your kitchen then I recommend picking this book up for yourself.Its just not a book well suited to me and maybe one day I'll find the best person to give this too.

Also, to learn a little more about Meals In A Jar cookbook be sure to check out the personal reviews on amazon.You will notice a pattern of love it and hate it relationship with this cookbook.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

No Bones About It,These Cookies Are Bone Chilling, Good!


The spooky day is finally upon us and its time to celebrate.So whatever you may choose to do tonight, from dressing up,giving out candy,or attending a costume party.Be sure to leave room to make a homemade creepy treat for tonight because you don't want to miss out on making a scary and delicious treat,do you? Well I'll make sure that happens by recommending this simple and bone chilling bone yard cookie recipe.You will be quite impressed in the end.

For me,I was quite attracted by this recipe at the get go because I really wanted to take on the challenge of making bone cookies.It was also the picture in the magazine and the combination of ingredients that I couldn't resist.Just think? A sandwich cookie with jam in the middle with a coating of white chocolate,that sounds like a delicious creepy treat to me.So are you just as convince as I was to make this recipe.

Well lets start by breaking down this recipe with my experience.For me,I learned that this recipe is easier then it might look to make and the directions are quite simple to understand.The ingredients are also easy to find and quite adaptable if need be.Now I also have to mention that once you buy these ingredients make sure to get a little extra white chocolate.This is just in case you get to overzealous on the coating of these cookies.I ran into the same problem and had to use vanilla candy melts for the last few.Its always good to have extra ingredients on hand for any challenge.

Now this recipe maybe quite easy to make;however it does come with its own challenges as I mentioned.The first challenge I ran into was actually finding a bone shaped cookie cutter prior to making this recipe.This was pure luck finding this specific sized cutter,since Bulk Barn just opened near my work.So if you don't have this cookie cutter bulk barn as three sizes of dog bones;however you might be able to find them at a craft store. 

The second challenge I ran into was trying to find the best way to dip and remove these cookies without ruining the look of realistic bones.I learned that using a slotted spoon and a knife is the best way for me.This helped me scoop up the cookie without breaking and the knife helped smooth off the excess chocolate.Also, I learned that its quite important to not overuse the white chocolate on the cookies as I mentioned before.In the end, I was able to coat the leftovers and they all came out pretty well coated and looking creepy in a very simple way.I was quite impressed that this recipe concept worked so well and was challenging at the same time. For me,I have to give this recipe two thumbs up!

Now, for the best part of all, the taste test.No bones about it,they were top notch delicious.These cookies had all the right combination of flavors and texture.There appearance was very creepy with their pure white and glossy look that I thought they would be really well suited at a fancy Halloween party.Now there appearance may look great,but once you take a bite of one of these bones you will be wonderfully delighted.The outside as a smooth and melt in your mouth texture that is sweet,however not overpowering to the rest of the cookie.The cookie itself is buttery,soft and crumbly with a mild fruit sweetness from the jam inside.The white chocolate is the star of the show here and compliments the cookie so well.

I love this combination of a cookie because you get chocolate and a cookie put together,along with creating a spooky treat for Halloween.Its a win,win situation and I'm so glad I made these this year.Thanks Taste Of Home for picking such great recipes. I give the flavor of this cookie two thumbs up and is my favorite out of all the spooky treats.

Be sure to make these today,because you don't want to miss out on something this good!

Boneyard Cookies

Sent In By Celena Cantrell- Richardson,Michnigan,USA

1 cup confectioner sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cold butter,cubed
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
 2-3 tbsp Seedless strawberry-raspberry jam (Good to have extra on hand)
16-18 oz white baking chocolate,chopped (Good to have an extra pkg)

1.In a medium bowl, I stirred together confectioner and cornstarch.Then I cut in the butter using a pastry cutter,until the dry mixture resembled coarse crumbs.

2.Then I added the eggs one a time,beating well after each,using a handheld electric mixer.Then I beat in the extract,until combined.

3.In a medium bowl, I stirred together flour and salt,to evenly distribute. Then I gradually added the flour mixture to the sugar mixture,mixing well.

4.Once the dough came together, I shaped into a ball and flatten it.Then I proceed to wrap it with saran wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes,until easy to handle.

5.Once the dough was easy enough to handle.I cut the chilled dough in half,so I could deal with a smaller piece of dough and kept the other half chilled,until ready to use.I lightly floured my surface and roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness.I cut bone shaped cookies using my 3 1/2 cookie cutter and place them on parchment paper lined baking sheets.Make sure to cut a even amount of cookies so each one can be sandwiched together.

6.Then I baked them at 350 F for 10 minutes,until the edges began to brown.Then I remove them to a wire rack to cool. Then I continue the steps # 6  and #7 with the second piece of dough .I ended up with a small piece of dough and I just bake it with the cookies.

7.Then on the bottom of half of the cookies, I spread about 1/8 tsp-1/4 tsp of  seedless jam down the center,then topping it with remaining cookies,gently pressing together.Jam will seep through the side,so I just spread it off with a knife, gently.Letting them set, I began making the chocolate coating.

8.First, I chopped the 18 oz of Baker's White Chocolate and placed it in a medium glass bowl.I melted it in the microwave for 1 minute,remove it and stirred.Then I put it back in the microwave for additional 20 second,stirring and then I heated up again for another 10 seconds,stirring until smooth.

9.Then with one at a time, I dipped each cookie into the melted chocolate,allowing excess to drip off.This can be difficult to figure out the best utensil to dip and remove.

For me, I used a slotted spoon to submerge and lift out.I also used a knife to help remove extra chocolate on the flat side.Then I place the coated cookies on baking sheet with parchment paper,letting stand until set.Then I kept them in the fridge to harden some more and then I removed them from the sheet to place them in an airtight container.Keeping them chilled overtime is best,before serving.
Tip:Be sure to have extra baker white chocolate,just in case you run out.Or if you have any candy melts like I did. Just melt them in a glass bowl the same way for the white chocolate.