Smoked Salmon Rolls


Ingredients

12 oz.(350 g) smoked salmon slices
1 cucumber
4 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp chopped dill
1 tsp horseradish
lemon wedges and dill sprigs, to serve


Directions

Cut the smoked salmon into 16 strips measuring 5" x 1 1/2" (12cm × 4cm). Cut the cucumber into batons measuring 1 1/2" x 1/4" (4cm x 5mm). Set both aside.

Put the cream cheese in a bowl and stir in the dill, mayonnaise, and horseradish until evenly combined.

Lay the smoked salmon strips on a board and spread with the cheese mixture, leaving 1" (2.5cm) clear at one short end. Lay a cucumber baton across each strip and roll up tightly from the short end where the cheese mixture comes to the edge.

Arrange the rolls on a serving platter, garnished with lemon wedges and sprigs of dill.

Jiffy Cheese Biscuits

Ingredients

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup hard margarine
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cups water


Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking powder, seasoning, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in margarine with a pastry blender until crumbly. Add cheese and water. Stir until just moistened.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned. Makes 24 biscuits.

Saskatchewan Corn Chowder

When I went to school in Saskatchewan, Marni, the head cook, made a phenomenal Corn Chowder. Although I haven't been able to duplicate it, my friend, Kim, has developed this recipe which is pretty darn close.


Ingredients

1 lb. farmer sausage, cut up into bite-sized pieces
4 cups water (or chicken broth)
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 - 4 medium-sized carrots, either sliced thin or shredded
6 - 8 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1 - 2 cups frozen corn


Directions

In a large pot, boil water with the meat, onions, garlic, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper and cook for 8 - 10 minutes.

Add carrots, potatoes and more water if necessary in order to cook the vegetables properly. Continue to cook on medium heat until the peppers, carrots and potatoes are tender.

In a bowl, combine milk and flour to create a paste. Add to the pot of meat/vegetables and bring to a slow boil, stirring often to prevent sticking. As the soup thickens, more milk may be added, depending on the consistency you prefer your soup to be.

Add corn approximately 7 minutes prior to serving and bring the soup to a boil, allowing the corn to cook in the broth. Serve with cheese biscuits.

NOTE: Add more salt or pepper according to your taste preference.


This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Yellow
Sunday Night = Soup Night
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Recipes 2011

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar


Directions

Mix granulated sugar, oil, vanilla and chocolate in large bowl. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease cookie sheets. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls into powdered sugar; roll in sugar to coat. Shape dough into balls. Place about 2 in. apart on baking sheet. Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool completely.


This recipe is also linked to...

Sweet Indulgences Sundays
Food on Friday: Chocolate 

Italian Almond Cookies


Ingredients

2 1/4 cups ground almonds
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 maraschino cherries, cut into 1/4s
OR 30 blanched whole almonds


Directions

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets, then line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine ground almonds and 1/3 cup sugar. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to medium and gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Return speed to high and beat mixture until stiff, shiny peaks form. Gently fold in ground almond mixture and almond and vanilla extracts.

Roll mixture into 1-inch balls, place 2 inches apart on baking sheets, and flatten slightly. Top each with a 1/4 maraschino cherry or almond. Bake until cookies are golden, switching positions of pans halfway through, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.


This recipe is also linked on...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)
Food on Friday: Cherries and Almonds 

Pecan and Sea Salt Cookies


Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups millet flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt, for topping the cookies


Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl beat the butter, egg, vanilla extract and agave syrup. Stir the liquid mixture into the flour then stir in the nuts.

On a lightly floured surface, shape the cookie dough into a log, about 12 inches long—if the dough is not firm enough to shape into a log, refrigerate it for 10 minutes then try again. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Slice the log into 1/2-inch cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Makes about 16 cookies. Encrust each cookie with a small amount of sea salt. Bake until lightly golden, 11 to 12 minutes.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

Ingredients

3 small oranges or 2 large oranges (with unwaxed skin)
8 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
4 1/4 cups ground almond

For the Orange Syrup topping:
1 orange
3/4 cup sugar


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a round 8-inch springform pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line base with non-stick baking paper.

Place the oranges in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes (this will reduce the bitterness of the peel). Refresh under cold water. Drain. Coarsely chop oranges. Remove and discard any seeds.

Place the orange in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.

Use an electric beater to whisk the eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Add the orange puree, almonds and baking powder and gently fold until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 90 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the baking pan.

Meanwhile, to make the orange syrup, use a zester to remove the rind from the orange. (Alternatively, use a vegetable peeler to peel the rind from orange. Use a small sharp knife to remove white pith. Cut rind into thin strips.) Juice orange.

Place rind in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain. Return to pan with orange juice and sugar. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens.

Turn cake onto a serving plate. Use a skewer to gently prick the top. Spoon over syrup. Cut into wedges to serve.

White Christmas Cherry-Almond Fudge















Ingredients

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup butter
1 (12 oz) package white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup snipped dried tart red cherries
1/2 cup sliced/slivered almonds (optional)


Directions

Line an 8x8x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Lightly butter the foil and set aside.

Butter sides of a heavy, medium saucepan. Add sugar, milk and butter to saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Once boiling, attach a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to a hair above medium low and continue to stir for 7-10 minutes until your thermometer reads 234°F.

Once your mixture hits the appropriate temperature, remove from heat and grab a wooden spoon. Add the chocolate chips stirring vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. If you like, stir in almond extract. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until well blended. Stir in dried cherries. Quickly pour into prepared pan. Chill candy overnight.

When firm, use foil to lift fudge from pan. Cut into squares. Store in a tightly covered container in refrigerator.

Candy Cane Fudge

















Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 peppermint candy canes, crushed


Directions

Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with two sheets of waxed or parchment paper in a crisscross manner (one lengthwise, one crosswise) so ends overhang sides of pan; coat evenly with cooking spray.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, cook sugar, salt, butter, cream, and marshmallows, stirring, until butter and marshmallows are almost melted, 5 to 6 minutes.

Bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chips and vanilla; stir until chips are melted. Pour mixture into lined pan. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Cool completely; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Cookies n Cream Fudge

















INGREDIENTS

2 cups sugar
1/2 cups butter
2/3 cups whipping cream
1 (12 oz) package white chocolate chips
1 7-oz jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla
12 Oreo cookies, broken into bite-size pieces


DIRECTIONS


In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture reaches 234°F (use candy thermometer).

Remove from heat; add chocolate; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla; mix well.  Gently stir in the Oreo pieces. Pour mixture into a 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool completely; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Sugar Cookies


INGREDIENTS

2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


DIRECTIONS

Cream butter, sugar and salt in large bowl until well blended. Beat in vanilla.

Mix flour into creamed mixture at low speed until well blended.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Roll out dough, half at a time, on floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coloured sugars and decors or leave plain to frost when cool.

Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until set.

Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating with icing.


This recipe is also linked to...

Crazy Sweet Tuesdays
Sweet Treats Thursdays
Sweets for a Saturday

Haselnussplätzchen (a.k.a. German Hazelnut Cookies)


INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cup sugar
7/8 cup butter
1 egg
2 1/3 cup ground hazelnuts (filberts)
2 cups all purpose flour


DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg. Then add the ground hazelnuts and the flour. Knead it into a compact dough, then let it cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours. If the dough isn't cold enough when you cut out the cookies, they end up melting in the oven. So make sure that the dough is nice and cold before you start rolling it out on your counter. I even put them on a cookie sheet and put them back in the fridge before baking.

Roll out dough to 1/2 cm thick. Cut bite-size round shapes with a cookie cutter and place on a parchment or silicone lined cookie sheet. Bake them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. They should be dark brown. The darker they are, the stronger the nutty flavor, but there's a fine line between dark and burned. Let them cool off on a cooling rack.

Zimtsterne (a.k.a. German Cinnamon Stars)














INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) hazelnuts or blanched almonds, finely ground
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
About 1/2 cup additional confectioners' sugar for rolling


DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Combine the nuts, cinnamon, and zest. Beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until stiff and glossy, 5 to 8 minutes. Reserve one-third of the meringue (about 1/3 cup) and fold the nut mixture into the remaining meringue.

Place a large piece of waxed paper on a flat surface and sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar. Place the nut mixture on the sugar, lightly sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, top with a second piece of waxed paper, and roll out 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top piece of waxed paper. Using a cookie cutter dipped in water, cut into 2-inch star shapes or use a sharp knife to cut into diamonds. Reroll and cut any scraps. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Spread the reserved meringue over the top of the cookies and bake until the tops are lightly colored, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Zimtsterne taste best if allowed to stand for 24 hours. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

Thumbprint Cookies (a.k.a. Engelsaugen)

INGREDIENTS

6 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup jam (doesn't all have to be the same kind)


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Beat in oil and vanilla.
Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Stir into creamed mixture until the dough comes together.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls (smaller than a golf ball, a bit bigger than a grape). Using the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation into the center of each ball.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or just until the bottoms are browning. Remove from the oven and use the back of a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon to re-do the indentation. Fill each indentation with 1/4 teaspoon jam and allow to cool.

Frankfurter Bethmaennchen



"Frankfurter Bethmännchen" translated: a little Bethmann from Frankfurt; the name comes from the family of Simon Moritz von Bethmann in Frankfurt

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp prepared marzipan/almond paste
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp Amaretto
7 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 eggs
3 to 5 Tbsp cornstarch
120 almond halves, reserved for decoration


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Break the marzipan dough into small pieces and mix with one of the eggs, water, Amaretto, powdered sugar, ground almonds and cornstarch.

Separate the remaining egg and beat the yolk, set aside.

Form marzipan mixture into balls the size of walnuts, placing three almond halves onto the top of each ball.

Brush each ball with the beaten yolk and place on a cookie sheet.

Place cookie sheet on the middle rack. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown.


This recipe is also linked to...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Chocolate Espresso Fudge

















Ingredients:

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup Kahlua coffee liqueur (or an additional 1/4 cup whipping cream)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-3 tsp instant espresso powder
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme


Directions:

Line a 9x9 inch pan with foil and coat with a little nonstick spray.

Combine sugar, butter, Kahlua (if using) and cream into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Once boiling, attach a candy thermometer and reduce the heat to a hair above medium low and continue to stir for 7-10 minutes until your thermometer reads 234°F.

Once your mixture hits the appropriate temperature, remove from heat and grab a wooden spoon. Add the chocolate chips stirring vigorously until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Sprinkle in the espresso powder while stirring, add more or less depending on how strong you like your coffee, or in this case, coffee fudge. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until well blended.

Pour the mixture into your pan and allow to cool for several hours, until firm.

Eggnog Fudge















Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup eggnog
2 cups sugar
1 (12 oz) white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème
1 tsp rum or rum extract


Directions:

In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, eggnog, and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture reaches 234°F (use candy thermometer).

Remove from heat; add chocolate and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme and rum; mix well. Pour mixture into a 8-inch square pan lined with buttered foiland sprinkle with more fresh ground nutmeg. Cool completely; cut into 1-inch squares.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Sea Salted Caramels
















Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt


Directions:

Butter the sides and bottom of a heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add butter and melt over low heat. Add sugars, corn syrups and cream; mix well.

Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until mixture reaches 248°F (use candy thermometer).

Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into a 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool at room temperature until caramel begins to set, sprinkle with sea salt; cool completely.

Use foil to lift caramel out of pan. Butter a large chef’s knife and cut caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap caramels individually in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Almond Chocolate Shortbread


Ingredients:

Shortbread:

1/2 cup roasted almonds
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
10 Tbsp butter, softened (plus additional for pan)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp almond extract

Chocolate Caramel:

11 ounces (about 2 cups) milk chocolate, chopped or chips
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sea salt or smoked salt (optional)


Directions:

Shortbread:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper or foil; butter the interior of the paper or foil.

Grind roasted almonds in food processor until the consistency of coarse corn meal. In medium bowl, whisk together ground almonds, flour, salt and cinnamon; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and almond extract with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture in two batches mixing until crumbly, but sticky dough forms.

Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Chocolate Caramel:

Place chocolate in medium glass or stainless steel bowl; set aside. In medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook mixture over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.

Add butter, cream and salt. Return to heat and simmer over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Pour mixture over chocolate; let stand 2 minutes. Stir until smooth; let stand to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour mixture over shortbread. Allow to cool about 30 minutes and then refrigerate overnight or at least 5 hours.

Sprinkle with sea salt or smoked salt, if desired. To cut, run a knife around edges of pan to loosen the parchment or foil; carefully lift the paper out of pan. Cut bars with knife dipped in hot water and remove paper or foil. Store bars in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints















INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs, separated
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans

Caramel sauce:
30 caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream

Glaze:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs corn syrup


DIRECTIONS

Combine butter, sugar, egg yolks, milk and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder and salt. Beat until well combined. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites in a small bowl. Place finely chopped pecans in a bowl. Set aside. Roll dough into balls. Dip balls into egg white and then into pecans. (I find this easier if I make a whole baking sheet worth of dough balls, then dip them in egg/pecans). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make a small indentation with your thumb in the center of each cookie.

Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes, or until cookies are set. While cookies are still hot, press center again (the back of a measuring teaspoon or small melon-baller work well for this-no burned thumbs!)

To prepare Caramel Sauce: Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until caramels are melted. Spoon small amount of caramel into centers of baked cookies. Carefully remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For Chocolate Glaze: Combine bittersweet chips, butter and corn syrup in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 20-30 seconds if not melted. Let cool slightly. Pour chocolate into a small Ziploc freezer bag (don’t use a regular bag-it WILL burst). Poke a hole in the corner of the bag (a bamboo skewer makes a perfect sized hole). Drizzle chocolate over the cooled cookies. Cool until set.

To store: refrigerate or freeze cookies in individual layers; then store between layers of waxed paper in the refrigerator or freezer. They can also be stored at room temperature, but if you stack them, they will stick together.

Chocolate Rolo Cookies
















INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp milk
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
Mini Rolos


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a saucepan over low heat, combine butter, sugar and milk. Heat until melted and add chocolate chips until mostly melted. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted. Pour mixture into large mixing bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Beat in eggs one at a time on high speed. Add flour, salt and baking soda; mix on low speed until well blended. Dough will be very soft, almost liquid. If desired, chill for 1 hour for easier handling (you can usually use the dough in less than an hour).

Take about 1 tsp dough and wrap it around a Rolo (use just enough dough to completely cover Rolo). Place on baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes (Do not overcook; cookies will still look a little underdone). Cool on baking sheet 1-2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.


Variation: You could use caramels, Jr Mints, or Andes mints (cut into squares) on the inside of this cookie.

Secret Kiss Cookies















INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup ground pecans
1 3/4 cup flour
36 Hershey's kisses, unwrapped - you'll need more for the quality taste testing that is crucial while unwrapping ;)
Powdered sugar for dusting/rolling


DIRECTIONS

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the flour and nuts and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Refrigerate the dough for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Pull the dough out of the fridge and roll a small amount of dough (about a tablespoon) around each kiss. I like to smoosh the dough just a bit in my palm, stick the kiss in point first, then wrap it around. You have to smoosh it a little to hide the kiss completely.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for about 11 minutes, just until set and the bottoms are a golden brown.

Let cool for about five minutes. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.

Allow to cool completely before putting into boxes. These freeze well, so feel free to make them now then save them until the big day.

Coffee Crisps

















INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp cold coffee (strong)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp cinnamon
coffee beans (for garnish)


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar.

Add the egg and cold coffee; beat well.

In another bowl, combine flour, instant coffee and cinnamon.

Gradually stir dry ingredients into the wet mix; work the last bit in by hand until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Roll out as thin as possible onto a floured surface and cut with cookie cutters.

Place cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and put a coffee bean in the centre of each cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly browned.

Chocolate Puddle Cookies


INGREDIENTS

3 cups pecan halves, toasted and cooled
4 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp real, good-quality vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 320 degrees F and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. Or you can bake in batches with fewer pans.

Make sure your pecans have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift together the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in the pecans, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. These cookies really expand. Don't try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, and try to avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.

Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit - about 8 to 12 minutes. Have faith, they look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.

Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.


This recipe is also linked on...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts
This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)
Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Minty Chocolate Sandwich Cookies















INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 egg white
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

Peppermint cream filling:

2+ cups powdered sugar, sifted
10 - 15 drops peppermint extract (to taste)
1/4 cup half and half (or water if you are going to keep the cookies around unrefrigerated for a while)


DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, position the racks in the middle of the oven, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and cream some more, scraping the sides of the bowl a time or two. Stir in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, egg white, and salt and mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter is smooth and creamy and the consistency of a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the batter is no longer dusty looking. It might still be a bit crumbly, and that's okay.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, gather it into a ball, and knead it just once or twice to bring it together into a smooth mass. Divide into two pieces place each into a plastic bag and flatten into disks roughly 1 inch thick. Put the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.

One bag at a time remove the dough from the freezer. On a well floured surface roll it out very thin (remember these are going to be sandwich cookies) - roughly 1/8 inch thick. Or you might find it easiest to roll it out between to Silpats or pieces of plastic.

Use cookie cutters to cut cookies in whatever shape you like - I used tiny scalloped circles here. Place on the prepared baking sheets, and bake for 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack (if you have one).

While the cookies are baking, go ahead and make the filling. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whisk together the sugar and cream (or water) until nice and fluffy. You want the filling to be thick enough that it doesn't ooze out the sides of the cookies after they are filled, so if you need to add more powdered sugar, do so in small increments. If you need to thin out your filling, add more half and half a few drops at a time. Whisk in the peppermint extract a bit at a time, and taste as you go, the peppermint flavor shouldn't be overwhelming.

When the cookies have completely cooled slather a bit of filling on half of the cookies. Top each slather with another cookie and enjoy!


Variations:

Instead of minty cream filling, you can substitute strawberry, raspberry, orange, coffee or any other flavouring that you like with chocolate.

Honigkuchen (a.k.a. Honey Cookies)


Ingredients

1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/8 cup unsalted butter
3/8 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking ammonia* dissolved in 2 1/4 tsp boiling water
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups flour

Icing:
1 egg white
3/4 cup icing sugar


Directions

Beat together, butter, honey, brown sugar, eggs and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Add soda, dissolved ammonia and spices.

Add flour and mix thoroughly. Dough will be fairly soft and will start to pull away from the spoon.

Refrigerate overnight. (It will keep in the fridge for several days.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll into 1-inch balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. (I use a small spring-style ice cream scoop to make them an even size and then roll each ball smooth between my hands.) Should make about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Bake for about 10 minutes.

Cool completely.

Beat egg whites until foamy and add icing sugar in 3 parts beating very well after each addition. Continue to beat until icing holds a soft peak.

Place the cookies in a very large bowl.

Pour icing over and, using your hands, gently fold icing over cookies until cookies are almost completely covered.

Take cookies out of the bowl one at a time, making sure each cookie is covered completely in icing and lay out on waxed paper.

When cookies have completely dried on one side, turn them upside down and let the bottoms dry completely.

These cookies are best baked a month or so before Christmas so that the flavours have time to "ripen". Do not store them in the freezer. I line ice cream buckets with waxed paper and layer the cookies with squares of waxed paper in between each layer. Cover tightly and store in a cool place.

*NOTE: Many of our our grandmothers' recipes call for baking ammonia as it was the precursor to baking powder and baking soda. It is actually "Ammonium bicarbonate". This is a leavening agent and can be purchased in European food stores (may be labeled as "Hirschhornsalz"), health food stores or some pharmacies. Please do not confuse it with ammonia - that is poisonous.


This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Honey

Gingerbread Cookies

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp finely ground pepper
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses


DIRECTIONS

Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.

Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into snowflakes with a 7- inch snowflake-shape cookie cutter. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Cherry Snowballs















INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 tsp salt
36 maraschino cherries, well drained

COATING:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
2 cups flaked coconut, finely chopped


DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in water and vanilla. Combine flour, oats and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape a tablespoonful of dough around each cherry, forming a ball. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve smooth dipping consistency. Dip cookies, then roll in coconut. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.

Chocolate Chip Tea Cookies

















INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups miniature chocolate chips, divided


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and mix well. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup miniature chocolate chips.

Shape into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Remove to wire rack to cool.

Place 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips in a sealed plastic bag and microwave until melted; about 30 seconds. Snip off a small corner of the bag and drizzle chocolate on top of cold cookies. Chill for 5 minutes or until chocolate is set. Store at room temperature.

Gewuerzplaetzchen (a.k.a. Spice Krinkles)


Ingredients

1 1/3 cups oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour
Sparkly sugar or Turbinado sugar for rolling


Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, stir together oil, sugar, eggs, honey, baking soda, salt, spices and vanilla. Mix well, then stir in the flour, stirring just until it is mixed in.

Shape the cookies into balls about 1 inch in diameter and roll them in sparkly sugar (or Turbinado). Place 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. They should be nicely browned around the edges, crackly and golden.


This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Honey

Italian Lemon Twists

These cookies have so many different names and many different shapes, but I only know them as "Lemon Twists". They are also known as Italian Lemon Knots, Italian Lemon Cookies, Italian Bow Knots, Anginetti, and Tarallucci.


INGREDIENTS

1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon rind
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups flour

Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon juice


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets.

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon rind and salt till light and fluffy. Add eggs, yolks and vanilla. Mix well.

Add flour 1 cup at a time blending well until dough forms.

Form dough into ball and let rest 5 minutes.

Take a portion of dough at a time and roll into a 4-inch log. Fold rope in half and twist into a rope by twisting.

Repeat until all dough is used.

Bake 12 minutes or till golden brown.

Mix together topping ingredients for frosting cookies.

Remove cookies from oven and brush while still hot and remove to cool on wire racks.


This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Yellow

Biscochitos (a.k.a. Mexican Anise Cookies)





















INGREDIENTS

2 Tbsp anise seed
3 Tbsp rum
1 1/4 cups butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cinnamon Topping: 4 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon


DIRECTIONS

Place the anise seeds in a small bowl with the rum. Set aside to marinate overnight.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the anise seed and rum. Mix in the egg. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll into balls (a little less than 1 inch in size). Toss balls in cinnamon and sugar topping. Place on greased baking sheets and press them down slightly with a fork.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bottoms of the cookies are slightly browned. Cool for a few minutes on baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Cauliflower Soup


INGREDIENTS

2 shallots, chopped
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 small potato, quartered
4 cups of water/chicken stock/vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheese (use whatever you like)
1 cup milk/cream


DIRECTIONS

In a large pot, sauté shallots in butter and olive oil. Add the cauliflower florets and the quartered small potato and stir together for two or three minutes.

Add liquid and put a lid on and let simmer until cauliflower is tender, 15 – 20 minutes.

Purée all of it in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.

Season with salt and pepper and return to pot. Stir cheese into soup until blended. Add milk or cream. Adjust seasonings and serve.

NOTE: You can use this as a simple base and change up the flavours. Add bacon into the frying pan while sautéing the shallots or add fresh herbs like thyme or sage. Mix it up, experiment and make it into your own recipe.


This recipe is also linked to...

It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Recipes 2011
Sunday Night = Soup Night

Apple Crisp


INGREDIENTS

Apples (enough to fill up a 9x13 pan; approx. 9 to 12 apples)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup butter, melted


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel and chop enough apples to fill a 9x13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix in melted butter.

Spread oat mix evenly over the apples to cover them entirely; lightly pat down.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Variation:

Cran-Apple Crisp: Add fresh or frozen cranberries in with the apples in a large bowl. Add 1 Tbsp flour, 2 Tbsp white sugar and a sprinkle of nutmeg then mix to combine before dumping into the pan. Do the topping the same as the recipe says.


This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011

Bienenstich (a.k.a. German Bee Sting Cake)

Bienenstich, or "bee sting cake" has a rich history. With origins in Germany, the cake is called "bee sting" as it is thought that a bee was attracted to the sweet topping on the cake, and that the baker who invented the cake was stung.












INGREDIENTS

For the Filling:

2 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup whipping cream

For the Base:

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
4 Tbsp butter

For the Almond Topping:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
4 Tbsp whipping cream


DIRECTIONS

For the Filling:

Heat the milk with the sugar until almost boiling. Stir to dissolve sugar and be careful to keep the heat at medium to low so that you don't burn on the bottom.

Whisk the eggs together with the flour and cornstarch until smooth.

Temper the egg mixture by gradually adding about 1/2 a cup of the hot milk to the eggs, whisking constantly (otherwise you'll end up with scrambled eggs). Then gradually stir the egg mixture into the rest of the milk in a thin stream, whisking constantly.

Keep stirring until mixture starts to thicken but do not let it boil. When it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Pour into a bowl. Stir a few times. Place plastic wrap over the custard, so that it is touching the custard while it cools (this prevents a skin from forming).

When ready to assemble the cake, whip the whipping cream until very stiff, but stop whipping before it becomes clumpy and starts to turn into butter. Stir 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cold custard. Fold the rest into the custard. Do not over mix.

For the Base:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy; add vanilla.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; mix into the egg mixture.

Heat the milk and butter until very hot (not quite boiling). Add the hot milk/butter to the batter.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Top with Almond Topping and allow to cool while preparing the filling.

For the Almond Topping:

In a medium saucepan, heat together the butter and sugar and the whipping cream until it just comes to a boil (should be a light caramel colour). Add the almonds. Spread onto the baked cake as even as you can (this is easiest while the cake is still warm and in the pan).

Putting it all together:

When the cake has cooled, remove cake from pan and slice in half crossways to make two layers. Place bottom layer cut side up on cake plate and spread with filling. Top with the second layer with the almond glazed side up. Refrigerate until time to serve.


This recipe is also linked to...

Food on Friday: Desserts
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Sweet Treats Thursday
Food on Friday: Cakes
Sweets for a Saturday

Chipa (a.k.a. South American Cheese Bread)


INGREDIENTS

400 grams of cheese (we use 1/2 marbled and 1/2 mozzarella)
3/4 cup oil
2 cups milk
4 eggs
2 tsp salt
5 to 5 1/2 cups tapioca flour


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Put cheese, oil, milk, eggs and salt into a blender and blitz until cheese is completely broken up. Pour into a large bowl.

One cup at a time, add the tapioca flour to the wet mixture. Stir until combined before adding more flour into the mixture. The dough will still be fairly runny (slightly thicker than pancake batter).

Pour batter into mini-muffin pans and bake until golden, approximately 17 minutes.

Makes 6 dozen.

NOTE: Freshly baked chipas will have a soft doughy center while still warm. Do not think that the dough is raw and undercooked, when in fact it should be cooked if the outside is golden, that's how it is supposed to be.

Chipas can be frozen and are best served warm. We take them out of the freezer and put them in the oven/toaster oven to heat them up before serving.


This recipe is also linked on...

Gluten-Free Wednesdays
This Week's Cravings: Special Diets (GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT FREE and MORE)

Doughnuts

These have become a family favourite and they never last long. My mom makes them for my nieces' and nephew's birthdays and the kids just can't get enough of them - in all honesty, neither can the adults.






INGREDIENTS

1 pkg. yeast
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup unseasoned, lukewarm mashed potatoes
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup soft shortening
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
6 to 7 cups flour


DIRECTIONS

Soak yeast in water and set aside for 5 minutes.

Stir in potatoes, sugar, shortening, salt, eggs and 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface to knead. Knead dough until it is smooth, elastic and doesn't stick to the board (about 5 minutes).

Place in greased bowl, turning once to have the greased side up. Tightly cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours but no longer than 5 days.

Punch down dough and roll out 1/2 the dough to 3/8-inch thick on a well-floured surface. Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Cover and let rise on a floured surface until double (about 1 hour).

Heat vegetable oil (2 to 3 inches deep in a large pot) to 375 degrees F. Slide doughnuts into hot oil with a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts as they rise to the surface. Fry until golden brown (1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side). Remove from oil (be careful not to prick the doughnuts). Drain on absorbent paper.

NOTE: My mom allows the doughnuts to cool and then covers them with a glaze. I like dipping the warm doughnuts in sugar or cinnamon sugar. This recipe makes about 3 dozen doughnuts.

NOTE: These freeze really well so long as you leave them unglazed. Just take out what you need when you need it and glaze them once they're thawed.


This recipe is also linked to...

Food on Friday: Desserts
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweets for a Saturday

The Breakfast Cookie














INGREDIENTS

2 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
4 cups rolled oats
2 cups coconut, unsweetened
2 cups dried blueberries
2 cups dried unsweetened cranberries
2 cups whole pecans, gently toasted


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

In medium sized bowl mix flour, soda, salt and spices. Slowly add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.

Mix in oats, coconut, nuts and dried fruit.

Place parchment paper on cookie sheets, and measure 1/4 cup of dough per cookie, carefully placing the portions on the paper to allow for spreading. Flatten each mound slightly.

Bake for 6 minutes, then turn sheet in the oven; bake for another 7-8 minutes.

Cool on wire rack; should be firm, but soft and chewy on the inside

Apple Squares


INGREDIENTS

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped apple
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x9 inch pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of white sugar with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples and walnuts. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the top of the bars.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven; finished bars should spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.


This recipe is also linked to...

Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweets for a Saturday
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011

Obst Moos (a.k.a. Pluma Moos)
















INGREDIENTS

20 cups water
1 pkg seedless raisins
1 pkg dried prunes
1 pkg dried apples
1 cup dried peaches
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried cherries (we use frozen sour cherries)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
5 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 pkg cherry jello


DIRECTIONS

Boil plums in water for 10 min.

Add the remaining fruits and cook until they are barely tender.

Add cloves, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and jello and continue to cook on low-medium heat until all fruit is cooked and soft.

Check for sweetness. But be careful, you don't want to make it too sweet.

Delicious to serve warm or cold. Allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating or placing in a cold location.

NOTE: We leave the dried fruits as is, but some people cut the apricots in 1/2 and the larger fruits into quarters to make everything more bite-sized.

Cherry Nut Mudslides


INGREDIENTS

3 cups bittersweet chocolate
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a double boiler, melt 2 cups bittersweet chocolate with unsweetened chocolate. Cool.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. With a mixer, beat butter and sugar. Beat in eggs and then melted chocolate. At low speed, beat in dry ingredients. Fold in nuts, cherries and remaining 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, just until the tops are lightly cracked. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet; remove to wire rack to cool.


This recipe is also linked to...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Nuts
Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweets for a Saturday

Caramel Apple Dip


INSTRUCTIONS

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 jar Smucker's caramel (usually found in the produce section)
1 pkg skor bits
Granny Smith apples, sliced


DIRECTIONS

Beat the cream cheese with brown sugar until smooth. Spread thinly onto large serving plate.

Heat the caramel slightly (about 15 second in microwave) to make spreadable. Spread on top of cream cheese.

Sprinkle the package of Skor bits all over the top.

Serve with sliced Granny Smith apples for dipping.

NOTE: If you are not serving the fruit right away and you are cutting them up a bit ahead of time, squeeze the juice of a lemon over the pieces and give them a bit of a toss to coat them all with it in order to keep the fruit from turning brown.


This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: After-School Snacks
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011
This Week's Cravings: Apples
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Gluten-Free Wednesdays
Cast Party Wednesday
Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweets for a Saturday

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

















INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped medium (about 1 cup)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 Tbsp)
Pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 bay leaf
2(28-ounce) cans whole/dice/crushed tomatoes packed in juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
3 large slices good-quality sandwich bread , crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp brandy (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives/basil/parsley (for garnish)


DIRECTIONS

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.

Transfer half of soup to blender. Add 1 tablespoon oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. Rinse out Dutch oven and return soup to pot.

Stir in chicken broth and brandy (if using). Return soup to boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup in individual bowls. Sprinkle each portion with pepper and basil/chives/parsley or other herb of your choice and drizzle with olive oil.

NOTE: If half of the soup fills your blender by more than two-thirds, process the soup in three batches. You can also use an immersion blender to process the soup directly in the pot. For an even smoother soup, pass the pureed mixture through a fine-mesh strainer before stirring in the chicken broth.


This recipe is also linked on...

Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Red

Rainbow Cake with Lemony Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting


FOR THE CAKES:
Vegetable shortening
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple gel food coloring

FOR THE FILLING AND CRUMB COAT:
9 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure lemon extract

FOR THE FROSTING:
5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract


DIRECTIONS FOR THE CAKE:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush six 9-inch-round cake pans (or as many 9-inch cake pans as you have, reusing them as necessary) with shortening. Line bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper; brush again and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Slowly add egg whites and mix until well combined. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and milk in two alternating additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the milk. Mix until well combined.

Divide batter evenly between six medium bowls. Add enough of each color of food coloring to each bowl, whisking, until desired shade is reached. Transfer each color to an individual cake pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 15 minutes (working in batches if necessary).

Remove cakes from oven and transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack; re-invert and let cool completely.

Variation: See picture below. Instead of six individual layers, you can bake 2 9-inch round cakes. In the first pan pour about 2/3 of the red and orange batters, then 1/2 of the yellow and green batters, then 1/3 of the blue and purple batters. In the second pan, the order will be reversed (the remaining 2/3 of the purple and blue batters, the remaining 1/2 of the green and yellow batters, the remaining 1/3 of the orange and red batters).


DIRECTIONS FOR THE FILLING, CRUMB COAT AND FROSTING:

Make the filling and crumb coat: Cook egg whites and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; mix on high speed until mixture is room temperature. With the mixer on medium-low, add butter, one piece at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Remove whisk attachment and switch to paddle attachment. Increase speed to high and beat until buttercream comes together, about 5 minutes; beat in lemon extract.

Make the frosting: In a clean saucepan and bowl of an electric mixer, repeat same process as for filling and crumb coat.


ASSEMBLING THE CAKE:

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the purple layer on the cake plate. Spread buttercream filling over the first layer with a small offset spatula so it extends just beyond edges. Repeat process with blue, green, yellow, and orange layers.

Place the remaining red layer on top, bottom-side up. Gently sweep away any loose crumbs with a pastry brush. Using an offset spatula, cover the top and sides with a thin layer of frosting (also use any of the excess frosting visible between the layers). Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

Using an offset spatula, cover cake again with remaining frosting.



This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Eat with Your Kids Day

Apple Fritters


INGREDIENTS

1 cup cornstarch (or flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp oil
2 large apples
oil for deep frying
confectioners' sugar or cinnamon sugar for dusting


DIRECTIONS

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

Combine egg and milk and oil; add to flour mixture; beat until smooth.

Peel and core apples; cut each apple into 8 wedges (or 1/2-inch slices).

Dip apple wedges (or slices) into batter and fry in 370 degrees F oil a few at a time, turning once, until brown.

Drain on paper towels and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Featured on Cast Party Wednesday


This recipe is also linked to...

Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Everyday Sisters' Sharing Sundays: Apples
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Gluten-Free Wednesday
Cast Party Wednesday
Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweets for a Saturday
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011

Bumblebees
















INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (or soy nut butter)
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 dozen small pretzel twists
8 dozen small pretzel sticks


DIRECTIONS

Beat peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, honey and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.

Heat oven to 350ºF. Shape dough into 1-inch balls (dough will be slightly sticky). For each cookie, place two pretzel twists side by side with the bottoms touching on ungreased cookie sheet (the bottom is the rounded point, similar to the bottom of a heart shape). Place one ball of dough on center; flatten slightly. Break two pretzel sticks in half. Gently press three pretzel stick halves into dough for stripes on bee. Break fourth pretzel piece in half. Poke pieces into one end of dough for antennae.

Repeat with remaining dough and pretzels.

Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool completely.


This recipe is also linked to...

This Week's Cravings: Honey

Apple Streusel Cheesecake


Crust
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour

Filling
3 apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 (250 g) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 lemon, juice and zest

Topping
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened


DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust:
Cream butter and sugar thoroughly, blend in flour. Press onto the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a a greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

For the filling:
Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/3 inch thick slices. In a frying pan, melt sugar with butter over medium heat, cook apples for 3-5 minutes or just until tender (and lightly browned) but not mushy. Add cream and cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat cream cheese with brown sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time until just blended. Beat in sour cream, lemon zest juice.

Using a slotted spoon arrange apples over crust,cover with cheese mixture.

For topping:
Mix the ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake 45 minutes or until centre is just set. Cool thoroughly at room temperature. Chill at least 4 hours or overnight.


This recipe is also linked to...

Food on Friday: Desserts
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
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Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
This Week's Cravings: Apples
It's a Blog Party's Fall Fest Apple Recipes 2011

Cocoa Buttermilk Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting
















INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Countless amounts of miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups, smashed or cut up.

Peanut Butter frosting recipe follows



DIRECTIONS:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until it is thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs one at a time, then the yolks one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 portions and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); mix only until each new batch is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, folding it in with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the cake pans.

Bake for 26 to 30 minutes, or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (Once the layers are cooled, they can be wrapped airtight and left at room temperature overnight or kept frozen for up to 2 months.)

To Assemble the Cake: Place one layer top side up on a cardboard round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Frost the top of the layer, and sprinkle the smashed up peanut butter cups inside. Be careful to not overload the inside with peanut butter cups or else it will look uneven when you place the top layer.

Next, cover with the second layer, top side down. Frost the sides and top of the cake, either smoothing the frosting for a sleek look or using a spatula, knife or spoon to swirl it for a more exuberant look. Press the remaining peanut butter cups around the sides of the frosted cake, and if you want you can sprinkle them on top too.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour (or for up to 1 day, if that’s more convenient) to set the frosting, then bring it to room temperature before serving.



Peanut butter frosting:

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tspsalt
1/3 cup whipping cream


DIRECTIONS:

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in a bowl and mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

NOTE: Next time, I’ll double the frosting recipe so that I can frost the sides… although I have to say that the naked sides do look pretty cool.