“Watch out Cupcake”! Here Come Holiday Brownie Pops!

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How gorgeous are these Brownie Pops from Beaucoup!

I am tempted to order them but feel that I may be up to the challenge of making them myself!

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I am sure that children will have fun playing with and icing these little pops.

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Baked to Perfection has an easy and yummy recipe. I am sure that I will improvise as I am feeling inspired by these pretty little holiday treats and the beautiful blue and white icing!

“Oh Tannenbaum!”

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Trimming the Christmas tree is more bittersweet every year.

Not only is it a fun family tradition laced with cookie baking and egg “nogging” but it is a reminder of how fast time flies.

My teenagers are hanging ornaments which I bought when they were babies. And I remember each trinket and the point in our lives when it was aquired.

As look at the tree and different ornaments I am transported to another place and time and memories that we made there.

A Christmas tree is not just a holiday decoration but a piece of living art that catalogues years of history; some good, some not so good, but truly the legend of a family.

No matter what was going on there was most certainly eating!

Lots of cookies mark every Christmas for us and I have included some more of my favorite holiday cookies for you and your family.

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Almond Pine Nut Cookies

Makes 28 cookies • From the kitchen of Allie Virgilio

Ingredients

7 ounces almond paste(cut into small pieces)
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons all- purpose flour
1/2 cup pine nuts

Directions

Heat oven to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat together almond paste, sugar,and 1 egg white in medium-size bowl until smooth. Beat in second egg white, then vanilla extract. Stir in flour until dough forms. Drop batter by teaspoonsful 2 inches apart on prepared sheets. Cover each cookie with pine nuts, about 1/2 teaspoon each. Bake in top third of 325 oven until edges are golden, 15 minutes. Cool cookies on sheet on rack.

Butter Nut Balls

Makes 3-1/2 dozen balls • From the kitchen of Charlotte Chambliss

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups mashed pecans
powdered sugar

Directions

Cream butter thoroughly. Add balance of ingredients except powdered sugar. Roll into balls about walnut size. Place on ungreased cookie sheet for 35 minutes in 300 degree oven. Roll in powdered sugar immediately and cool on waxed paper. (Cookies may be made in advance and frozen.)

Coconut Bars

Makes 15 bars • From the kitchen of Megan

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
6 tablespoons white sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1c +2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup shredded coconut

Directions

Mix first five ingredient together.Then add last four ingredients together.Mix completely and press in 9×13 greased pan.Bake at 375 degrees in over for fifteen minutes.Cut into squares.ENJOY!!!!!!

All Recipes Copyright 2009 Northpole.com, LLC

Genetic Engineering and Your Food

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Monsanto is engineering your future.

The food we eat and the beverages we drink are products of laboratory experiments and genetic engineering.

Christopher Leonard writes in the Huffington post of the monopoly that Mansanto is gaining and the real choices for our health that we are losing.

The Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookie

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This is the new holiday favorite!

I reluctantly made this cookie. My Bff, M hypnotized me into making them and has proclaimed these to be the best cookie ever!

Here is the recipe. It happens to be the Pillsbury Million Dollar Cookie Winner.

They are tricky to make and don’t do well with alot of handling.

Don’t worry about being neat with the raw shape. Keep the dough and peanut butter mixture as cold as possible and try to roll everything into a neat little ball before rolling the cookie dough ball in the sugar, peanut mixture.

I added chocolate chips to some per M’s request and they were a hit. I would dip these in chocolate next time.

Ingredients

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ powdered sugar
1 roll Pillsbury Create ‘n Bake refrigerated peanut butter cookies, well chilled.

Method

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.

2. In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) balls.

3. Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.

4. Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with Crisco original no-stick cooking spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to 1/4-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.

5. Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.

Christmas Cookies

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Photo Courtesy of Zoe Bakes

You can never have too many Christmas cookie recipes.

Baking gets everyone into the kitchen, listening to Christmas music and drinking festive cocktails.

It is hardly a chore to create family traditions and to make these beautiful little gems for everyone to enjoy.

And don’t forget to Put the Love in every bite!

Oatmeal Coconut Crisps

Makes 60

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter or margarine (soft)
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups uncooked oats
1 cup flaked coconut

Method

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and soda – set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light. Beat in one egg at a time. Stir in flour mixture, vanilla, oats then coconut. Drop by teaspoonful 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 10 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on rack. 75 calories per cookie.

Orange Slice Cookies

Makes about 7 dozen

recipe courtesy of Karin

Ingredients

1 pound orange slices (candy)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped pecans

Method

Mix candy (cut into bite pieces) with � cup flour. Cream margarine and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat eggs and vanilla thoroughly. Beat in dry ingredients. Stir in rolled oats, candy, pecans and coconut. Drop from teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inch apart. Bake at 375F for about 13-15 minutes or until delicately brown. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

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Ricotta Cheese Cookies

Ingredients

2 cups of sugar
1/2 pound butter or margarine
15 ounce carton of Ricotta cheese
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons baking soda
Frosting: 4oz cream cheese
2 teaspoons butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Method

Cream well together sugar, butter or margarine, ricotta cheese, eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture, mix well. Drop by teaspoons on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until light brown on bottom (about 10 minutes). Cool, then ice with frosting. Frosting; cream cheese, 2 teaspoons butter, confectioners sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Dip in red and green sprinkles.

The Secret Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

Makes 112recipe courtesy of Laura

Ingredients

2 cups butter
24 oz. chocolate chips
4 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 Teaspoon soda
1 Teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated)
5 cups blended oatmeal
4 eggs
2 Teaspoon baking powder
2 Teaspoon vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

Method

NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved) Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar, and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

Sweet Dreams are Made of These

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Who remembers the Betty Crocker Cooky Book?

This book is enjoying a revival! Some of the best basics and old favorites can be found in this book.

Check it out to brush up on your baking skills or learn a few new tricks!

20 Days of Christmas Cookies

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The Christmas holiday is upon us and everyday from now until Christmas Eve I am digging out recipes for cookies and baking them for friends and family.

I always warm up with some old favorites and work my way to the decorated sugar cookies.
Today I start with Ina Garten’s Shortbread. I love these with coffee or tea and I get creative with dark chocolate and nuts.

I substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour, honestly I just like the taste and the texture better. That they are a bit healthier is just a bonus.

The other great thing about these is that you can make the dough and freeze for later use or keep the dough in the fridge for a few days and make yourself some cookies fresh and hot out of the oven any day of the week.

Get creative and experiment with different chocolates and other flavors for festive holiday cookies.
I was thinking of white chocolate and peppermint candy. You get the idea. Have fun!

Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten

Ingredients

• 3/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ( I substituted with whole wheat pastry flour)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 6 to 7 ounces very good semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When the cookies are cool, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put 3 ounces of the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave on high power for 30 seconds. (Don’t trust your microwave timer; time it with your watch.) Stir with a wooden spoon. Continue to heat and stir in 30-second increments until the chocolate is just melted. Add the remaining chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it’s completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Drizzle 1/2 of each cookie with just enough chocolate to coat it.

Mushrooms and Tarragon with Dried Figs

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I am always looking for really yummy fast food that I can cook and store in the fridge for those times when I know I’ll be pressed for time to eat.

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In order to try to avoid eating a bag of potato chips I like this really satisfying, gourmet’ish dish that I can throw in a wrap, or, let’s be honest, I do a quick heat on the stove and eat standing up!

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This is too good for that. I like it over brown rice or some spinach fettuccine. I also like this quesadilla style with vegan cheese.

Anyway you choose, it’s healthy and delicious, nutritious and satisfying.

Ingredients:

6 large Portabella mushrooms
2 pkgs. Baby Portabella mushrooms
4 large cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ white onion
½ red bell pepper
2 -3 stems of fresh Tarragon
5 dried figs
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Start with the olive oil and garlic in a deep sauté pan on low heat.
Add onion, pepper, and mushrooms and figs.
Let everything cook for about 45 on medium heat.
Add Tarragon the last 15 minutes for maximum flavor.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Feast Your Eyes!

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The iconic images of our time shown to us in a sweeping gesture put to music!

Great food moments in movie history as seen in this montage, Feast, by Matt Zoller Seitz

Something to Think About

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Huffington Post blogger, Kathy Freston has written, Top Ten Recent Developments on Factory Farming and Vegetarianism.

She highlights some of the latest activity on the food frontier and offers insight into a new way to go forward.

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