Friday, December 28, 2007

My Favorite Cookies!!

Ever since I can remember these cookies have been apart of my life. They are my all time favorite cookie (and will always be) that my grandmother used to bake for the holidays. One weekend when Heidi and I were young she taught us how to make them. It has been some time now since my grandmother passed away but her "sugar cookie" recipe lives on. The reason why I put sugar cookie in quotes is because they aren't really your traditional sugar cookie...that is the name Heidi and I call them. They are an almond crescent cookie that is covered in a sugar/vanilla sugar coating.

I just finished making a batch of them and decided to post about it...they usually don't last long enough to take a picture. This batch is being packed up and "shipped" down to Delaware for Mike's grandparents...via my in-laws who are driving down tomorrow. They love them as much as I do and I think they would be VERY upset if they didn't get any this year. One year this was all Mike's grandfather ate while he was recovering from surgery...they are just that good.

One thing that is difficult about them is that some of the ingredients can be hard to find. You need a cup of finely ground almonds and 2 packets of vanilla sugar. Usually I can find the vanilla sugar at the supermarket but not this year. Luckily there is a German deli near my house that actually carries the brand. Also this year I had to grind my own almonds using a cheese grater with the fine grating attachment. The food processor does not produce a fine "flour" which is why I found that the cheese grater works better.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Chocolate covered peanut butter crisp balls

1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature
12 ounces white chocolate
Colored sugar for sprinkling (optional).
1. In a medium bowl, combine Rice Krispies, peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar and butter or margarine. Mix until very well combined. Firmly compress into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, about four hours or overnight.
2. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and set aside. In a double boiler over medium-low heat, melt white chocolate until completely smooth. Remove from heat and pour chocolate into a wide, shallow bowl. Working quickly in small batches, roll chilled balls in chocolate, turning gently with a fork. Transfer to waxed paper. If desired, sprinkle tops of cookies with colored sugar.
3. Place baking sheet in refrigerator long enough for chocolate to become firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to three days, or refrigerated for up to three weeks.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

These are out of this world..if your a fan of chocolate and peanut butter. I know the recipe calls for white chocolate but I used milk instead. I also only had creamy peanut butter so they didnt have nuts in them. Everyone in my family loved these. They were a hugh hit on Christmas!

Apple Pie

Well, this is probably the last apple pie I will make until next season. It was very tasty and my dad said it's almost as good as the way my mom made them. Its a very simple recipe, I make the pie crust from scratch using :

4 heaping tablespoons of crisco
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk

This crust is very tricky to make. You have to get a knack for it. the way I do it is mix the crisco and flour ( crumble it all together ) then when its nice and mixed, add the salt and the milk. Its going to get VERY sticky, you might need to add more flour. Add a little at a time until it doesnt stick to your hands anymore. This makes enough for the bottom and top of the pie crust.

Then cut up the apples of your choice...I prefer Mac's or Cortlandts ( they get very soft but keep their shape ) add sugar and cinnaman. Bake for about an hour at 350 testing to make sure the apples are soft.

This was my grandmothers recipe that my mom made and taught to me. Im very glad I learned it so well so I can teach it to my kids. My mother would be proud.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Part 2 of my Daring Bakers December Challenge

Thank you to our founders of the Daring Bakers Ivonne and Lisa for picking this month's recipe. After reading my post and you are interested in making this dessert please visit Ivonne's blog for the complete recipe.

When I found out that this month's challenge was going to be making a Yule Log I was excited. It is one of those things that you always want to make but never really get around to it because there are already so many desserts at the Christmas table. Well who cares can never have to many desserts!

I started to make the Meringue mushrooms on Saturday so I am not doing everything in one day. This is another thing that I have always wanted to make and just never really had the reason to do it. I felt that this was an easy recipe to make and follow...I actually had fun making these and feel with a little practise I can make really great looking mushrooms. Some of my stems fell over and I don't know if I made them thick enough. The one good thing about that is nature doesn't make every one exactly the same and neither did I. (see my post Part 1 of my Daring Bakers December Challenge for pictures of the finished mushrooms)

On Sunday I made the cake and buttercream which also went really well and it helped that I had my in-laws over to watch Jacob. I was worried about the buttercream part with all the horror stories I was reading on the DB website. We were allowed to make the cake any flavor we wanted too and my husband suggested Chocolate which who can say no to that!! I kept the buttercream flavor as coffee because I just felt it was easier to do that. The only little problem I hit was when I went to roll my log break with every roll I did. Good thing is that it will be covered in more buttercream and no one will know it happened.

My review: I haven't tasted the Yule Log yet because we are serving it for dessert on Christmas Eve...I have tasted the butter cream and mushrooms which both taste YUMMY! I didn't think that any part was hard to make but I was just a little nervous about making them. Buttercream can be problematic and my jellyroll technique needs some practise but all in all it wasn't a bad experience. I don't know if i would make it all again but it isn't on the NEVER AGAIN list. I might make the mushrooms again soon because those came out just too cute and I might try to put faces on

I wrote up my post too soon because I did the dumbest thing...well sort of. I read the directions on how to put the log together and thought I had everything correct. I saw that it said to put in the frig after you roll it for several hours...I didn't see anything mentioned about the remaining buttercream. So I put that in a container and into the frig as well. The experience buttercream people are probably shaking their heads but as a beginner I didn't know any better. It was hard as a rock and I didn't know what to do so I panic. I thought it I beat it in the mixer again it would soften it curdled...but I knew what to do thanks to the DB website again. I put it over simmering water and whipped it back to life.

Holiday Candy!

As everyone knows I love to make candy. So, every year I make a platter of candy to bring to my in-laws for Christmas. I think it's become a tradition and if I don't show up with it, they would probably tell me to go home. This year I made my usual cherry cordials (not pictured), Santa Cookies, and butter crunch (pictured left of the Santa Cookies). I also decided to bring back the peppermint bark and to try a new candy this year, peppermint patties (picture right of the Santa cookies).

I found the recipe for the Peppermint Patties on the Eagle Brand website and when I read it seemed very easy to make. My review of the recipe is that they were as easy to make as they seemed. But I was a little frustrated with them. They stuck to the wax paper when it came time to flip them. But I found if you flipped them onto another piece of wax paper and then let them "hang" there for a few minutes it was easier to peel them off. Also, when it came time to dip them into the chocolate they seemed to melt and you could not get them off the fork. So I ended up just brushing the tops and the bottoms with the chocolate instead. Next time I might just freeze them for a while and then try dipping them. Over all they were worth the time to make them. I think they came out pretty tasty.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Part 1 of my Daring Bakers December Challenge

I know I am really cutting it close to make this month's challenge but do to some unavoidable events this month...this is the best I can do.

So I decided tonight to make the meringue mushroom's and tomorrow to bake the cake part of the Yule Log. I really was going to wait until tomorrow to post about everything but I am just so excited about how the mushrooms came out. Tomorrow I will post the recipe and my experience/review of the recipe. Tonight is just all about the mushroom!!

P.S. I just want to put little faces on them and give them that weird?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wilton 2104-4010 Cookie Pro Ultra Cookie Press

This is the cookie press Karen and I used to make our spritz/butter cookies. Its easy to use and OMG...the cookes come out awsome. Here is the recipe for the classic spritz cookies:

1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup granuated sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract ( if you dont have...i used an extra 1/2 tsp of vanilla- came out awsome )
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Pre heat oven to 375. Thoroughly cream butter and sugar. Add egg, milk, vanilla and almont extract; beat well. Mix in flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing to make a smooth dough. Do not chill. Place dough into cookie press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 mins or until lightly browned around edges. Remove cookies from sheet and cool.

Makes 7-8 dozen cookies

Enjoy your holiday baking :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mint Chocolate Sandwiches


1 cup semi sweet chocolate
2 cups flour
2/3 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup sugar - divided
24 chocolate covered thin mint candies

Melt chocolate pieces.

In large bowl beat melted chocolate, flour, butter, corn syrup, baking soda, salt, egg, & 1/2 cup sugar.

Roll dough & refrigerate for 2 hours. With hands, shape dough into small balls and roll in sugar to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake about 12-15 mins. Quickly move half of cookies. Place mint pattie on bottom cookie and place second cookie on top. Press together so mint spreads evenly. Remove to cool.

* use very thin balls.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Hi Girls...Karen and I got alot of baking done yesterday. Here is a pic' of the assortment of cookies I made. They are all my moms favorites...or most of them anyway. I made the chocolate chip cookies with the reeses mini cup in the center, chocolate mint sandwiches, chocolate spritz cookies ( butter cookies ) and regular spritz cookes. I made alot so I could give my brothers, sister and Dad a taste of the holidays, just like my mom would have done =).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cookie Weekend Bust...but not totally.

Due to the bad weather predicted to hit the Northeast we all decided it wasn't worth it to get stuck or worse this weekend. We did get together for a very yummy dinner and then parted ways. When I went to sleep last night the snow still didn't come but when I woke up it was here and crusted over with some ice.

I didn't get much baking done this weekend but really didn't have too much planned. I already had planned to make my sugar cookies and a cake next weekend. So I decided to make some peanut clusters today for Mike to bring into work with him this week. I also tried a new cookie recipe for Nutella Cookies to bring with me to my in-laws for Christmas (that is if they make it there). I saw the Scotto family make them on the Today Show and wanted to make them as soon as I heard that it was made with Nutella...which I LOVE!!

Nutella Cookies
Scotto Family
36 cookies


• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup Nutella
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 egg

1. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder; set aside.
2. Cream butter, Nutella and sugars; beat in vanilla and egg.
3. Stir in flour mixture, blending well.
4. Put dough into refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until chilled.
5. Shape mixture into ¾-inch balls. Place on greased baking sheets and bake cookies at 375° for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Review: This is a really easy cookie recipe to make and didn't take me much time at all even with the chill time. I made the dough put it in the frig and then made my peanut clusters...rested a little big and then continued with the cookies. The only negative thing I have to say about this recipe was that it left out the chilling part. Luckily I saw them make it live on the show and remembered them mentioning to chill it before you roll them. The dough is really soft and probably would be too sticky to work with if you don't chill the dough. I used my cookie scoop (I love my cookie scoop) and it went really fast!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Almost Cookie Time

It has been a couple of busy weeks for us Baking Buddies and reason for no postings. My husband went away on business this past week and I was busy getting the house ready for a Haunkkah Party and buying all the other supplies for it. I did what every host worries about doing and I forgot to make one of the veggies and by the time I remembered it was too late. Now I have a ton of green beans leftover.

Next week there will be a ton to post about since this upcoming weekend is our annual Holiday Cookie Weekend.

I am very excited for it and can't wait to do what we have planned. The weekend is going to start with one of our favorite activities a trip to Wal-Mart!


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