Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oops - Turtle Mess

One day Mike asked me to make him a dessert for him to take to work for a luncheon. I asked him what other people were bringing to figure what to make. He came back with... You know the usual. Men...always great with giving you the details. I told him about this Turtle Cheesecake recipe I came a cross and thought it sounded good. So I went to the store and bought all the ingredients and got to work. I was making the cheesecake and tasting along the way I was really excited. It was easy to make and tasted very yummy. And than....all went to the hell.... You know when you read a recipe and something doesn't sound right about it....against my better judgement I decided to follow the recipe and here's what happened.

How did this happened you might ask? The recipe called for the cheesecake to bake for a certain amount of time until the center is set. Then take it out of the oven, let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes than take the rim of the spring form pan off. That was the part of the recipe that didn't seem right to me. I've made a cheesecake a few times and didn't think that you would take the rim off that fast. But I was following the recipe. About two minutes after I took off the rim off is when the screaming started....OH @#$%, OH@#$%, is all my husband heard from the kitchen, so he came to find out what all the screaming was about. That's when he found me trying to put the rim back on and informed me that it was probably too late. I was like you think!!! Not really in the mood to hear the what were you thinking comments, especially from the non-baker in the family. I was so mad and upset. Since it was to late to make him something else to bring to work he ended up having to go to the store a buy something. I was able to save the cake, but he still didn't want to take it.

I told him I could cover it with whipped cream and caramel and no one would know. He said he we would just buy something. Which he did and when people asked why, h
e told them he dropped the cake I made. I told him he didn't have to do that, but that it was sweet of him.

Easy Cinnamon Bread

I am not actually the first person on this blog to make the bread...Heidi made it a while back. She was in search of the Hershey Cinnamon chips that used to be easily available. When she found them she made this recipe and said it was super yummy.

I actually found the chips recently and decided to try making this bread for New Year's Day breakfast. I am thinking of just eating it toasted with some butter or maybe even turning into french toast. I will let you know what we did in a couple of days...

Easy Cinnamon Bread
King Arthur Flour

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour OR Mellow Pastry Blend
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup cinnamon chips
cinnamon-sugar, for topping

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, butter, and egg. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, beating till smooth. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 1 hour, covered, then stir in the baking powder and cinnamon chips.

Spoon the batter into a greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon-sugar.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until it tests done; a cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, let it rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer it from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Note: Don't slice the bread while it's hot! It'll slice much better when it's completely cool. Yield: 1 loaf.

Review: I have not tasted a real piece yet...just crumbs so far which have tasted great. To me this a very fast and simple recipe to make. I think I started around 10:30am and was done by Noon. So far it is something I would make again the only issue I might have is finding the cinnamon chips but I could always break down and order them from KAF. I think this one is probably a keeper...

Update: The bread was super yummy and they whole family loved it. Not a piece was leftover after breakfast. Not really the right texture in my mind to make french toast with but yummy just plain!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Yummy Disaster...

I don't know why it matters but I think it is amazing that this is my 10th year celebrating Christmas with my husband's family. The celebrations style has evolved and so has the size of the family (there are now 5 little boys added) but really it is still the same.

Also I reminded Mike that he has had my sugar cookies at the table for the past 10 years...what did he do before them. He did not remember me bringing them the first year but I remember it so well. First time meeting my in-laws (at the time I did not know they would be my in-laws) and his WHOLE entire family. I needed to bring something that would impress and boy did they ever. I think I would be put out in the cold if I did not bring them with me.

The other thing I brought with me then were rum balls. Me being the silent dork that I am wanted to make them again. The first time they came out well but when I tried to make them now I failed miserably...Mike is now enjoying them as what I like to call Rum Crumbs.

I had a lot of leftover pecans and wanted to make something with them. So I searched a new cookie cookbook I got from Karen and found ones called Pecan Meltaways...

Pecan Meltaways

Taste of Home

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Additional confectioners' sugar


  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans. Refrigerate until chilled.
  • Roll into 1-in. balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Roll warm cookies in additional confectioners' sugar; cool completely on wire racks. Roll cooled cookies again in confectioners' sugar. Yield: 4 dozen.
Review: This is a perfect cookie to add to your holiday baking list. Super easy to make and super yummy! The one problem I had with the recipe is that it does not tell you how long to chill the dough for...I think 30 minutes to 1 hour would be OK. I think they just need to firm up a bit do they don't spread so much in the oven. I actually had them in the refrigerator for a lot longer because I was trying to do more then I had time to do. I am not sure if I am sold on adding it to my annual list but the family is enjoying eating them.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Dinner Recipe: Roast Prime Rib of Beef with Horseradish Crust

This is the only way I make prime rib! It has been my go-to recipe for prime rib. I saw it on an episode of How To Boil Water (Tyler Florence) and it was on an episode called "Christmas Made Easy."

Prime Rib:

1 bone in prime rib beef roast, 3 ribs, about 6 pounds
5 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ cup grated fresh or prepared horseradish
Leaves from 2 fresh rosemary sprigs (or use dried rosemary)
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme sprigs (or use dried thyme)
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Sauce (optional):
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups canned chicken or beef broth

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prime Rib:
Lay the beef in a large foiled roasting pan with the bone side down. (The ribs act as a natural roasting rack.) In a small bowl mash together the garlic, horseradish, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil to make a paste. Massage the paste generously over the entire roast. Put the pan in the oven and roast the beef until the internal temperature of the meat registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer (medium-rare), 1½ hours. Remove the beef to a carving board and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Pour off some of the pan drippings and place pan on stovetop over medium-high heat.
Add the white wine and bring to a simmer, scraping the bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by half. Whisk in the flour, then add the broth and continue to cook, whisking until sauce thickens into a gravy, about 10 minutes.

Jenn's Notes:
1. Save yourself time and energy by buying and preparing a package mix of McCormick’s beef with mushroom sauce/gravy.
2. The paste (aka crust) on the outside of the meat doesn't look pretty, but it doesn't matter, because the flavor is exceptional!
3. The crust almost always burns. Scrape it off before serving, because of the high amount of salt, the flavoring has already seeped into the meat.
4. If you mistakenly add the wine (from the sauce) to the paste, it will come out fine, but does not adhere well to the meat. Let it marinate overnight.

Review: absolutely delicious! I can't wait to make this for Christmas dinner this year. I'll be buying a big roast, especially so we have leftovers for the next day. To reheat prime rib, I suggest using beef broth and letting the piece(s) of meat reheat in the broth in a frying pan. Sooo good!

December Cookie Recipe #2: Graham Cracker Yummies

Another cookie making memory was making these yummy "cookies" with my mom. They almost are more of a toffee crunch type cookie. Similar to the Dog Turds recipe, sometimes these cookies come out perfect and other times, like this year, not as great. Don't know why, but here is the recipe!

1 stick butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1.5 sleeves graham crackers (left whole)
2 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped walnuts

- Heat oven to 375 degrees
- Line cookie sheet with foil and place graham crackers side-by-side on top of the foil
- In a saucepan, heat butter and brown sugar and let boil 3 minutes
- Pour liquid mixture over graham crackers (make sure to cover all crackers)
- Put in oven for 10 minutes
- Take out and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips on top
- Let the chips melt and spread the chocolate to cover over all crackers
- Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top
- Let chocolate harden
- Break up cookies and store in a container or Ziplock bag

Review: these happen to be one of my favorite Christmas cookies. I like the caramel/toffee crunch. The mixture has to be made just right or it alters the flavor of the cookie. You can vary the chopped nut on top, but I have found that walnuts are just the right compliment.

December Cookie Recipe: Christmas Logs (aka Dog Turds)

Every year there are a couple of cookies that I make from my childhood cookie making with my mom. This recipe was given to my mom by Karen's mom and was affectionately called Dog Turds (forgive me, if I have already posted this before :). My mom hates to call them that, so I "re-named" them Christmas Logs or Chocolate-covered Logs. I think they came out the best that I have ever made them this year, so wanted to post them on our blog!

2 sticks butter
1 1/4 c. confectionary sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 c. (Quick) oats
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. chocolate chips
3/4 c. chopped walnuts

- Cream butter and sugar together
- Add vanila and combine thoroughly
- Mix flour, oats, and salt together
- Pour dry ingredients into mixer (while on)
- Make sure the bottom of the mixing bowl is clean (meaning everything is mixed together)
- Dough will be crumbly
- Take small or medium size balls of dough and roll into 1.5-2" logs
- Bake at 325 degrees for 27 minutes (on an ungreased cookie sheet or Silpat)
- Remove from oven and let cool
- Dip in melted chocolate chips (or spoon and spread on top of the cookie log) and then dip in chopped walnuts
- Let harden and eat!

Review: Some years these come out dry, and this year, they were perfect! They are great with a cup of coffee, or my preference, a glass of milk. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Making a List...and Checking It Twice

I don't' know why but I am feeling a little out of control right now. I feel like I am unprepared and going to slam into a wall or something. This is one way you know the holidays are fast approaching. I am trying not to go totally crazy and bake a lot of stuff this year.

Here is my list so far on what I think I am going to make:

At least 2 batches of Sugar Cookies (maybe 3 batches)
Cuban Bread
Monkey Bread
Chocolate covered cherries (which I already made with Heidi this past weekend)

What I might make:
Hershey Kiss Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
Italian Bread of some kind...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Can't Decide...So I Made Both.

Last week Mike asked me to make something for him to bring to work. They are having their annual charity bake sale and FINALLY Mike asked me to make something. I always got a little annoyed at him for not bringing something in...hello you have a wife at home that loves to bake...I would tell him. At first I was going to make individual monkey breads (I was going to make them in a muffin tin) just to have something different there. Since I was making cookies for my neighbor's birthday he said to just give him some of those.

There is a restaurant near me that gives cookies like these for dessert with the kid's meals. It was funny because I was wondering how they made them the other day and then I found a recipe. So of course I had to try it out. The dough was suppose to make A LOT of cookies.

Double Delights
Taste of Home

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 5 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 4 ounces German sweet chocolate, chopped


  • For chocolate dough, in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans and white chocolate.
  • For vanilla dough, in another large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans and German chocolate. Cover and refrigerate both doughs for 2 hours.
  • Divide both doughs in half. Shape each portion into a 12-in. roll; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.
  • Unwrap and cut each roll in half lengthwise. Place a chocolate half and vanilla half together, pressing to form a log; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until the dough holds together when cut.
  • Using a serrated knife, cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool

Review: I made these cookies for a couple of reason one which I stated above because they were like the ones from the restaurant. The other reason was it stated it makes 15 dozen cookies...SO not the case. Maybe I can get 7 dozen out of this but I am not even sure of that. It makes two logs which I baked one and froze the other to bake for Christmas. The one log I think I might have gotten 3 dozen. I don't think I could have cut the cookies any thinner then I did...the were pretty thin to begin with. That being said the dough was easy to make and did not take that much time. I think you need to let the sit in the refrigerator a little longer then stated in the recipe to get them firm enough. Also I think if you put the in the freezer before you slice them it would make that process easier. The overall taste is super yummy and addictive. Not sure if i would make these again or try to find another recipe for the dough and just use the same technique. I have to wait and see how the guys at Mike's office liked them.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dark Chocolate & Mint Chips

I love mint stuff and when I saw the package of dark chocolate and mint morsels that Nestle has out now I had to buy it. I did not know what or when I was going to use them...minor details.

Then I was asked to make my sugar cookies for Thanksgiving which everyone loves. I took out the butter to soften and the day just got away from me. The butter was way too soft to make the sugar cookies and so I decided to use the butter to make the cookie recipe that is on the back of the package.

Mint Chocolate Delights
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
PREHEAT oven to 325° F.

COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

FOR MINI MINT CHOCOLATE DELIGHT COOKIES: Prepare dough as above. Drop by well-rounded measuring teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Makes about 7 dozen mini cookies.

This is the picture from Nestle's website of the cookie...I forgot to take a picture.

Review: When I opened the bag of chips I was already in love with this cookies. It was just the perfect mint smell to me. Making the cookies was just as easy as making any chocolate chip cookie. I used the small cookie scoop I had for a couple of my larger scoop broke and two I figured smaller cookies would be better after eating a lot of turkey. It does make a ton using the smaller scoop and I was able to set some aside for our second Turkey dinner with my in-laws. These cookies to me taste just like the girl scout Thin Mint cookies. Which is awesome because if you ever have a craving for them you don't have to wait to order a package from your local girl scout. This is a keeper and I just hope I can find another bag before they disappear...


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