Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010 - Happy New Year!!!

Wow! It is the last day of the year! It sure flew by! This is my 250th post for the year!!! Can you believe it? With 250 posts, I thought I should do a round-up of some of my favorite recipes from 2010. Happy New Year! May 2011 be your best year yet!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~DESSERTS*~*~*~*~*~*~* Pineapple Zucchini Cake



Buttermilk Biscuits

Monday, December 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Stollen

The challenge for Daring Bakers this month was Stollen. Stollen is a traditional German cake/bread, almost like a fruit cake. It has candied fruit peel and dried fruit (I used raisins and craisins) and is so delicious. I lived in Germany for 7 years and loved going to the Christmas markets (that is where the cups you see in the picture came from). There was always Stollen for sale and the beautiful loaf covered in powdered sugar called my name more than once!

I was excited to be able to make Stollen this year. It brought me back to Germany and the fact that it was delicious was an added bonus!

One funny tidbit... My Stollen was almost stolen! :) After shaping the Stollen, I had scraps on the counter. I left the kitchen and then heard the paws of my Rhodesian Ridgeback hit the counter.... She was eating the dough scraps!!!! Luckily I had moved the dough that was to be baked further back so she didn't get it all!

The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

See you after the New Year....

It is vacation time and that means that posts will be on hold until after the holidays (with the exception of my Daring Baker post that is scheduled for the 27th and hopefully a best of 2010 post at the end of the month).

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and you are able to enjoy family, friends, and good food!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cranberry Orange Cookies

Every year I try to make at least one new cookie for my holiday cookie tray. This year, this is that cookie. And boy am I glad it was!

I love cranberries. Fresh cranberries or dried cranberries - I'll take them either way. This recipe calls for dried cranberries, but I had some fresh that needed to be used, so I tossed them in some sugar and used those instead.

The orange zest and cranberries go so well together. These cookies were the perfect addition to my cookie tray. So soft and delicious! They will definately be a regular from now on!

Cranberry Orange Cookies
Recipe from Fake Ginger

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped (I used 1/2 cup fresh)
1 tablespoon orange zest

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest

Preheat oven to 350.

Using an electric mixer, mix butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in cranberries and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Chill dough while you make orange sugar.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Use your fingers to rub the 2 together until everything is combined and mixture is fragrant.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in orange sugar. Place on baking sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake 10 – 13 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TWD: Apple Coconut Cake

Apples. Coconut. Cake. So delicious! So moist! So easy! One of the best apple cakes I've ever eaten.

Thanks to Amber of Cobbler du Monde for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

(Sorry for the super short post... Crazy busy this week!!!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Chex Mix

Oh my gosh... I had SO much fun making this mix! I was in need of something to take to Anya's Christmas party this week and when I saw this mix I knew it would be perfect. It was a little time consuming because of the Santa hats made out of Bugles, but they are so cute and so worth the time. Seriously, a Bugle dipped in melted cherry chips is A-MAZ-ING!


Holiday Chex Mix
Recipe from Cookies and Cups

3 cups mini pretzels
1 cup craisins
2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups holiday colored M&M's
8 oz. white chocolate for melting
Santa Bugle Hats (instructions below)

Mix pretzels, craisins, and chex; pour melted white chocolate over the top and stir to coat. Spread out on wax paper to let harden.

Once the chocolate is hard, mix in bugles and M&Ms.

Bugle Hats


White Chocolate, melted

Cherry Chips (or red candy coating), melted

Dip Bugles in red coating and place on wax paper to harden. Dip bottoms in white chocolate and place on wax paper until set.

Friday, December 10, 2010

FFwD: Beef Daube

Beef Daube is a French stew cooked with red wine. While this stew takes 2 1/2 hours to cook in the oven, it is so easy. The meat is browned, wine is poured over it, the pot is covered, and then it is put in the oven. The meat literally falls apart and the sauce is so delicious! I served it over a bed of mashed potatoes. This was a great dinner and totally comforting.

Go buy Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan for the recipe! The book is awesome and you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Egg Nog

I love egg nog. I mean, seriously LOVE it. And I love to make it. Yes, I know I can go to the store and buy a gallon of it, but, it's me. And I like to make things. Homemade egg nog is one of those things I like to make. :)

I have been making this egg nog for 2 years and am not sure why I haven't posted it before. It is thick and creamy and delicious. The addition of the orange and lemon zest gives it extra flavor, but if you aren't a fan of zests, you could leave them out.

And, please, forgive the picture. I wish I had stuck a cinnamon stick in it or sprinkled some nutmeg on top. Something. But, this was the last glass and it was 630 am and if I didn't get a picture FAST, there would be no picture. Yes... it is THAT good! :)


Egg Nog

12 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream

In a large saucepan, whisk together the yolks, sugar, nutmeg, and zests. Stir in milk and cream. Place over low heat and, stirring contstantly, heat to 160 degrees, about 2o minutes. (If you don't have an instant read thermometer, you could also test by whether the mixture coats the back of a spoon.)

Immediately remove from heat and strain into a pitcher. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about an hour.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holiday Treat Ideas

Things have been so crazy busy around here lately that I haven't started any holiday baking yet. I know that is probably unheard of for bloggers, but it's the truth. I am not planning on making too many new things this holiday season, so I thought I would post a round-up of some of my favorites for you. It will give you something to look over until I can get some new recipes posted!

I hope all your holiday planning/baking/shopping is coming along. This is my favorite part of the year and I am enjoying all the craziness of it! 17 1/2 days until Christmas! :)

Sugar Cookies

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Buttermilk Pancakes

Sundays are pancake mornings at our house. This wasn't a conscious decision but one that just kind of happened. Every day I ask my daughter what she wants for breakfast and 4 or 5 Sundays in a row she said pancakes. Now I don't even ask her... She wakes up and will say, "It's Sunday... that means it's Pancake Day!"

This gave me the opportunity to perfect my pancake recipe. Now, I know that most people have their favorite so I don't intend to claim that these are the only "best" pancake recipe in the world. But I will say that these are the best for my family and we absolutely love them! Classic, delicious buttermilk pancakes will make any morning a good morning!

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 1/3 cups buttermilk (You can add an extra TBSP to thin them out a bit if you don't want them too thick)
3 tablespoons oil

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Mix wet into dry.

Cook pancakes on griddle until done.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hot Cocoa Mix

Here is the recipe for hot cocoa mix that I promised in my marshmallow post. This makes for a great homemade gift and, since I have to perform quality control before food leaves my house, I can tell you that it makes a great cup of hot cocoa! The addition of a homemade marshmallow on top was great, too!


Hot Cocoa Mix

6 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 (5 ounce) package non-instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup powdered chocolate drink mix (I used Ovaltine; could also use Nesquick)
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

In a large bowl, combine powdered milk, chocolate pudding mix, chocolate drink mix powder, creamer, confectioners' sugar, and cocoa. Divide the mixture between two 1 quart jars. Seal, and decorate as desired. These can be stored in a dry area for up to 3 months.

Attach a tag with the following instructions: Dissolve 1/3 cup cocoa mix in 1 cup boiling water.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tomato Soup

Happy December!!!! I absolutely love this time of year. All the baking, all the family time, Christmas, my hubby's birthday.... the list goes on and on. I realize that since it is now December that I should start posting cookie recipes but I figured that if you are like me, this is also an extremely busy time of the year.

Since you are probably busy too, I thought you would appreciate and SUPER quick, super easy, super delicious dinner for a busy weeknight!


Tomato Soup
Recipe from Taste of Home

2 cups milk
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or about 1 TBSP dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender; cover and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan and heat through.

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