Monthly Archives: December 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you are having a fabulous holiday season! I can hardly believe that Christmas is only a couple of days away. Just in case you are still up for some holiday baking, here are a few of my favorites from this year.

1. Eggnog Cranberry Donuts
2. Gingerbread Cookies
3. Apple Pie Cookies
4. Orange Snowballs
5. Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps
6. Creamy Milk Chocolate Fudge

7. Pie in a Jar
8. Caramel Apple Cookies
9. Pistachio, Cranberry and White Chocolate Shortbread
10. Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies with Toffee
11. Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
12. Biscoff No Bake Cookies

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Eggnog Cranberry Donuts

I have found a new holiday favorite! With eggnog, cranberries, and a sprinkle of nutmeg, these baked donuts were a huge hit!

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of eggnog. My husband, on the other hand, loves it (without the alcohol). But these donuts…are amazing! I tried to deliver some to a neighbor (so I wouldn’t eat too many), but my husband told me they were too good to share.

Did I mention they are baked?! I finally broke down and bought a donut pan. This was my first time using it. I think we will be having a lot more donuts in the future!

Cranberry Eggnog Donuts
Slightly adapted from Shugary Sweets

Doughnuts:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup eggnog
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour the donut pan (don’t forget).

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Beat in egg, applesauce, and eggnog. Fold in dried cranberries. Transfer batter to a large ziploc bag and cut a hole in one corner to squeeze out the batter.

Fill the donut pan 1/2 to 2/3 full (I filled it a little too full my first time). Bake at 325°F for 10-12 minutes. Donuts are ready when the tops spring back when lightly touched.

Remove from pan and cool.

Icing:
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp eggnog
1/8 cup dried cranberries, chopped
pinch of nutmeg

Beat sugar with eggnog for 2-3 minutes. Dip tops of cooled donuts into icing. Sprinkle with a little nutmeg and chopped dried cranberries.

I hope you love these donuts as much as we did. Today is the third month of the Improv Challenge. This month’s ingredients are Eggnog and Cranberries (previously we did caramel & apples and cream cheese & pumpkin). Be sure to check out the other fabulous links below. I think you will find some fabulous recipes. :)

Gingerbread Cookies

Baking and decorating cookies is a great family tradition. I absolutely loved baking up these delicious gingerbread cookies with my daughters. Then we all decorated them with some yummy buttercream icing. It was fun to watch my husband and kids decorate the cookies. My youngest (1 1/2) just enjoyed eating the sprinkles and licking off the icing. My 3-year-old enjoyed squeezing as much frosting as possible onto the cookies. It definitely was a fun way to make memories.

Gingerbread
slightly adapted from Sugarbelle

1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco
1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup molasses*
2 eggs
1 tsp. orange extract (optional)
5-6 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground gigner
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground nutmeg

Cream shortening, butter, and sugar. Add molasses, eggs, and extract and beat until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add slowly to creamed mixture and mix until incorporated. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours (or overnight).
Roll dough on a floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Bake at 375 for 6-15 minutes (less for small cookies, more for large cookies). Cool and decorate.
*I substituted 1/4 cup dark brown sugar for the 1/4 cup molasses because I didn’t quite have enough molasses.

Buttercream Icing
adapted from Betty Crocker

1 pound powdered sugar (4 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-4 tablespoons milk

Mix powdered sugar and butter on low speed. Add in vanilla. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. I noticed that over time our icing became a lot softer after being in our hands. Be careful not to make it too runny.

Today is the last day of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies. It has been a lot of fun! Thanks to Brenda from Meal Planning Magic for putting this together and hosting each week. I hope you check out the other fabulous cookies and treats posted today.

My previous Christmas Cookie Posts:
Apple Pie Cookies
Double Chocolate Mint Chip Brownie Cookies
Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps
Caramel Apple Cookies
Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies with toffee
Orange Snowballs
Biscoff No Bake Cookies
Pistachio, Cranberry, White Chocolate Shortbread

Pistachio, Cranberry and White Chocolate Shortbread

These are one of my new favorite holiday cookies! Just looking at them fills me with holiday cheer. Green pistachios with red cranberries and dotted with white chocolate…Absolutely fabulous! They are sure to brighten up your holiday platters. Not only do they look classy and festive, they also taste wonderful.

The dough is lovely with all the holiday colors. Once rolled into a log, it would also make a great gift! Just roll a little parchment paper around it and tie with twine or ribbon.

White Chocolate, Pistachio and Cranberry Shortbread
slightly adapted from Kitchen Trial and Error

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped dried cranberries (Craisins)
1 cup roughly chopped pistachios
1 cup white chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Then add in vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour and salt. Add to butter mixture.

Mix on low speed until it starts to come together. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix until combined.

Dump dough onto wax paper and form into a log. Roll the wax paper around the log. You can roll it thick or thin depending on how big you want your cookies. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Slice and bake at 350°F on a parchment lined baking sheet for 8-13 minutes or until the edges barely start to brown. (I thought my first batch seemed overcooked, so I pulled my second batch out just before they browned and they were perfect.) Cool and enjoy!

This is Week 11 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies! Thanks to Brenda from Meal Planning Magic for hosting each week! I can’t believe there is one week left and that Christmas is only 2 weeks away! YIKES! I hope you are having fun doing some holiday baking.

My previous Christmas Cookie Posts:
Apple Pie Cookies
Double Chocolate Mint Chip Brownie Cookies
Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps
Caramel Apple Cookies
Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies with toffee
Orange Snowballs
Biscoff No Bake Cookies

Check out all these other fantastic cookies! I wish I could have one of each!!

Creamy Milk Chocolate Fudge

Smooth and creamy, this fudge is the BEST fudge I have ever made. Okay, I don’t have a lot of fudge making experience, but I have eaten a lot of fudge. And this fudge is AMAZING! If you like milk chocolate fudge that is perfectly sweet (but not too sweet)…this recipe is for you! I seriously can’t stop eating it!

This month for the Crazy Cooking Challenge we were challenged to find the best fudge recipe available on a blog. I came across this recipe from Get Off Your Butt and Bake via Pinterest while searching for creamy, milk chocolate fudge recipes. I was originally planning on using a microwave and some marshmallow cream to make some really quick and easy fudge, but then I saw this recipe. Although it did not call for marshmallows and required a bit of stirring initially, I am SO glad I made it!

You really need to check out the blog Get Off Your Butt and Bake. Jonna has the most amazing photographs. And if the rest of her recipes are anything like this fudge, they are going to be fantastic! Plus, you really should read her tutorial on making this fudge recipe. I love all her step-by-step photos and directions.

Creamy Milk Chocolate Fudge
slightly adapted from Get Off Your Butt and Bake

3 1/2 cups milk chocolate (I used chocolate chips and milk chocolate apeels, if you use a bar form of chocolate break it into pieces)
4 cups sugar
2 cups cream
2 sticks butter, cut into pieces (I used one salted and one unsalted)
1 tablespoon vanilla
any add-ins you would like: nuts, marshmallows, etc. (optional)

Butter a large heavy pot (I took a partially used stick from my fridge and rubbed it on the inside of the pot). Combine cream and sugar in the heavy pot and stir constantly over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil. After it comes to a boil, stop stirring (yay!) and put the lid on for one minute, then take off the lid.

Without stirring keep cooking the cream and sugar until it comes to a soft ball stage using a candy thermometer. (This is a great time to chop up your chocolate, if necessary and put it in a large bowl. Also pull out your hand mixer–you will need it later). Once it hits the soft ball stage, remove the pan from heat and add butter pieces and vanilla. Let it sit for one minute without stirring.

This is the tricky part…pour the cream mixture into the large bowl containing your chocolate WITHOUT scraping the bowl (I know you will be tempted, but just don’t do it!!) Using a hand mixer, beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Fold in nuts or marshmallows (or whatever else you desire to add). Pour into a parchment lined (or greased) 9×13 pan. (I used two 8×8 or 9×9). Put in the fridge until set (a few hours or overnight…if you can wait that long).

Layer fudge pieces with wax paper in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

While I am pretty sure I found the BEST fudge recipe ever, there are 65+ bloggers also participating in today’s Crazy Cooking Challenge (hosted by Tina @ Mom’s Crazy Cooking) to find the perfect Fudge recipe. So, be sure to check out the other fabulous recipes posted below. (It’s like a digital fudge cookbook with pictures!) AND if you feel like voting for my post, feel free to click “like” under my picture below (#53). :)

Photobucket

Biscoff No Bake Cookies

Loaded with Biscoff spread, these delicious no-bake cookies are sure to be a wonderful addition to your holiday baking. They are super fast and easy which is definitely welcomed in my kitchen this time of year. I love this unique twist on a classic no bake cookie.

When I saw Biscoff No Bake Cookies on Shugary Sweets (She has a lot of Biscoff recipes if on her site that I’m excited to try), I knew I had to give them a try. Biscoff spread is definitely one of my new favorite treats (I’d rather not talk about how much I have eaten straight from the jar). These cookies are deliciously sweet and were definitely a hit at my house.

Biscoff No Bake Cookies
from Shugary Sweets

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup Biscoff spread
3 cups oatmeal (I used old fashioned rolled oats)

Mix and heat butter, sugar, and milk in a saucepan over medium high heat until it boils. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat.

Add in Biscoff spread, vanilla and salt an mix until combined. Stir in oatmeal.

Drop dough onto parchment (or wax) paper. Let cookies set until cool.

Can you believe it is December 1st?! Crazy!! This month is going to fly by! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and baking up lots of goodies! Today is Week 10 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets! Be sure to check out all of the fabulous goodies linked up below.

My previous Christmas Cookie Posts:
Apple Pie Cookies
Double Chocolate Mint Chip Brownie Cookies
Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps
Caramel Apple Cookies
Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies with toffee
Orange Snowballs

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